You're listening to “Financial Advisor Marketing”, the best show on the planet for financial advisors who want to get more clients, without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal.
James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisors grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard.
James: What's going on, financial advisors? This episode is going to be about making peace with your inner critic.
But before we get into the episode, I want to put a big pause, disclaimer. Let me get this out of the way first. Sometimes your inner critic is right. There are so many people who are like, How can I get rid of this voice, this self-doubt, this criticism that's inside? It's like, have you considered that maybe it's right? [00:54.5]
If you're not accomplishing your goals, if you're not doing anything with your life, if you're stuck, spinning your wheels and the criticism is “Hey, your life sucks” or “Hey, you're spinning your wheels. You should probably stop that or you should do something new,” if that's what your inner critic is telling you, then you should probably listen to your inner critic. If you've got nothing going, I wouldn't be so quickly dismiss that inner critic.
I believe we all have a drive inside of us to do better, to be more, have more, do more, and to ignore that calling, and maybe this is just my personal philosophy that it could be totally wrong, right? I feel like we all have that drive, we all have that push, and if you don't, then speak for yourself. But assuming that's there and your inner critic is criticizing you at certain things, maybe that voice inside just wants you to improve your life, so think about that.
But before we get back into the inner-critic stuff, I want to start with a little story about effectiveness versus efficiency. There is a difference and I think that this little story can help you understand that difference. You might think it has nothing to do with the show's title and dealing with inner critics, but if that's the case, you're probably not thinking about it enough, so here's one of the most impactful business lessons I’ve ever discovered. [02:09.0]
It comes from Gary Halbert, who many people considered to be the greatest copywriter who ever lived. He was nicknamed the Prince of Print because of his uncanny ability to generate millions of dollars with his sales letters. He wrote, what is, I don't know if it's still the most mailed sales letter ever, but at one point it was the most mailed sales letter of all time. It was the legendary "Coat-of-Arms" letter.
If you want to Google that, you can Google “Gary Halbert”, H-A-L-B-E-R-T, Halbert, “coat of arms letter” and you can read it. It mailed hundreds and hundreds of millions of copies. It made gobs of money for him, and the lesson that I want to bring up is, again, about effectiveness versus efficiency and Gary told the story this. I'm just going to read you the story. [02:55.0]
He was born in Parkersburg, W.Va., which is located on the east side of the Ohio River. Parkersburg is about 30 miles south from Marietta, Ohio. Marietta is one on the west side of the Ohio River. Let's pretend that there are two people who want to get to Marietta, Ohio. They're in a sleek high-dollar canoe, but there on the Mississippi River, not the Ohio River. Let's say that these two are paddling perfectly. They're using perfect strokes. They're getting maximum forward movements from each ounce of expended physical effort.
Now, let's take two other people who are paddling their canoe north on the Ohio River, leaving Parkersburg. They also want to get to Marietta, but they're lousy canoeists. They don't even have paddles. They're paddling with their bare hands.
Can you guess which duo is going to reach their goal, the city of Marietta? It's not the efficient group. It's not the group that's paddling perfectly. It's not the group master canoeists. No matter how hard they work, they will never get to Marietta. Why? Because they're in the wrong river. That is just an illustration of efficiency without effectiveness. [04:09.8]
On the other hand, the two people paddling with their hands will eventually, in spite of the total absence of efficiency, reach their goal of Marietta because they're in the right river. They are in the correct place going to the destination that they want. The other people who are in the Mississippi River are never going to get there because they're just not in the right place. In other words, even though the ones in the Ohio River may not be efficient, they are effective.
Let's relate this to financial advisors getting more clients. It seems like these days I can't turn my head without seeing financial advisors who are spending their time in the metaphorical wrong river. They become highly efficient at the wrong thing. If you have an inner critic, a voice that is telling you, Hey, maybe you're in the wrong river, you should probably listen to it. [05:02.0]
Why am I recording a podcast about inner critics? I've had a few advisors say that they want me to record a show about imposter syndrome and I have that in my notes to do in the future, but I want to address the inner critic first and address the inner critic specifically, because it has a lot to do with imposter syndrome and it's kind of a prequel to imposter syndrome.
By the way, isn't imposter syndrome such a weird thing? It's like imposter syndrome causes you to believe that you aren't worthy of whatever it is that you're doing, and yet you somehow still trust your own judgment about that?
