A recent football event can teach an important lesson for success as a financial advisor and success in life.

On November 15, the Colts played the Patriots. It was a great game. (Unless you are a Patriots fan, and only a win would have made you happy.) With two minutes and eight seconds left in the game, the Patriots were leading 34 -28 and had the ball on their own 28-yard line. Their coach, Bill Belichick, decided to go for it on fourth down, with less than 2 yards to go for a first down.

Success would have almost certainly won the game for the Patriots. Failure would put the ball in the hands of Peyton Manning, the superstar quarterback of the Colts, with less than 30 yards to go to score the winning touchdown. The Patriot's quarterback, Tom Brady, threw a short pass to the running back, Kevin Faulk, who bobbled the ball before he caught it and was tackled short of the first down. The announcers went crazy! "What a stupid call!" "How could a great coach like Bill Belichick do something so risky?" "Peyton Manning has the ball with plenty of time to score the winning touchdown!" "Can you believe that call?" In fact, Peyton Manning did lead his team to score the touchdown and win the game.

What impressed me was how the Patriots' players responded after the game. Two things stand out especially:
1. How Tom Brady reacted when the play was called. He was trotting off the field after the failed fourth down attempt because he expected the punting team to be coming on the field. But when his coach called the play to go for it, Brady did not hesitate to take the field to execute the play. He looked eager to be on the field to go for it.

2. Kevin Faulk's comments in the post-game interview. Kevin talked about how it's not the coach's fault if the players don't execute. It's not their fault if the player fumbles the ball, or misses a block or drops a pass. The coaches call the play and the player's job is to execute. Period. End of story. No excuses.

What does this have to do with being a successful financial advisor? Everything. It actually has everything to do with success in life. Life, personally or professionally, doesn't let you make all the calls. Are you ready to respond when life calls a play? Are you ready to respond well when your business life calls a play? There are fundamentals for being a successful financial advisor, and you didn't get to decide what they are. But if you want to be successful, you have to be ready to execute. Are you?

In the fall of 2008, life called the Global Financial Crisis play. Were you ready? Some advisors responded and executed brilliantly and others folded and quit the business. Most survived but have not capitalized on the opportunity because they weren't ready to execute when the play was called. Many advisors still have not recognized the GFC as an opportunity.

Let's examine a list of "plays" your professional life can call. I encourage you to do a little soul-searching to consider how ready you are to capitalize on these opportunities by executing the play that's called, so to speak.

The referral conversation play. Every time you meet with a client, you have the opportunity to execute the referral conversation play. Do you? How well do you execute? Are you successful at not only obtaining a few referrals and excellent introductions to your new prospects, but does the client feel good about the experience as well? How well scripted is this play in your playbook?

Have you practiced so when you are in the game you are ready to execute successfully?

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