How Advisors Can Expand & Get Out of Their Comfort Zone
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Want to expand and get out of your comfort zone? Here's how you can make stepping out of your comfort zone, well, more comfortable.
As a financial advisor, your income is largely limited by your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is the space in your daily life in which the activities you do are within the boundaries of what makes you feel secure and “comfortable”. In other words, you’re complacent.
Most people have incredibly small comfort zones because they are taught to “just be comfortable” and “enjoy life”. When you stay in your comfort zone, your life (and income) plateaus and you become a slave to routine. This isn’t good. You have to be in a constant state of expanding your comfort zone in order to live on your own terms.
What is the comfort zone?
The comfort zone is a mental space. It causes your actions and behavior to fall under a certain set of actions that give you the feeling of security and comfort. Prospecting and following up makes a lot of advisors feel uncomfortable, so they don’t do it. Because they don’t do it, they don’t get the clients they desperately need. They would be much better served by putting themselves in uncomfortable positions because it’s the only way for them to see how much they can achieve.
How do you expand it?
Expanding your comfort zone is like working out. Let’s say you hit the gym and do squats for the first time. You’ll be really sore the next day, but if you want to be in better shape, you won’t give up. You know there is a payoff, so you keep pushing. You become less sore as time goes on and it becomes much easier for you to do the squats you struggled with on day one.
In order to expand your comfort zone, you will need to consistently do things that make you massively uncomfortable. When you do these things often enough, they will eventually be included within your comfort zone. They will become normal (or at least more normal) to you.
Put yourself in situations you can’t get out of.
I’m not a history buff, but I’ve heard a pretty cool story about Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez. Cortez was dead set on conquering the Aztecs. He ordered his men to burn the ships, so they couldn’t retreat from battle. Either they won or they perished. Retreat is easy when you have the option, so don’t give yourself the option. For example, if you don’t want to make cold calls, force yourself to get on a dialer. Systematize as much of your prospecting as you can so there’s no emotional element messing with the process.
Develop a sense of urgency.
You spend a third of your life sleeping. For the average person, that’s over 25 years. You spend another third of your life in leisure/commute/family time, etc. Oh, and the first 20 years of your life is spent growing up. You only have about ten to fifteen years to get your act together and achieve financial freedom. Once you get a sense of urgency about how little time you actually have, you should feel pushed to make more happen. Avoid falling into the “work trap”, where you make yourself appear/feel busy as a way to stay in your comfort zone.
If you’re stuck in your little cocoon, don’t rip it off like a band-aid. Take it day by day, little by little. Make a few more prospecting calls today, then a few more tomorrow. Once you get to a higher level of marketing activity and productivity, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start much earlier. Plus, you won’t return to your previous comfort zone because you’ll know how much you can accomplish.
Expanding your self-concept
A lot of people stay in their comfort zone because they have a poor self-concept. Your self-concept is the way you perceive yourself, and it directly correlates with your level of success.
Psychologists have determined that a person’s income is never 10% more or less than his or her self-concept. It’s their way of justifying their level of income. They firmly believe that’s what they deserve to earn, and because of that, they deny themselves the right to a better future. Because income as a financial advisor can be increased via productivity and activity level increases, expanding your self-concept is crucial. It has a direct correlation on your comfort zone.
First, if you have an inferior self-concept, you will tend to set goals that are too “realistic” and easily obtained. Don’t set realistic goals! When you set an “unrealistic” goal, you expand your comfort zone. As you focus on it and think about it, you slowly get more comfortable with the idea of achieving your big goal. Besides, would you rather reach a small goal or fall short of a giant goal?
Secondly, to get out of your comfort zone, you must change your habits. To become a top producer, you must develop the habits of top producers. Here’s the question: can you force yourself into new habits? Of course! All habits are learned. Your current activity level and productivity level is a habit. You have learned it and conditioned it and reinforced it and it has become your comfort level.
To unlock your potential, you must develop new habits that encourage you to aspire towards greater goals. The new habits will forcefully shape your self-concept into the person you aspire to be.
The bottom line
If you don’t expand your comfort zone, you don’t grow and you don’t win. The mental space in which you feel the safest is, in reality, the most dangerous place for you to be.
Most advisors want to be successful, but their comfort zone is holding them back. There is a tendency for them to do the same things and get the same unsatisfying results. Unless you are willing to move beyond your comfort zone and put in the effort required, you will not reach your potential.