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Regenerating Life Purpose Through Health and Recreation

– First Published on Nasdaq –

Those who know me know that I am goal driven and that I take the initiative and accept challenges, yet think matters through. Above all else, they know I can usually ask the tough questions – perhaps those others are only thinking.

Further, my friends see how I can sacrifice a balanced life and can be overly dynamic. Trust me, I’m like a dog with a bone when something troubles me; I can’t let it go.

This season of lock down and isolation has really caused me – like so many others – to question the purpose in my life. We need to understand and believe that life is meaningful and goal directed, and this forced respite is an optimal time to reflect on such.

For the first few weeks of isolation, I focused on “catching up.” Doing the many jobs I’d let slide. Getting back to finishing writing my book. But when catch up was complete – what next?

Back to crucial basics

Like so many others, I wanted to know that my life made sense. Then it came to me through my son. A greater sense of purpose and meaning in life is also associated with better physical and mental health activity. So, I decided to get both of us onto the golf course.

This healthy recreational activity renewed my daily purpose (yes, I still had companies to run), but teaching him to play became a buffer against stress. It mellowed me when having to face business challenges and showed the way to the importance and linkage between life purpose and healthy recreation.

After all, none other than Ralph Waldo Emerson reminded us that, “the first wealth is health.”

As a driven and competitive individual, other things became secondary to helping my young son learn the art of golf. I could feel balance restored in my life. I began to understand the importance of approaching health and recreation not from that of a competitor, but from the incredible sense of well-being I achieved simply by putting a golf ball.

Finding a ‘regeneration moment’

This renewed approach to creating a healthier life increased my personal sense of life purpose. It drove me to encourage my work colleagues to focus on health and recreation knowing that it would change all our lives for the better.

It’s been so interesting to sit back and listen to my team as they discuss business and strategies and I realize how much richer the conversations are, how motivated they are (even after nearly a year of not being in the same room) and the increase of energy and passion.

Sports may have been how I expressed myself and restored life purpose. But maybe your life purpose “regeneration moment” could be writing, painting, playing music, meditation, cooking, walking or…? It’s important to know a) that health and recreation requires investment, b) a sense of purpose often develops from having meaningful connections to others, and c) your mental health needs an outlet.

Influencing and shaping

One of my team members who is a prolific reader has joined a book club. They meet (social distancing observed) and discuss a common book they are reading as well as a book on a subject matter they are passionate about.

She was telling me how stimulating it was to discuss the latest novel the group was reading – and how she really came to life talking about her passion, which is understanding behaviors. From my perspective, her confidence has increased (on our weekly Zoom calls), her contribution has been amplified (she’s naturally reserved), and she has a renewed focus on the importance of paying attention to health and recreation and how this could influence behavior and shape life goals.

So, here’s my question: How is your life purpose? Could investing more time into your health and recreation guide and inform better life decisions and provide an increased sense of direction and increase your wealth? It’s a conversation worth having. With yourself and with others.

In the meantime, see you on the golf course!

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.

Understanding Your Financial DNA

Rick Helbing,? a Certified Financial Planner who provides strategic financial planning to Medical Professionals, Dental Professionals, and Family Business Owners, discusses the importance of understanding your Financial DNA in his Fresh Financial Ideas blog.

“There once was a time when you might meet with a financial advisor for an hour or two. He or she would look over your assets, liabilities, risk tolerance, and maybe your current insurance coverage.? The two of you might discuss the rate of return you would like to see on your investments and your risk comfort level. In a few days, your advisor would return with a financial package, full of recommendations on how you should invest your money.

But how well does that advisor really know you?? Did that one-hour conversation really tell the advisor about your deepest dreams? Did it really reveal your approach to money?? Does your advisor now have any understanding of the responsibilities you shoulder for your family or for your employees?? Does your advisor know anything about how you like to communicate and make decisions? ?Does your advisor know your story?how you got to where you are today? Does your advisor even care about any of that?or ?is the primary concern to offer you a?return?on your assets?

