A tale of two advisors: Why was one successful?Blog added by Sandy Schussel on March 4, 2014
Sandy Schussel

Sandy Schussel

Princeton, NJ

Joined: December 10, 2011

My Company

Sandy Schussel, LLC

A favorite hypothetical of mine: Let’s imagine two professionals in the same field. We’ll call them Advisor A and Advisor B. We’ll give them the same educational background, the same training, the same resources and connections, and even similar personalities and work ethic. But when we put them out in the field, I can promise you that one — let’s say, Advisor A — will do better than the other, our unfortunate Advisor B.

If we made them practically identical in every aspect, the only factor that could account for the difference in their performances is that Advisor A would be taking more of the kind of action he needs to take than his counterpart. But if their work ethic were the same, how could their actions be any different?

The simplest explanation is that each advisor sees his world differently — the way he views his work, the way he views the people he interacts with, and, of course, the way he views himself. Advisor A might see his work as important to the people he works with — something they need in their lives. He might see the world as a safe and friendly place where what he has to offer is welcome. He might see clients and prospects as open and interested in doing what they need to do for their families. And he might see the people he works with as good people, who are there to support him.

Advisor B — the less successful advisor — might have a different view of his world. Maybe it’s a difficult, unfriendly place, where you have to struggle to succeed. Maybe he sees himself as a “salesperson," who “bothers” people. Perhaps he sees clients and prospects as closed, difficult and deceitful, and he sees the people he works with as being there to make his life difficult.

When Advisor B feels he is not succeeding, he tries to imitate what Advisor A is doing, or he enrolls in yet another course to learn another way to do what he already knows how to do. He experiments with the latest and most advanced strategies and language nuances, and finds that none of it works for him. Of course it doesn’t. All of his effort is like trying to take the apples off of someone else’s tree and tape them to his own. It’s not the same, and it won’t yield any new, ripe fruit.

If you identify with Advisor B in this hypothetical, you should understand that it is a mistake to try to solve your work performance problems with more information. You already know enough to succeed. What you need is a transformation — an alteration in how your world is occurring for you. Your “inner game” needs fixing, not your outer one. Strategies and language nuances may help a little, but until you view the world as a place where taking action is easy and fun, you will continue to struggle.

If you’re not taking enough action because you are uncomfortable or overwhelmed, don’t spend your time, energy and money on another course to learn new ways of doing the same thing. Instead, get to work on your view of your world. How different would your practice be if you believed that finding new prospects is easy? That people are grateful for the help you offer? That it’s OK to tell them what you believe, even if it might upset them? That you bring value to everyone you speak with? Change your inner game and you automatically change your results — always.
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