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Attitude, a little thing that makes a huge difference

February 6, 2017 By Signator Investors

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I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else. ~Winston Churchill

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Can being more optimistic help you have a record year in 2017?   I know it may sound simple, but it just could be the one critical piece missing from your 2017 Business Plan.

A psychologist by the name of Martin Seligman has spent an entire career studying the effects of positive thinking and even spent several years studying the power of positivity in relation to financial advisors and the impact it had on their sales.   First, here’s a little background information on Dr. Seligman; he is a graduate of both Princeton and Penn.  He has won numerous awards, written several books and established ‘The Master of Applied Positive Psychologyprogram at PennHe also developed an instrument, used today by many companies, called the Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ) to gaugea potential employee’s level of optimism.

But back to Seligman’s research with financial advisors.  In the late 1980s, Seligman worked with a very large and well-known financial services firm.  Seligman provided his ASQ test to a large group of the firm’s advisors, in the hopes to see any connection between one’s attitude and one’s sales performance.   The individual ASQ scores were collected and then matched to the appropriate advisor’s sales numbers.   The findings were pretty remarkable.  The advisors who scored in the top 50% for optimism on the ASQ test, outsold their peers who scored in the bottom 50%, by approximately 37% over the previous two-year period.  In addition, those advisors who scored in the top 10% for optimism outsold the bottom 10% by approximately 88%.  Finally, advisors who scored in the bottom 25% for optimism, were deemed to be more than three times as likely to quit their job within the next two years.

Even if you are a little skeptical about the power of positivity, we can all probably agree that most of us (i.e. your clients, colleagues and staff) prefer to be surrounded by positive people versus the “Debbie Downers” of the world.  You remember her, the SNL character who always saw the glass as not only half empty, but also leaking from a crack in the bottom.

So how exactly do we become more positive and optimistic in 2017?  Well if you Google it, you will literally find thousands of sites with some great ideas and some pretty whacky ones too.  But for something like this, I tend to think of Bill Murray’s character in the movie What About Bob?…and using “baby-steps”.  Here are 5 baby-steps I plan on implementing in 2017:

1. Practice Gratitude: Be grateful for what we have (family, friends, health, work, etc..), while still working towards new goals.

2. Two Steps Forward: Remember that very few things worth having, come easily.  Practice patience and perseverance.  Don’t get too caught-up on the speedbumps along the way.

3. Ditch the ‘Debbie Downers’: Minimize interactions with negative people or at least minimize the effect they have on us.  These people will drain your energy.

4. Do Good Deeds:  Help others, not for any quid pro quo, but ‘just because’…helping others raises our own self-esteem and increases optimism.

5. Seize the Opportunities that come with Change: Yes, change can be frustrating & cause anxiety, but it also brings great opportunity.  Rather than dwell on the negative, be excited for the new opportunity to grow and take on new challenges.

Best of luck to everyone in 2017 and may it be a POSITIVELY record breaking year for you!

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Peter Wright is a Practice Management Consultant with Signator Investors, Inc.  Peter has over 18 years of experience as a Product Wholesaler and Practice Management Consultant.

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