Lessons from Winning Athletes
By Dan Richards*
May 12, 2009

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The absolute drive and determination to win

The very best players and the very best teams have a certain attitude: they refuse to lose and drive to win at any price.

Underachievers are often guilty of complacency and a lack of mental toughness. Talent alone will not lead to success.  It must be accompanied by the determination to win at any cost. It’s striking that in their year-end media interviews, the general managers of three underachieving Canadian hockey teams  (the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadians) all ascribed part of their teams’ underperformance to the unwillingness of key players to pay the price to win.

The biggest problem many advisors face isn’t unhappy clients or cynical prospects; it’s that they have lost their enthusiasm and drive that made them successful in the past.

Given markets over the past year, a loss of enthusiasm is understandable. However, to work through the current tough period, advisors have to suck it up and adopt that “refuse to lose – I’m going to work through this no matter what it takes” mindset.

For most advisors motivation won’t happen unless they make it happen with specific strategies. Here’s a recent article on specific steps that advisors can take to help stay motivated:

In the meantime, consider this simple idea if your productivity is lagging.

Before leaving the office, write down the three most important things you need to do tomorrow.

When you get tomorrow, focus on those three things and resolve that you won’t leave for lunch until you get them done. This alone may help break the logjam of paralysis some advisors face and recapture momentum in your business.

The success formula for advisors

When we watch top-performing athletes and winning sporting teams, it’s tempting to attribute their success entirely to talent. And yes, talent is of course essential.

But talent alone isn’t enough. Every sports fan can identify prolifically talented athletes and talent-packed sports teams with a sad history of underachievement.  For athletes and for teams to deliver on their potential, talent has to be backed by a well thought through game plan, discipline in executing that plan, commitment to preparation and the mental toughness and determination to win at all costs.

That’s true of winning athletes – and it’s just as true of winning financial advisors.



* Dan Richards conducts programs to help advisors gain and retain clients and is an award winning faculty member in the MBA program at the University of Toronto. To see more of his written and video commentaries and to reach him, go to www.strategicimperatives.ca.

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