What do you do when you feel like your financial advisor practice is stuck?

ImageAs a coach of financial Advisors, I get asked this question quite often. I will tell my clients to push back from the table and ask yourself a hard question: What has me believe my business is stuck? Is your business really stuck, or is it just the mood you are in today? Could it be the after effects of a long weekend or a bout of bad Chinese food. Yes, all of that stuff can affect your mood and the opinion of your business. If you have been feeling this sense of ‘stuckness’ for a while, then take the inquiry a little further: Why do I feel stuck? It is usually for one or more of the following reasons:

You are bored. Same old stuff, day in and day out. Your clients are good people but they do not inspire you. You are tired of hearing about grand kids, dental work or where is my check.  You simply don’t feel challenged or inspired.

You are busy. You feel like you are running around in a circle going very fast with your phone pinned to your ear but going nowhere. Always lots of clients and lots of problems you feel more like a customer service representative than a Financial Advisor.

You are not getting enough clients. No matter what you do, it seems your assets and revenue stay the same. Despite your heroic efforts of knocking on doors, cold calling, herding plate lickers or diligently attending Le Tip your business has plateaued. 

You have just lost a series of big clients and you have no idea on how you are going to replace them.  You feel beat down and may have even begun to question your abilities.

You are getting diminishing returns from your marketing efforts. What worked in the past does not seem to be working for you anymore.

You just replaced your assistant. You have had 8 in the last 10 years and you are wondering why you can’t find good staff. If you only had the proper staff your business would not be stuck!

Possible solutions to your stuckness:

Bored? Time to take a vacation get away from the mix for awhile and see if that can recharge your batteries. If that works, then plan out your vacations for the rest of the year. Ideally, I recommend 1 week per quarter of down time. Remember, every professional sport has an off season except the professional sport of financial services. Imagine what would happen to a professional football player if he played 52 games a year.

Too Busy? You need to learn the art of discernment and take Napoleon the Pig from Animal Farm words very seriously “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” That wisdom applies to activities, as well as people. Distinguish who the more equal animals are! Here is a tool to help The Champion Path.

Not enough clients? First, define how many you want and why you want them.  Please be specific.  It is possible, that you may not initially have an answer for this except “More. Because that is what you are supposed to do.” That would be the wrong answer and a marker of why you are stuck. Second, what are your activity standards and are you hitting them? If you are asking, ‘what are activity standards?’ You are probably not measuring activity but measuring production. Hence, another reason you are stuck.

Client loss? Congratulations you just got a wake up call for you and your business. Get really clear on if you actually had a relationship with that person. I don’t mean just a client service relationship, but a real relationship beyond the business context. More than likely you didn’t.  Most financial advisors who have great retention rates do so because they invest the time doing the things that truly develop strong relationships. They take time to play golf, grab a beer, duck hunt with their best relationships.  Great relationships stick.

Marketing Sucks? You have probably worn it out. You have been running a quantity marketing business model when in actuality you want a quality business model. Know the difference and it will set you free. Instead of doing seminars and client appreciation events with 50 to 200 people try small 2 to 8 person specialty events. A great book/product for you would be The Champion Path where I sing the praise of discernment.

Lousy staff? It could be possible that you are a lousy leader. Ouch! Yep, I said it. I say this with a lot of love: bad dogs are usually the result of bad owners. Bad staff is usually the result of bad leaders. As a financial advisor, your specialty of knowledge is guiding your clients to make the appropriate financial decisions. The challenge lies in expanding the skill set to leading others as you build a team. Unfortunately, leadership skills are not taught to financial advisors because your sales managers just want you to focus on selling.  Let’s face it, that is where you get paid.  But, as I’m sure you are well aware, there comes a point where learning how to leverage your people becomes very lucrative in freeing up more of your time to – you guessed it – sell (or enroll others).

I hope these quips spark some insight for you to embrace change to get your business moving again. If you would like to spark a deeper conversation reach out to me at ken@gettingresultscoaching.com or visit www.gettingresultscoaching.com we have been coaching Financial Advisors since 1999 helping them make more money and have more fun.

