When markets turn volatile and clients get stressed, at best, financial advisors face their own stress in trying to help clients stay the course; at worst, they absorb the ‘blame’ from clients who are unhappy with economic and market outcomes beyond the advisor’s control. And when clients turn negative, it is easy for mental exhaustion to set in and for confidence levels to take a hit. Yet when self-confidence suffers, so too can our motivation and productivity. Accordingly, taking measures to protect our self-confidence not only helps to preserve our ability to function optimally at work, but also helps to maintain our mental and emotional well-being by ensuring we focus our time on activities that bring us energy and positive engagement.
In our 36th episode of Kitces & Carl, Michael Kitces and financial advisor communication expert Carl Richards discuss how advisor self-confidence can impact productivity, offering some ideas for financial advisors to protect their personal confidence and keep a positive mindset. As for financial advisors, in particular, healthy confidence levels can help them to avoid ‘imposter syndrome’ (which can distort an advisor’s sense of personal value), grow through the business challenges they’re facing, and support their clients with the ‘rational overconfidence’ they sometimes need to display as effective leaders.
Confidence also plays a crucial role when the advisor needs to establish appropriate pricing levels for their services and value, where a lack of confidence can result in advisors discounting their own value because they fail to realize that clients are willing to pay the price the advisor is actually worth. On the other hand, advisors who are able to preserve a high level of confidence tend to price themselves and their services more fairly and will naturally find themselves facing more business opportunities. Confidence also helps advisors deal with difficult situations, such as losing clients or key employees, with more positivity and the ability to see the circumstance as an opportunity versus a setback, which can ultimately be the key that potentially distinguishes between business growth and stagnation.
Being able to recognize one’s ‘unique abilities’ (like those identified by Dan Sullivan’s Unique Ability Discovery Process program) or key strengths (such as those identified by Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment) – activities that a person enjoys and excels at, and that are energizing – are key to maintaining one’s confidence and improving productivity at work. And once these ‘unique abilities’ are identified, finding the time to intentionally do those things as much as possible can help to stabilize energy levels and foster a positive mindset, which in turn tends to help maintain higher confidence levels. Equally important for protecting one’s confidence are recognizing the factors that erode energy levels and identifying how to take counteractive steps against the effects of those factors. For example, spending time outside in fresh air, going for a walk, and getting more sleep are some activities that can help prevent energy levels from dropping and, in turn, keep confidence levels from deteriorating.
Ultimately, the key point is that by taking steps to identify activities that not only drain energy levels but also increase them, financial advisors can protect their energy levels from falling, which is an important step in preserving confidence levels and a positive mindset – key elements of fruitful client relationships, successful career advancement, and overall business growth!
***Editor's Note: Can't get enough of Kitces & Carl? Neither can we, which is why we've released it as a podcast as well! Check it out on all the usual podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, and Stitcher.
- Dan Sullivan, Founder & President; Strategic Coach
- StrengthsFinder, Gallup Assessment Tool
- Now, Discover Your Strengths, Gallup Book
- XY Planning Network
- #FASuccess Ep 014: Validating Your Advisor Value Proposition And Overcoming Imposter Syndrome With Carl Richards
- Kitces & Carl Ep 21: Do You Have To Build Confidence Before Taking Action, Or Take Action To Build Confidence?
- Kitces & Carl Ep 24: Improving Work-Life Balance In 2020 And Giving Yourself Permission To Rest
- Kitces & Carl Ep 30: Conveying Rational Overconfidence In Talking To Clients About Coronavirus Fears
- Kitces & Carl Ep 31: Maintaining Personal Advisor Wellness In Times Of Market Stress
- Standing Desks, Walk-And-Talks, And Getting Healthier As A Financial Planner
- "Power Sleep" for Better Client Meetings – Dr. James Maas On The Nighttable
- How Mindset Trumps Best Practices For Financial Advisor Success
- How To Profitably Price Fee-For-Service Financial Planning
- Why Your Financial Planning Fees SHOULD Be Too Expensive For Some Of Your Prospects
Kitces & Carl Podcast Transcript
Carl: Greetings, Michael.
Michael: Hello, Carl. Where are you? Your virtual backdrop...
Carl: This is my virtual background.
Michael: ...looks very different this week.