It's like selective belief in yourself. You know how people joke about husbands. I guess wives complain that husbands have selective hearing. It's like this is selective belief in yourself.
If you're a financial advisor, you may not believe that you have the skills to give advice to decamillionaires, for example, but you somehow still believe the inner voice which tells you that, so you don't believe yourself in one area, but you totally believe yourself in another. I don't know, it's weird to me. I can't really describe it. Maybe that was a terrible description. [06:05.8]
I want to start off by making it clear that we all have this voice inside that criticizes what we do. We all nitpick ourselves. I don't think that voice ever goes away, but it's apparent that some people deal with it better than others and we all do it. We all have the voice that talks to ourselves.
You know what's weird? I asked on LinkedIn a long time ago if people narrate to themselves. I don't do that. I've never narrated to myself. I have never. You know how, if you're reading, some people describe that they hear their own voice when they're reading some text and it’s like they're reading to themselves inside their heads? I’ve never done that. I kind of was super-duper shocked when I found out that that was a thing. I don't do that at all and I don't know where that comes from. I just never had that. But if I sit down and I intentionally think through my goals and I intentionally think through what I want to do, then I can kind of direct that voice to come up. [07:01.4]
If I write a goal, I want to make X amount of dollars in the next 365 days, then I can kind of force that voice to come up and the voice will either say, That's too low, James, set your sites higher, or the voice will say, Ooh, that's getting kind of high, I don't know if you can do that, or if I set it way too high, the voice might say, There's no way, maybe next year. The voice will come out like that, but it’s like I don't narrate to myself and I don't hear my own voice when I read. That's a little side note. I don't know if that applies to you, but just interesting tidbit about me, I guess.
But we all talk to ourselves in some way, shape or form when we are making moves in our life, at least whether it's with physical appearance, the way we run our businesses, or even the way that we talk. I mean, have you ever said something and then immediately thought to yourself, Man, I shouldn't have said that? It happens. Maybe you've written along social media post and right before you hit publish, you think, Oh, don't click publish. It's stupid. That's your inner critic at work, sabotaging you. [07:59.6]
Now, I’ve heard people say that you should just kick the voice out of your head. You should power through it and refuse to give it permission, and don't let it speak to you. Uh, oh, gee, thanks, I haven't thought of that before. That's kind of telling someone who's depressed to just get over or telling a drug addict to just quit. It's dumb and it's ineffective, and when you tell them that, they're just going to look at you like, Oh, wow, just quit the drugs? Why didn't I ever think of that? It's just more powerful than they are at the time.
I don't know about you, but the harder I try to silence my inner critic, the angrier and louder it becomes, and I’ve talked to a few people about this idea and they all agree with me. The more that they fight the critics, the harder the critics fight back, the more agitated they become, which gives me a clue of how to deal with it.
Now that I know that several people are going through the same thing and, at least these people in my small sample size, all experience the same things, they all respond, the critics, the inner critics respond the same way, we now know what to do. [09:01.6]
So, why not acknowledge your inner critic? Why not realize that it is a part of you and it does have some input into your decisions, but it does not have the final say.
Hey, financial advisor, if you'd like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James' monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, “The James Pollard Inner Circle.” When you join today, you'll get more than $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.
Let's say that you're on the verge of hiring a virtual assistant for your business. You've done a few interviews. You've asked all the right questions and you're about to tell the best bid that he or she is hired when, all of the sudden, the voice says, “Save your money. Don't spend it on a virtual assistant.”
Instead of immediately caving to that voice and instead of trying to suppress it, you can begin thinking to yourself, Yeah, saving the money is an option. I can agree with that. However, I’d like to try the virtual assistant. You can just have a conversation that way. [10:10.0]
Or if you've written an email and you're just about to hit send, and that voice pipes up. “What if people unsubscribe?” You can respond to it. You can say, That's an option. People have the right to unsubscribe. Plus, if they don't think they're a good fit for me, I don't want them on my email list anyway.
You can engage the inner critic that way, and this might be strange at first because having a conversation with your inner critic is likely something you've never done before, and to the uninitiated, it does sound a little weird. I mean, talking to yourself? But give it a try and you might be surprised at the results.
