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Financial Advisors + ID + EI – What Does It All Mean?

It’s an age-old question. How can financial advisors break through emotional barriers to help clients with their finances?

In recent Identity conversations with Canon Financial Institutes Executive Director Certifications, William Trigleth III, Hugh Massie,  Chairman and Founder of DNA Behavior Global, talked about the importance of financial advisers understanding Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Identity (ID) as a starting point to knowing how to manage advisor/client behavioral differences.

Trigleth acknowledged to Massie how the application of the DNA Behavior discovery tools helped advisors identify their emotional hotspots and revealed vital areas where clients’ financial conversations would need to be managed. 

An essential part of Identity is getting to grips with our emotional intelligence. It becomes crucial when financial advisors are discussing finances with their clients. Nothing disturbs emotional equilibrium more than conversations around money.

You can view a short version of the Massie/Trigleth conversation here:

Or head to our YouTube Channel to view the whole Identity conversation.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me explain!

Over the past four months, Hugh Massie has been conducting online conversations with industry leaders worldwide. The discussions have circled the importance of understanding Identity regardless of the industry they lead. 

A large part of the conversations has revealed how closely aligned self-awareness of one’s own Identity and emotional intelligence are. 

So, what is emotional intelligence?  

In his book A Dictionary of Psychology, Andrew Colman defines Emotional Intelligence this way:

Emotional intelligence (EI) is most often defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. People with high emotional intelligence can recognize their own emotions and those of others, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, and adjust emotions to adapt to environments

There is no doubt financial advisors need to be able to manage behaviors and reactions that their clients have to market movement. Without this understanding, set goals won’t be achieved.

A great starting point is that advisors know themselves first. This self-awareness leading to self-management keeps the advisor very professional. Still, it also ensures their insight positions them to see and manage their clients’ behavior.

‍Remember, the pull of money is a highly emotive subject. Therefore, the more insight an advisor has into their own and their client’s response, the more likely they are to navigate clients through periods of anxiety.

So how can you increase your emotional intelligence? That’s easy. Head over to our website and complete a FREE trial. This is a perfect starting point, and if you want to talk to one of us about the outcomes – no problem, we can do that.

Maybe you think you would benefit from an Identity Conversation with Hugh Massie – let’s see what we can do to set that up.

I will continue to write something about these Identity interviews with these industry leaders. What they are sharing is GOLD. 

Interesting for us is the common thread, i.e., when individuals know their Identity, they can manage money conversations at a whole new level. As a result, they and their clients tend to make significantly better decisions – about money and finances and other things – that could negatively affect them.

Genuine Identity and Purpose: The Money Will Flow

– First Published on Nasdaq –

How does knowing your identity impact how you relate to other people? What part does it play in boosting confidence? Throw the emotional and gravitational pull of money into the mix, and where does knowing or not knowing your identity fit?

There is no doubt that understanding your identity reflects who you are at the core. It informs the direction of your life. It highlights the importance of your communication style, whether professional or personal.

Here, we speak of identity as your inherent or innate passion and purpose and the associated behaviors, good or bad.

People, then numbers

It may go without saying that we are all different and being able to manage differences enriches relationships. That can be particularly impactful in the financial services industry, where the emotional pull of money is front and center.

In fact, understanding the identity of clients is foundational to the advisory process. The same is true of advisors knowing their own identity. On a day-to-day basis, advisors need to be able to adapt their own communication to those of others. For example, they need to know when to be direct, inclusive, soft, a listener, or a counselor.

When knowing identity focuses on the advisor-client relationship, walls come down, creating a much healthier framework for delivering advice. Advice that is likely to be more accurate and lasting. Clients know when an advisor genuinely knows them and cares about their life goals, plans, and wealth creation. They know when advice is more about people than numbers.

Money decisions are different

I’m passionate about pioneering the understanding of money behavior. We of course all have innate behaviors and understanding those behaviors – especially as pertains to decision making – is particularly challenging but also particularly revealing when it comes to money.

Money impacts every aspect of our lives. Money can power our lives positively or negatively, regardless of the amount of money we have.

But what I’ve confirmed over the past few years is that when individuals know their identity, they can put money to work for them positively. As a result, they tend to make fewer decisions – about money and finances but also about other things – that impact them negatively.

When you know your identity, you know your talents, and you know your inherent behaviors, leading to wealth creation via applying your skills and building meaningful, supportive relationships. Whether you are an individual investor or leading a team or organization, it’s essential to understand the energy of money and people’s relationship to it.

