October 26, 2023

Why it pays highly to go deep

I still remember it so clearly. A client meeting in Victoria.
His adviser firm was profitable, and his lifestyle spelled “Success”.
But his features spoke of great unease; he clearly wasn’t happy.
So, I said “Let’s start with good news. Speak to me of your progress!”

He spoke then of a client whom he had met a few days previous.
A miserable man, by all accounts. With constant belly-aching.
He glowed when he described how he had shaped that man’s affairs, and
Had saved him tax of twenty thou. His pride, there’s no mistaking.

The question I then asked him left him staring, with mouth gaping.
His smiled dissolved clean from his face, replaced soon by confusion.
You’d think that I’d delivered news that spoke of doom impending.
I wonder now if you can guess what birthed such disillusion?

The question that I’d posed to him, it really was quite simple:
That’s wonderful!” I’d said at first. Then “But I’m led to query:
What was the point of what you’d done? What did you hope would happen?
What outcome did this fellow want? This man so sad and dreary?”

He snapped back, “Well it’s obvious. He wanted that tax saving!”
To which I slowly mused “Let’s see if I grasp what you’re speaking.
This miserable, unpleasant, constantly-complaining fellow…
Would this make him more joyous? What LIFE outcome were you seeking?”

“How would I know the answer to that?” his voice began to rise.
To which I said, more slowly, “Now I wonder, did you ask him?”
“No, I didn’t.”
came the quiet response. Light dawning in his eyes.
I could see that my suggestion felt as if I’d just unmasked him.

“Look, James” (although that’s not his name) “if I stay on to help you,
Then more revenue and profits are both just OUTCOMES that we’ll reach.
But if they’re your driving PURPOSE, then we should cease with all this coaching.
There’s something deeper needs to happen. That’s what I’m trying to teach.”

“I’m inviting you to shift your views: examine what you’re doing.
Cos, it’s obvious that your success doesn’t bring much joy or peace.
Are you here to serve your CLIENTS, help them live their life with meaning?
Or is it their MONEY that you serve? If it is, then we should cease.”

And so it is with many who would give advice ‘bout money.
They get lost in clever instruments and skills to show their might.
If we would just seek deeper, then clients’ trust would grow more quickly.
Then we’d both be full empowered to create a future rich and bright.
Then we’d both be full empowered to create a future rich and bright.