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“the death of the illuso…

“the death of the illusory self creates the space for the true self to step forward. When we are beyond attachment we begin to see the world as it really is.”



Why must we do hard things? By Ken Doyle


As some of my writing may reveal I truly believe that the laziest way is the best way to achieve your goal. So what is the laziest way to grow your business? Ironically it takes work to grow a business and often the most effective way is the hardest but does not take the most effort. That is a bit of a mind twister but let me see if I can unfold that truth for you. What is the laziest way to become a great writer? To go to Oxford and study literature and perhaps get your PHD in writing and then teach creative writing and then after you are duly qualified you sit down to write a book? That sounds like a ton of work a lot of study and peer review and breaking down sentences and studying iambic pentameter and that stuff. That sounds like at least a good ten years of preparing yourself to write. In the immortal words of Stephen Pressfield that is all about “resistance the getting ready to get ready”. The lazy way would simply begin to write. If you wrote consistently for ten years you would write a ton of crap but in that load of crap would be some great stuff! The hardest part about writing according to Pressfield and I back up his statement is not the writing itself it’s the sitting down to write. The hardest part is getting to the plate to swing at the ball! I also see this in my other manifestation of life being my coaching practice: the hardest thing for me to do is to make the call to a prospect/suspect not the talking to the prospect/suspect. I wonder why that is? Do you do the same stuff? My theory is that I am dancing in the land of Mickey Mouse up to the time the other person answers the phone. The Land of Mickey Mouse is the same place that the boogie man lives, the person who hides behind my fence comes from, the creep who stalks me after I watch a scary movie and all the women who turn their heads and ogle me when I walk into a room. It’s called the land of imagination. Yep, its all in my head and often that conversation in my head can win and the more that it wins the stronger or more natural that conversation becomes. Hence the reason we need to do hard things the laziest way possible.


Being lazy has a bad rap in our culture. If we apply logic we can see that being lazy and still producing the desired result is actually quite brilliant. What would you rather do make 100,000 in an hour or 100,000 in a year? Which one is more effective? Which way is the really lazy way? I mean if we define lazy as being sloth like? That is right working all year to make a 100k is quite inefficient and ineffective.


So why must we do hard things if we are committed to being lazy? By doing hard things it allows us to more efficiently lazy or dare I say effective? Now I may be mixing metaphors everywhere and creating great confusion amongst my readers (thanks for reading Mom!) and perhaps the writer as well but hopefully I will get somebody to think somewhere at some time. This is one of the huge benefits of writing a rough, rough draft I do not have to know exactly where this is going but the rice will cook.


Back to why Hard Things? Because they are hard, plain and simple as that. If as a kid you had two paths to take: the hard path and the easy path which path would have served you the best? Lets say the hard path would be studying, getting good grades, competing in sports, working your way through school and in general staying out of trouble and then the easy path: who cares about grades, lets party, lets smoke weed, screw sports and extracurricular activities, “I just want to do what I want to do when I feel like doing it” screw college. You probably know people who took that easy path and how did that work out for them? I know you did not take that path because if you did you would not be reading this. A friend of mine who is a Champion Football Coach instills in his players that what really matters is character and mental toughness. How does one cultivate these traits: by doing hard things? What is your other option if you choose not to do hard things?


If you do not do hard things then by default you are doing easy things. What is the easy thing to do? The things that you have already mastered! The easiest thing for you to do is to keep doing what you have already done. What is the predictable future if you keep doing the same things that you have already done? Sameness is the predictable future otherwise known as BOREDOM.


There is nothing wrong with boredom but there is a predictable future to it: SELF DESTRUCTION. I will submit that no one chooses with consciousness to be bored. It’s something that happens under the radar. I highly doubt that you have ever said to yourself: “Self, today is the day that we are going to be absolutely bored out of our minds. We are going to hate our lives, our selves, our neighbors our everything, nothing will be good enough and nothing will please us. Today is the day that we will doubt the reason and purpose of our existence.” If you did this shit consciously I would say awesome go take it on be BORED whole-heartedly but since you did not do it clawed its way into your world somehow by different levels of inadvertence.


