The Killer of All Goals – Episode Transcript

This podcast is focused on you, and it’s focused on the undisputed hinge pin of the industry right now, an advisor’s qualitative abilities. Now, you might dispute that. You might say, Chris, that’s not an undisputed thing, I dispute it. I dispute the fact that technical skills, trump these soft skills or timing the market trumps it, or the quality of a brand trumps it, or my activity level. That’s a good one. My activity level trumps my qualitative abilities, but lots of those things are good, but you have a problem, and the problem is the market doesn’t trust advisors like it used to and the industry is wrecking it for you. It’s getting worse. Think about it. There’s more legislation than ever. There’s more regulation than ever. The media loves a good crime story, especially if it involves a financial adviser, and get this, you can’t even argue it. If you become the advisor that says, “Hey, you don’t need to do that. We don’t need more oversight we’ll just be a fiduciary without any oversight or regulation. We’ve got this handled.” Then you become suspect as well, so what’s left?

Well, what’s left are your qualitative superpowers. Why do we call it undisputed? We call it an undisputed because there’s tons of evidence for it. First, neuroscience and neuropsychology are really clear that connection, bonding and trust are not a function of math. Well, surface level are calculus based trust is, but they are a function of the quality of the connection that you have with someone. We say it over and over. There are two fundamental abilities an advisor has to have in order to be wildly successful. One is the quantity of their activity and the other is the quality of their relationships. But there’s not a lot of attention brought to those qualitative powers, and so we’re zeroing in on that. How you do what you’re doing these days is becoming arguably far more important than the what of what you are doing.

If they don’t trust you, if they don’t think that you have their best interest way ahead of yours, it’s over before it starts. You want the next generation as a client? Good luck. It isn’t happening unless you shift your approach. We’re going to be zeroing in on a bunch of these things, and this is why we created this podcast. Somebody needs to get behind advisers and help restore trust and we’re going to do it together. How are we going to do that? This biweekly podcast will give you the actionable. It’ll give you new ideas. It will refresh old ideas that need to be woken up, and you’ll have something that you can do about it, action you can take. We’re going to be looking at trust and when I say looking at it, I don’t mean the garbage conversations that happen in the industry or the trite phrases and catchy lines. I mean, how does it work? How do you generate trust? We’re going to look at getting more clients, more of exactly the right clients for you. We’re going to dig deeper into your sales process and how you sell with integrity and authenticity and with deep empathy for two reasons. The first is it’s the right way to sell, and the second is it will soon be the only way that sales will even work.

And we’re going to look at other actions you can take to be the absolute best version of you. Nothing less will get you the results you want, unless, of course you have crappy goals, so don’t have crappy goals, and we’ll talk about goals along the way as well. All that sounds awesome, but let’s get to it. Today we’re going to spend just a few minutes on the killer of all goals, the thing that decimates dreams, it wipes out your opportunities, it keeps you stuck in the crap. It has you repeating the same year over and over. It keeps you at the same weight. It has you repeating the same lines over and over to people, and sometimes they’re even cheesy and that immobilizes you permanently. Today we’re going to talk about Comfort. It’s like, “Uh, Chris. I want to be comfortable.” Well, of course you want to be comfortable. You’re wired for it. It’s not wrong. There’s nothing wrong with that. The question is, is it going to work for you?

The neuroscience says that the brain craves efficiency. It wants easy, it conserves energy wherever possible and most important, listen carefully. It wants to be safe. That means don’t seek challenge. Don’t risk it. Don’t vary from successful patterns. By the way, successful patterns does not equal patterns that give you your goals, they don’t give you success, they give the successfully give … brain security is what it gives, so there’s a damn big difference there between successful patterns in the brain, so don’t vary from them.

Our socialization, it completely leans toward comfort. I need a smoother riding car. I want a quieter car. I want an insulated home. I want noise canceling everything. I want predictive algorithms on my phone and my personal technology. It’s all designed for us to seek comfort. Don’t pursue non-mainstream thoughts or you’ll be ostracized and if you do pursue them, certainly don’t share them. Don’t vary outside of the industry acceptable behaviors or we’ll issue a compliance breach or charge you. Don’t wear clothes that are too far out of the norm, but don’t be too much the same as everyone else. Socially, we’re not supposed to make other people uncomfortable. We’re not supposed to experience much discomfort, so the game is comfort. Comfortable life, comfortable family, comfortable vacation, comfortable retirement. Comfort. Isn’t that sweet?

Well, here’s the problem. You won’t really get what you want. You didn’t end up on the planet to win the race to comfort or numbness. Think about your best moments they were when you pushed. You did something you didn’t think you could. You smacked down a challenge or a problem that you didn’t even know how you were going to approach let alone overcome. Our best moments come shortly after we’re uncomfortable. Even the best stories out there have an equation. There’s a dream, a struggle, and a victory. If you take away any one of those, it’s a crappy story. I had a dream and I got it, or I had no dream, life was awful, but I won the lottery. But if you have a dream, a struggle, and a victory, that’s the equation. If you got rid of the struggle, the story would be lame. We’re here for the struggle. It’s when we feel alive. It’s when we feel like we matter. It’s when we feel like we have something to bring to the table, to our clients, to our business, to our families, to the world.