Carl: Yeah, yeah, this is my virtual backdrop. No, actually, I snuck outside because the internet connection is better outside and when it's nice in the U.K., you go outside. You know what I mean? So I'm close to the house. I'm not breaking any rules, but I am outside.
Michael: So it's like this weird thing where it's a real backdrop of nature.
Carl: That's right. That's right. Just for the sake of everybody, I'll give you just a peek of this beautiful, beautiful spot.
Michael: Oh, the beautiful green countryside.
The Way Personal Confidence Can Impact Productivity [00:01:38]
Carl: Yeah, yeah. This sort of points to how I've been very intentional about spending – all within the rules of wherever you are – I've been very intentional about spending time outside lately, as much as I can be in the sunshine and the light outside as much as I can within the rules. And there's a reason for that – for me, it has a huge impact on how I feel. And that's cool. I want to feel good, that's cool.
But the most important part of how I feel, at least for me professionally, is an impact on my confidence levels. And that's sort of what I'd like to talk about right now, like, this idea of confidence. I'd like to talk with you about this idea of... I know we've hinted at ‘impostor syndrome’ before. We've talked about rational overconfidence as a tool with clients, but I'm talking about a little different strain.
I'm talking about confidence as a business owner, confidence as an entrepreneur. Even if you're not a business owner or an entrepreneur, just your personal confidence and the impact it has on your ability to get work done. How does that sound for a topic?
Michael: I like the topic. To me, I've become increasingly fascinated by the role that confidence plays in what we do as advisors and as building our businesses or practices or careers. On the one hand, one of the most common challenges I see for advisors as they're getting started, is that we all drastically underprice our services and our value, because what I find, basically, universally comes down to a confidence issue.
We actually documented this with an internal benchmarking study we did for XY Planning Network that found literally 100.0% of firms raised their financial planning fees in the first 3 years. And it's not as though there were just a lot of new advisors that said, "Oh, well, now I have three years of experience, so I'm going to raise my fees." The average person joins XY Planning Network with 7 to 10 years of experience. Even at that level of experience still typically is not raising their fees until after they're several years in. Which to me is not a, "Hey, I'm a little more experienced now. I'm going to raise my fee." That's an "I'm more confident now that this is going to work, I'm raising my fees."
Like this phenomenon, when we get started, we discount ourselves down because we're just so concerned, "Am I going to get any clients? Is anybody going to pay me anything? Are they going to show up? Are they going to stick around?" That we discount ourselves. And when the confidence shows up, we, at least, right-size our fees to our actual value.
Carl: Yeah, that's super interesting. There are so many ways we could go. I know we've talked about pricing, and I think that's a perfect way to springboard into this idea of okay, so how do you think about personal confidence? And how do we protect it? Right? We could spend a whole lot of time talking about how to build it. Let's leave that aside just a little bit.
Let's just think about how, when I'm feeling confident, I act like this. So what are some things you find yourself doing? There are two ways to think about this question. I'll give you both and then let you talk about it. What are some things you find when you're feeling confident, I do this. That's one. And the other is, when I'm not feeling confident, I notice myself engaging in these ways to hide. Right? So how would you talk about that?
How Financial Advisors Can Protect Their Personal Confidence [00:05:50]
Michael: So for me, ultimately, everything I think ends out stemming from confidence at the end of the day, particularly in a position as a business owner, like, when I feel confident, I price my value at what I'm worth. I don't discount myself. When I feel confident, I get more new business opportunities. When I feel confident, I don't fret if a client lets go. I say, "They probably weren't a good fit anyways. If they fire me in this environment, clearly, they don't value financial planning advice. I'm so glad they freed up a slot on my limited capacity bus so I can go get a better client who's a better fit, who's going to work with me, in the long run, the way that other client didn’t." Right?
To me, when the confidence is there, even things that are "setbacks" just become opportunities to the next stage.
I still remember the first time I lost a key employee in a business, and I was understandably very anxious, like, "Oh my gosh, what are we going to do? This is going to tumble back the business, all this work is flowing back to me. I've got all this stuff to deal with now. I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to replace this person." Right? I lost my confidence, so all the negative thoughts start building up of how the problems are going to be.
