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By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

This saying is usually attributed to the late Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung who said: "What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size." Let's explore the potential implications of this view relative to the core premise of "Chasing Positivity®" — the latest book I co-authored with Dr. Robert Brooks.

"Chasing Positivity" can help you overcome your #1 competitor — inertia. Often, prospective clients are doing what they currently do because it is what they have always done. What might they be resisting? Change.

The reason many people are reluctant to make changes to their habits, portfolios, financial plans, etc. rests in the fear of making a mistake. Such a bizarre thought, of course, since it suggests what they are currently doing could not possibly be a mistake. And so it goes ... "what you resist persists."

It takes great finesse to help people move past what behavioral finance experts refer to as "status quo bias." Think about it, if a prospective client is locked into status quo, can you tell him what to do and get him to course correct? Quite unlikely.

Can you bring a conscious approach to your collaborative conversations and, perhaps together, arrive upon an alternative path? Here are some powerful phrases that set a collaborative tone:

  • "I welcome your comments and questions."
  • "If I present any information that's not clear, please let me know."
  • "If I ask any questions and you're not certain why I'm asking, please ask me to explain."
  • "What would have to happen, from your vantage point, in order for our work together to be considered a complete success?"

Bottom line: The most successful advisors we know are consistently collaborating consciously.