Why SELF DESTRUCTION? It’s very entertaining to your mind! It will give you massive problems to solve by default instead of design. Your mind was built to solve hard problems and if you are not courageous enough to give it hard problems to solve it will create monster problems for you! Why? Because your soul wants you to do hard things, your soul wants you to achieve to suck the marrow out of existence for it realizes this time in the vividness of existence is fleeting.


SELF DESTRUCTION is awesome but painful and messy. Well let me word that a little differently: the death of the illusory self creates the space for the true self to step forward. When we are beyond attachment we begin to see the world as it really is. In the business world I frame this as the game that can never be won only played. It’s the playing that matters not the winning because there is no winning in the game of business only playing. Real life examples, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Warren Buffet etc all of these immortals have won the game I think being a billionaire qualifies as winning yet they are all still playing the game? Why didn’t they just cut the cord become Buddhist monks, collect sea shells in Costa Rica or begin building houses for the homeless or travel around the world for 23 years? All of those options are viable for someone with a billion dollars but why do they continue to play the game of business? They enjoy doing hard things!!! Because they intrinsically know that if they were not doing hard things they would be doing easy things which would make them bored and from boredom comes self destruction. SELF DESTRUCTION has many names: affairs, drug or alcohol abuse, physical or mental abuse, resentment, excessive eating, pornography, gossip, helicopter parenting, projecting yourself on your kids and various other forms of weirdness. All of this is probably encompassed in the 7 Deadly Sins now that could be a fun essay the: 7 deadly sins the keys to self destruction which then leads to enlightenment. The world wants you to evolve and to evolve you will need to do Hard Things or embrace Self Destruction I submit the outcome will be roughly the same. It’s like the distinction between taking the hard path or the easy path. When you take the hard path your life eventually becomes easy. When you take the easy path your life eventually becomes hard. By doing hard things it will help you transcend the illusion of your identity to embrace higher levels of existence. The same is available on the path of self destruction. When the alcoholic finally admits that he has a problem after he has lost everything in his world he then needs to redefine who he believes him self to be his false self is dead. If we take the path of the drug addict or alcoholic back to the beginning or anyone else embracing SELF DESTRUCTION  they first imbibed because they were bored from failing to choose to do the hard things so they took the easy path and way lead onto way….


Ken Doyle



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There are only two states of being in nature: growth or decay. Where are you?


I’m not one to reblog often as I usually I try to pass things on via my twitter feed which can be found on the right of this page;  but I don’t want anyone to miss this piece.  I believe it would go a long way towards helping students, players, and parents understand the imperative value of character and mental toughness in regards to academic and athletic performance.  It describes why people instinctively take the easy way and how taking the easy way robs people of their opportunities to succeed and reach their potential.

The limiting factor in one’s growing academically and athletically strong is one’s tolerance for discomfort (I would also add their exposure to discomfort).  If you want someone to get better (grow), making things easier and less stressful on them will often be doing them a disservice.

Challenges that create stress, create growth.

Stress Is Not Your…

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Your thoughts Lie



Exercising (Photo credit: NOAA's National Ocean Service)

I was on a call with one of my clients the other day sharing with them the once concept that I believe can positively change their lives forever and I noticed that I began to stumble with my words and my belief in the concept. It was not so much my belief in the concept but my inability to explain the absolute importance of the exercise. Thousands of years ago at the oracle at Delphi an inscription was carved in the wall: “To thine own self be true.” But philosophers throughout time have always struggled with the concept of who is thine self? In western culture this idea was distorted by Descartes when we said; “I think therefore I am.” And that is when the suffering of Western Culture began. Now this sounds like some pretty heady stuff for a business coach who helps people make more money and have more fun but this stuff is the very root to make the later happen.