For the longest time, I struggled with charging a lot of money for what I do and I kind of sort of still struggle with this. I mean, come on, I'm only charging $195 for my LinkedIn product, which is easily worth tens of thousands of dollars. I mean, $99 per month for my paper-and-ink newsletter the James Pollard Inner Circle. I mean, come on, that's a steal. I should probably raise those prices. I really should. So, I still think that way. I still think, What should I charge? How much should I ask? [11:12.0]
There was a point in my life when I was working in college where I made $11 per hour. I think that's what it was. I'm pretty sure it was $11 per hour. I know for sure that my manager made $14 per hour, which probably says something about me that I know what other people are making, but can't remember what I made. I should probably work on that.
I originally started out in college as an economics and psychology double major, but I took a bunch college classes in high school and I had enough credits in college through those high school classes to graduate early, but I could not graduate early with an economics degree because of the way the classes were set up. You could only take them in the spring. The professor was only there for a certain period of time, something like that. [11:55.3]
I ended up dropping my economics degree and I graduated with a psychology major and a minor in advertising. Big shocker, right? Me, James, financial advisor, marketing, I have a minor in advertising. I started off with a major in economics. I think I had two credits left, but I would have to stay an extra year in order to finish my economics degree. I mean, I'm one book away from an economics major. I already have the psychology major.
But the reason I'm telling you this is because I distinctly remember sitting in the school library and looking up the average income of a psychology major. I looked it up before recording this episode and the average right now is currently $48,562. It was a little bit lower when I was in school, but I guess it's still … Averages are averages, right? We're sampling the entire psychology major population and we're beginning an average, and it is $48,562.
The top earners, those in the 90th percentile, make $87,500 per year. You guys, I'm going to be honest with you. I remember looking at those numbers and thinking to myself, Wow, if I could make that much money, I would be set. [13:05.8]
I was looking at that 48,000. I was looking at that, whatever it was back then, 48,000 and then the 87,000, and thinking, Whoa, that's a lot of money. I could make a lot of money. This is great. I'm just going to have a house and a car and all these expenses.
But that was small thinking. Today if I only made $87,000 or 87,500, I would legitimately, and I mean this, I would cry myself to sleep, and if I made $48,562, I would feel like a failure. I would feel like I failed my wife. I would feel like I failed my family. I would feel like I failed myself. I would just be in the dumps.
That's not to diminish people who earn that much per year. I don't want to give that impression at all. Earning high income, it's just not a goal for a lot of people. I'm just saying that, for me, personally, this is just James speaking now, I wouldn't want that. I made the choice to get more out of my life and I also bring that up because I know that some of you listening right now struggle with what you charge. [14:03.3]
Let's say that you make 0.5% from a $3 million portfolio—I'm just getting these numbers as an example—that's $15,000, or let's say that you charge $2,000 for a basic financial plan that takes you an hour or two to put together. You may look at that, the average hourly wage in America, and then look at what you are earning and think to yourself, Are you really doing that much more work than the average worker in the United States? But that's your inner critic talking because you can talk back and say, No, I'm not doing more work. I'm intentionally not doing as much work. That's how I set my life up, dude, but I am providing more value.
One of the biggest turning points in my life was realizing that we live in a society of value creation. That's how money works. Money flows to the ones who provide value to other people, and the cool part is that it's not up to you to decide what other people value. I'm going to repeat myself.
Sometimes it's cheesy when podcasters are like, I'm going to repeat myself because what I said was so darn important, you have to get it. But here I am doing the same thing. I'm going to repeat myself. [15:10.2]
The cool part is that it is not up to you to decide what other people value. Right now, as I'm recording this, I'm wearing an IZOD sweater from Kohl's. I don't know exactly how much it costs, but I'm guessing it's around 30 bucks or so. There are people who would never spend $30 on a sweater and they exist on both sides of the spectrum.
There are people who only get their clothes from thrift shops. One of the richest people I know, he still gets his clothes from Goodwill. I bet he could find a similar sweater, one just like the one I'm wearing right now, or something better from Goodwill for $5.
