When financial advisors have the urge to create original content for their clients (or with hopes of attracting new ones), the overwhelming volume of resources that are already publicly available for consumers can easily create the impression that there’s nothing new or unique to say… or worse, that no one wants to hear their own perspective and insights. The end result is that many advisors simply give up before they ever get started, out of the fear that they will have nothing impactful to create or contribute. Yet the reality is that often, creating meaningful content that connects with clients and prospects can be as simple as just answering the questions they’re already asking!
In our 38th episode of Kitces & Carl, Michael Kitces and financial advisor communication expert Carl Richards explore some of the straightforward ways to create content to enhance relationships with existing clients or deepen a connection with prospects, without feeling overly burdened to “be original”, and how to overcome the “analysis paralysis” that comes with trying to choose the “perfect” topic (that doesn’t actually need to be so perfect!). Because ultimately, the biggest roadblocks to creating content are often put up by our own inner critics that create unrealistically high expectations (as in the end, clients and prospects simply want content that shares something relevant and of interest to them).
One simple solution for choosing timely and relevant topics for client and prospect communication is for advisors to track the questions they’re already being asked – especially those that are asked multiple times by different clients – and to create content by answering those most frequently asked questions. By preparing thoughtful, thorough answers that address these questions, advisors can easily create content that by definition is already on the minds of clients and prospects… but in an even more efficient manner that reaches an audience of many (versus answering the same question one client at a time!). Similarly, another strategy to cultivate content ideas is just to notice the environment around you – the ideas that are compelling, the conversations that stick in your head, and articles or stories that have a personal impact to you (and would therefore feel meaningful to share with others).
Having a system in place to capture ideas as they come can also help organize (and later, prioritize) potential topics to develop into shareable marketing content. Notably, there are several tools that can help keep track of content ideas, including apps like Evernote, Google Keep, Apple Voice Memos, Pocket, or even a simple physical notebook or daily planner.
Equally important is establishing a habit of regularly scheduling time to work on developing the ideas, as well as devoting time to review and reflect on the ideas that have been captured. And advisors can leverage tools like Google Analytics for quantative feedback on overall engagement to understand what kind of content really is resonating (or not).
Ultimately, the key point is that most financial advisors already have more than enough interest and knowledge to create rich and valuable content that will be well-received by clients and prospects… simply by focusing on the questions they’re already being asked, and translating the news and events around them into the messages and information that their clients and prospects need to hear. Establishing a system to capture ideas, and developing a regular practice of reviewing those ideas, can be helpful when organizing and prioritizing relevant topics that will be valuable to readers. And committing to a regular routine of actually creating the content will help keep the process on track, by creating a system that the advisor can be accountable to in the first place!
***Editor’s Note: Can’t get enough of Kitces & Carl? Neither can we, which is why we’ve released it as a podcast as well! Check it out on all the usual podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, and Stitcher.
- Creating Blog Content As A Financial Advisor – Coming Up With Content Ideas And Other Best Practices
- My Top 5 Tips For Blogging Success As A Financial Advisor
- Kitces & Carl Ep 21: Do You Have To Build Confidence Before Taking Action, Or Take Action To Build Confidence?
- Measuring The Success Of Your Financial Advisor Website Using Google Analytics To Track Activity And Goals
- When All Else Fails, Lower Your Standards by Paul Thegard, Psychology Today
- Behavior Gap
- Ryan Holiday
- Tim Ferriss
- Seth Godin
- Voice Memos in Apple
- Google Keep
Kitces & Carl Podcast Transcript
Michael: Greetings, Carl.
Carl: Hello, Michael. How are you?
Michael: I’m doing well. How are you today?
Carl: Yeah, things are good. Things are good. Super excited about this conversation.
Michael: I am too. This question…I sort of find it ironic. One of the things I get most often for just all the content that we put out and the marketing that we build around it – and I know you get the same thing – is people just asking, “How do you come up with stuff?” And not necessarily sort of the goods, like, “How did you write that thing or create that picture?” but just the question like, “How do you come up with what you’re going to come up with something about? How do you find topics? How do you figure out what you’re going to bring to people?”
And we go through this, I think, in our respective lives, like, you create a lot of content, I create a lot of content. We create a lot of content where we have to actually decide like, “Oh, there’s another podcast coming up. What are we going to talk about?” So I thought it would be interesting to actually talk about that subject of how you figure out what you’re going to talk about. Right?