All of us think too much and fall into the trap that our thought are us and worse yet that they are true! A better way to language Descartes quote is “I am therefore I think.” Notice that thinking enhances the being or the I am. It is separate from being. Thinking does not create being, being creates thinking. Which is the opposite of “I think therefore I am” which means that if I did not think I would not exist which is not true i.e. sleeping, in a swoon, etc. Your thoughts are not you. They have never been nor will they ever be. They just occur as the clouds occur. If we buy into our thoughts we limit our intelligence and our choices. Someone out there must be screaming I am my thoughts as well as my feelings, Ken! Of course you are but let me share an insight which may make you reconsider.

The distinction lies in ownership. What you own you are responsible for and you understand its functionality. Its functionality is also predictable. You own your car and if I ask you at anytime of the day where it is and what it does, you will be able to tell me exactly. “It’s in the drive way and if I turn the key it will start.” I also know that some of you are thinking well what if it was stolen or it didn’t start. Now that is a possibility but the probability of that happening is close to zero. Stay in the conversation. In the 25 years of my driving experience my car has never been stolen and it failed to turn over maybe 3 times. Now comes the scary apart of this mind that you own. You have almost a zero probability of telling me what you will be thinking about or how you will feel at anytime for the rest of this day, week, month and or year! You have absolutely no idea of what you will be thinking about or what you will be feeling at 6 pm today! So if you don’t own your mind who does? I will submit that it owns you! You know the feelings of depression, self doubt, anxiety, not enough-ness, not good enough, I am a loser, I should be doing more, why won’t anyone call me back, why aren’t I rich, why am I so unlucky, why can’t my relationship be better, why are my kids spoiled, bratty etc you know that whiny unhealthy conversation or you get distracted by some drama, Obama did this, your mom did that, your client did this, boy she is cute etc. You are much like a BB in a beer can getting kicked down the road by a kid in Appalachia. The mind is constantly bouncing and looking for more entertainment and you have succumbed to it. So instead of being productive you embrace in mind dramas.

Why do I bring this up? Your greatest productivity tool is your mind! Your greatest distraction and productivity killer is your mind as well! Your business is a direct reflection of what you think about and what you hold important. If you mind is polluted and totally out of control guess what your business looks like! Now you may be thinking, well Ken, I am pretty successful you know I make $250k a year! Yes, that’s good for you! But just think of what you could be producing because you know that down deep you are not hitting your potential! God if you are making 250 what are you leaving on the table? Does 250k satisfy you? If it does, cool, you no longer need to read any further you are in the Nirvana Zone and you do not need the knowledge I have. But if you’re making 750k a year and this concept is ringing in your ears read on soldier.

So how does one achieve clarity of mind, purity of motive and the peace of direct action?

It’s hard and it requires lots of work. Not intellectual work but visceral work. It’s a struggle, its painful and a pain in the ass. Your mind is not going to want to do this work because the mind thinks its you. So how does one figure who thine own self is? The answer is painfully simple: stillness. The exercise of identifying what the mind is and you are not. Once you can identify the difference new choices will begin to arise for you and its choice and will power which make our lives worthy. It’s the ability to choose our outcomes are what matters. Consciousness, awareness, mindfulness are what matters not impulse, reaction or instinct.

So how does one practice stillness? Here is the simplest way to do it. Take 10 minutes sit in a chair, close your eyes and do not move or go to sleep. Engage in the battle of not doing and simple notice what arise in the field of your consciousness. Allow your thoughts to come and go and simply focus on your breath. This sounds very easy but it is not. It will be one of the hardest activities you will engage in. You may find that this exercise is too hard for you then you should seek a teacher. It is well worth the exercise because you will begin to make friends with someone who you absolutely need to be your best friend and that person is you! Not your thoughts. With practice you will see a distinction and you will be amazed.

Another reason we practice stillness is so we can become aware when we are paying attention or we are not. Are we paying attention or are we thinking? When you are engaged with a client are you really engaged with that client or are you working your agenda and formulating something witty to say, or some plan on overcoming some kind of objection? Are you really present with people? You see your attention is the greatest gift you can give someone. Not just making believe you are paying attention but the very essence of your being. Once again this in not easy and the first step is to still the mind so you can see yourself for who you really are and then you can interact with your clients as they really are and your results will be amazing!

