It’s Time to Retire the Carrot and Stick

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

You wouldn't be the first person to raise your eyebrow at one of my deepest convictions when working with Financial Representatives (FRs): the road to Forum is paved with self-compassion.


Often people's experience in the business is one of fear, shame, criticism, feeling rejected and judged. This often comes from within. Somewhere along the way you may have thought that you should motivate yourself (or allow others to) through negative methods. But be honest—has this ever really worked?

Imagine that you are trying to teach a child or an animal that you love how to do something. What is your hunch about what would work best? Would you yell at the child or the animal? Would you sharply criticize him or her? Would you shame and punish? I doubt it! In fact, you might notice that you are incredibly gentle, patient, kind and supportive as you teach another person or pet a new skill.

Your brain functions much like a machine. Let's consider it a sort of computer. By contrast, your body is more like the child or the animal—a creature. If you treat the creature part of you badly it is unlikely that you will experience lasting success with whatever you're trying to accomplish. The creature part of you responds dramatically in both directions to self compassion and care. Deprive it of compassion and it will cripple you. Nourish it and you will be rewarded with energy, commitment, drive, excitement and a desire to connect more deeply with yourself and others. When you are operating from a belief that you cannot meet your most human needs how can you possibly thrive?

It may feel silly but try naming the creature part of you so that you can start to treat it with the type of compassion that you would extend to a friend or anyone else that you care about. "Would this be good enough for Spot?"

Sadly, I find that many FRs don't treat themselves as nicely as they would treat a dog. They are harsh critics of themselves. They underfeed and undernourish themselves and don't take breaks. I often find that FRs act like they are robots with no feelings or human needs. Do you relate to this?

If so it's time to make a change. Did you know that your self care efforts will come back to you ten times over when you run your own business? Consider it part of your job description. Your practice is simply a mirror of your internal world. You can treat this like it's a burden or a bonus.

Imagine that you could pay close attention to your nutrition, hydration, rest, spirituality, exercise, social relationships and more. You start saying nice, encouraging things to yourself and celebrating every success. Mistakes are treated gently as the learning and feedback that they really are. Who could you be if you were kind, supportive, and understanding of yourself? What kind of practice could you create from a place of love?

Deep self-compassion pays for itself. You will be able to run a practice from a place of genuine authenticity that is a reflection of your own health. You will attract healthier clients. You will be better able to challenge clients from a place of strength.

Perennial Forum members who are happy take excellent care of themselves and all of the needs that come with being a human being. Try radical self-compassion and intense self care for one week and let me know if you have any regrets. My hunch is that you will now start to raise your eyebrow at the thought of ever treating yourself so badly ever again.

Coaching Tip If you have not extended much or any self compassion or care to yourself, I suggest starting small. Think of one thing that you could commit to doing for a day. It could be as simple as letting yourself get up, walk around and get a glass of water when you feel like that would satisfy your creature needs. If you knew that you could make Forum by taking impeccable care of yourself would you do it? I have many clients who are living proof that this is likely the only way to achieve Forum every year while living a happy life. Trust me, it can be done.