And my coach at the time said, "All right, let's break this cycle for a moment. I want you to take a minute and give me one example of how this person leaving could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to your business. Like if you look back five years from now and say, 'Hey, that was a turning point,' what would have to happen for this to turn out to be the best thing that ever happened for your business, that you lost that key employee?"
And frankly, when I look back now over the past five years, that was a turning point in the growth of the business thereafter. And not that the person I lost wasn't a fantastic team member and someone I still very much miss not having on the team, but forcing me to recognize, I need to build the business in a way that I'm not so dependent on that person and their role in the first place has ultimately allowed me to build an even more successful, more robust, better growing, more impactful business than I had before.
Because for me, at the end of the day, that question, that incredibly sneaky question she snuck in on me forced me to stop approaching the question from a not-confident end. "Oh my gosh, I lost a key employee. What am I going to do?" Negative spiral down, and into a, "No, no, no, you have a demonstrated track record as a successful business owner. So, how are you going to make this the best thing that could have ever happened to your business?" And lo and behold, then I did. Like, once I set a vision for that and I had confidence for that, I went and made that happen. Because I think once you have your confidence, you just go and make it happen.
Carl: Yeah, yeah. I think there are some really, really important things we need to touch on. And we could spend a whole episode on this idea. It's so interesting. That was the same experience. You didn't change the experience. Like, the fact pattern...
Michael: The thing happened. It was out of my control.
Carl: The fact pattern...and some people call that circumstances, right? The circumstances didn't change. It was the thinking around the circumstances that changed, and then the feeling around the thinking. We live in the feeling of our thinking, right? So it was the feeling and then the story? And what I'm super curious as it relates back to confidence is like, when we feel...and I think this is so important for...I have to remind myself all the time. When I feel confident, I do stuff. Right? How to do stuff. Like, anytime I'm trying to figure out how and, "Oh, this is really complex. I'm going to go search the internet. I'm going to buy 17 books." Some of that's confidence work, but mostly it's places to hide because I'm feeling unconfident.
And I think Dan Sullivan and the Strategic Coach has a really insightful way of looking at this. I think I feel most confident when I'm doing stuff...he calls it, your Unique Ability. Right? The stuff that I'm uniquely good at. And now, sorting out what that is, that takes a little bit of work, but I think you'll notice it. I like to notice things that give me energy. Right? Things that give me energy, I leave from them feeling confident. And I think most advisors will find this true. Most planners will find this true. It's not always true, but I think a lot of planners will relate to this. Like, you kind of go to work, you spend a couple of times, like, oh, you get distracted by email. Oh, is there a new time management book? I'll go research that. You do all that stuff.
And then in the old days, when we were meeting people for lunch, you might go to lunch with a prospective client. Right? And you have an hour and 15-minute lunch, and you leave just fired up. Maybe you met for...even though I don't drink coffee, you met for coffee at 3, right? The whole day you spent doing stuff and then you don't even remember what you did.
And then you go home and your spouse is like, "How was the day?" And you're like, "It was amazing." And they're like, "Well, what was amazing about it?" "Well, you know what? I went to lunch." Because I was in that...you know what I mean? It was in that unique space where...for me, that gives me energy. It may be for you like detailed analyses and planning. But whatever it is...I'm not saying you, I'm just saying the listener, whatever it is.
Michael: It could be. That's okay. I'm good with analysis.
Carl: Using the abacus and all that stuff. So for whatever it is, you'll notice it gives you energy. The question is, how much time can we spend doing those things? Because when we engage in other activities, we're typically hiding. Right? And it may be that marketing is super-important, like creating content for your content marketing plan. I'm making something up. Let's say that's super-important. And when you're feeling confident, it's probably...well, I can guarantee you, when you're feeling confident, it's much easier to do. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm just saying it's much easier.
So let's ask the second part of that question, though. I want to get to some concrete ideas around protecting confidence. So, what do you find yourself doing that erodes confidence?
Confidence Can Help To Preserve A Positive Mindset [00:12:35]
Michael: That erodes confidence?
Carl: Yeah. And maybe not even what you do? What are the circumstances in your life that you find yourself like, "Oh, man, I'm really not feeling that confident?"
Michael: I think by and large for me, at least, is it's dealing with business setbacks. It's a bad client meeting. It's a bad meeting...
