Action creates results: The power of the plan featuring Melissa Joy

Melissa JoyTo Melissa Joy, resilience and the ability to adapt to change are neither inborn abilities nor the result of luck. To her, success and the ability to overcome challenges are the natural outcome when you are prepared always has a plan. But that doesn’t mean her road to success has been predictable. After 20 years in the business, Melissa took the leap and went on her own as a financial advisor. While she knew a lot about the industry already, she was essentially starting from scratch as a business owner. “There was a lot of uncertainty and unknown, which everyone has to tackle if they’re going to be resilient.

To overcome challenges in her career, Melissa tries to be strategic. “I’m most successful when I have a plan,” she says. “I’ve learned that action creates results.”

Her advice to other women financial advisors seeking to build resilience is to “focus on what you can control.” She notes the importance of muting inner negative voices and putting them in a place where one can “constructively approach overcoming those obstacles.” She also suggests having a conversation partner and, of course, a strategic plan to address issues over time.

Focus on what you can control.

This stepwise approach has fueled much of Melissa’s success over the years, but she insists that “success is a moving target.” It requires setting specific, aspirational, and measurable goals, and then working hard to achieve them. If results are below their targets, she goes back to fundamental activities that drive results. Equally important, though, is not benchmarking oneself against others. It’s about “having an honest assessment of where I want to be and what I want to achieve that’s applicable to me, versus other people’s expectations.”

One of the most important lessons Melissa has learned over the years is to “believe in yourself.” She is quick to point out that this is the same advice advisors often give their clients. Another key lesson? “It’s the people you surround yourself with…who will fuel your success.”

Believe in yourself.

To those just beginning their careers as financial advisors, Melissa thinks it’s particularly useful to view the job as a helping profession. Indeed, giving financial advice is an opportunity to change people’s lives for the better. With that belief firmly ingrained, it’s wise to build a network of people willing to share ideas and knowledge. Importantly, Melissa advises, don’t look for people whose path to success may not be replicable. Instead, look to individuals who are positioned a few steps ahead—people who made significant strides within the past five years.

Melissa isn’t shy about dispensing advice to women financial advisers. In fact, she has made concerted efforts in recent years to build more advocates for women in this industry, appealing to men in and outside the profession to shine a light on the need for more women financial advisers. She’s also paying it forward by serving as a mentor to others, providing encouragement and sharing tools.

It’s no surprise that Melissa has a plan for the future of her business, even during these uncertain times. To pivot her business forward, she says, “I am constantly challenging myself…and am relentless in not being satisfied with the status quo.” She wants her clients to feel like they receive world-class service from a forward-looking firm—one that is entrenched in the digital age. She says confidently, “We’ll be prepared for whatever is next.”

Melissa Joy leisure

Q+A with Melissa

What is your hometown?
“Dexter, Michigan.”

How long have you been in the financial services industry?
“Since 1998.”

What’s your theme song?
“‘A Million Dreams’ with P!NK or ‘The Man’ by Taylor Swift.”

What or who inspires you?

  • “My mom and grandmothers.”
  • “Serena Williams.”
  • “The US women’s soccer team.”

What are two philanthropies close to your heart?
Build Institute in Detroit and Women’s Leadership Alliance

Follow along on social media with #RJWomen.