Finding Your Footing

by Kevin Janiec CFP®, MBA

What happens when you lose things that are really important to you?  How do you feel when the business you worked for years to build unravels? How far do you withdraw when your spouse says “it’s over” after decades of life and family together? 

Should we be at all surprised that most people, when faced with these types of challenges, experience symptoms of depression, feel weak or ashamed, and often second guess much of their life’s work and purpose?  These reactions are human, primal, and normal.  It is easy to ask the question, “what are you going to do about it,” but much harder to actually put the pieces back together.

As financial advisors and coaches at The New Wealth Project, we are often faced with these types of situations.  The dilemma can be as extreme as the above examples or seemingly as benign as an investment decision gone awry.  Regardless of severity, in all cases our clients are being presented a challenge that seems overwhelming, or even insurmountable, in the moment.  When confidence gets rattled, we see otherwise strong and resilient people struggle to find their footing and to get things back on track.  In our position as friend and advisor, what can we do about it?  How can we help in a meaningful way?

Stop the negative feedback loop

At The New Wealth Project, we use an exercise called the “Positive Focus,” pioneered by Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach, which facilitates a conversation and exploration of the positive things that are occurring in one’s life, even when it is not evident that anything is going well.  Some of these “accomplishments” can be as mundane as staying healthy during the Covid pandemic, becoming more adept at using social technologies like Zoom, or finding a new show that you love on Netflix.  When these small items can be identified, recognized, and then celebrated the negative feedback loop can be halted and positive energy and momentum can be created.

Capture the positive momentum for next steps

Now that we have helped our client recognize that there are in fact positives that are occurring in their lives, it is critical to capitalize on this new momentum by setting objectives for continued progress on these achievements. These “next steps” can be as simple as adding a daily 30 minute walk to your routine, using your newfound Zoom skills to connect with an old friend or loved-one, or inviting someone to join you to watch that new Netflix series (socially distant, obviously!).  This is also a great time to set some new goals, using this renewed positive energy to begin to see a brighter and bigger future.

Prioritize, and document, the first step

This is when the excitement and momentum of the Positive Focus and goal setting can get derailed.  What do I do next, and why does it matter?  The key here is to define why a particular goal is critical to overall success, and then help our client determine what the immediate to-do item is to make progress towards that objective. Within this framework, our clients have modest and achievable benchmarks, both personally and financially, that they can build towards.  They also have a partner in The New Wealth Project to celebrate all along the way, and to hold them accountable when they begin to stray from the intended target.

It is inevitable that we will all be faced with tremendously difficult challenges and circumstances.  We will undoubtedly be pushed in ways that make us uncomfortable and possibly force us to recoil from our family, friends, work and normal routines.  Just as natural as this type of behavior is, it is also human nature to ride positive momentum.  Success breeds success, and in our New Wealth Project, we see it as our role, our mission even, to highlight those “wins” and to help drive our clients to even bigger accomplishments. We listen, we counsel, we cry, we guide, and we celebrate with our clients…our friends.

Investment Advice offered through FC Advisory LLC, a registered investment adviser doing business as “New Wealth Project” and as “Financial Coach”.  This content is provided for informational purposes only.  Views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FC Advisory, LLC.  Information provided is not and should not be interpreted as investment, tax, legal, or other professional advice or recommendation by FC Advisory, LLC or the members of our firm.  Always consult the appropriate professional regarding your specific situation before implementing any options presented or inferred.  FC Advisory LLC, All rights reserved.

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