Carl: Well, okay, wait, wait. I've got to stop you. So the bad client meetings are from circumstances that happened? Why are you viewing it as bad? What was going on in your life to allow you to say it was bad? That key employee, key employee leaving, what was going on that you decided, for some reason, that that was going to be viewed as bad until somebody else pointed it out?
Michael: So I think there's, I don't know, one of two things that comes from it. Either I think there's a confidence piece that sometimes gets thrown when, I'll just call it bad stuff is happening that feels out of your control. Right?
Like, I'm not sure all this is going to work because setbacks keep happening. And I can't even stop them because it feels like they're out of my control. And I think even to me, that's even part of the challenge around hard client meetings, like, it doesn't feel good to show up and just have a client that feels the need to vent at you for a while because bad stuff's happening in markets and they need a place to vent and I'm like, I've got to step in and be a punching bag sometimes. And valuable for them, they need to vent so I can give some words of help. They may feel better by the end.
But I've got to go into one meeting after another where clients may be upset and I didn't get to control that. I didn't get to bring those circumstances in. I just get to walk into a meeting where all I know is they're probably unhappy about the markets and I'm on defense just to make sure that I don't lose them as a client. And...
Carl: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Because I've got to point this out. So you have been through meetings like that, and you've had the exact same meeting where you've been like, "Hey, this is my job today. This is awesome. I just lost a client, made room for another one." What's the difference between those two? What's the difference between the exact same set of circumstance in one day eroding confidence, smashing you, feeling like you're going to barely make it home, and the other day you're just rolling with it? What's the difference? How do we protect that? What's the difference?
Michael: It's a good question. I think the difference literally is the confidence. It's going to the meeting and either saying, "I'm going to do my best to help this client. If it doesn't work out, I guess they don't value my services, and I'll find another one," or like, if I can't help them, they're going to fire me. And if they fire me, my revenue goes down. If my revenue goes down, then my income goes down, and then my family's stressed, I’m stressed, and down the hill we go.
Carl: It's the end of the world.
Michael: ...down the hill.
Carl: Yeah, you're going to end up under...we're going to end up under a bridge. So yeah. Okay. So yeah, let's narrow it down. The difference is confidence. What are the things that we need to be doing in our lives? Right? Like, I think that confidence is largely a function of... I was just thinking, as you were describing those meetings, of a punching bag, the words, right? I was thinking about when...I've noticed that when I have air in the shocks, right, when I have air in the shocks, yeah, I'm totally confident. When I don't have air in the shocks, the smallest bump throws me under the bridge, right? Like your pattern you just did.
And I think air in the shocks is a function. And I also like to think of it as like basement thinking, like when my energy is in the basement, the smallest little thing will set me off, right? I'm defensive. My child can say something and suddenly, boom, things go off the rails. I'm looking for a fight, all of those things. And so those are all warning signs on a dashboard that are saying, "Hey, you're not feeling confident right now. Maybe you shouldn't return that email or you shouldn't pick up that phone or whatever, or you shouldn't engage in the thing."
My wife actually knows when I'm feeling this way because she has this look she gives me, and for a long time, it made me super mad. But now we've developed an ability. She just has this look. And essentially, what it says in her eyes is, "I'm not buying anything you're selling today. Like, you're looking for a fight and I'm not fighting. I'm not buying anything."
So when those signs are flashing, so if you feel that way, it's a sign you don't have air in the shocks. You're in the basement. Right? Which points to me to resilience and just some of these habits, which is kind of back to why I'm outside. Right? Like, I noticed that I was really tired this morning when I woke up. I was like, "Okay, you know what? I need to kind of clear the decks of any really important stuff that might get crazy, except for my conversation with Michael, because it always gets crazy. And I need to find a way to spend a little bit more time outside. I need to drink a little bit more water."
I think one of the main ones that it gets back to is sleep. Right? So, what are those things for you that you notice maybe they're like the...almost maybe the fuel gauge or the, "If I do these things, I tend to be..." What are some practical tips around...? It's funny because we don't want to talk about sleep because we think it'll make you a better human, although we do. But mainly, it's going to make you better at your job.
