What is Your Legacy?

What is Your Legacy?

 

I am often asked how to deal with the rapid rate of change, how to get more discipline and become more focused? If this is something you are interested in please read on but it is one of my more lengthy articles.

 

These questions seem to come from people being pulled in many different directions by sometime conflicting obligations: family, business, and customers, to name a few. I am experiencing these questions more and more and I want to share them because they seem to be a concern to so many people.

 

My answer is always the same.  I always ask the same questions. What do you do? Inevitability I always get the same respond. I am a stock broker, or an accountant, or a business coach or (fill in the blank). My response is always the same: that is not what you do, that is how you do it!

 

I then see a look of confusion set in. Sometimes the arms will fold indicating some defensiveness. Other times, they remain open but the confusion remains. What they are really saying is “What in the heck is this guy talking about?”

 

When they ask me that question I ask them another question, a specific, purposeful question. What legacy do you want to leave? How do you want your significant other, your children, your coworkers, and friends to think of you after your leave this world? What do you want your life to stand for? How do you want to be remembered? I ask these questions because this is what you do, your profession is how you answer these questions.

 

Some will say I want my family to remember me for always doing the right thing. Other will say I want to know I impacted many lives in a positive way. After further discussion I ask some clarifying questions such as “what does impact mean?” or “can you define positive?”

 

Maybe an example will help.

 

I recently met with someone who is a financial planner who was doing well and struggling to work less and work with higher net worth investors?

 

“What do you do?”

“I am a financial planner.”

“What outcomes do people experience in working with you?”

After a pause he said “we many products and services to handle most of your financial needs.”

“If I were to hire you, what would you tell me that differentiate you from the thousands of planner who want my business?

Short Pause

“I have these tools, and we do this, and etc”

I said “those are tools, tricks of the trade you use, what is the outcome I can expect in working with you?”

Longer pause

He finally said somewhat tentatively “we do not want to be greedy. We want you to make money. We put a plan in place that works for you, a plan you do not have to worry about. This allows you to sleep better at night knowing that that your finances are safe in these turbulent times?”

 

My comment back was “you help me get a good night sleep because we do not have to worry about risky investments, timing the market or any of that other stuff?

 

“Yes”

 

“Why do you do that?”

 

“Because it is the right thing to do!”

 

I said “so the legacy you want to leave is one of honesty, integrity and doing the right thing in dealing with others and they way you do that is through financial planning?”

 

“Yes”

 

“We can work with that!”

 

The financial planner was not just managing his clients’ money. He is saying that his legacy is teaching his children to do the right things. He is saying to his client’s I will take care of you because it is the right thing to do.

 

My next question to him was simply.

 

“If you want to manage money of people making millions and tens of millions of dollars, what behaviors do people who manage those kinds of portfolios do that you need to implement that allows you to be consistent with the legacy you want to leave?”

 

Let’s go back to the beginning of the article. How does this apply to be more disciplined in my business?

 

Simple. 

 

When you are faced with a decision you must test this decision against what you want to achieve in your legacy (or purpose). If what you are asked to do does not match up with your legacy/purpose then do not do it. It is that simple. The problem is getting clear on your purpose. The problem is thinking about your legacy. The problem is making a decision.

 

Many people are afraid of a making a decision because they do not know what they want or they are unclear how to achieve it.

 

Think about this for a moment: what kind of person must you become to achieve your purpose, to leave your desired legacy?

 

The purpose of this discussion is to help you become the type of person you want to be become and attract to you the type of person others want to work with and be with.

  

The purpose of this discussion is to help you make decisions based on something more important to you than what is convenient.

 

The purpose of this discussion is to simplify the decision making process so you focus on what is important.

 

In my case it is very simple. I want relationships that meet these criteria: I want to work with people who are honest, I want to work with people who have integrity, I want to work with people who believe in common sense.

 

Honest means they will tell what they believe to be right and fair and not lie to me.

 

Integrity means they will do what they say.

 

Common sense is defined as creating a win/win approach for both parties.

 

My life is simple. Every decision is based on those three criteria.

 

I have the same approach to my business. If I am approached with an opportunity, possible client, etc, I evaluate them the same way I do my other activities and I ask myself how doing a specific action will take me closer to my purpose. If it doesn’t I don’t, it is that simple for me.

 

As Stephen Covey says in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Start with the end in mind! The end in this case is your legacy.

 

Your business Coach

 

Ron Finklestein

330-990-0788

ron@akris.net