Carl: Yeah, for sure.
Michael: Broadly speaking, I ‘talk’ through how I write in the blog, you talk through how you express in your writing. We are talking on this podcast, right? These are all just different ways that we create some kind of content to share thoughts with some people who hopefully will find it useful, do something with it, and take something away from it.
But I find, for a lot of advisors, the biggest blocking point is not like, “How do I get the expertise on the thing?” I know how to research something and do that. It’s, “I just literally can’t figure out what to talk about. How do you guys figure out what to talk about?”
Carl: Yeah. That’s a super-good question. So, how do you answer that when you’re asked?
Paying Attention To The World Around You Can Help You To Decide On Content To Create And Share With Others [00:02:49]
Michael: So the most straightforward way for me, and the truth, the overwhelming majority of what we’ve done on the blog for, gosh, probably going on 12 years now is, look, this is really simple. I talk to a lot of people, right? I talk to a lot of clients; I talk to a lot of advisors; I talk to a lot of people. That’s kind of the business we’re in. They ask me questions. I like to try to answer the questions because I’m a problem-solver, a helper type.
It’s like, if someone asks me a question, I try to answer the question. Several people ask me the question, I just answer once in a doggone blog post and then it’s out there. For me, the process really was not much more than, if I hear the same question three to five times in a relatively finite time period, it’s clearly on a bunch of people’s minds. So I’m just going to, instead of answering them one at a time, answer them one-to-many. Like, just gather my thoughts on this thing, put them out there, and then I have shared my thoughts on the thing.
And it really isn’t much more than that. For years, I would just keep an Evernote note of blog and article ideas. And even if I was in a conversation with someone, like I’m out at a conference and an advisor asked a question, and we start talking about, like, “Hey, give me one moment. I’m not trying to be rude. This is such a good discussion. I want to make a note really fast that I may come back to do an article about this because you’re actually the third person to ask me about it this week.” And I would pull out my smartphone, open up Evernote and just jot a quick thing in there before I forgot, right? Because sometimes these things flitter away very quickly. Just jot a note in there.
And so whenever I had to sit down and say, “Okay, I’ve got to make an article or a podcast or do a thing,” it’s like, “Oh, man, what am I going to write about? Well, let me open my Evernote. Oh, well, here are 72 topics,” or 172 topics. I think there’s over 300 on the list now, and off we go. And so it really doesn’t have to be much more than, when you’re trying to figure out what to create for people, answer the questions they’re literally already asking you.
Carl: Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly how the work at Behavior Gap started. I just started noticing that I would get asked the same question. And so then I was like, “Well, geez, I should just write this down. And when the next person asks me, I can just cut and paste in the email.” And then blogs came along, and I was like, “Oh, I guess I could put that up on a…” I guess it’s called a blog, right?
Michael: That way, they type the question into Google because they didn’t come to me yet. Find my answer on Google.
Carl: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that’s exactly… So I guess the principle for me became, later I started looking back on it, trying to figure out what are the principles around it. And I think broadly, and we can get more specific, I’d love to get more specific, but broadly, I view my… And it’s a little different. I think it would be fun for us to talk about how I would do this if I were an individual financial planner running a business?
Carl: But for me now, my job is to notice things in the world, and then figure out how to communicate them. And for me, how to communicate them in the least number of words possible, and an image, which gives me a thousand words, right? Supposedly, right? The image is worth a thousand words.
So I think you’re pointing to the noticing in the world, right? You’re just noticing something in the world. And I think it’s simple…if I had never done this before and I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed, I would just start here, like, do you read things? And do you talk to people? And the answer is going to be yes. When you read things, do you think about what you’ve read? And I think the answer often is like, “Well, for the stuff that’s interesting.”
Like, okay, cool, there’s your first filter. Like, if you don’t think about it, then just don’t think about it. But if you do, just notice the stuff that you…like maybe you read the paper, and then you went out for a walk or a run, and there’s something that stuck with you. I always think of them as like slivers just beneath the skin, on your pointer finger, for those of you listening on the podcast, right? Like, a sliver that’s just sort of…you’re not sure it’s there, but you notice yourself, like, “Ah, there’s something there.” That’s kind of how I think about those things that are just sort of slightly annoying, just like, they won’t leave you alone.
