Leadership Perspectives | 09.18.19
Self-Motivation – Getting and Maintaining Internal Drive: Part 2
Why do you get out of bed in the morning? It’s a Monday, and maybe you’re still a little worn from a great weekend. It’s so nice, warm and comfortable under the covers. Bottom line – you do get up, and maybe you feel great about the day ahead. But, sometimes it really can be hard to face the day. Stress, depression and the routine of the day can get you down. It’s natural to have some ups and downs, but successful people have far more good days than bad days. How do top performers stay focused and motivated? The fact is, while there are quite literally dozens of theories on the psychological underpinnings of motivation, there is largely consensus on strategies that individuals can utilize that motivate successful behaviors.
First and foremost, self-motivated people tend to have a plan – and it’s in writing. There’s an old expression that states, “Goals not written are only wishes.” For financial advisors, this means having a well-thought-out plan, including tactics and specific steps to achieve their goals. Whether it’s a plan to increase assets under management, become better educated on new products or prepare for their own retirement, self-motived financial advisors tend to have a detailed plan on how to achieve their goals.
Another technique to get self-motivated is to share your goals with others. Whether it’s a manager, your peers or a significant other, once you’ve told others, you want to show them you can and will succeed. Sharing goals is like entering into a verbal contract with the listeners – you’re committing to achieving stated goals, and you don’t want to disappoint them or demonstrate you aren’t up to the task.
A crucial part of staying self-motivated is seeing the progress you’re making each and every day. Having meaningful timelines and deadlines makes it much easier to achieve goals, particularly if the goals are long range. And, it’s much easier to stay motivated when you understand that every small step is leading you to success. Some people make charts or checklists to track their progress, and, of course, sharing your progress with other helps keep you moving it the right direction.
A crucial part of staying self-motivated is seeing the progress you’re making each and every day.
A crucial part of self-motivation is imagination. By imagination, I mean imagining what your success or achievement of your goals would look like and “feel” like. Want to be the top producer in the program? Imagine how you’d feel being recognized by your manager and co-workers. On the personal side, want to lose weight? Imagine how great you’ll look in your new wardrobe. Imagination can also motivate from a negative perspective. Imagine if you lost your job or the respect of management. Want to stay in bed? Well, there may be some bad consequences with your boss and your clients. Fear can be a great motivator, so imagining negative consequences can sometimes get you through a difficult day.
Procrastination can be a motivation killer. It can be so tempting to put things off until (pick one): the market is better; interest rates are higher; I’m in a better mood; it’s not such a beautiful day outside. The best way to fight procrastination is to dedicate specific time frames to get tasks done. For example, commit to responding to emails from 8 to 8:30 every morning, or do new business development from 2 to 3 p.m. Yes, things come up and fires will always need to be put out, but staying focused and dedicating your work to specific times in the day goes a long way in minimizing wasted time and achieving your goals.
To stay motivated, it’s important to be positive. A positive attitude almost always breeds positive results. There will be obstacles, negativity and pessimism. Being around positive people is contagious. When you do confront obstacles or have setbacks, and if you expect them, they’re less likely to become major setbacks or knock you off track.
Two final thoughts – motivation is not a single activity or something that’s done occasionally. I like to quote one of the most compelling authors and motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar. “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily.” And while managers, significant others and your peers can be significant factors in both positive and negative motivation, motivation really only comes from within.
To quote Henry Ford, “If you think you can or think you cannot – you are probably right.”
This is Part 2 of a four-part series.
Part 1: What motivates financial advisors
Part 3: A sales manager's role in motivating financial advisors
Part 4: Improving recruiting and hiring results
Paul A. Werlin founded Human Capital Resources, Inc. (HCR) in 1995 to provide recruiting, consulting, training and employee selection services specifically for the financial institution investment program marketplace. HCR has worked with more than 200 banks, credit unions, broker/dealers, third-party marketing firms, and mutual fund and insurance companies, helping them recruit key personnel for sales, marketing, technology, compliance and senior management positions.