Fifty years ago I was driving along, letting my mind wander. I wasn’t paying attention until cars coming the other way started honking their horns and blinking their lights. I was driving the wrong way down a one-way street!
You’ve probably done something similar. It was a mistake and we all make them, every day. We make mistakes when we don’t pay attention.
Folly is different. Folly is a conscious choice to ignore warning signs or wise counsel. Usually people who care for us warn us about folly, but we rush ahead anyway.
Part of my work is helping my clients avoid folly. An important part of my service is to help effective, important, powerful, and/or rich people make choices which will have decades’ impact. When I’m awake and alert, I ask questions and listen until I understand my client, their objectives, and their motives. It’s not important that I agree with the objective. It’s vital that I understand it.
Many goals are not attainable. My task is to help my client go through the steps to win their prize. The client picks the destination; I’m the navigator guiding them through the maze. My initial objective is to help the client understand the cost of what they think they want to do.
Clients frequently understand their fantasy costs more than they’re willing or able to pay. For them and me that’s a victory. They no longer waste time or bandwidth on a useless activity or idea.
Truth is my friend and my client’s friend. I only learned that in the last generation. Frequently I dislike the truth but dealing with reality is the better option. The truth, plainly spoken, helps us avoid folly.
Perhaps our team is so successful because I’ve learned ways to tell the truth to power, without always offending the client. There are too many supposed professionals who can’t or won’t explain truth to high energy, high power personalities.
The ability and willingness to speak uncomfortable truths is a hallmark of a broker who will serve you well. He or she will take time to understand your goals and tell you things you need to hear, even if you may not want to hear them. That frees up your attention and resources to pursue the best opportunities available.
What’s your experience? Have your professional advisors told you the truth even when you didn’t want to hear it. Have they told you the truth when it wasn’t in their best interest?
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.”