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Episode 6: 
Surround Yourself With Big Thinkers
Show Notes:
In this episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast, we discuss why it is important to surround yourself with big thinkers who generate, create, and produce great ideas that lead to breakthrough results. This process is collaborative. Surrounding yourself with people who think differently than you and challenge you will push you to think outside the box, and this is where the magic happens. So push PLAY and join us as we delve into how to level up your business by surrounding yourself with other big thinkers. 

Read The Transcript Of The Episode:

Speaker 1: This is the ultimate advisor podcast, the podcast for financial advisors who want to create a thriving, successful, and scalable practice. Each week we'll uncover the ways that you can improve your referrals, your team, your marketing, and your business operations, helping you to level up your advising practice, bring in more assets, and create the advising practice that you've dreamed of.
 You'll be joined by your hosts, Brian Sweet, who has more than half a billion dollars in assets under management. Brittany Anderson, the driving force for advisors looking to hire, improve their operations and company culture and [Draye 00:00:47] Redfern, who can help you systematize and automate your practices marketing to effortlessly attract new clients.
 So what do you say? Let's jump into another amazing episode of the Ultimate Advisor Podcast.

Brian S.: Hi everyone. Brian Sweet here. Welcome back to the Ultimate Advisor Podcast. Today we get to talk about probably my favorite topic, and that's how to surround yourself with big thinkers. And why would you want to do that? So I'd like to just open up today by talking about one of the programs that I've been in, literally for the last 22 years, which is strategic coach. As a financial advisor, you're probably familiar with that name and Dan Sullivan, he's been around forever and ever and originally strategic coach was probably mainly for financial advisers. But I will tell you that having been in that program for the last 22 years has really, really changed the way that I look at my business. And a couple of things that I'll just ... not really to tout strategic coach, but just to talk more about why would you belong to things outside of the industry. I think as I've alluded to in the other podcast we did last time is, you want to surround yourself with people that think differently than you and you want to get yourself in a position where you are thinking out of the box.
 By doing that, you will learn different opportunities. You will learn different strategies and you'll force yourself to think about your business and how I can do different things to help me get to where I want to go. One of the things that I would tell you is a strength of our firm is all of our key management people, including all of our leadership team, we all have in different programs to help them all get better. We actually spend well over a hundred thousand dollars a year on these different coaching and mastermind groups.
 Most people would probably think, "Holy cow! That's a lot of money and that's a big expense." But I will tell you it's actually a very big investment in your future and in your team. It pays back multiple times what you invest in it and the relationships that you create in the concepts that you get, I can think of off the top of my head, probably at least a half a dozen tools that we use every single day in the office, from thinking processes for when we're going to do a project and how to deliver the message and what it looks like to a team member, so they can get it right, to tools that when there is a mistake, how do you make that mistake something that's actually beneficial so the firm and the team is better afterwards?
 If you aren't part of some of these mastermind and and strategic thinking groups, you're not going to get exposed to those things that will help you move your business along faster. Another thing that it's done, not that that would be something that anybody in the audience would want to do, but I would tell you by being exposed to these groups, all sorts of new opportunities and new ventures have come about because of that. I've actually created three other businesses because of being associated with people that just thought differently, or gave me ideas, or shared opportunities that seemed to fit or mix with what I was doing, and actually not only created more revenue streams, but also gave me opportunities to go and enjoy things that really give me a passion, in addition to helping take care of the base business.
 Brittany, I think I'd love to see your commentary on that, because one thing that's marvelous about you is that you're a big believer in the big thinking concept also and belong to several of those groups.

