“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent.”
-- Steve Jobs, Stanford University Commencement Address, 2005
Steve Jobs is dead. Race car driver Dan Wheldon is dead. And, on average, another 6,640 people will die today in the United States. One of these days, you too will become part of this statistic.
The good news is, you’re reading this so you are still alive! And that means you have the ability to use your inevitable death as a catalyst to become the best advisor, husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, friend or helping hand you can possibly be.
Are you making the most of the time you have left?
I’ve been a coach and observer of human behavior for more than two decades and one of the common threads I see among the financial advisor population is a state of comfortable inertia. Many advisors go through life “trying to get to death safely” as my colleague Ron Carson is fond of saying.
Typically, it takes a storm to disengage the autopilot and force advisors into making positive changes in their life. The storm could be a great bear market, loss of a loved one, divorce, declining health or some other life-altering event.
But consider this. Wouldn’t it be much better to proactively make positive changes on your terms and your timeline rather than waiting until you are forced into action by a debilitating storm?
The high-profile premature deaths of Steve Jobs and Dan Wheldon should jolt you into action. You have a gift and it’s called life. You have a talent and it’s called financial planning. Are you using your gift and delivering your talent to your fullest capacity?
As much as I’d like to inspire you to greatness with a clever arrangement of the English language, the fact is, there’s only one person who can move you to action—and that’s you. Sure, I can help light your path, but ultimately, you have to grab the torch and take it to the finish line.
Are you ready to grab the torch and run with it?
Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone in your gallop toward greatness. I can give you a tool that will help you clarify your reason for gracing this earth with your presence. This tool will cut to the heart of what it means to live a meaningful life.
Steve Jobs said he wanted “to put a ding in the universe.” While that was certainly a grandiose vision, one could argue he fulfilled it. I’m not suggesting you have to reshape the world. I’m only suggesting that you take the time to reexamine your life, your purpose and determine if you are fulfilling your reason for being.
I firmly believe that each and every person on this earth is here for a reason. It could be as simple as raising good kids (okay—maybe that’s not so simple!) or as grand as Dr. King’s dream of equality. The key is, there is a reason. Do you know yours?
Let’s bring this back to your role as a financial advisor. Go ahead and answer these questions.
1. Why do you do what you do?
2. Do you go to bed at night confident that you made a difference in your clients’ lives?
3. Are you doing all you can to ensure your clients are on the right financial path?
4. Are you continually upgrading your skills and knowledge to benefit your clients?
5. Does your clients’ success come ahead of yours?
6. If you died tomorrow, would your clients be taken care of?
Nobody likes to talk about or think about death. It’s the elephant in the room. Yet pondering your death has the ability to add life to your life. We all have an expiration date, but the beautiful thing is we can proactively write the chapters leading up to it. That’s what the tool I’m sharing with you allows you to do.
The line between life and death is just one breath. Likewise, the line between galloping toward greatness and standing still is one commitment away. I challenge you to make the commitment right now to ponder your death and use it as a springboard toward new life.
If you are ready to face your mortality, to use it to move toward greatness, then click here for the free tool that will help you write the remaining chapters of your life.
If you are not ready, set your tickler file to re-read this article six months from now. You—and this world—could be in a completely different place.
Each of our life stories ends in death. But by taking positive action now, you can ensure that it’s a happy ending celebrated by those near and dear to you.
Steve Sanduski, CFP®, is the Managing Partner of Peak Advisor Alliance, a financial advisor coaching and practice management resources organization. He is also a New York Times bestselling author and co-author of, Tested in the Trenches: A 9 Step Plan for Building and Sustaining a Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice. To learn more, visit, www.peakadvisoralliance.com and www.truewealthcommunity.com.