Another person I know who is also rich, he wouldn't be caught dead in a $30 sweater. It would be a nightmare for him. He's got a couple Valentino sweaters that are at least $1,000 each. I mean, he's on a different planet with his clothes. It's just it's something that he likes. He likes to wear the nice clothes. I mean, I personally don't get it, but he loves those sweaters and Gucci, Louis, Prada, that sort of thing. [16:08.4]
Like I said, he's just on a different planet, he’s in a different universe with what he spends on his clothes. I could get 33, at least 33 IZOD sweaters for every one sweater he buys, but who am I to judge? That's what he values. He is willing to pay that much for a sweater and someone is benefiting from him paying. The money is going to someone. The money is circulating.
One of the things that I believe is that you don't really spend money. Money doesn't really go away. It circulates. Whenever you put money out into the universe, you are just circulating it.
But back to what I'm talking about. Let's pause for a minute. What are you thinking right now when I tell you the story about the guy who spends $1,000 on a sweater? Are you judging him? Are you secretly thinking, That guy is stupid? Why would he pay that much for a sweater? I mean, I kind of sort of agree with you there. That is what I'm thinking, too. But, look, I guarantee you, there are people out there who think the same way about hiring a financial advisor. [17:07.5]
This should be a light bulb moment. Ding, ding, ding. There are people who think this same way about hiring a financial advisor, the exact thing, what you're telling yourself right now.
If you're in the group that's like, Oh, I would never pay that much for a sweater, I would never do that, there are people who believe that hiring an advisor under any and all circumstances is a bad idea, just like there are people out there who see the words, “whole life insurance”, and immediately stop reading.
I was one of those people I used to think whole life insurance was awful, yucky, gross, whatever you wanted to call it, just bad stuff. I would see whole life insurance, no questions asked, my mind was closed on the topic and there are closed-minded people with every topic out there.
But guess what? There are also open-minded people out there with every topic, and in the realm of financial advice and financial planning, all you have to do is find them. You have to find the open-minded people or have them find you. That's what inbound marketing is all about and that's what good marketing does, and that's why you're listening to the financial Advisor Marketing show right now. [18:07.2]
But let's this back into making peace with your inner critic. I want you to understand that your inner critic has no bearing on what other people decide to do. None. If they see value in what you offer, awesome. If they don't, that's cool, too. But your inner voice has nothing to do with it, nothing at all. This should be another massive takeaway from this show. I know it's not like, Oh, click this button or put this button here, and change your font size and change your font color. Not those little nitty-gritty tactical stuff, but this is the value of what I want to give to you.
I want you to imagine I'm out on the street and I'm selling $100 bills for $5 each. Just for the sake of this example, just imagine that these are one hundred percent verifiable $100 bills and assume that everyone knows they're real, because, in reality, people would think it's too good to be true. They would think that the $100 bills are fake or that the counterfeit, but let's just assume that everyone knows that they're legit. [19:08.0]
Let's assume that I tell myself, in my own mind I'm telling myself this, that nobody wants these $100 bills for only $5. It wouldn't be true. It would not be true whatsoever. The reality of the situation in this example would be different from what my inner critic says. That's true in a lot of situations. Even though my inner critic would say, Oh, nobody wants these $100 bills for only $5. The truth is that people would rush. They would get as many $5 bills as they could, so my inner critic had absolutely nothing to do with what would happen in the marketplace.
I haven't really done many abstract podcast episodes in quite some time and is definitely an abstract one. You might have to listen to it a few times to get the message and let it sink in. This is one where, instead of read between the lines, you need to listen between the lines, I guess. [20:01.8]
However, I will give you one piece of tactical advice I think you can use. Ask yourself what advice you would give to a friend going through your situation. Mentally remove yourself from whatever it is that you're going through and imagine that you're seeing a friend go through the same thing.
If a friend of yours was about to post something on social media and had doubt creeping in, what would you tell him or her? If a friend was about to call on a prospective client and got afraid suffered from call reluctance, what would you tell him or her? You probably wouldn't tell your friend, Oh, you're stupid or you can't do anything right. But we're so quick to tell ourselves those very things. You would probably be a little bit more objective. You'd be more compassionate with your friend. Try that on for size. Imagine what you would tell a friend in that situation.
I think that about does it for this week's episode. If you enjoy this content, please leave a review. Share it with a friend or you can post it online. If you write something on LinkedIn and tag me in it, I’ll be sure to engage with you, or like or comment, whatever. Either way, I will catch you next week. [21:08.8]
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