And that idea of capturing in Evernote, it’s funny, I used to do that too. And then I came up with, and I can’t remember who said this, and they use different language that I’m going to use, but some really good writer said, “The good stuff sticks.” And so one time I just decided to stop keeping notes and just pay attention to the stuff that stuck around, the stuff that kind of bothered me that was kind of, “Oh, you’re still here?” That thing about like… Like right now, I know, I know that I’m going to be writing a lot of stuff around…well, to be honest, I didn’t know I’m going to be writing a lot of stuff around race. And it won’t leave me alone. It’s been annoying me for years. It just started hitting me upside the head, right? So you can get better at noticing.
So anyway. Do you read stuff? Do you have conversations with people? Notice what feels like a tailwind. Notice what lights you up just a little bit. And you can just notice that by, do you think about it a second time? If you give it a second thought, it goes on your list. Now, if you read something and you think about it, could you just write down what you thought? Or in your case, it’s s perfect, could you just write down the answer you gave? Well, I think then you’ve got a piece of content on a piece of paper, right? And we’ve talked at other times and we’ll talk…this isn’t the place for like, how do you technically put that out in the world? I think everybody knows those answers. But now you’ve got a piece of content. I think the next piece that’s really hard for people is believing that that’s of any value.
Create The Best Content You Can, But Let Your Audience Be The One To Decide If The Content Is ‘Good Enough’ [00:09:26]
Carl: Because I think when people say, “I don’t know what to say,” they’re not only saying, “I don’t physically know how to write something on a piece of paper or what to write about,” they’re also saying, “I don’t know if anyone wants to hear it.” And we’ve talked about the imposter syndrome, but I think the easiest way around that to me, there are two ways, one, just believe me. And Michael, when we tell you, people want to hear it. I can give you all sorts of reasons why.
But there are people in the world that want to hear it. You’ve just forgotten it’s valuable because you think because it was easy for you to think, it, therefore, must be easy for other people. That’s one way. And the second way is to just fire…this is my favorite way, just fire yourself from that job. The job of deciding whether it should be in the world or not, you’re fired. It’s not your job anyway, right?
Michael: I’m just supposed to put it in the world, and someone else will tell me whether that was a good or bad thing to have done?
Carl: That’s exactly right. Like, here’s my story. Here’s the reasoning for this. And this is one of those things that I was puzzled by for like more than a year. A lot of my best work is stuff I’ve literally been thinking about for a year. I can already tell you what I think my best work is going to be five years from now because I know the seeds. I know the way they feel now, but I used to not know. One of them was this question. And this happened often enough that I can tell you you’re fired from that job. I would work really hard on a piece for “The New York Times.” And I would think, “This is the best piece I’ve ever written.” I would send it in and it would just be crickets. Right? My editor wouldn’t say…he would put it up, but my editor wouldn’t say anything about it. The people wouldn’t say anything about it. I wouldn’t get any emails. It’s just like, I was like, “Oh, that was my best work.”
And then I’ve had this other experience multiple times, where like, an hour before the deadline I’m like, “Gosh, I’ve got nothing this week. I’ve just got nothing. I don’t even know what to say. I’ve got nothing of value. Nobody’s going to… Oh, crap, I’ve got a deadline.” So I just typed something out. I think I was really just… it’s almost like angst, “Okay, this.” And then I would just pour that on the page, send it off. And I’m like, “Oh, I know what’s going to happen here. They’re going to say, ‘Carl, it’s been fun, but the ride’s over.'” That’s what I expected, to get the email back from my editor saying, “That’s enough.” And these would be the ones like, “Oh my gosh, Carl is amazing.”
So that’s when I decided I would fire myself. It’s not my job to decide if the content is good or not. It is my job to try and make it the best I can, but it’s not my job to decide if it’s good enough. It’s my job to serve it by putting it into the world and leave that to them. So there was a great quote, it was like, any time I’m bumping up against roadblocks or whatever. And I can’t remember who it was. It was like Frost or Shakespeare. It was someone that mattered. Any time I bump up against roadblocks or something, I lower my standards.
Michael: Any time I bump up against roadblocks, I lower my standards. Because the roadblock is almost certainly us just setting unrealistically high expectations in our heads?