Identity as info & armor

We live in a world that is highly dynamic and interconnected. Whether the speed at which we all work, the many ways technology has shaped what we do, or the deluge of opportunities coming at us, we need to be able to flex. To adapt at a moment’s notice.

So, if identity is what shapes and protects us, we understand who we are and our inherent reactions, and we can flex and adapt securely. We are less likely to make bad decisions. Instead, we see opportunities for what they are and choose whether to grab them or walk away.

A cautionary note for advisors and industry leaders is that the environment changes regularly inside a business and in people’s lives. Unless identity is known, you have no way of anticipating how clients will respond to life challenges. In reality, you are advising and leading the (figuratively) blind.

As an advisor, knowing your own identity is transformative. It increases and clarifies the quality of the questions you ask your clients, the observations you make, and the guidance you provide them – including how and when you communicate with them. You know the importance of getting to foundational stuff that means the advice you give or leadership style you adopt is suitable for that individual in that scenario at that time.

The clarity of identity

Whatever your life circumstances are, discovering a robust identity and then living it is the pathway to accelerating your advancement. There are no magic bullets here. There is work and focus involved.

Once you get the clarity of your identity, your confidence will dramatically increase. Confidence is the Number One influencer of performance. The journey will be highly positive, and through it, you will be a better person, at work and at play. And, as an advisor, you will have a better business.

It’s true for both advisors and clients: Genuinely live your identity and your purpose, and the money will follow.

See Hugh’s other writings for Nasdaq here.

Setting Your Quality Life Purpose

First Published on Nasdaq

More and more these days I’m asked my thoughts on the meaning and quality of life. This global pandemic, including being on social lock down, has caused individuals to have deeper discussions.

Many of us agree that we were having these “life” discussions when we were in college, newly married or considering our career choices. Now as adults facing so much uncertainty in the world, we are returning to these life-shaping talks to review or audit our lives, evaluating where we go next.

Golf and Revelations

I recently received an invitation to attend a golf lesson event via video conference being hosted by a financial planner. This was too random not to attend. But before the event I spoke to the host who told me that he was looking for innovative ways to stay connected, not just with friends but also with clients. So he hired a golf pro to demonstrate not only golf swings but also to give tips on how to “read” a golf course.

His intention was to bring together key people in his life who he knew were having similar life discussions, but not just to talk, but to do and enjoy something together. In this case golf.

He went on to tell me that, over the past three months, he had come to the realization that he was spending far too much time working, building wealth and growing his businesses, and too little time with his family.

Appreciating how many of his early life values were being compromised troubled him, he dug out an old journal from his youth to read. Years before he had written on the first page:

  • I will always be able to articulate my purpose.
  • I will endeavor to have balance in key areas of my life.
  • I will live with purpose and intention.
  • I will responsibly attend to my wants and needs.
  • I will have a plan for giving back to the community.
  • I will be a present and responsible head of my family.

These statements were guided by the values, goals and socio-cultural context in which he lived. Knowing that he had moved so far away from them was troubling.

A Season of Revitalization

After the Zoom golf lesson ended, the ten attendees talked about this being a season of revitalization for them. They talked about catching a new vision for their lives, for their businesses, yet all agreed how far they had drifted from their quality life purpose and plans and how important it was for them to re set their life compass.

Interestingly, we all shared news about the video conferencing events we’d been invited to. Golf was obviously of interest to us as golfers and was a small step toward refocusing our quality life. Even as we talked and laughed about the video conference events we’d been invited to (learning to cook, attending a music recital, exercising at home, portrait painting, dress making), it led us to question what would people in our personal and business world want to be invited to? Clearly not all of us would be interested in such video conference invitations.

What kind of events would we run that add meaning to life? More importantly, how would we even know what quality life and meaning looked like in the lives of those people if we didn’t know them at a deeper level.

This led to a wider conversation. Given that many people were having profound and meaningful conversations and looking at their lives through a completely different lens, how could we work with them or their clients to ensure our service offering genuinely added value to their quality and life goals?

Further, how would we know what those were? As a group we’d forgotten or laid aside our own quality life purpose to some degree. So, how then to now engage with family, friends and clients to understand and gain insight into what a quality life looked like for them?

‘Money Confidence’ Is a Key

From my own perspective I’m already seeing investors keen to understand their financial personality as they make potentially life-changing decisions. They clearly see how understanding their financial personality will build “money confidence” to make decisions that build a quality life performance in the areas of:

  • Life purpose
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Health and Recreation
  • Community
  • Relationships
  • Confidence
  • Wisdom

Over the next few months, I will unpack the importance of understanding how having a clear quality life purpose and plan can lead to significant money confidence. I hope you will join me on this journey that is at once both introspective and collaborative.