"Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I'll spend the first four sharpening my ax"--Abraham Lincoln
Habit 7 of Steven Covey's bestselling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is "Sharpen the Saw". Consistent attention to personal care and development is necessary for us to maintain our health, manage stress, keep our brains sharp and improve ourselves as productive humans.
As a financial planner, regular exercise and eating healthy are key to increasing energy, improving sleep, managing stress and minimizing sickness.
Fruits and vegetables in my diet have replaced many of the processed and sugar-laden foods I used to crave. I enjoy long easy runs where I can put on my headphones, break a sweat, and challenge myself in distance, duration or speed. Recently, I've increased my breath awareness during my runs (as I've learned from yoga) allowing me improve my presence in the activity I involved in at the moment. I've found a long run to be restorative and sometimes meditative.
Intellectually, I've found myself "sharpening my saw" through attending educational presentations on educational topics that benefit my clients. In the past two weeks, I've heard speakers on dementia and Alzheimer's disease, court guardianship, Medicaid planning and Veteran's Aid and Attendance benefits. I have had the opportunity to interact with top portfolio managers at mutual fund companies presenting their thoughts on where the economy is headed, how they manage the money that is entrusted with them, and how they manage the unknowns that markets throw their way. Hearing from other investment thought leaders brings perspectives to consider when guiding clients through troubled markets.
Clients and prospects have an an expectation that the professionals they work with to keep up to date on current products, strategies and thinking in light of changing market conditions, and tax and legal changes.
Just as you may find it difficult to trust an electrician with a frayed cords, a mechanic who hasn't updated knowledge of new electrical components, or a plumber with rusty tools, you should expect the financial professionals you work with to keep their "tools" in good working order.