Now, I appointed myself vice president of unspeakable things a little while ago, which allows me to have a conversation with the nerd in the context of financial planning about sleep or being outside. Why? Because it relates to confidence. Why? Because when you're confident, you do your job. What do you think about that, Michael Kitces?
Michael: I'll grant it to you as a speakable thing.
Carl: Thank you. Thank you.
Michael: For me, I’ve found... So there are a couple of things overall in terms of what I guess either gives or brings confidence or protects resiliency. One, I'll have to go right to where you are of being outside. I have found, I think just overall as the years have gone by, I don't know, maybe this is a thing of just my own biological clock ticking, like, I feel more of a pull to go outside now to get fresh air and clear my head than I did in my 20s or even in my 30s. And so, as a starting point, just any time I've got a phone call or a conference call that I don't specifically need to be in front of the computer because I'm screen sharing or referencing a document or videoing, it's a ‘call’ call, I throw on a headset, and I walk around outside. I just walk in my neighborhood, because we're working from home right now, and just have the conversation walking around outside and getting fresh air. I find it really does very much clear my head. You can buy some great Plantronics noise-canceling headsets right now, walk around outside and do your thing and not have everyone distracted by the fact that you're walking around outside. They won't even know. But just literally getting fresh air.
And at the end of the day, even just a comfortable walk outside, like a 30-minute conference call, you're going to put in more than a mile walking around outside, which is frankly just kind of good for overall health and exercise. It's not running and cardio fitness, but it’s some material amount of exercise. I'll have long calls or meetings and look down, it's like, "Oh my gosh, it's like, I did 3, 4, 5 miles of walking over an extended call or conversation. And I call them walk and talks. I just tell my wife or kids like, "Daddy's got to go outside. I've got to do a walk and talk." Throw on the headset...
Carl: So good.
Michael: ...do a conversation. Right? So it's even to me like, it's productive time, because I'm sort of obsessed with productivity and cramming and productive time when I can. So I get to double-duty my productive time and my healthy outdoors, fresh air resilience time.
Carl: Yeah. So good. And I want just to remember, because we've done an episode around some of these things, like walking desks and drinking water and improving your snacks. And that's really important. Here we're directly linking it back to the idea of having air in the shocks so that you can have confidence.
And so one other thing before we wrap up that I just want to point to, let's just think of some activities that generate confidence and some activities that drain confidence. So have you ever noticed, I'm sure you have, but think back to like, what's the thing that when you do it, you're like, "Yeah, that was amazing?" What's one of those things that comes to mind? Like, "Oh, that was great. I was doing...I was operating in the zone," if you were to use that word.
Identifying Activities That Generate Confidence And Create Energy [00:21:58]
Michael: Yeah. Well, I was going to say like one of the things, in general, that sort of give confidence and feel good to me in that direction, it's when I'm doing things that are in the zone, right? All these different labels, like Dan Sullivan calls your Unique Ability, Gallup calls it your strengths for StrengthsFinder.
I kind of like the framing because at least just it resonates with me, like, there are certain things that you do throughout your day that you enjoy and that energize you and are "energy-giving," and then there are other things that you don't enjoy so much in your day that feel energy-taking.
Carl: Give me an example for you.
Michael: Examples for me. Well, one really is like just getting down to sit down and nerd out on something.
Carl: Really. Really. Like alone digging into something.
Michael: Yeah. Like just alone time, like me and this tax law are going toe to toe, like just...
Carl: Just chewing into it, just like, "Yeah, tax law."
Michael: I like doing that stuff. That's why I ended out writing giant blog posts, right? You can't do that because it's a job, you have to do that because it's a passion.
Carl: I know. I know. And that's why I'm relatively thing-agnostic. I just love that people have a thing. Right? And I couldn't care less about a giant tax law, but it's super-exciting to see you get fired up, and it's super-exciting for the work that you do. Right? So that's an example, tax law, or just some nerd-out thing.
Michael: Getting into what for me is creative space, which is usually sort of strategic thinking creative space. Ultimately, that's where, again, indirectly, a lot of the articles that I do come from. But it's just like, I'm just going to sit down with my whiteboard for half an hour, an hour and just start sketching out like, "Here's some stuff I've been thinking about. Here are some trends I think are evolving. Let me just kind of put this down and visualize a little like, what's going on here? Where do I think this goes?"