Welcome to the “Way” of Business!

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I had a couple of coaches comment to me about Peyton Manning’s tearful departure from the Colts. They didn’t like all his crying.

When they said this I was a bit surprised. I thought to myself “why wouldn’t he cry?”

12 hours later their comments still bother me. Well, not their comments so much as the fact that they have such a different opinion than I.

Why do they feel that Peyton shouldn’t have cried?

I don’t know.  I can’t speak for them.

But I can tell you why I understand Peyton’s tears.

He was invested; completely invested. He literally gave his organization everything he had. Not just sweat, but thoughts. He gave his mind. He thought football 24/7 and not just when he was at work.  He gave everything and achieved his dreams as a result.

I think people have a tough time understanding that type of investment.  Some…

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What are you committed too? And are you listening to those who can help you fulfill upon your commitment?


“I learn teaching from teachers. I learn golf from golfers. I learn winning from coaches.” -Harvey Penick

One of the unique aspects of being a coach is that even though you are months away from your season you start thinking about a situation that will present itself and you think about a point you will want to make and you think about the players who won’t be paying attention and you think about how you’re going to snap them to attention and…..

Pay attention and learn all you can when someone talks about winning. You could maybe care less at the moment, but someday it will matter. Someday you are going to need a win.  You are going to have to win a game to get in the playoffs. Win a practice drill to beat someone out for the starting spot. Win someone’s heart lest you suffer your own broken. …

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Be Bold! Cultivate Failure for Success!

Rochester SAGE - Supporting Advanced & Gifted Education

Heinlein Quote

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do. – John Stuart Mill

I want my kids to fail.  That probably isn’t at the top of your list for your kids, but it should be.  Failure is one of the most important experiences they will ever have.  The road to success is paved with failure because failure teaches us how to succeed.

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Where shall your name be etched?


“Carve your name on hearts, not marble”-Charles Haddon Spurgeon

At the school where I teach, in the boys pool locker room, there are names carved in pen on the custodian’s closet door.  These are the names of a few students who have been on the boys swim team and the years they were on the team.

Outside that locker room, near the entrance to the pool, there is a record board.  It contains the names of those boys who hold the records for our school  in the various swimming events.

I cannot help but to compare and contrast the names placed on the record board with the names carved into the custodian’s closet door.

In both instances, the people whose names appear had a desire to be remembered.

That ends the comparisons.

The contrast is more telling.

The names on the record board were earned.  They represent endless days…

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If you are running a financial services team and you have an alleged invaluable player please read.


One of the best stats in sports is the plus/ minus.  Basically it determines how many goals or runs a team scores and gives up with a player in the game as opposed to how many are scored and given up with that player out of the game.

What about using plus/minus over a season?  What difference does a player make to his team when he is there as opposed to when he is not?

In a broader light, what difference does a person make when they are in someones life as opposed to when they are not?  I will leave that discussion for another day.

Let’s stick to the season perspective.  Particularly, a couple of recent instances from the two sports I coach when a supremely talented player continuously displayed poor character and was ultimately removed from a team.

Going into this past fall Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli was…

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The Way of Character in Football is very similiar to the Way of the Financial Services Professional read this amazing post by my friend Bill Moore and find what is applicable to your world.


COMMITMENT – A commitment is a pledge or agreement to do something. That commitment can be with other people or even yourself. Commitment is a train on a track chugging along toward a worthy destination.I am a lousy golfer. The reason for this is quite simple. I have little natural ability and I am not willing to practice at the golf range or play enough rounds to get good. I lack commitment. There once was a time when I was an ok golfer. But it took a ton of time and effort on my part.One of my friends has about the same amount of natural ability that I have in golf. But he’s a good player. He bought a membership at a local course and plays a few rounds a week in the spring, summer, and fall. He plays when it’s rainy. He plays when it’s cold. He plays when…

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