tia mastermind group Apr 18, 2022

Are you a People Pleaser?
  If you are, it will get in the way of you being an effective financial advisor.


Let’s start with what a People Pleaser is, lest we be unclear.  A People Pleaser is someone who cares more about making people happy than almost anything else.  They don’t want to make anyone mad or upset.  They don’t want to cause conflict.  They want to make people happy, but if they can’t do that, they definitely don’t want to make them unhappy!


I am not a psychologist, so I won’t opine the reasons people become People Pleasers, but I will attempt to bring attention to the challenge it causes for the afflicted.


People Pleasing gets in the way of giving good advice.


Most clients don’t come to us with all of their ducks in a row.  The reason they sought us out and hired us is to help them figure out how to accomplish their goals and identify potential risk factors that might get in the way.


A lot of the time, our job requires us to tell hard truths.


-> A young couple wants to buy a home, but they spend lavishly on vacations and entertainment.   The hard truth is that they need to change their behavior and you have to tell them and hold them accountable to their commitments.


-> A 65-year-old wants to retire but spends every penny of their six-figure income with abandon.  You have to help them understand that their lifestyle must be curtailed if they want a successful retirement and they likely don’t want to hear that.


-> A primary breadwinner states that taking care of his family is his highest priority, but doesn’t “believe in life insurance.”  It’s your job to highlight the incongruence between their words and actions and help them face the brutal reality of life without income for the surviving family.


Our REAL job is not just to allocate investments and build financial projections.  Our REAL job is to help clients envision the future, create a plan to accomplish their goals, and see their reality objectively.


If you are emotionally programmed to keep people happy and to keep the peace, it is going to be very hard for you to point out these incongruences and help hold clients accountable to change.


Let me ask you this…do attorneys and accountants worry about how their clients will feel about their advice?  A true fiduciary has to tell the whole truth, not just the easy truths.


I have come to realize that People Pleasing often works well in the sales environment.  Being a Yes Man (or Woman) works pretty well if your only objective is getting an app signed.  If the client is making a delusional decision, it’s not really your problem.


If you want to be a true fiduciary, an Advice-based Financial Advisor, you have to tell the unvarnished truth.  Preferably in a way that the client can hear it and embrace change, but you have to say it either way.  It is what they are paying you to do!


A People Pleaser might say, ”But what if they don’t like my advice?  What if they fire me?“  


My response is “I hope that they do!


If you are telling the truth and holding your clients accountable, some of them won’t like it and will leave.  That’s OK!  That is actually a sign that you are doing your job with integrity.


Some clients don’t actually want to hear the truth.  They want to work with someone who will reinforce their delusions.  They want someone to confirm their brilliance, even when they are wrong. 


You don’t want those clients!  Those are the clients who won’t accomplish their goals and will blame you for their failure.  Those are the clients who create compliance and litigation risk. 


It takes a lot of self-awareness to realize you might be a People Pleaser, especially in the sales world where it may have been rewarded in the past.  But if you want to be a true fiduciary, you have to reprogram yourself to tell the unvarnished truth, consequences-be-damned.


If you realize you might be a People Pleaser and are ready to change, I would recommend therapy or personal development coaching.  People Pleasing is an ingrained behavior.  If it’s happening at work, it’s likely happening in all aspects of your life.  One doesn’t just realize they are People Pleaser and stop doing it.


Ironically, what you need is that person in your life who will tell YOU the unvarnished truth and hold YOU accountable to change.


I know that this may not be an easy pill to swallow.  People Pleasers are inherently nice people.  They make the people around them happy and are a joy to spend time with.  But what makes you a lovely person, may actually make you ineffective as an advisor.


I hope this serves you,



I would love to hear from you!  Are you a People Pleaser?  Do you struggle to tell the ugly truth to clients?  Do you have a hard time giving advice contrary to your client’s stated desires?


Join us in the TIA Mastermind Group on Facebook and share your story.  We are here to support you on your journey to become the very best Advice-based Financial Advisor you can be!



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