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Advisor As Athlete

Invest in your body and mind, as athletes do, to stay in top form.

By Joseph J. Lukacs

As a financial advisor, you probably want to take your business to the next level. It’s not your business that’s holding you back, however. It’s you! To advance, you must make a better “you” by continuously improving your skill set and mindset.

Think of yourself as a professional athlete. Like an athlete, you’re compensated by the results you produce, and you must be a consistent top performer to earn a top-notch living.

Great athletes invest enormous amounts of time in their bodies, practicing endlessly, working out and eating nutrition-rich foods. Since you are your greatest asset, you too must invest in your mind and body.

No coach, manager or colleague can instill in you the desire to become the best at what you do.

Let’s look at the qualities that top athletes and top advisors share.

Desire and passion
Top athletes have a burning passion to succeed that keeps them going. Do you wake up in the morning excited about improving your business? Are you passionate about new challenges?

Your desire and passion are attributes that only you can work on. No coach, manager or colleague can instill in you the desire to become the best at what you do. If you don’t have sufficient desire, ask yourself, “Why did I choose this profession?” If you don’t have a good answer, you’ll need to create or update your personal mission statement. Also ask yourself: “Why be average when I can be a top performer?”

Top athletes are dedicated to becoming the best in their sport. Dedicate yourself to becoming the best in your profession. Look to improve your skills and abilities, since there’s always something new to learn. Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning and become a student of success. Set daily and weekly goals on educating yourself. Use seminars, books and tapes—whatever works for you.

Top athletes and financial pros know how to structure their days to make the most of their time. You must create a daily game plan. Anyone can have a great day, week, month or quarter. The key is the discipline to execute your plan every day. The difference between a top financial advisor and an average one comes down to consistency and discipline.

An athlete's ability to “dig deep down” for his energy reserve in the fourth quarter or the last mile often makes the difference between success and failure. As a financial professional, you must bring similar energy and stamina to your business. If you are “running out of gas” during the day, it’s costing you money and limiting your success.

Top athletes keep their health and conditioning at top level. You must also commit to creating and maintaining healthy habits. Find the kind of exercise that you enjoy and will do consistently—whether it’s working out in the gym, running, swimming or walking briskly. Eat right and avoid junk food. You’ll look and feel better, have more energy—and make more money!

The professional athlete puts himself “on the line” at each event. The risk of failure is always a possibility. All top athletes accept and understand this. No athlete succeeds every time. Top athletes, however, do not let the fear of failure deter them from competing hard. Instead, they learn from their failures.

Risk is also a key part of your business. Not every prospect will say yes. If you’re working your business properly and getting “up to the plate” frequently, you’re probably “failing” more than you’re succeeding. (In baseball, hitting .300—which means “failing” 70 percent of the time—is excellent.) Accept risk and the inevitable small failures while celebrating your larger wins.

Daily rituals
All athletes have a pregame ritual to prepare physically and mentally to compete at a high level. You must also create a daily success ritual—exercise, meditation, listening to a tape or anything else—that will get you prepared to compete at a top level every day of your business life. Start your day with the right rituals, and you’ll find yourself more focused and accomplishing more each day.

You have a lot in common with Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods, Mia Hamm and other successful professional athletes. Model their desire, work ethic, stamina, dedication and discipline, and watch your financial-services business rise to new levels of success.

Joseph J. Lukacs, practice strategist and coach to insurance and financial advisors, is the founder of International Performance Group LLC. He can be reached by email at, 321-255-2889 or


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