Are You Trading Your Short Term Comfort for Long Term Discomfort?

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

It’s the end of the day and you didn’t do your phoning. Again. The clients are walking out the door and you never asked for referrals. Again. In the short term, you may feel a little relief while you avoid the discomfort of these activities. But what is this “relief” really costing you?

There are many, many reasons that financial representatives (FRs) report for not phoning and prospecting. Discomfort is one of the most common reasons. If you can relate to this, start by asking yourself this question: what is the worst thing that could happen if I phone/prospect? Write down any answer that comes up rational or not.

Reasons could include:


Might lose a prospective or current client

Feel embarrassed

Could feel judged

Might look like a greasy salesperson and tarnish my reputation

I would feel uncomfortable

What do you notice about your answer(s)? Are any of the reasons good enough to sacrifice your long term success? Write yes/no after each one.

I’m guessing that there was no reason that was worth the long term discomfort of failing out of the business or quitting your practice. If this is the case, it’s time to work with your discomfort so that instead of shrinking you it expands you. Draw a circle on a sheet of paper. Next, place a small dot right on the outside of the circle. The circle represents your comfort zone, the dot is the uncomfortable action. Once a day, leave the circle, go to the dot and then go right back to feeling comfort. A magical thing will start to happen. Your circle enlarges and absorbs the dots each time you leave your comfort zone. You will become more and more resilient and eventually it will take a lot for you to get to discomfort.

A word of caution: do not place the dot an inch away from your circle. If your discomfort level is too high it can cause you too much stress and inhibit your growth. Aim for just a little bit of discomfort at a time followed by going back to comfort immediately.

Here’s how it works: let’s say you have not phoned in…ahem...awhile. The idea of phoning right now is an 8 out of 10 on the discomfort scale. If you would jump right to 40 dials at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning that may be the last phoning session your colleagues will see from you in a while!

Now, contrast this scenario with one that you can take on with some discomfort, but the healthy kind. Decide what your phoning objective is today. Let’s say this week you will dial until you set one new Fact Finder meeting every day. And then you can stop and buy a soda as a reward. And then keep at it for the rest of the week. You’d be five new Fact Finders ahead and ready to grow into a new challenge. The following week, set a new challenge: how about set one new Fact Finder and one close per day. Each week you increase your goal only until you feel like it’s a little uncomfortable but never to the level where it feels like raw fear, high anxiety or extreme discomfort. Use rewards and praise on yourself liberally. Only phone until you hit the goal. Stopping is also your reward. This is a sustainable approach to rebuilding good phoning habits.

The same concept applies to prospecting. First figure out what a small prospecting challenge would be for you. Maybe it’s that you’re going to start asking at one meeting per day and build off that. Or maybe you’re already asking but you’re not asking the nominator to help you tee up the QS. Instead of fleeing the scene, see if you can work with the discomfort of asking your client to help warm up the person you will be contacting. Customize the challenge to you and what brings you as an individual a little discomfort versus trying to match someone else.

Take a moment to visualize what your practice will be like in the future if phoning and prospecting are no longer barriers. Feel the long term comfort of your success and prosperity fill you up with warmth and security. Imagine all of the people you will be serving and their new found security because of your work. Is it worth giving up your moments of comfort for the life you’ve always wanted?

I thought so. Time to grow into the advisor you were always meant to be by embracing your discomfort.