Those who know me know that I will choose a pie over a press up every time. I do have a secret though. I love cage fighting. It’s primal, primitive, uncultured but for me, it’s enjoyable watching people punch each other in the face by choice providing they are well paid.
Watch long enough and you’ll see the rise and fall of the greats. When the losing streak comes, the promotor will always say the fighter has lost “it” – the love for it, the love for competition, the why, whatever it was that made you show up every day to do the things that brought your success. At this point, you need to quit. The stakes are too high.
We all know that the reasons why we do something (the purpose, the motivation) is not what makes us have success whatever that may mean to us; it is what makes us show up every day, even when its tough, to do the work that will make us have success.
Over the last number of years, there has been a very significant discussion within our profession collectively about what it is we do but also about why we do it. We are much the better for it.
What about our client’s why? We all know what they want to do, we know when they want to do it (if we didn’t Voyant would be throwing a fit) but do we always know their why – their reasons, their purpose, their motivations or whatever it is that is causing them to tell you that these are the things they want to do with their life and money?
Why does it matter?
If we are to help people live the best life they can with the money that they’ve got then we need to understand what best means to them; But as important, we know that life is rarely a straight line from where you are today to where you want to be. If we want our clients to have success, achieving, doing, experiencing the things that they say matters to them, we need them to know and we need to be able to remind them of their why.
When life punches them in the face and they’re struggling to get back up and do the very things they need to to achieve their outcomes.
As we seek to understand our clients why, there are 3 things we need to bear in mind:
Be careful – Know where you end and your client begins
Be conscious – Man is not an island nor is he formed in isolation. Richard Wagner makes the point that when we close the door and its us and the client its not really just the client. All of their significant relationships, experiences. education, hopes/dreams/fears, all come with them.
Be confident- The result of the human condition is that we are running from pain or to pleasure. How often have we, or people we know, structured our lives systematically to shield us from the pain of failure. Safe is better than happy/fulfilled, right?
When we have been careful to not put ourselves into our client’s story; when we have been conscious of, and helped them to clarify what their reasons are, what it is they want and they what they want is going to bring freedom and pleasure and not just avoid pain or fear; we can have the confidence to ask the difficult questions, to make sure our clients are going after the right things, for them, for the right reasons for them.
Regardless of your age, regardless of how long you’ve been in the planning seat, or the opinion of colleagues or peers, be heard – be the advocate your client needs, but often doesn’t know they need; don’t let anybody silence your ability to effect change and bring greater clarity to the meaning of another human life. this is what we get to do.
There are a number of great professions that get to make a real difference and ours is one. While we may not be saving lives, we are helping to define life and putting the building blocks in place so people can achieve their most meaningful and significant life they desire. We are getting to help people live the best life they can with the money they’ve got.
Let’s get after it; let’s be that significant voice in the life of another; let’s make a difference.
Simon Thompson – Catalyst Financial Planning