The more you take care of yourself and focus on your business, the more productive you'll be
The past two years of pandemic and market volatility have not created financial advisor burnout, but they have definitely intensified it as work-life lines have blurred with all of the work-at-home, particularly for those who have juggled families and other pressures COVID placed on them.
While businesses can help advisors by offering more flexibility, with flexible hours or hybrid models, there are many things that advisors can do to prevent their own burnout.
● Take care of yourself: While you probably have a strong desire to care for your clients, you cannot do that if you falter. So, like the airline staff always remind you when you fly, put your oxygen mask on first by taking care of yourself. Learn to recognize the signs of burnout, but also what it takes for you to thrive and maintain your emotional balance and ensure that you build those into your life.
Read more: High burnout risk for wealth professionals
● Focus on your goals: Identify – or return to – your personal goals. What did you want to achieve with this business? Are you still on track to do that – or have you wandered away from your personal “north star”. If you allow yourself to be pulled in too many directions, particularly if they are directions that you didn’t even to take, then it’s time to sit down and review them and ensure they reflect who you are and what you want to accomplish. It helps to write them down, so you have something to refer back to in order to remind you when you need to realign again.
● Choose a self-efficacy mode: Self-efficacy is believing that you have the ability to accomplish your goals. Those who strongly believe in themselves are less stressed in challenging situations because they believe in their coping skills. So, if you feel as if you’ve been hitting the wall, it’s time to step back and assess what’s happening and find another route around it. It may mean strengthening your team or specializing for your client field. Take some time to discern what will work best for you.
● Examine and build your strengths: There are many aspects of building a business and while you may need to do most, or all, of them when you begin, it’s good to assess how well your business is doing and how much of what are not your strengths can be passed to others. The key part of this is identifying and building your strengths, so you can play to them – while you pass off the things that you are weaker to others, whose strengths those may be.
● Limit your commitments: While you’re doing this self-assessment, it’s wise not to take on any more commitments until you’ve had a chance to examine what’s causing your burnout and what you can do about it. This will prevent you from digging yourself in deeper while you’re trying to dig out. It may be uncomfortable to say “no”, but it’s useful to practice so you can proceed, particularly as you focus on your goals and work to your strengths so your business can be all that you dreamed.
● Avoid stressing over what you can’t control: You may have set yourself targets and strive all week to reach them, but you can’t always control all the results that you get. Clients may not return calls in your timeframe. New referrals may not respond. So, decide what actions you can take – both in quantity and quality – and seek to those while cutting yourself some slack. That may include how closely you schedule appointments or how many you book. Make sure you’re creating some space, so you’re less derailed by the outcomes that you cannot control
Read more: Staff reject long work week
● Practice work-life balance: This can often be a challenge for advisors who are working plus doing community service, which furthers their business goals. But, those who are working from home may find the lines blurring even more, so may have to consciously separate those more. You can block off life versus work time. Create blocks that help you rejuvenate – such as for exercise or social time. Also delegate where you can in order to pass on jobs that other team members can do.
● Take a mental break: It can also help to take a short break during the day. You may want to do a 30-minute walk, yoga, or some other form of physical exercise. You could also close the door to your office – at work or home – and take a quick dance break with some favourite music, especially after a particularly stressful meeting. Any physical activity will refresh you to be more efficient.
● Improve your diet: Take a look at what you’re ingesting. If you’re reaching for the coffee or sugar to keep you going, you will need to take a look at your lifestyle issues – including whether you’re exercising – to reduce the stress that doing the wrong things may be adding to your burnout.
● Take a vacation: When you’re running a business or servicing clients, it can be tempting to put off vacations. But, you should always schedule them, so you have a chance to unplug and rejuvenate. Taking that break will actually cause you to come back stronger than if you keep plugging on. So, grab your datebook and schedule in a vacation. You’ll be surprised to see how much difference it makes!