I’ve always been a big fan of leading with values. After all, how are you supposed to decide what choices make sense if you do not have absolute clarity on what matters most to you? You may use values-oriented exercises with your clients to help develop a meaningful financial plan and motivate them to stay on track. I am willing to guess that you probably have completed a variety of exercises to identify your own core values. And, especially if you’re a solo practitioner, I expect you run your financial planning practice based on a similar set of values, whether or not you’ve actually articulated those of your firm.
How do you make sure you continue to create a lifestyle that upholds that which is most important to you?
While I have done a pretty good job of living by my values in both my professional and my personal life, knowing how to teach and reinforce values started to blur as my children ease their way into the pre-teen years (when this foundation is essential).
The other night my husband woke at 4:00am to find my 12-year old son on his bedroom floor playing video games on his ipad (it was a school night before the next day’s Spanish test and rugby practice). Infuriated, we scolded him for failing to take care of himself (and revoked all i-device privileges). But what left me feeling unsettled was that I wanted to make sure he understood the reason why his action upset us so much.
It’s all about Values.
While he did disobey our rule of “no screen devices in your room past bedtime,” I was more upset that he failed to uphold one of our family values (SELF CARE). Last year, in an effort to create a calm home environment where everyone can thrive, our whole family worked with a psychologist to craft our family values and develop systems for our family to live in alignment with them.
While we have some systems that work (e.g. earn video minutes when you complete your after-school responsibilities’ checklist or do a helpful task for the family before you ask for something for yourself), tying actions and their consequences to our values had not yet emerged in a tangible way.
Jolted by necessity I crafted a one-page template that our family can implement to connect values and actions. Upon review, I saw an immediate use for entrepreneurs — me and you! — to keep our values in check for our businesses. I have the original wording in strike-through purple (for any parent who wants to borrow this concept) followed by the adaptation for your practice.
I recommend finding an accountability partner if you do not have another person in your firm with who to collaborate. Use the template to stay accountable and share any ideas, alterations or improvements you have in the comments on this page.