Have you ever had an “Ah Ha” moment when things seemed to become crystal clear to you and everything just made sense? This happened to me recently after an acquaintance recommended a book called “Think and Grow Rich”, written by Napoleon Hill in 1937. As a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, I have read many books on personal finance and financial planning over the years, however nothing prepared me for what I read in “Think and Grow Rich”.
I utilize a coach to help me learn things about my industry, stay ahead of the curve, manage my time more efficiently, and learn about the things that I don’t know that I don’t know. While going through my coaching program, I was given a book list that would help me to gain insight from other experts in my industry. Among the books, was a book on “values-based” financial planning. Now I already knew that values were important in financial planning, however after reading Napoleon Hill’s book, I had my “Ah Ha” moment. The values conversation became crystallized in my mind. Picture the following:
On a routine visit to your doctor, you are told that you have a rare medical condition and you only have 6 months to live.
Would you be doing what you are doing right now in your life and your business? If you aren’t, why not?
What would you be doing differently? If you had only 6 months, would you be tempted to want to make a difference? How about reconcile with your family and relationships? What will people remember you for? “What will be written on your tombstone?”
Over the years, I have encountered many different kinds of people who each have their own ideas about what they want from their money. In many cases, I have found that people don’t know what they want from their money, or their life for that matter. Early on, I realized that it was important to help people to focus on their goals, rather than the return in their portfolio. When I read “Think and Grow Rich”, my mind saw something that had I had not seen before. Goals are not values. A big portfolio, buying a vacation home or a fancy new car does not bring happiness. If you answer why those things are important and how achieving those make you feel, you will have a better understanding of your values. The value could be, “Buying the home makes me feel like I have accomplished something”. Why is that important? “Accomplishment makes me feel fully fulfilled”, you might answer. Take the time to understand the values behind your goals.
Your ”Wake Up” Moment
We have all heard stories about people who survived horrible diseases, had near death experiences, or had some other life “wake-up” event that stirred them to change their life. Perhaps you remember the scene in the WWII movie “Saving Private Ryan” when just before Tom Hanks dies, he tells Private Ryan to “Earn This”, (his life was saved by men who died saving him). Were continually reminded about the deeds of “The Greatest Generation” and are often amazed at how purposefully that generation lived their life. Perhaps it was because this generation faced the definite reality that every day in battle could be their last. Perhaps that they told themselves that if they lived, they would live a purposeful life. Perhaps if the doctor told you that you only had 6 months to live, your priorities might be different than they are today.
Ultimately, using your money to achieve what’s really important to you is the law of attraction in financial planning. People have strong emotional connections to their money and what it means to them. When you successfully make the mental connection between your true underlying values and your financial goals, it will serve as a personal compass and a discernible foundation for an inspiring plan for your money and your life.