Financial Advice: Do You Only Want to Hear, "You're Doing Great!"?

I received an email asking if I do one-off consultations, to which I immediately replied, “Yes!”.  When I followed-up with her a few weeks later, here’s an abstract of what she said in return:

“I decided against financial counseling at the moment just because I don’t think I’d listen to any advice and rather think I’d really only want to hear ‘you’re doing great!'”

Ha! I love her transparency and honesty, and I told her so.

Her degree of self-awareness is priceless. It took guts for her to disclose what she wrote. And I really appreciate it because, in truth, she likely (and bravely) expressed what many people feel but rarely admit to anyone but themselves.

And, I don’t blame her.

So much of what is touted as financial advice today (or information as advice) puts people on a guilt/shame trip. Even if you’re doing great, you still feel like you’re not doing enough. Even if the proffered suggestions are for your benefit, you just don’t want to hear you need to tweak anything.

Can you relate? I know I sure can.

You and I have an intriguing relationship with feedback. On one had, we want and we know we need it. Yet, as this member of our online community exemplifies we prefer a certain kind of feedback. We want to hear the Tony-the-Tiger version of “you’re doing great!” To hear anything otherwise is akin to hearing you’re wrong.

Don’t Disturb This Groove

Indeed, the need to be right may be holding her back. But I credit this reader with listening to herself and making changes at a pace that feels comfortable. And I have every confidence that she’ll know when she’s ready to hear my perspective and will reach out, again, when the time is right for her.

That said, here’s something I know for sure:

While the pop/R&B song from the late 80s would have you believe otherwise, you need to disturb some aspect of your groove for progress to happen.

The sentiment expressed in her response is another example that illustrates just how connected emotions are to your actions and behavior…and how they can also be connected to your net worth. For you and me, her revelation provides both priceless and relevant lessons and reminders that reach far beyond money, though:

  • Some changes in your life only happen when you’re ready.
  • Other changes happen regardless of your readiness, but your acceptance of those changes only happen when you’re ready.
  • Feedback works best when you are open and your curiosity about what you don’t know exceeds your comfort zone with what you do know.
  • The possibilities of the unknown must excite you more than your current set of circumstances.
  • The discovery process of moving from the unknown to the known must affirm + inflate your ego and sense of self-worth more than what you’re currently experiencing.
  • The conflict between wanting to be right and wanting to avoid being wrong must be low on the spectrum of low to high.

The sentiment behind – “I’d really only want to hear, ‘you’re doing great!'” – brings to mind the very unscientific survey I conducted last year. I randomly asked total strangers on the streets of Brooklyn what came to mind for them when they thought of love and money. One of the respondents said, “We don’t talk about it…I don’t want to talk about it because then I’d feel like I have to do something.”

How fascinating that both the reader and survey respondent made the assumption that what will be discovered will somehow be less than desirable.

How fascinating that in both instances what’s implied is the notion that your freedom, independence, and ability to choose will somehow be diminished.

The need to be right; the need to feel accepted; the desire to feel affirmed are all natural and understandable. After all, emotions are the undercurrent of your actions and behavior. You filter every decision, including those concerning money, through the lens of your emotions.

The challenge, always, is to make sure your emotions are working for you…not against you delaying or blocking you from getting even more from your money and for your life than you could ever imagine!

In the end, the key is to remember that excellent financial advice doesn’t need to put you on a guilt or shame trip to be valuable and effective. It is absolutely possible to get feedback that may differ than what you’d expect AND hear, “you’re doing great!”.

Financial advice can be constructive and satisfy your need to be right and to feel accepted and affirmed.

 

p.s. Given that the question that inspired today’s post came from a long-time reader, it’s clear I need to do a better job of marketing. 🙂 So on the off-chance you’re wondering if I provide one-off consultations, you can click here to learn more about how to work with me.

p.p.s. The realm of love + money is a perfect playground for working out and working on the sentiments of wanting to be right and wanting to hear, ‘you’re doing great!’. I got a chance to address these themes with Monique Brown, host of The Total Woman Summit and founder of the Feminine Allure Academy. My interview went live last week (sorry for the delayed announcement), but click here to check it out the replay. The response has been tremendous!

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