Brittany: Yeah, Brian, I think something that you've alluded to you without saying it, is that you have truly built a business that has a culture of thinking outside the box, of thinking bigger. That's what I want to comment on, is that I truly believe, and I know Brian believes this, I know Draye believes this, that if you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. The minute that you believe that you have all the answers and you've got all the knowledge in the world that's going to get you the success that you need, that's when you're starting to fail. Right? That's when you're going to start going backwards. Because I can tell you from experience, that there is so much out there. So like Brian said, that through his experience with different big thinking groups, different masterminds, different study groups, it's opened up a whole new world of opportunity.
 I want to speak directly to the financial advisors out there that are maybe feeling, and I'm going to put this on the table, maybe feeling a little bit bored in your business. Okay? So maybe you've been in this for awhile, you've been in the same game, you've been seeing clients for forever. Maybe it's just not as fun as it used to be. Right? A lot of times, especially in the financial advisory world, we see this in this particular niche. For whatever reason, financial advisers have a really hard time deciding what it is that they're going to retire to. So you spend all this time helping your clients really identify what they're retiring from, what they're retiring to. If you are a wealth planning firm, that is your bread and butter. That's what you do with your life. But then when you look at yourself, you're like, "Hey, I have devoted my heart and soul into my business. What's next for me?"
 So when you look at your life in the big picture, I think that's one of my biggest takeaways, is that just because you're doing something now, it doesn't mean that in a few years you're going to be doing the exact same thing. So whether you're listening to this to grow your business or you're listening to it to just get some tips on marketing, or you're listening to it to just figure out what the heck it is that we're talking about, I think you need to go into these different situations with a very open mind and understanding that you might uncover something within yourself that gives you a whole new energy and excitement in life.
 I heard this term recently on a different podcast that I was listening to, but the gal I was listening to, she said, "I am here to be your coach, not your cheerleader." So that being said, I'm going to say this next, this next comment, that if you are not growing, then you are dying. Right? Whether that is you as a person or you as a business. Okay? If you're not growing and you're not looking for new exponential ways to serve your clients better, to help your team level up, to increase your revenue, to increase your assets under management. If you're not striving for that, you are slowly dying.
 So that's the mindset that I think you need to have when you approach these groups. A lot of them, if you want to be, again, if you want to be with the best of the best, it is an investment. It's an investment into your future and it's an investment into your business. As Brian mentioned, if you really want to catapult and you want to feel like you're not the only crazy person out there, when you go out to these different mastermind groups and you come back with all of these amazing ideas and your team's looking at you like deer in the headlights, "What the heck are you talking about?" You need to get your team exposed as well. You need them on the same page as you. You need everybody to be on the same train, going on the same track, in the same direction.
 So Draye, I know that you have also been one that is a huge advocate for extended learning, for surrounding yourself with great people. So why don't you talk a little bit about your experience as well.

Draye: I think, my mastermind and sort of educational experience has saved my businesses. It saved my marriage. It saved all of these things many times over for a variety of reasons. So you know, my thinking when it comes to this is that I almost always want to be the dumbest person in the room, because as Napoleon Hill said 120 years ago, is basically, "You're the average of the five people that you spend the most time with." I 100% agree with that. That's why I'm surrounding myself with people who have had nine figure exits, or who understand concepts at a high level that I'm constantly wanting to improve on. Then obviously I'm going to pick more of those facets up or knowledge bits or whatever it may be, from them.
 Now obviously if you're meeting with a client, you don't want to be the dumbest person in the room because you want to help them, guide them down this process, because you're the content expert in your advising realm. But when it comes to expanding your knowledge base, being the dumbest person in the room has so many benefits. So I'll share a couple of the facets that have helped me.
 So about 4 years ago, my wife, who is a world renowned photographer, incredibly successful, 13 photographers trained in her method who would shoot weddings for her. So on any given Saturday, she could have five weddings going on at any one time. Massive, massive business. Well overnight for a variety of reasons, two people made up a story. They went to the news and they basically destroyed her business overnight in this online smear campaign. Well, it was all lies. What ended up happening is this very successful, 13-year old business was completely demolished overnight. So when you have, 12, 13 employees, a business that's been around for over a decade and it's gone literally in the snap of your fingers, what do you do?
 Had we not been in mastermind groups and had we not had a really intelligent and just really strong support system around us who could help guide us through this process, who maybe who had been through, not necessarily the exact same thing, but similar things, I don't know if we would've gotten through it very easily. But what end up happening was, it took us three years for this to play out in court. We eventually won this week long jury trial. But along the way, you have the court of public opinion to combat against. Being around all these mastermind groups got attention to the story. It helped us to win over the court of public opinion by using marketing and PR strategies and all of these other facets to clean up my wife's reputation, realize that this whole thing was completely made up, and really get us surrounded with individuals who could help us get through this.
 Along the way, we got to interact with and work with people like Jay Abraham, who's like the marketing godfather. He charges $60,000 a day for his consulting services. We worked with some of the sharks from Shark Tank. So you never know which sort of direction these things play out and how it ends up working. But had we not been in mastermind groups, I don't know how it would've played out. Now, so that's certainly one side of it of, it was a worst case scenario. We could lean on that group.
 The other side is, is being that dumbest person in the room allows you so many facets to pick up and learn all of the newest trends, or all of the new concepts, or learn from people who have exponentially more expertise in a facet than you do. Now, if you're an advisor and you're at the top of your game, you don't necessarily have to know about all of the implementation strategies on marketing or selling or onboarding or culture, all of those things.
 But if you're around other incredibly successful business owners or other incredibly successful advisers, it gives you so many tools that you could add to your tool belt that give you that leg up on your competition, so you can understand the marketing or the sales or the content or the culture facets and you could take that back to your team to implement. That's what they do at Sweet. There's so many facets you can do along with that when it comes to really leveling up. So at a minimum, on an annual basis, we spend a $50,000 a year minimum for mastermind groups, study groups, these sorts of things. Usually it's much, much more than that, because just like Brian, it's an investment for us because it allows us to level up our game, not in stair steps, but in exponential leaps to dramatically shortcut the time that it takes for us to reach our goals.

