Financial Advisors, What Research Says Is Your Greatest Competitive Advantage

It is smart to be happy.
In fact, happiness is the single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy.”
– Shawn Achor

Achor, writing in an article in the “Harvard Business Review” called “Are Happy People Dumb?” explained:

“The real story of happiness (based on research) is that every person has a range of potential — in terms of intelligence, athletic ability, musicality, creativity, and productivity — and we are more likely to achieve the upper bounds of our brain’s potential when we’re feeling positive, rather than negative or neutral.”

For 2015 here is the most productive question to ask to increase your success now and throughout the year:

What steps can I take to become happier and reap its benefits?

Answers are all around you, and you may notice benefits almost immediately.

#1 – Engage in Simple Positive Exercises Every Day to Bulk Up Your Happiness Quotient

Write down three new things you are grateful for each day, Achor suggests.

My version of this exercise is to write in a small notebook every morning before breakfast under the heading “Today is a gift!”

There I jot down at least 5 things that I’m happy about when I preview the day ahead. It could be creating content for a website, or it could be my 7-year-old neighbor who will call on me after work to play “Monopoly,” “Sorry,” or “Yahtzee.” That’s how my list unfurls.

Or at the end of the day you can capture your feelings of gratitude in writing and set yourself up for an exhilarating day ahead.

#2 – Strengthen Your Strengths

As we wrote in our new book Marketing Power for Financial Advisors,” “The one and only place to start is with you. Instead of being thwarted by thoughts of not being good enough or trying unsuccessfully to fix your weaknesses, begin with what you do well.

“That’s your emotional foundation.” And that’s how you’ll inject real power into your practice.”

Leadership and transition coach Marci Smith, in an interview for a September article in our blog, “Scarcity or Abundance and Your Practice” suggests this exercise:

“The first thing each morning focus on your strengths. Do this by writing a sentence about yourself — one ability or quality that you appreciate. Try to write something different for each day, and know that it’s okay to repeat the sentence when you absolutely run out of ideas.

“An example might be: I appreciate that I work well under pressure, or I appreciate that I can maintain a positive attitude while up against ominous global news or cracks in the markets.”

#3 – Work with the Clients You Truly Appreciate

Sometimes you hold on too long to clients who are zapping your energy. They may be demanding and exhausting, or you just have too many clients. In that situation they can prevent you from providing the higher level of service you desire.

A client, we’ll call him Chris, found a home elsewhere for 70 clients who didn’t meet his criteria. With this act he multiplied his capabilities for an “exciting” level of service for all remaining clients and the new business coming to him.

#4 – Let Go of the Need to Be Everything to Everyone

When you get into an area you are hesitant about or accept a client who doesn’t feel quite right to you out of fear of turning down an opportunity, you set yourself up for a practice that can be stressful.

Suppose, instead, you gain a clear understanding of your strengths, zoom in on the clients you truly enjoy helping, and give them an extraordinary level of service.

Then, you’ll unlock time and energy to reach beyond the data to explore more deeply who they are. Especially valuable, as Chris points out, is “to find out about their
earliest encounters about money and the messages around money that their family conveyed to them.”

#5 – Promote a Consistent Message in Harmony with Your Actions — To Your Clients, Prospects, Team Members, Influencers, and Others

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi’s belief came decades before the past years of scientific research into happiness and its advantages. We see this consistent approach as a way to add clarity, passion, and confidence in your life . . . and to boost your happiness for this year and way beyond.

With best wishes for maximum happiness this year and every year,

Shirley Hanson

P.S. What are you doing to expand your happiness? What benefits do you see? Let’s continue this conversation about this “greatest of competitive advantages.” I am at 215-753-2620.

About Shirley Hanson

Co-Author "Marketing Power for Financial Advisors"
In 1991 Shirley Hanson co-founded the Hanson Marketing Group, a direct marketing firm. Since 2005 she has focused her work on helping financial advisors take advantage of the same strategies and tactics that high-growth firms count on year after year. Advisors are able to attract more of their ideal clients, reach a Category of One, and raise their production. She collaborates with advisors to unlock their vision for their practice sooner with less hassle.

Contact Shirley
Phone: 215-753-2620 | Fax: 215-754-4165
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