Mind over matter: How the right mindset can help fuel growth

November 09, 2022

Growth Mindset

It’s been said that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. Such statements have drawn ridicule from some who suggest that belief will get you nowhere without action. To achieve business growth in the financial services sector, professionals generally feel the need to form their beliefs on data, research, product knowledge and other information to develop successful strategies.

It’s true. Industry knowledge, insights and good old-fashioned sales skills are clearly an important part of sustaining progress. But it’s not the only part. In the quest to discover which tactical steps and actions will bring the greatest success, it’s all too easy to dismiss the power of one’s attitude and mindset.

How can financial professionals leverage a growth mindset to make their roles more fulfilling and improve outcomes for themselves and their clients?

Be adaptable and willing to change

With financial markets being up one day and down the next, you’d think that retirement planners would be accustomed to having to switch gears and adapt their advisory approach. It can be all-too easy to fall back on old habits.

The entire premise of a growth mindset is that you’re willing to continuously evolve your approach and skillset, and to embrace the fact that you don’t have all the answers. What worked yesterday may not be applicable today. 

Being receptive to feedback, new ideas and new ways of thinking are the keys to growth. It’s all too easy to approach opportunities or new ideas with a “that won’t work” attitude. Instead, a growth mindset approaches them with an open mind and willingness to be proven wrong.

Focus on continuous improvement

There’s a lot of emphasis on continuing education (CE) in the financial industry, and many professionals are required to earn a certain amount of CE credits each year. A growth mindset doesn’t stop there. 

Life lessons can’t be learned in a classroom or online, and retirement planners need to look for ways to further their knowledge — both professionally and personally — beyond traditional means. Explore resources made available to you from the various institutions you work with, and keep a pulse on news and takeaways from other industry professionals. 

An important part of continuous improvement is to include people in your professional and personal life who are willing to tell you things you might not want to hear. Then, be willing to listen. Commit to being a lifelong learner and learn from your mistakes, meaning you also need to overcome the fear of failure. 

Another avenue for learning is through collaboration with colleagues. Consider establishing  routine times where you and other professionals can meet to talk through what’s working, what isn’t, industry insights and ways they’re finding success. Those who are willing to learn from others and exchange ideas are bound to benefit from the lessons learned.

Improve communication skills

Learning tactical skills is important, and so is improving your people skills. Explore ways you can understand different personality types and learn ways to adapt your communication style to better engage with people on their terms. The foundation of communication is attentive listening rather than selling. Growing your communication skills may be the best investment you can make in your career and your clients. Bonus! These skills can also improve your personal life.

Some investors prefer technical data and insights while others may prefer conversations surrounding their financial pain points and emotions. Experienced and successful financial planners have learned how to approach each client with a caring attitude and the communication style and information that best resonates with them. Exploring a client’s communication style and underlying values is a key to determining your approach.

Extend your reach

Those who have a growth mindset don’t sit back and wait for clients to come to them. Instead, they go to where the people are. Being involved in your community helps you take an organic approach to growth. Know what’s happening in your community and be a part of it.

It’s important, however, to simply be yourself and avoid being in “sales mode” when interacting with others at a child’s sports event, the gym or elsewhere. Build relationships with the sole intent of getting to know others and enjoying the interactions. Building a reputation as an engaged and caring community member can go a long way in building trust with potential clients. 

In today’s world, community goes far beyond local events and establishments. Social media is an increasingly important avenue for engagement among financial planners. Establishing rapport and a presence on social media is one more way to improve growth. Delineate between your personal and professional profiles, however. Share information that is helpful, insightful and relevant to your profession, and avoid coming across as just another salesperson.

Using these tips can help you shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, allowing both you and those you serve to reap the benefits.