How to Conquer the Real Threat to Your Success
February 7, 2012
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I don’t know Eli Manning personally. But I know a thing or two about what it takes to become a champion, as he did by winning the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
In my 33 years of experience as a professional sports psychologist, I have counseled and trained many professional football players and world champion athletes. They all face challenges, adversities and setbacks during their careers, but a particular problem for many athletes is “imposter fear” – a psychological obstacle advisors may find familiar.
Imposter fear occurs when – no matter how much confidence or even swagger an athlete may display to teammates, opponents, coaches, or his fans – self-doubt nags at him, and he worries that he will be exposed as inadequate to the challenges he faces. In Eli’s case, he was always compared to his older brother and prior to his previous Super Bowl victory, pundits wondered if his performance under pressure would compare to Tom Brady's. Advisors can also experience “imposter fear” – worrying that their success owes to luck and somehow they’ve fooled others into believing they are skilled advisors. It’s only a matter of time before that luck runs out and they are exposed. This fear causes performance anxiety and constant fear of failure.
I have helped many athletes overcome their impostor fear and consistently perform at their best. The same set of skills I teach them can help advisors, too.
For example, I was recently invited to consult with a wealth management firm whose president was concerned about inconsistent performance from a large percentage of his advisors. Moreover, because of the ailing economy and a roller-coaster stock market, his assets under management were declining sharply.
Following a series of confidential interviews with a broad sample of advisors in the firm, it became clear to me that many suffered from anxiety, because of the harsh market conditions and because of the president’s high performance expectations, but also because they harbored their own internal insecurities. I designed a series of training programs to teach the advisors how to recognize and overcome their fears, maintain an optimistic and proactive approach with their clients, use active listening skills, overcome stress and anxiety related to their job and ultimately lead to their clients directing new referrals to them.
But the most important issue I helped these advisors overcome? You guessed it: impostor fear.
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