Well I’m just back from Denver, Colorado, where I’ve been speaking at what is clearly going to become an annual conference, and it’s run by The Purposeful Planning Institute. It’s actually a very lovely, rendezvous they call it, where advisors to high net worth families meet to discuss ways in which they can better serve their clients and move in the direction of more purposeful lives. So as you can imagine that gets my vote. And actually, it started, the first rendezvous was last year, and in the run up to that, a year before that even, I was asked if I would come on the steering committee. Well those of you who know me well, will know that a committee animal I am not really. But in this particular case it seemed such an important initiative rather than just having advisors talk about tax plans and so forth, that I actually really did want to be involved and I was, helped make the first conference happen, and indeed spoke last year in Denver at the conference. The result being that people were really very moved, because I was working with somebody and did a demonstration, and that’s something that these kind of people don’t see very often, if at all.
So this year I was back and my theme was ‘how will you change the world?’ and talking about legacy. Well a lot of people think that legacy, oh yes, that’s what dead people leave isn’t it? and you need lots of money to do it. And what I was saying was that nothing could be further from the truth. Really, each of us leaves a legacy, and it’s to do with the influence and the actions that we engage in. the influence we have with others, for good or ill, we have on a daily basis. You don’t have to wait until you’re dead good lord! You can influence people moment by moment and there are so many examples of this all around us, indeed very often, I was telling them that when I’m working with clients, I’ll frequently give negative examples of influence, because then people can immediately appreciate how powerful influence is.
Recently in the US a guy called Jerry Sandusky was indicted for multiple counts of child molestation and sexual abuse. And he was a coach on a very prestigious football team. The guy doesn’t have much money, but had the amazing ability to wreck a lot of people’s lives. Now, that’s a legacy, it just happens to be profoundly negative. And once people recognise that, gosh, yeah, I probably impacting people, it means that however much money you have is almost irrelevant. You will be having an effect on people, for good or ill. So the question then becomes, what sort of influence do you want to have? And that there’s no point in just saying oh little old me, what can I do? You know, if I was a billionaire I would make the world a better place, well that’s nice, but actually you’re doing things right now, the question is are they what you would choose? Is the influence you’re having the one you would want to be associated with?
So my basic suggestion to people was we create our legacy on a daily basis, and you cannot not leave a legacy on a daily basis. I wonder, what will yours be today? What was yours yesterday? The last weekend? Now, we’re not used to thinking like that, but when we do one of the things that happens is people realise that they had much more power and impact than they thought. And this is true regardless of their income or their net worth. ‘Cause it ain’t about money. It’s about you. And this year was a very lovely year, because I actually did a demonstration with the creator of The Purposeful Planning Institute and in the process, he was making connections with why he has the baggage he has, and how those had been with him pretty much all his life really, and it just strengthens people and their resolve and their clarity about what really matters and what do I want to be doing going forward in my life?
So a very, very fulfilling weekend and I’ll tell you more next time.
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