It’s about the struggle and the struggle is not found in comfort. It is found in discomfort. It is found in the uncomfortable. And of course the trite advice, “Hey, get outside of your comfort zone.” Oh, yawn. What a useless phrase. I get it. I get what’s being said. Hell, I’ve said it, but we can do better than that. And so I want to give you just a few ideas on how, so let’s look at them.

Start with a mental exercise. Everything starts as a thought. I want you to pick anything you want to achieve. Think of anything you want to achieve and I want you to push the boundary of it. You know, 10X is such a big thing right now. There’s nothing wrong with 10X, but it’s like the theory is it takes as much effort to grow your business 10 times is it does two times. Well okay. And that may or may not be true, but pick anything you want to achieve and push the boundary. If you want to get in shape, I want to get in shape. Okay, good, so what does wicked shape look like? Like Navy Seals shape. What does that look like? Set that as a picture in your head or if you want to grow your business, don’t aim for 10%. Think about how am I going to double the business this year? Or what would you have to do to become the best spouse ever or the most amazing single person ever or the best parent ever. Stretch. You’ll probably find yourself rebelling against the idea already. That’s good. Your brain is supposed to do that crap. But push back. You run your brain, not the other way around.

Push the envelope and envision it clearly with your senses. What’s it look like? What does it smell like? What does it tastes like? What are you hearing? What are you saying? What’s the feel of it? And get really, really clear on it. And once you’re clear, and your brain is probably freaking and saying, “This is stupid. I’m not doing this. I don’t have to do this.” By the way, if your brain is saying that you have options right now, one is you can let it run you, or the other is, you can tell it who’s in charge and that’s you. Push the boundary a little bit, but then I want you to back off. Move backward toward something that’s not as daunting as your big scary imagination. It’s like trying to do curls with a 75 pound dumbbell. You can barely budge it. And so you’re trying, “Ah. Wow, there’s no way I can do a 75 pounder.” But then you go and you pick up a 40 pounder and suddenly it doesn’t feel as spooky. Is it hard? Yeah. Is it more than the 30 that you were doing before? Yes, it is. But go for the step back goal.

Go for this big stretch and stretch your mind, but then back off from it a little bit and suddenly you’re doing something that it’s actually causing you to get outside your comfort zone, it’s allowing you to experience the uncomfortable and you’re making progress. And then really the simple thing, schedule your bold move. You and I both know that when you schedule it and then don’t think about it, but just show up and do it, things start to change that way. But when you leave it at a someday, you’re someday becomes a never. It doesn’t happen at all. Let me give you an example.

I’ve done a lot of back country camping in my day, but that day happens to be several days ago, many days, many years ago, as a matter of fact. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out. And so I started envisioning doing long back country excursions in the winter and I’m not ready for it. It’s the gear, the even how you start a fire is different in ultra cold weather. You can’t just blow on it. The moisture in your breath is going to blow your fire out, so there’s all kinds of little tips and tricks and, and can my gear handle it and can my mind handle it? No. Do I have the time? And so suddenly I’m pushing against it. What I did is backed off from that and thought, “Well, I guess spent a night outside.” And I did that. And I did that when it was about minus 20 plus windchill. We got about six inches of snow that night. I woke up with my sleeping bag covered in snow, but I geared up for a single day. And you know what? On the day that I was headed out, I kind of didn’t want to go. It was cold. It was awful. And I’m still questioning my abilities and can I pull this thing off? And it did.

And you know what? It was awesome, and it was good for my spirit. It was good for my conquering spirit, my explorer spirit, my adventurous spirit. It was good for business. I came back to the business on Monday and I have a different stance on how I face things and that was just one weekend. It’s like, oh Chris, weekend warrior. Whatever. I’m not worried about your narrative. It’s mine. And my narrative says that I just pushed a boundary and now I’ll be doing more of it. And you know what? I know what I can do more now. And I also know where I need to improve and I also know what stuff I didn’t need to bring that I slugged around. There was a lot I learned. But now I’m on the track and you can be too, I’m not talking about camping, but whatever your goal is.

Here’s the thing I need you to understand is that you are dramatically more capable than you think. If your brain says, “No, I’m not.” If you are not convinced, call me, I’ll talk you through it. But you are so capable that it makes your work product embarrassing. We have such capability in us. Our abilities are so big yet so untapped that if our fully expressed version of ourselves, look back at the work that we’re doing, it would be embarrassed. And I’m not saying that to insult you or anyone else because I’m talking about me as well. But if we operated at half our potential, we’d kill it. Our results would shock people, yourself included. Now why are we talking about all this? What does this have to do with qualitative ability? Here’s the bottom line. You will not become a qualitative adviser, a most trusted advisor, or even on the radar of the market until you make comfort your slave and not the other way around.

 I’m Chris Venn. This is the Qualitative Adviser Podcast.