practice consultant BY
glenn g. kautt
Success Strategy: New Attitude
First, seek out big challenges.
Then figure out how to overcome them.
This short story may not seem to have anything to do with being a financial planner. But it has a lot to do with suc- cess — and that’s a concept that’s relevant to everyone. I was a fairly smart kid; the intellectual part of school
came easy to me. The behavioral part didn’t go so well, on the
other hand. By the fifth grade, I was failing five of eight subjects
Teachers saw through my passive-aggressive behavior and
promoted me anyway and, in middle school and high school, my
grades and behavior came together. But when I started college at
17, immature behavior and casual attitude caused my grades to
By the age of 19, I had been disowned by my father and thrown out
of the house. I was totally on my own.
I attempted to hold down a full-time
job and go to school, but before I
turned 21, I was out of money and had
to quit college.
I did have one option left: to enlist
in the U.S. Navy. Luckily, my brain
kicked in and I qualified for their most rigorous technical program,
running nuclear reactors on submarines.
A decade later, I had served as a naval officer, graduated from
college with honors and graduated from Harvard Business School.
In short, I had engineered a successful personal turnaround.
So what does this have to do with being a financial advisor?
Quite a bit — particularly if you have clients who have been confronted with serious personal or professional challenges, or if you
was mired in my bad attitude and trapped by
my irresponsible behavior? What prevented
me from embracing a charged life of helping
and even inspiring others, being enthusiastic and engaged every day, seeing the world
filled with exciting and huge possibilities for
There were a couple of factors. The first
part was hitting a financial brick wall, which
in my case led to an emotional crisis. Some
of you may have personally experienced
this sort of event; it leads to a “fight or flight”
Burchard puts it this way: “The
life worth living is out there ... on
the craggy battlefields that test our
wits and wills in the daily fights with
our own demons. It is found during
the long onward slog through the
storms and strife ... where we are
knocked sprawling and forced to
face our own weaknesses. ... It is out there
that we come face-to-face with the best in
ourselves and with our destiny.” I certainly
was in a financial and emotional storm, and I
decided to fight.
Insisting on too
much control can
lead to disappointment, obsessions
HOW TO CREA TE CHANGE
In his new book, The Charge, about living a more vibrant and
engaged life, Brendon Burchard divides individuals into three
broad categories of personal engagement. He calls them caged,
comfortable or charged.
What caused the change from my formerly caged life, where I
iNTERNAl s TRA TEGy
I lacked a conscious internal strategy — something psychologists say people must develop
and control in order to become motivated,
engaged and fulfilled. Forty years ago, I had no
idea which key drivers would change my life.
I do now.
The first issue was control. This can be a
balancing act. Insisting on too much control (whether of others or yourself) can
November 2012 Financial Planning 37