The other day I had a conversation with Jay, the Operations Lead here at Diversified. I enjoyed the conversation as he excitedly told me about getting back into creative writing on the weekends. As he described his process and the new writing group he joined, he perked right up. I could see his entire demeanor change. In fact, Jay was telling me about something in which he had a deep-rooted love. As the conversation continued, I started getting excited for him and somewhat envious, too. What he did, without realizing it, was describe his passion to me.
Creative writing had sat dormant in his life for too long. Now, he’d gotten a taste again and it awoke something within him. (During our chat, he assured me this passion was not profitable enough to leave Diversified–good news for me, as he is too valuable to our team to lose.) As I finished the conversation, I did a lap around the office. As I walked past everyone, I started thinking about their passions.
His passion is photography; her passion is singing; he loves skateboarding; she loves traveling and Spartan races; he loves going to breweries and collecting beer; she loves to read and knit. I admit, we have a lot of great people working here and they all have some serious passions.
But, do I? That’s when it hit me. I’m not sure I have a passion!
How can everyone around me have something they’re passionate about, but I’m not sure I do? It got me thinking. I love my wife and kids; can that be a passion? I love my company and I’m fanatical about improving it; is that a passion? How about exercising? (Nah, that feels like a “must-do” more than anything.) What about hanging with friends or traveling? I do very much enjoy those things, but do I get the same enjoyment from them as Jay does about writing? I don’t think I do, to be honest. (Oh, I also love pizza! Man, I do love a good pizza! But again, that doesn’t feel like a true passion, just something awesome I like. Plus I can’t be the pizza passion guy can I?)
Lately, I’ve been losing sleep as I try to figure this out. The real question is, why has it bothered me so much? It finally dawned on me! As a financial planner, finding a client’s passion is integral to what I do. One’s passion is at the core of any financial plan. Without one, you still can do valuable financial planning, but in most cases the ability to actually transform a person would be lost. It’s a critical step if we want to help them realize their dreams! (But, how can we if we haven’t helped them define their passion in the first place?)
It isn’t good enough for us to simply gauge when you should be able to retire. We want to help you articulate and vision why you are retiring. What are you actually retiring to (instead of from)? It’s critical to figure that out, for it is part of the transformation process.
That passion becomes the why of your financial plan. In my almost two decades of doing this, I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard people want to start charities or travel the world. Some want to get an RV and have no home address, while others wish to play in a rock and roll band.
It’s these passions that gives our relationship a true purpose.
Sometimes this uncovering of a passion is lighting quick. Other times, it takes years. When it does though, a light bulb goes off and the entire relationship changes. Meetings have a deeper meaning. There’s a newfound energy as we discuss steps to realize those passions. The thought of living this new lifestyle and realizing ones dreams seems to create tons of inertia.
Those like me will need more discussion and even some soul searching. But, I do know one thing in this world I am extremely passionate about–my family. (I joke with my kids all the time that daddy will buy them a home next door if they stay close.) A close second for me is my work, which I’m lucky enough to be able to do every single day. It’s powerful and heartwarming to watch individuals hit key life milestones; it makes my job that much more rewarding.