But, WHY do you . . . ?

Tell me about yourself . . .

“I’m a –

  • lawyer”
  • haircutter”
  • banker”
  • writer”
  • contractor”
  • developer”
  • mother”
  • doctor”

Tell me more . . .

“I specialize in –

  • malpractice litigation”
  • unique and fun hair designs”
  • mezzanine lending for mid-sized fast-growth companies”
  • historical fiction”
  • apartment buildings and condos”

Isn’t this the way introductory conversations generally go? But how much better do we really know a person after a 2, 5, or even a 30 minute-sharing of the what’s and how’s of his or her life? Very rarely do we walk away with anything more than a few facts, impressions and assumptions about the things unsaid – important things like what inspires them, why do they do the things they do?

We experience similar dynamics in the planning process. People easily rattle off things like accounts, property, salary, debts and saving rates. They are also pretty good at verbalizing when they want it to start and how much they envision spending on the household, travel, renovations, and other practical matters.

This is where most financial plans end and that’s a real problem. There’s no inspiration in a plan that just takes care of our needs and wants. Very few people get inspired simply by working longer, saving more, or taking greater investment risk for their own sake. An uninspired plan is destined to fail.

Turning again to conversations with new acquaintances we notice that people understand well what they do, and reasonably well how they do it. But very few know WHY they do what they do. It’s the why that is all important. As people, we are influenced in one of two ways – inspiration or manipulation. Without a firm understanding or our Why, we are much more vulnerable to manipulation in even the most important areas of our lives, causing us to fall short of our potential.

Simon Sinek, in his landmark book Start with Why provides insights into how “Apple is able to innovate in so many diverse industries and never lose its ability to do so . . . why people tattoo Harley-Davidson logos on their bodies . . . and how Southwest Airlines created the most profitable airline in history.” Inspiration leads to loyalty, but manipulation only generates transactions.

To demonstrate the power of understanding one’s Why in a practical sense, Sinek compares a standard marketing message for selling a computer to they way Apple sells computers.

The Typical Transaction

We make great computers
They’re beautifully designed, simple

to use and user-friendly.
Wanna buy one?

The Inspiration of Apple’s Why

Everything we do,
we believe in challenging the status quo.
We believe in thinking differently.
 The way we challenge the status quo
is by making our products beautifully designed,
simple to use, and user friendly.
And we happen to make great computers.
Wanna buy one?

Sinek goes on to say many times throughout his book – “people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” We could just as easily turn that principle inward to say, I don’t ‘buy’ WHAT I do, I ‘buyWHY I do it. If we recognize and practice the inspirational power of starting with why rather than what, we are far less likely to drift from our course during periods of the unexpected, uncertainty, or even boredom.

A plan focused on why, which champions our ideals, is far more exciting than one focused on the how and what of dollars, numbers, and dates. The inspired plan is not so easily drawn off course by the almost daily assault of manipulations along the way.

As we progress toward Beacon 3.0 we are steadily improving our planning process to encourage our clients to explore and articulate their why so we can help them build plans that inspire rather than manipulate, and excite them rather than bore or frighten.

Our Why

Ensuring that our clients attain and exceed the ideals to which they aspire
is at the core of everything we do. 
By controlling what is controllable in the investment process
and planning for the uncertainty that is not,
we build greater wealth more 
comfortably for our clients
than common practices
ever could.