And for me, that's where some of the kind of flashes of insight come from of like, "Okay, I think I've figured out a new thing that could become a thing in the industry." Most of the businesses that I've created came from some whiteboard sessions. So just getting a little time. Granted, my handwriting is horrific and my drawing is worse. So this whiteboard behind me has a Sharpie. I don't share it the way that you do because it doesn't look nearly as good.
Carl: It better not have a Sharpie. It better have a whiteboard version.
Michael: Oh, yeah, actually, it's a whiteboard version.
Carl: Okay. Because I've done that. I've done that. I've done that thing.
Michael: Yes, don't actually Sharpie your whiteboard! But getting some of that creative space. And for me, the flip side is like, what's energy-taking, what's draining for me, it's paperworky things. It's administrative tasks. I did that at one stage of my career. I carried that burden for a long time as a business owner because I had to. But as I've been able to grow the business and hire, those are some of the things that have come off my plate. And finding team members who revel and like their ideal day is to wake up in the morning with the list of 10 tasks to do and to check them off because that's their thing, it's not mine.
Carl: Let's pause. Let's pause right there because that's so important to understand. I didn't know, like for me, it's conversations and big sort of like gnarly brainstorming stuff where I'm trying to root something out. Like I may dig into the...certainly not the tax law, but I may dig into a concept like mainly around human behavior. And then I love getting deep into it, like a nuanced, edge case, talking to people about it, and then spitting it out the other side with something simple on the other side, right?
Like that great quote that simplicity is complexity resolved. Like that, I get so fired up. I didn't know, this is really important for people to know, really important, I didn't know that there are some people who don't like that. I didn't know that a brainstorming session... Right now my COO is off-the-charts good. And one day I was telling her something and I noticed she was like...I could see her physically draining. And I was like, "Hey, wait, wait, wait. I'm just including you in this conversation around what...we could go this way, this way, or this way."
And she goes, "You know what? I don't enjoy it at all because all I'm thinking about is, how do I do it? What's the implementation strategy? Like, you know what would be even better?" I was like, "Wait, you don't want to be included in this strategic thinking mission? Everybody..." And she's like, "No, you know what'd be cool? Go do that with some of your friends and come back and tell me what you want built because I know how to build it." And I was like, "Wait, really? I didn't know."
I love walking into a restaurant...and this will all tie back because I think the reason we're doing this now is because I want to give people permission to start noticing those things for themselves. And there's no right or wrong. There's no “the cool kids do it this way and the other kids do it this way”. There's no right or wrong. So I didn't know.
I love going into restaurants and literally, like, if somebody hands me the menu, I'm like, I'm out. I just like to turn the menu over and say to the server, "Bring us your favorite stuff. Make sure there's enough for all six of us." Now, I didn't know until just recently, like two weeks ago, somebody pointed out like, "Seriously, my favorite part, my favorite part is the 15 minutes of back-and-forth thinking." And I was like, "Wow."
So here's the point, notice those things. We have noticed as a team here, we've noticed Carl gets really jazzed when he has...I don't know if we just noticed that now. But Carl gets really jazzed when he has conversations. So we schedule those into the day so that I don't annoy everybody else, right? Like, we put that in a container.
So if I do that, my whole day goes better, and I feel confident. If I go two or three days without that, everybody knows like, "Oh, geez, watch out." Because then what happens is I start hiding and spending a bunch of time looking at random stuff. So I think if we can notice that, and again, back to resilience, the best way to notice it is to be caught up on sleep, getting some time outside, have air in the shocks, whatever that is.
We've talked about that in other episodes, and it's easy to find out. Have air in the shocks so that you can pay attention to what gives you energy or not. And the more time you're spending working in that zone, the more confident you will feel. Now, that doesn't mean that there aren’t temporary planned imbalances out of the zone. We just all got it like...my buddy calls it being the corporate janitor. Sometimes you've just got to unplug the toilet. You've just got to do what you have to do, of course. But at least we can start noticing it.
So that's why I think it’s actually why I'm outside, which is what started this whole thing. And that's why I think confidence is so important is because the world needs you, my friends, the people listening to this, the world needs you. And so many of you...I want to give you an empathetic hug right now before I punch you in the nose, so many of you are hiding, because that's what we do as humans. Scary times we had. Guess what? We don't hide when we're confident. And that's why we care, Michael, and I wanted to talk about confidence.
