March 21, 2012, 4:44 am

How Can You Feel So Big and So Little at the Same Time?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career
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This post is about a life lesson (another!) that I recently learned.


I think that if you have been good at something in the past, if you have been identified as a performer, you will understand what I’m trying to share with you.


A week ago, it was the first day of my last day.


It wasn’t a Monday like any other Monday.


This one was very special. Not because I was coming back from a 6 week paternity leaves. Not because I was starting a new job. Not because this job was at 7 minutes from my home. Because this job was THEJOB.


Feeling so Big


When I got there, I must say that I was happily surprised. Everybody was super kind to me. They were waiting for me. I was offered help by most of my colleagues, my boss was super helpful and I’ve been given a lot of resources to start working right away.


I was introduced as “the” guy who will bring clients back and dominate the market. I was introduced as “the” guy who won best financial planner. And finally, they are very anxious to see how much money I can bring to the branch.


After talking to a few people, I realized that everybody was looking to improve their numbers (both in my new department and in the branch where my office is). They were super helpful and wanted to make sure that I felt at ease on my first day. I truly appreciated the support but I also felt some kind of pressure. I have to say that I’m starting a whole new book of clients. My book is currently showing a big fat 0 clients ;-).


Feeling so Small


I’m the type of person who’s over confident more often than not. In fact, I never doubt myself. My closest friends know that humility is not part of my personality traits  ;-). But surprisingly, people at work see me as humble (woah… I’m so full of it! Hahaha!). But don’t get me wrong, I’m not arrogant, I just know that I’m good at what I do and definitely over confident in these fields. The only thing is that I would rather play under the radar at work. I like to surprise people instead of flashing in front of everybody. I learned a long time ago that the less people know about your success, the better it is for your career. It’s funny enough but the only people that need to know that you are good are your manager and your manager’s boss ;-).


So being presented as the “top notch” planner was awkward for me. I didn’t want to have this spotlight on me in my face. I would rather do my things and shine at the end of the story… like a good thriller J. But here I am, sitting at my desk, wondering how I will grow my book from nothing to an exceptional book. I did it in the past, but I also remember how small I was feeling at first.


Starting with nothing in your hands is not easy. You feel lost as you have nothing to fall back on. You feel bad as you spend a lot of time wondering how to setup your business. You spend so much time doing it that you are under the impression that you are not working and wasting your time. In my business, there is only 1 important factor when you get evaluated: how much do you bring in. The ethical aspect is super important but to me, it’s not a factor, it’s just how things should be. This is why I focus on bringing in the numbers. In order to bring in the numbers, you must win your clients’ confidence with exceptional advice, after sale service and ongoing follow-up. Then, you must work ethically and put your clients’ interests first. This is how you bring in the numbers in my industry. I could certainly play the car salesman and bring in the cash right away. But this is not sustainable and definitely not ethical. The bad side of truly working for your clients is that it takes time before you bring in any numbers.


This is why I feel so small. I know that I won’t be part of the top performers this year. It sucks. But it’s the way you build a solid book over the long term.


Dealing with expectations


I wanted to make things clear with both my boss and the branch; I’m not going to be a saviour. I sat down with them and explained the situation to make sure that our expectations are on the same page. There is nothing worse than having misleading objectives. This is why I asked them clearly what they were expecting and told them clearly what I intend to do.


After this conversation, I felt a lot better!


Did it ever happen to you? Having people that place so much confidence in your talent that it becomes a burden?

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I know exactly what you are saying. I am a planner also that is trying to build a book as well. I have had tremendous success working with clients that I had at least a small relationship with. I am now pretty much starting from scratch again with my own book (same firm just my own book). It gets kind of frustrating as everyone expects that it will be the exact same process. The thing they don’t get is that doing things the right way takes much more time and involve different processes that some people don’t even know exist haha

by: The Financial Blogger | March 21st, 2012 (4:15 pm)


thx man! it is definitely a tough moment but I know it will become easier weeks after weeks!

i think this happens to me each and every place that i work

i started working for my dad’s firm from the age of 14 managing books for some pocketmoney while studying on the side, then i got a real job when i was 18, as an accountant, then i got hired in a multinational as a sales executive, progressed to team lead in a month even though i didnt know jack squit about sales i just had good references and brought in the bucks.

left that place and became a manager in a franchise chain at the ripe young age of 21, started my own business at 22 crapped everything over, got cheated out of house and home

started at the bottom again and worked my way up..

now working at this I.T. company, they’ve made me a partner, now they are planning to build a whole group of companies and i am the only sales person and i am looking after the marketing content as well. and designing new projects and getting things done

seems like i keep working 24/7 and just for peanuts but everyone has such high expectations of me and my abilities that i dont have the guts to say no to anyone when they approach me with a task, i feel like they stack an everest on top of an everest and expect me to climb it in a matter of a few days.. i just dont know how to say no … and i’m getting squished literally under the mountain of work that has been stacked on top of my head.

I can completely understand what you are getting at. I too would much rather be overlooked in a way and over deliver in the end. But you are in a situation that it is known that you must be great at what you do or else the job would have been given to another person.

Its very intelligent of you to both find out there expectations and set what you think is possible so that they can understand what you are there to accomplish. No one can work miracles.

[…] – The Financial Blogger works on his self confidence in the post “How Can You Feel So Big and So Little at the Same Time?” […]

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