If money is a tool to help you reach your larger goals, then it behooves a good advisor to know you, your values, and your goals very well.”

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The Big Question

Last week I participated in a learning program for fast growth businesses conducted by Verne Harnish (founder of Gazelles, Inc) who is world renowned as “The Growth Guy”. Verne has run training workshops for and coached many great entrepreneurs all over the world. He has a very straightforward approach to helping an entrepreneur stay focused.

After listening to Verne for a while, and I have been in his workshops before, it became very clear to me that the Big Question we need to ask ourselves is: What is your success impediment? That is, what is getting in the way of your success? I believe we can continuously ask ourselves this question in every area of our life, at whatever stage we are at. In many instances, it is “you”. So, the question becomes what are you going to do to get out of your own way? Are you self-aware of what is in the way? A lot of this is about your DNA. A lot of the time, we are not aware of what our natural blind spots are which are a core part of our behavior. Ultimately, people succeed or fail because of their behavior. Taking this further into a business or a family, the behaviors of the team or family member will also be important.

This is why coaching is very important. If you are an entrepreneur, Verne will certainly endorse that a coach is critical to your success in business. The same is true in life generally – a good life coach can really help your quality of life. If the coach starts by asking the big question every time then your feet will truly be held to the fire and the right focus will come.

Shirt Sleeves to Shirt Sleeves in 3 Generations

In recent years there has been a lot written about how wealth created by the first generation (the entrepreneur) is lost by the third generation. Often the second generation has also added to the wealth. Then the third generation has lost it through being irresponsible, idle or simply making poor decisions.

Research from a range of sources is consistently showing that this is happening in over 70% of family wealth transfers.

A significant aspect of intergenerational wealth loss is related to the fact that the financial and estate plans do not adequately take into account the human issues involved. Very often poor communication and relationships within the family along with negative emotions lead to bad decisions. The reality is that many wealth transfer plans whilst technically sound become redundant the day after the wealth transferor passes on.

So, how can you improve those statistics so there is greater intergenerational wealth preservation and also family harmony?

The solutions are found in some interesting research undertaken with a high number of wealthy families by groups like Family Office Exchange and also The Williams Group. Their research points to the top priorities for the families are now to address areas such as family legacy and the family relationships. Whilst investment competence is important it is somewhat low on the list. Investment management is generally seen as a given and considered somewhat of a known science. Notwithstanding, getting the family to adopt these priorities and change their behavior is another matter. If you are an advisor, accountant or attorney what areas should you spend the most time on?

The importance of building greater family unity cannot be underestimated. The family needs to have a defined legacy with a shared mission and set of values. This then becomes the framework and platform for family decisions, dealing with businesses, inheritance, financial education, philanthropy and so on. If needed, bring in specialists to deal with the human dynamics and facilitate this. We often do this with advisors. So, I would really encourage for family meetings to be held. Whilst this process can be expensive in some cases, it does not have to be. Just being aware of the importance of these issues and doing a little more to work on them even through more “relational” discussions will help. Of course, for a high net worth family with many financial complexities and plenty of family history then a family meeting is a great idea and will lead to great results.

Changing Lives with Powerful Questions

Today, I listened to a great presentation by Tal Ben-Shahar who teaches positive psychology at Harvard University. Interestingly, his 2 courses have been rated the most popular in the university. No wonder, he is so motivating.

The message he delivered was that if you want to change the reality of people’s lives then you need to change the questions you ask them. The right questions can change people’s lives. This is when miracles happen.

Think about when your life changed or you made a major change in your life. Was it because someone asked you a great question? Very often it is. I know many of my significant life choices have been prompted by a great question. Furthermore, I remember the people who asked me these life changing questions.

How do you ask these life changing questions, or what we call in our business powerful questions? They must be positive or what is often referred to as appreciative. Always come from a positive angle or the person’s strength, regardless of what the situation is.

If you want to be more structured or scientific about it, then you can have the person complete a behavioral profile first. Then you know their areas of strengths and interests to which the questions can be directed.

The same approach can be followed with a person in any area of your life: whether it be clients, team mates or family members.