How Finance Professionals Can Build Personal Resilience
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge test for not just the resilience of organisations, but also for individuals. We are being challenged on many aspects of our lives, including health and safety, financial stability, career opportunities, social life and education.
Overcoming these problems is what personal resilience entails-not just about being unbreakable in difficult situations.We are also expected to grow and adapt at the same time. That said, our core principles, values, and ambitions should be unchanged. This is especially so for finance professionals.
A fundamental step in building personal resilience is being aware that the journey could get even more demanding in the future. Rationality is key to making the right decisions. It is essential to remain focused on the facts and maintain your professional judgement instead of getting carried away by personal interests.
The new-age formula for survival is ‘adapt or die.’ Let’s take Amazon, for example. The e-commerce giant began by selling books, yet it now offers almost every product imaginable. It has responded to its customer needs, such as same-day delivery, and single-click purchases. On the other hand, remember Blackberry smartphones? At one point, the company had around 80 million users around the globe, but it failed to adapt in time as the world moved to touch-screen technology.
The lesson here is that everyone’s approach and skills need to adapt as circumstances change. Learning is a continuous process that requires motivation and focus.
Khyati Mehta, CFA, is an investment analyst for fixed income credits and fund manager for alternative assets and passive equity strategies at a leading private general insurance company. She talks about how she remained resilient when changing her career path from finance and accounts to investment analysis. She defines resilience as an ability to power through each challenge regardless of whether the outcome is successful.
Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst® allows you to accumulate the knowledge required to succeed in finance, but it also helps build resilience. For one, it requires many hours of dedicated work, study, and research. However, this is not the end of the process; members need to learn and sacrifice throughout their career to reach their goals. In fulfilling these milestones - from clearing CFA® exams to gaining meaningful work experience - every candidate and member must harness and build capabilities and strengths to overcome their doubts and fears whilst exhibiting professionalism at all times.
Ms. Meera Siva, a Director at CFA Society India, shared the hardships of her journey as an independent consultant. She says, “When you get a salary and some stability, you do not realize what you have. But when you establish a business, no matter how much you had planned and thought the process through, the unstable cash flow is not easy to handle. The effort put into the CFA Program helps you tough it out and take up challenges more naturally!” CFA Society India membership paves the way to deeper client relationships and helps you find your footing and develop grit for the real take-off.
The CFA Program lends a helping hand with career support, volunteering opportunities, live events, and business-development resources. Continuing education and earning professional learning (PL) credits are integral to success, and CFA Society India offers formal learning opportunities through webinars, podcasts, and online courses. These help to guide an individual through the tough times by keeping you fully informed.
CFA Society India offers networking opportunities with various societies in different geographies. Each society conducts its own conferences and events that are open to everyone, including professionals from other streams. Such discussions create unity and expose participants to the different journeys taken by successful individuals. It also helps new candidates gain clarity about the profession and, ultimately, make sound decisions.
Khyati says, “Being an outsider, building a network, and grasping practical applications in a new industry was challenging. Mentors and my family supported me at inflexion points, which made my journey smoother. CFA Society India helped me overcome any roadblocks, as it assisted with networking among the who's-who of the investment world. The continuous professional learning engagements supported my smooth transition smoothly from academic to practical life applications.”
Building resilience is a personal process. You need to identify your weaknesses and then use the proper coping mechanisms to fight them. These skills cannot be developed overnight. Having the support of the CFA Society India boosts your confidence and clarity. As much as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away aspects of our freedom, there is one thing we should be thankful for, and that is the endlessly unfolding opportunity to become even more resilient.