Carl: Self-critical. Yep.
Michael: I do think you make a powerful point here. As someone similar who has just lived in the content world for a long time and put a lot of stuff out there, I have absolutely had this same experience. Frankly, it reminds me of investing unto itself, right? Like, most of us, even at some point early in our careers if not on an ongoing basis, have had the “I’ve got this investment” moment, whatever it is, a stock, an ETF, a fund, like, we’ve had that moment, like, “I’ve got this thing, I feel like it’s a sure bet,” and you invest into it, and then the market kicks your butt a little, and it does not work out the way that it’s expected to. I think for a lot of advisors, that’s how…and a lot of clients is how we ultimately end out not trying to time the market. Like, you have to do it and get your butt kicked a few times to say like, “Oh, okay, yeah, this actually is really hard.”
There is, I think, a similar effect in the world of trying to create content and putting it out there that we’ve certainly had pieces where I’m like, “I am so proud of this thing that I just created. I’m so excited to put it out there in the world.” And we put it out there, and hardly anyone notices or cares, and it just doesn’t get much traction. It doesn’t get much conversation. It doesn’t get much engagement. And then here’s this other thing that like, “I did late the night before because I was behind in other stuff. And I totally had to cram on this and basically kind of winged it because we just had to get something out. And we did. And it was like, well, that was the most popular thing we’ve done in a year.” Like, “Okay, I think I know what people are going to care about.” The more you do this, the more you do get a good sense of what kinds of things people are likely to respond to?
I think you’re absolutely right; you never know. To me, this is why I just bring it back to, if your clients are asking you the question already, someone cares what you think about this. And you know what? They’re paying you for that, right? They have hired you as their financial advisor. They care enough about what you think about it that they’re asking the question of you the person that they pay. Your opinion matters on this thing to the people that you serve. So don’t make all of them ask you one at a time and then answer the same question 100 times over and over again to each one individually. Take what you know or believe or see or have analyzed, or whatever the thing is, and share it with the clients that you serve. And if they’re asking you the question, they want to know what you think. And you don’t have to make it more complicated than that.
Getting In Tune With What You Want To Put Into The World [00:15:40]
Carl: Yeah. I like to think of that as just tailwind, right? Like, I’m not very good at kind of being strategic. I’m just good at noticing where the tailwind is pushing me. And increasingly, I’m getting better at not caring about what people want, and getting in tune with what I want to put into the world. Right? Just knowing that if I do that often enough, I’ll find my tribe, if you will, that that resonates with. I think that’s another important part.
You know what I think would be interesting here? So, one step would simply be to find someplace to store the things that you notice. If you want to get super tactical about this, you can use Google Keep or Evernote. I love using just voice memos. So I’ll just pull my phone up, record a quick voice memo to myself. And I…
Michael: And do you do that in Evernote? Because I know Evernote’s got a voice memo thing, or just…
Carl: I just do it in Voice Memos in Apple, and then I organize those notes. I kind of rely on the good stuff coming back around. If I were better at this, I’d probably organize them in some folder or something. I just rely on… if I get bothered by that again, I’ll probably go, “Oh yeah, I think I recorded something, I’ll go find it.”
But don’t get hung up on the tactics of this and miss the point because you can just have a notebook. Like, wherever, just write notes down and then once a week…
Michael: If you travel around with a daily planner, just use a blank page in the back, or throw an extra page in there just to be a notes page, and just let it be the place you scribble the, “I had an interesting conversation with a client who asked about blank. I might want to answer that question for more people in the future.”
Carl: So good. Ryan Holiday carries around those little 3×5 cards. So that’s how he writes all his books. He notices things; he puts them on 3×5 cards, he sorts them. In the end, the book literally is this box of 3×5 cards, right? He wrote a long blog post for Tim Ferriss about it. It’s amazing, but it’s a 3×5 card. So don’t give me anymore like, “I’ve got to spend more time figuring out the system,” just fix sticky notes on the wall, whatever.
And then systematically, you may want to just say, “Okay, every Wednesday morning, I have an hour, and I’m going to review that stuff. I’m going to find one that’s really interesting to me, and I’m going to pull out whatever the artifact is.” It’s an email, it’s a blog post, it’s a podcast, and create that and don’t get hung up on the artifact, just create something and then decide, “I’m going to just put that into the world. Good or bad, I’m going to put it in the world, and then I’m going to get feedback.” And that feedback is going to refine the process and make you better. So that’s how you do that in terms of just ideas. Yeah, go ahead.