Michael: So I feel like there are sort of three groups. There are people who are generally confident. We're talking about like, how do you protect the confidence and stay above the line? Then there are who I'll call the marginally confident. Sometimes we're in the good zone. Sometimes we're in the bad zone. So I think we've had a lot of good discussion about, can you become more aware of what's the good zone for you and what's the bad zone for you so you can start to shape your time to spend more of your time in the good zone stuff that creates confidence and gives energy and not the bad zone stuff that takes confidence and takes energy?
And so as we wrap up, I want to get your thoughts for a moment on the third group, right? These are the people who are not feeling so good and so confident right now. Like, we're in a not-good place. Unfortunately, sometimes if you get buried enough in a not-good place, it's pretty hard to find your way out sometimes.
So my suggestion, at least for someone that's there, if you're struggling even just to figure out like, what are these natural strengths, unique abilities, energy-giving things? Because right now, everything is feeling pretty tough. So at least the one tip I would give, because it's something...I'm a nerd. This is how I approach things. So there's a wonderful assessment tool out there from Gallup called StrengthsFinder. Great book that goes with it called "Now, Discover Your Strengths." A lot of people know Gallup as a polling organization, but they've actually done incredible research into employee engagement and how to be productive and effective at work. And one of the big things that they've created is this assessment called StrengthsFinder that helps people understand what really are your natural strengths?
If you do work that captures these things, you're probably going to find it's pretty energy-giving. And if you do work that's the opposite, it's probably going to be energy-taking. It's a list of I think 34 strengths. Everyone's got different strengths. So as you said earlier, it's not like one is better than the other. We're all just different and find energy from different things. So if you feel like you have trouble putting your finger on this, just go take StrengthsFinder. It's an incredibly robust, well-designed assessment. I think you pay a couple of bucks to take the full 34 strengths version and get the feedback. But if you feel like you need to jumpstart the engine a little to just figure out, like, what should I be trying to do more of that actually fits my strengths, I would start there. So I don't know if you have a tip as well, as we wrap up, of like, what would be your tip for jumpstarting the confidence engine if it's stalled out?
Getting More Sleep Can Help Boost Confidence [00:32:09]
Carl: Totally. I love your tip. And I would just add, just for the sake of variety, something completely different, which is, I would make sure there's air in the shocks, right? And I would start with sleep. Like if I'm feeling unconfident... And again, I think your tip is pointing to that. Well, I want to know what actually generates. That's awesome. And what I would say...and I was, a couple years ago, probably four and a half, five years ago, before we moved to New Zealand, I was a broken human from just the unending stress, which I think I just realized we should have a whole another episode about, just the sort of how you get out of that hole. But I was a broken human.
It took three or four years of real concentrated effort to rebuild that air in the shocks. And now I'm highly guarded about it because I know how fragile it is. So I would start, if I'm feeling unconfident, it means to me, the number one thing it means to me is I'm not getting enough sleep. So I know that's a completely different place to where you went, which is why I think it's valuable for both of these things, is I would just...if I'm feeling unconfident, number one thing, especially if I'm going like weeks, like right now, like just weeks of crushing confidence blows, I would say one thing, get more sleep.
Michael: Get more sleep. And if you're not sure what you're doing on sleep, get a...
Carl: Type "sleep" in the Google machine.
Michael: Yeah, get a Fitbit. Fitbit now will even give your sleep a score. So for those of you like me who like to get scored on things with a little competitive edge, it'll give you a score, you can try to improve. If that's what...
Carl: Of course. Of course, it will.
Michael: That's what drives you forward, that's great.
Carl: And if you need it, just email Michael, he will explain the algorithm to you that generates the score. He would happily do that on a...in fact, he'll make it a whole session of Weekend Reading.
Michael: Well, it's really cool. I could deconstruct the length of sleep, REM cycles. It's...
Carl: I'm sure. I'm sure.
Michael: ...really cool. Resting heart rate.
Carl: I'm sure. I'm sure. Amen.
Carl: Super good, Michael. Thank you.
Michael: Thank you, Carl.
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