By Emma Cramm
As financial planners, we are on this beautiful mission to empower people to find freedom in their finances.
We enter into many of the most stressful and joyous parts of our clients’ lives, help them realize what their goals are, and come alongside them to define the realistic path that it will take to get there. It’s an honorable profession, one that we shouldn’t take lightly, and we each have a unique role to play.
An important part of each of our careers is discovering who we are individually as planners so that we can fulfill our part in the corporate mission. There are clients you are uniquely gifted to serve, and areas of expertise that you are exceptionally gifted to understand. We cannot be everything to everyone. That’s an impossible feat, and it doesn’t serve ourselves or others well. Our aim shouldn’t be to try to mirror someone else – they’re already taken, and the world needs you.
Being confident in your identity as a planner expands your ability to serve current clients, elevates satisfaction in daily responsibilities, empowers creativity, and attracts the type of client that you enjoy serving. Start with these simple questions:
What Energizes You?
As you go throughout your day, pay attention to the tasks, conversations, and happenings that leave you feeling fulfilled. This doesn’t necessarily exclude stress or failure. Stress leads to growth, and failure identifies areas for improvement that pave the way for success if you stick with it.
Pinpoint the things that leave you feeling more excited about work and life than when you started and, perhaps, stir up a childlike giddiness within you. Reflect on the path that it took to get there, and do more of it!
What Drains You?
On the contrary, reflect on the day-to-day duties, people, and habits that seem to suck life out of you. These will always exist to some degree, but consider finding ways to improve efficiency, automate tasks, or outsource if possible. Once defined, determine if they are necessary or supportive of your long-term vision. If so, you can make the conscious decision to spend time on these tasks or with these individuals, and if not, consider bringing in a colleague or other cohort who may be better equipped to engage the challenges they present to you.
What clients are you connecting with and what are they telling you?
Take inventory of the clients you interact with regularly. Who are you excited to talk to when they call out of the blue? Who leaves you smiling after a meeting? Look for patterns. Maybe it’s a certain industry, personality type, shared hobby, or life experience that resonates with you.
Similarly, listen to what clients are saying to you. What are they thanking you for? Is there a common compliment you receive? Maybe it’s your thoughtfulness, your ability to explain a complicated topic, how well you ask questions, or an area of expertise that consistently adds value. Again, look for patterns. Whatever it is, it’s probably what the world needs more of and where your natural gifting is best applied.
Your unique identity as a financial planner is found in the overlap of where a need exists and where your joy is found. The goal is not to kick out what you hate and only do what you love, but to find confidence in who you are so you can pursue your mission with intention and make a greater impact on the lives of others.
Why else should we stop and think about our identities and our gifting as planners? It just as easily translates to other careers – careers that our clients are pursuing. When we invest in this for ourselves, we set an example for our clients and empower them to apply it in their lives.
Emma is a Wealth Planner at Cadent Capital in Dallas, Texas, where she oversees new client onboarding and is a key associate for many of the firm’s top clients.
FPA NexGen, a community of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), aims to provide support and collaboration for those professionals new to the financial planning profession. With more than 2,500 like-minded young professionals, members of FPA NexGen are ready to share their experiences and further the future of the financial planning profession. Learn more about our engaged community and join the conversation on Twitter.
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