Ok, financial services community – I’m admitting something…I really stunk at math in school. There…I said it out loud. If Mr. Grimes at Fort Zumwalt North High School in O’Fallon, Missouri had not graded on a curve in 10th grade, I likely would have failed geometry. I stopped taking math classes pretty much after that altogether. The irony today? I work in financial services…oh boy.
I never got into this to make a difference.
You see, I never got into this profession to make a difference. I came into financial services because in 1992 I packed up and moved to San Francisco and very quickly learned you either got a job or you would be homeless. An insurance company took pity on this girl and gave me a job answering phones. But with each year in the industry, I grew to love not only what I was doing, but what WE were doing as a community of professionals. We help make a difference in people’s lives, dreams, businesses, etc.
Still, I never got into this to make an individual impact, though.
When I got into social media, it was never with the intent to make an impact on the financial services community. It was still pretty self-serving: I could reach a larger audience and talk to them about financial services stuff. I would love to say there was some deep-seated need to make a ripple in a large pond, but I was just out doing what I needed to do. It was all about me.
There’s an inherent challenge with everything, right?
About five years ago now, a very nice Irishman who encouraged me to really go big and help the entire community of financial services be better. I remembered saying to him, “Are you crazy? Do you KNOW how many people we are talking about?” And he said, “If not you, then who?” And I started making very small drops of water into what seemed to be endless oceans upon endless oceans in the industry. #CanYouHearMeNow
Embrace being a change agent
These past years have come with a lot of wins, but a lot of challenges, too. You feel very small and rather insignificant when you look at the total population of financial services, but with one ripple, you can spawn another ripple, etc. I embraced being an agent of change. I want ALL of us to be better in FinServ, but to be honest (again) I thought my passion would fizzle out. At some point, I thought, “This will be nice for a while and I will see how it goes.”
In fact, when I woke up today, I had no idea I would be writing this post. I got up, posted my daily Instagram photo about coffee, and sat down in front of the computer with the same amount of excitement about financial services as I did on day one of the challenge from my friend.
In an hour I had reached out to ten advisors and checked in to see how things were coming along with a webinar they wanted to do – or a podcast they wanted to hold – or an article they wished to write – and I asked them if they had any questions? I shared technology tidbits to make people better in their day-to-day operations. I encouraged a broker-dealer to review a policy I felt was a little stringent in order for them to offer a little flexibility to their reps. I felt good doing all of it, too. I encouraged more change!
Be a person of action – What’s holding you back from being a change agent in your community? This can take on a lot of forms, right? What additional services could you be offering to clients which fills a void or frustration for you? Could it be coaching high school students on student loan details as they go to college? What about offering a financial literacy class once a month to those in need of some help? What technology have you thought about wanting to use, but inexperience with it is holding you back? We all need to make a difference somewhere and it starts with each of us doing one thing to impact another person. My wish for you? Go change the world!