Brian S.: Brittany, let me just comment on one thing that you said, because it really hit home with me. I think you'll probably chuckle when I say this. But I think having been in the business 40 years, it's very easy to get bored. You do the same review and you go through the same processes and after a while of having done this thousands of time, it does become boring to just say the least. One of the advantages of these mastermind groups or study groups is that when you get exposed to new ideas, those can be exciting. You can get involved in new things that now take the boredom away or forces you to delegate that boredom to somebody else and go on to things that you have more passion for.
 I would just encourage you that if you're in that situation where you've been doing this a while and it's getting dull and boring and you're looking for something that maybe can help pep it up, if nothing else, the exposure to other people's thoughts and ideas, will definitely give you some inspiration and motivation to try other things.

Brittany: You both shared really interesting things. I have to circle back, as one word kept flashing in my head, is vulnerability. So when you go into a group of very talented, very big thinkers, you need to be willing to be vulnerable. So Draye, you just shared a story about your wife that you could have looked about as embarrassing, right? You could've just holed it up, kept it a secret, wished it under the rug and made it go away.
 Brian, you're sitting here saying, "Yes, 40 years in the same business, doing the same thing over and over again, I can get bored." Okay? If you are not willing to say things like that and make statements out loud, coming from a place of vulnerability, you can participate in all the masterminds that you want and all the study groups that you want, but you're not going to get anywhere. Okay? So you have to be sure that you can go into this in a completely vulnerable state, which I know sometimes, and picking on Brian a little bit with the financial adviser personality, or the financial advisor mojo, sometimes that's hard, right? Because you're looked at as an expert for so long, you know that you know your stuff.
 When it comes to finances, when it comes to planning, when it comes to helping other people with their futures, you know your stuff. You know that you've got this, right? But it's okay to acknowledge the things that you're maybe not quite as passionate about anymore, or the things that you're facing difficulties with, things that could paralyze you, right? Paralyze you if you don't have the right people around you like Draye talked about.
 I would add one more thing to that, is that Brian, at the beginning of this, he was talking about Dan Sullivan's Strategic Coach. In Strategic Coach, I've also been a member of that for about seven years now. They talk a lot on a concept called your unique ability. So the other thing that I will add to this, and I think Brian, you would completely agree, is that by joining masterminds and by going into it with the sense of, "Okay, I need to find something that ignites my energy again," sometimes that's what you're looking for. You're just looking for that little spark to really trigger you.
 So I want you to think about, as you're kind of looking at what are the different groups that appeal most to me? Who are the people I want to surround myself with? Think about what gives you energy, think about what gets you excited about life and what really kind of boosts that in your business. That's what you want to be doing more of. Then some of the other stressor stuff, you want to figure out how to get rid of that. So that's where, when Draye talks about marketing or automation, getting some of those things streamlined in your business, getting your team behind you in the right way. This is all tied in together. Okay? So when you expose yourself to big thinkers, there's just so many different facets that you have to be aware of going into it, to get the most out of your interactions.
 So Brian, I think, you touched on this in the beginning, but I want you to say, and I'm not tooting my own horn here, but what is the biggest impact that you experienced by getting me, as your second in command, involved in some of these programs as well?

