Year of the Step Forward

Year of the Step Forward

Happy New Year! Thank you for “be- in” with me.

I am privy to relationships with my clients at a level of personal confidence that implies a great deal of trust. The trust confided in me has blown into a full fledged passion for my vocation, a love for what I do. The time passes quickly, too quickly, and sometimes it feels as though there is no beginning or end. I am tap dancing when I am told things not easily shared with others, or asked to protect the fruits of labour, family legacies, hopes and dreams. Who wouldn’t want a “job” like this?

To whom much is given, much is expected. The expectations people have compel me toward the endless pursuit of contributing something meaningful to the public good and especially to those invested with me. There is no retiring from something like this.

Last year was a year of rejuvenation. The tragic loss of life experienced with my long time assistant, Jean, on the passing of her daughter lead to the subsequent adoption of her new born grandchild and Jean’s leave of absence. Another of the twists and turns of life lead to the debilitating stroke suffered by a 71 year old associate, Suzanne Howard.

For those who know Jean or Suzanne, it will come as no surprise that we would have a difficult time replacing either of them. For every adversity there is an equal or greater benefit. Jean is now infatuated with her new love. Jean’s absence has also compelled the development of systems that will provide the foundation of rock solid client services for years to come. Necessity is the mother of invention.

It is premature to extrapolate how Suzanne’s forced retirement lead her clients to me and the benefits that may come from that introduction. I am compelled to prove it as a positive experience given half of a chance to earn my keep. All new comers are welcome and yes, I do have something to prove and expectations to live up to!

My own succession planning has taken on an entirely new significance. A few years ago I entered into a mutual agreement with another advisor in case something was to happen to either of us. In the event of premature death or incapacity a plan is on file with FundEX to quickly assure those in our care that there will be continuity with their planning efforts. In the meantime my youngest son, Grant, has stepped into the world of formal and practical business training, so a plan “B” is also in the works.

As we start 2013, it’s important to look back over the past year and close the chapter on what we have accomplished. “Complete the old, create the new,” says life coach Carol Koziol. Put closure on the year behind us with a sense of finality. In Latin, tabula rasa means the slate is clean, it’s a fresh start. This year marks 30 years of preparing for what comes next with my clients. Rarely is it what has happened that counts, it’s what happens next. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”.

I’m re-learning how to dream, imagining my life as abundant with everything I could need or want. We all face challenges along the way to our hopes and dreams and it is the choices we get to make that make the journey so exciting. The choices of which thoughts to hold and keep are equally as important as those we choose to let go. Here are some real life examples.

The dreaded “Fiscal Cliff” is the crisis du jour. How many previous crises have we faced before? Only this time it’s different, my sarcasm is real here – political infighting and the inability of government to reach an agreement, go figure. The “new normal” is trending today. The remainder of the headlines are other imminent disasters waiting to happen or it’s the various failings of mankind. We’ve replaced Nostradamus, the Myan’s, and other apocalyptic events with the real deal of human shortcomings! The end is nigh, again.

On balance and to be fair, we may not rise above our challenges as well as we do if we were to trivialize without sensitivity to the difficulty of implementing solutions. I’m not here as a shill for the investment industry to blow sunshine in your face. We choose what we want to believe for ourselves, much the way we always have done. It’s just that what we see is not necessarily what we believe and what we believe is not necessarily what we see.

The alternative scenario is one where we see the headlines as opportunities. Are we allowing ourselves to be served by the news, the markets, and the herd of humanity or are we being blown around in every which direction? We can harness the winds of change and let’s look at what else we’ve got.

Here in this country we have a better banking system than anywhere on the planet and we enjoy a standard of living that ranks as among the very best ever known. Our system is still working. We’ve been building on success for quite a while now and we overcome challenges. We have something else in common with the rest of humanity; it’s the relentless pursuit of making things better.

In order to make things better, we have to know what we want. We need to develop our vision with perfect clarity. Anything important we want to succeed at we make a checklist and follow it. When we know what we want, we move toward it by taking one step at a time. We attract our goals and dreams by imagining how wonderful it feels to have the reality of that vision totally permeate our life right now. Feel it in the here and now. Imagine your life of abundance.

The good news is that the headlines and the bearish sentiment are producing a lot of low hanging fruit. We know there is a hefty price for a cheery consensus. We prefer stepping over one foot bars instead of producing the effort it takes to clear the six foot high jump. Cautiously stepping forward will work, paralysis by fear does not work.

We don’t have to do anything if we don’t see a fat pitch, the one where we can’t miss. Sometimes sitting on our duff is more productive than confusing motion with progress. Deciding to do nothing is sometimes the best answer.

I am looking forward to continuing the journey toward your hopes and dreams for as long as you will have me. Preparations are in place so this is the year of the step forward. Click the following link if you would like to step your planning up sooner rather than later.

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