Helping Your Clients Rethink Work
by Mitch Anthony
For many of us, October is a transitional month. The trees are shifting from green to gold to blazing-red, and there's a special crispness in the air. For most of us, fall is a welcome change of seasons. In many ways, it feels more like a beginning than an end. This is a good time to check in with your clients about whether or not their plans are in sync with their ambitions. Let's face it, once we roll into November, and the holiday season is in full force, it's tough to get a client's attention in a meaningful way.
The economy is more stable than it has been in years, making this an opportune time to speak with your clients about what they want out of life, specifically regarding their vocation. As you are well aware, change is a constant––markets will always fluctuate. By helping your clients understand and accept that change (as well as by encouraging them to find passion in what they do day in and day out), you will help to bring balance and fulfillment to their lives. If your clients know what they want, they will be positioned to overcome the challenges of change now and in the future.
First Things First
Before you engage in a dialogue with your clients about their personal and financial plans, ask them to complete the following statements. Let them know that there are, of course, no right or wrong responses. Encourage them to take their time in responding, making sure they understand that their responses will provide clarity to both of you—and help you help them achieve their goals:
- What I want out of life is...
- Work is...(have your client write his or her own definition)
- The satisfaction I want from my work is...
- The job or work I enjoy most is that which allows me to...
- The challenges I enjoy most are...
- The most meaningful experiences I have had with my work are...
- The stress/pressure I hate most with my current work is...
- My "dream" working scenario is...
After completing this exercise, your clients will find either affirmation in their work or a disconnect between their work and their passion. By this point, you are probably wondering how you fit in this scenario. Simply put, their responses can affect how you work with them to lay out a financial plan that merges means with meaning. Here's an example: my brother, an insurance salesman, didn't see much satisfaction in his work until one of his clients was killed in an automobile accident. He had sold life insurance to this client less than a week before the accident—and all of a sudden that satisfaction turned into passion to make sure his clients were prepared. Whether a market is in turmoil or not, you have the unique opportunity to be the voice of reason for your clients, by helping them to figure out a strategy to pursue their dreams.
Some of your clients who complete this exercise will realize they have grown tired of their work and will be interested in making a change in their life. They no longer have the enthusiasm they once had. They have already met and exceeded the challenges and are feeling trapped in work that is not reflective of who they really are. It is fairly common for certain personality types to hunger for some new and exciting challenges in their life. It is just as common for people to face up to the fact that they secretly harbor a desire to do something that would be viewed as a step down in society's eyes, such as the college president who became a golf course manager, the stockbroker who became a park ranger, the surgeon who became a farmer, or the high-level management executive who became a specialized auto mechanic. In fact, all of these individuals took a step up because they followed their passion. Some of your clients might feel stuck in lifeless jobs because they are letting their return on investment (ROI) dictate their return on life (ROL). As a financial life planner, your role is to help them sort through what is possible.
There are thousands of stories about people who decided there was a way to unite their heart and their work. All of these people had to negotiate some sort of resourceful transition to get there, although it wasn't always easy. The difference is that they followed their passions, interests, and dreams—and are now having the time of their life (some are also making the best money of their lives).
Ensure your clients understand that life does not have to be compartmentalized into neat little boxes of education, work, and retirement but can be integrated into a winding road of balance and fulfillment—one in which they are constantly learning something new, engaging in work that is challenging and satisfying, while reserving time for rest and relaxation. Your clients look to you for your expertise and advice (and maybe even your permission). Help them understand the importance of being passionate about what they do—and then how to translate that passion into positive change. I know from my conversations with financial life planners, that your own passion about what you do can inspire your clients to make a positive change. What could be more fulfilling than that?
© 2015 Mitch Anthony
Mitch Anthony is the founder and president of Advisor Insights Inc. and the Financial Life Planning Institute, the leading provider of financial life planning tools and programs for the financial services industry.
For almost two decades, Mitch and his team have provided training and development for both individual advisors and major organizations throughout the world. Mitch personally consults with many of the largest and most-recognizable names in the financial services industry on both financial life planning and relationship development.
Mitch is a consistently top-rated presenter who has spoken to groups ranging from 10 to more than 10,000. He has been named one of the financial services industry's top "Movers & Shakers" for his pioneering work. Through the Institute, he has partnered with Texas Tech University, the University of Georgia, and Utah Valley University to develop financial life planning programs for their undergraduate programs.
Mitch is a sought-after expert for the media, and a regular columnist for Financial Advisor magazine. His columns have appeared on CBS MarketWatch and in the Journal of Financial Planning. His original comic strip "Stanley Brambles, CFG (Certified Financial Guru)" appears monthly in the print edition of Research magazine. Mitch is also host of the daily radio feature, The Daily Dose, heard on over 100 radio stations nationwide.
Mitch is also the author of many groundbreaking books for advisors and consumers, including perennial bestseller StorySelling for Financial Advisors, cited by "Financial Advisor" magazine as the number one "must-read" book for financial professionals. Mitch's other books include The New Retirementality (now in its 4th edition), From the Boiler Room to the Living Room, Your Clients for Life, Your Client's Story, and The Financial Lit-Kit: The Cash in the Hat, The Bean is Not Green, and Where Did the Money Go?. For information on these books and more resources, click here. Contact Mitch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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