Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
The last few weeks, I have had a series of new client meetings, and I noticed a consistent theme in every meeting, a sense of fear. My first meeting with a new client involves me asking a series of questions to get a good understanding of where the client is financially and where they would like to go. After I collect all of this information, I sit down for a few hours and create an individualized financial plan based on the information gathered from the first client meeting. Once I develop the plan, I meet again with the client and present the plan, and this is where I see the fear.
I would say that 98% of the time when my clients see the goals that I have laid out for them, they experience fear and possibly dread over what their future will look like. Why fear? It’s a fear of the unknown, because many of them have never pushed themselves to achieve the types of goals that I set for them. It’s not that they don’t want to push themselves, it’s that they just don’t know what goals they should set. As I have said in the past, I set achievable goals for my clients; however, they are definitely reach goals, and for clients who have never focused on their money habits, hearing these goals is sometimes a scary thing. I think many times my clients think these goals will kill them, not make them stronger.
If you have never tried jumping a hurdle, it can seem overwhelming; however, just as you train and practice to jump the hurdle, you need to train and practice good money habits. I give my clients exercises and tools to help them reach these goals so that they have some direction. Yes, they may fall flat on their face trying to jump the hurdle, but with practice, it won’t seem as scary.
50/50 Success Rate by First Quarter Meeting
The fact is, though, by our first quarter meetings, only about half of my clients reach the goals I have set and half of my clients fail. The successes excite me, but the failures don’t bother me. I’m not bothered because now I have a solid three months of client activity that I can review to find and pinpoint my client’s problem areas.
You see, when we first meet, my clients tell me what they think are their problem areas, but many times they don’t really have a good grasp of what’s happening. After three months, I can easily pick out patterns and behaviors that we can work on. So the clients who failed to reach first quarter goals get a whole new set of tools and exercises to work through to help get them back on track. By the second quarter meetings, 70% of my clients are meeting their goals, and the 30% who haven’t get another round of help and tools. When we get to the third quarter, pretty much 90% of my clients are inline with what they need to be doing.
Financial Fitness Doesn’t Come Easy to Everyone
Financial fitness is not a strength of everyone, just like physical fitness does not come naturally to everyone; however, just as you can improve yourself physically, you can improve yourself financially it just may take a longer time, but as the lovely Kelly Clarkson says, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” These goals and the behaviors that lead to achieving them will cause fear and they will cause pain, but in the end, my clients are not only in a better place financially, they are in a better place emotionally as well.
For many, they didn’t believe that they could even accomplish what I set out for them at the beginning of our time together, and to see the growth in their assets as they make changes gives them a lot of confidence that they can achieve other things in life.
If you set goals for yourself, make sure that you push yourself and that your goals create fear and pain in your life, if not, then you are setting your own personal bar too low. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you stay committed, and remember that it’s okay to fail repeatedly along the way because you learn something new in every failure.
For my clients who fail each quarter, I learn new things about them and develop new strategies to help them. I don’t give up on them, I just try something new and eventually we find the right solution to help them achieve their goals. Either way, my clients are learning throughout their journey toward financial fitness and each step is making them stronger financially and stronger mentally.