Brian S.: Well, I am going to toot your horn. But I will tell you that one of the great things of having people that think like I do, Draye does, and Brittany, is when you share an idea and then you said, "Let's get that implemented." You absolutely know it's going ti get done, but get done correctly, because they understand the vision and the reason why. The other advantage to that is by having somebody that's got the background and goes to the same mastermind groups as I do, is while I'm in the office, it does give me a person that I can chat with and share ideas and bounce ideas off of that kind of gets the bigger picture, because they have this expanded mindset that the average person that isn't exposed to these things may not have. It's not their fault, they're just not exposed to it.
 So I would just tell you the level of thought and then the level of comprehension that you now have that you can apply to the other aspects of what you do, it's just amazing the results that you get. I literally don't have to even tell you to do these things, because it's just kind of an innate part of you, because you hear all this stuff from other people in these groups.

Brittany: So I appreciate you saying that Brian. And something that I wanted to add to that people may not know is that while I've been your second in command, I've worked with you for 10 years now, 10 years plus. Part of us being exposed to some of these larger groups is we found a commonality between us and we actually partnered and started a separate business together. So that's the other thing, too, is when we talk about opportunities and Brian talking about these different businesses that he's put in place, there's just a world of opportunity out there that you may not see until you start, again, being completely honest with what drives you, being completely honest with what bogs you down and just finding those people that you can collaborate with.
 So Brian, to kind of wrap up today, why don't you just touch on ... I think mindset. I think that's the word, right? Just touch on mindset and how that really is everything. That's what it boils down to.

Brian S.: Yeah, I would totally agree. I think you're only as good as what you think you can do. I'm a big believer, I love to read a positive sayings. So I think having this ability to be around people that have these positive, can-do mindsets allows you to be in that state more often. The more often you're in it, the better the results. Also from being a leader of your team, they feed off of you. So if you have a positive, can-do mindset, think-big attitude, that's gonna rub off and they're going to want to be more like that. So not only should you expose yourself, maybe your key leadership, but I would tell you all of your team members should be exposed to bigger thinking and opportunities to think out of the box, because everybody on your team can get better when they're exposed to people that are better.
 So it's just not you, it's everybody. I would tell you that given the opportunity, every one of your team members wants to get better, but they don't necessarily know how to get better. So when you give them the resources to be able to be around others that can help them expand and grow, that's just going to grow your culture, grow your team and automatically. So anything that you can do to enhance the mindset, the positivity of yourself and your leaders, I think you want to do as much of that as you can.
 That's going to lead into our next episode, next week where we're going to be talking about getting the right butts in the right seats. So stay tuned for that.
 Thank you for being here today. We look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

Draye: Hey there. Draye Redfern here. Before you go, we just wanted to say, "Thank you for listening to this week's episode of the Ultimate Advisor Podcast." If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe to the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify. And be sure to rate us five stars on iTunes, because when you do, you'll be entered into a monthly drawing for our Ultimate Advisor Coaching program, which is a $2,000 value. If you would like to access more of the show notes, additional resources, and our free premium content, then please visit
 We look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Ultimate Advisor Podcast. We'll see you there.

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About The Ultimate Advisor Podcast:
The Ultimate Advisor podcast is a business podcast for financial advisors who are looking to grow their advising practices with greater ease and effectiveness. Ultimate Advisor was developed to help financial advisors master their marketing, sell their services with greater authority, generate repeat clients, and additional revenue in their business.
Each week, your hosts Draye Redfern, Bryan Sweet, and Brittany Anderson will share some of the closest guarded secrets from successful financial advising practices across the U.S.  

Draye Redfern

Draye is also the founder of which helps Attorneys go from “Surviving” to “Thriving” in their business.  In addition, Draye helps to provide insurance solutions to more than 8,600 law firms across the United States annually.

Bryan Sweet

Founder of Sweet Financial, CEO, Wealth Advisor, RJFS
Creator of The Dream Architect™
Co-founder of Dare to Dream Enterprises
Creator of Elite Wealth Advisor Symposium
Author of 3 books – Dare to Dream: Design the Retirement You Can’t Wait to Wake Up To, Imagine. Act. Inspire. A Daily Journal and Give & Grow: Proven Strategies for Starting an Running and Effective Study Group

Brittany Anderson

Director of Operations at Sweet Financial, Office Manager, RJFS
Co-founder of Dare to Dream Enterprises
Author of 2 books – Imagine. Act. Inspire. A Daily Journal & Dare to Dream: Design the Retirement You Can’t Wait to Wake Up To
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