Getting to the top of the table is a highly achievable goal. The bigger challenge is to build a business that you can sustain year after year, said Don White, CLU, ChFC, AEP, who founded Treasure Coast Financial Services Inc., a private investment-management firm in Stuart, Fla. White spoke at NAIFA-Florida’s 76th Career Advancement Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla.
One sure way to get to the top is to be passionate about what you do.
What passion means
Being on top of the table isn’t about being the No. 1 producer; instead, it’s about learning to be a consistent producer, according to White. One sure way to get to the top is to be passionate about what you do. In his early years in the business, White thought that being passionate was about making money. But it’s only later that he realized that “passion is feeling so strongly about something that you can die for it.”
Most people are ordinary, but what they don’t realize is that they have the opportunity to become extraordinary. “The moment you start thinking how you can be extraordinary, things will change,” White said. “You have to want it. Until you really want it, it will not happen. The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
Ready to SWEAT
To achieve whatever you consider to be top of the table, White said, you must SWEAT: set sights, work, encourage others, accept things that you can’t change, and be tenacious.
Set sights. You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything, White said. “When I started, I was looking for a way to make a living. Just like Alice in Wonderland, it’s not about being on the way to somewhere. If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” Instead, White cited what Dr. Stephen R. Covey, organization consultant and author, says: Begin with the end in mind. “It’s so powerful when you know what you believe in,” White said.
Have the work ethic of a tiger (Tiger Woods). White follows the advice of Jim Collins, author of GOOD TO GREAT: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ? And Others Don’t, who says that the greatest enemy of great is good. “You need to make a decision to be great,” White said. “I wanted to become somebody more than what others had done. It’s a lot of work. You have to have the right people around you. You have to hone your skills.”
Encouragement. Surround yourself with people who are encouraging. “When you are depressed or upset and there’s no one around you, it gets worse,” White said. “My wife has always been there. I have a great assistant, and I have nine people in my firm who are very encouraging.” Most people are either balcony people or basement people, he said. Balcony people encourage others, sit in the front row and build others up. Basement people sit in the back row, complain and “know everything.” If you have basement people in your life, then you need to remove them, White said.
Accept things you can’t change. This is the heart of all success. Acceptance of adversity is a great attitude tester and this is what separates people, White said. But there’s a misconception about acceptance and apathy. Apathy fuels failure, while acceptance fuels success. Apathy is having a “I can’t do anything good” state-of-mind.
Tenacity. Using the example of Steven Bradbury, who was the most unlikely gold medal winner in the men’s short track 1,000-meters event at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games, White said tenacity separates the winner from the also-rans. The ability to say, “I will not give in,” is a powerful mindset. Advisors should not give up when they face failures.