03 Feb Why Starting Beautiful Doesn’t Always Work
Every Wednesday morning, a very dear friend of mine whips herself into a mad panic. All self-induced of course.
Straight after she finishes knocking herself out at the gym, she throttles it home for an even bigger workout, and it’s punishing. For the next hour or so, she frantically cleans, folds and packs away everything that’s out of place ready for her regular Wednesday visitor.
And who do you think her visitor is?
The poor thing is always worried about what the cleaner will think of her mess. It’s as funny as it is cute.
My friend is not on her own because I often see the same thing with clients.
For example, most clients think they should be better organised, have more money, less debt, started sooner or have more impressive goals (whatever they are).
And let’s not forget that other chestnut, “…you’ll probably think this is a dumb question, but…”
(Tip: A dumb question will always outsmart a bad assumption).
Is it true?
It took me a while to work this out but at the heart of every client concern is, ‘Am I enough?’ Everyone has the same fear, be it, money, health, age, education, parenting, whatever. No one is impervious to this stuff.
‘Am I enough’ is human nature. The only problem is it’s usually based on some ‘comparison’ that remains unchallenged. It should be questioned with…‘Is it true’?
Take my friend for example. Do you honestly think her cleaner has ever said to her, “…sorry, we don’t clean messy houses?”
She’s stuck in, ‘Am I enough?’
The truth is, her husband and everyone else who visits their house thinks she keeps a beautiful home.
Financial Planning is exactly the same. People often think that unless their financial house is in perfect order we can’t help them, or worse, we’re not interested.
Clients also think it’s about the money. “Am I big enough to be a client?” I hear that all the time.
When I’m sitting in front of a new client, there are only two questions I’m really interested in:
1. Do I think I can work with this person?
2. Can I make a genuine difference to their situation?
Question 1 is by far the most important. Most of all, I want to know if the client and I can be drop dead honest with each other because if that’s not possible, then the chances of achieving a good outcome when we get to qn 2 begin to diminish rapidly.
Ultimately, clients and advisers are looking for the same thing. Everyone wants a good outcome but the relationship always comes first.
Recently, my friend asked if she and her husband could have a chat about their ‘stuff’. On cue, she started telling me about how everything is in a mess and…blah, blah, blah.
So I made a suggestion, “start ugly for a change!”
Starting beautiful is a lovely thought and it’s only natural to think that way, but it creates a lot of unnecessary stress about how we ‘must be’.
Starting ugly on the other hand is about being authentic. And there’s nothing more beautiful than that.
Have a great weekend!