Michael: Yeah, to me, there are three takeaways to it at the end of the day. One, just have a place to capture that stuff as it flows through your head or as it literally comes up in conversation. Just have a place to capture it so that you are starting to jot down, “Conversations I have with people that other people might care about.” Easiest way to tell is they’ve asked you…more than one person’s asked you. So by definition, multiple people care about it. Like, have a place to capture that, Evernote, voice memo, written out in your daily planner, or whatever it is that you use.
Number two, which I love, is have some regular schedule where you sit down and say, “I’m going to take an hour and I’m going to answer one of the questions.” Right? You can do it weekly, you can do it monthly, you can do it biweekly. There’s a whole other conversation of how often should you have content going out? I would suggest at least once a month, or you’re just not really getting a regular cadence with your clients and prospects. I would probably say ideally is once a week. You certainly don’t need to be daily like we are in our platform that we do for other purposes.
But if it’s just maybe as a midpoint, once every two weeks, put an hour on your calendar, like, sit down now, put an hour on your calendar every two weeks for the next two months or three months and say, “In this hour, I’m going to sit down. I’m just going to grab my list of stuff, look at those questions, and pick one to answer.” And in that hour, you just have to answer the question. You can write it, you can say it to a camera, you can create an audio file and have someone turn it into a podcast, there are lots of ways to deliver that message. Pick whatever works for you. Whether you like to be on video or audio or written or whatever it is.
But just if you know the hour is coming next week, you’ll be scribbling down conversations you have. And when you sit down for that hour, it’s a heck of a lot easier. You’re not sitting there saying, “I’m trying to think of what to write about that will have the most meaningful impact in the world.” Right? Like all this weight we start putting on our shoulders. It’s like, just pull out a question on the list of questions that people have already been asking you and that you’ve been answering in conversation with your clients, and answer it once more to the camera or the microphone or the pen and pad or the keyboard, or however it is you’re going to produce it, and put it out there.
So number one, have a place to capture them. Number two, have a time set that says, “I’m going to sit down and answer a question.” And I think there is an important number three that you mentioned there that I want to highlight as well, have some way that you reflect back, and measure the outcome. Right? For a lot of us in the advisor world, we’re kind of achiever-oriented. Like, “I want something that gives me a sense of forward progression.” So have some way to track it. I’ll call it ‘keeping score’. It’s not really about keeping score, but it is about understanding like, yes, someone saw that. And as I’ve been doing it, more people are seeing it.
I find that’s one of the challenges really about doing this, particularly on the internet, right? Whether it’s a podcast or a video thing or a blog article, or whatever it is, like, we know when someone gets it in our office because we’re sitting across from them, saying it to them and seeing their reaction. And the weird effect is like, you can write that on your website and 100 people see it, but you don’t see the 100 people. All you know is like you wrote something on the internet and time passes and apparently, other human beings saw this thing. Like, the feedback mechanism is broken, compared to sitting across from a client or sitting in a room with 100 people and giving that answer.
So this can be as simple as just turning on Google Analytics. If you don’t already, we’ve got an article on the site about it if you want to look it up. There are plenty of other things out there about how to run Google Analytics on your website. Just some things that you can actually look and see like, “Wow, 72 people actually showed up and read that thing that I put out there. They may not have contacted me about it because I answered the question, but 72 people came and looked at and read that thing.”
And then you do a few more, and a couple of weeks later it’s like, “Wow, 117 people showed up to look at that thing. Like, that’s more than the 72 from a few weeks ago. I think people are showing up, maybe they actually really do care about what I’m saying and it feels good to put more of it out there.” But when you don’t have that end of the feedback loop to be able to understand that yes, the things you are putting out in the world matter to people and they are seeing it, reading it or viewing it and engaging with it, because it happens in a digital world where you don’t see that in person, you can miss the impact you’re having.
So close the feedback loop. Give yourself just some way to measure what the activity and engagement are so that you can see it’s having an impact and even gaining momentum over time. Because I can virtually guarantee you, it does, and it will if you’re answering the questions that people are asking you anyways. But you may need to see it for yourself. So just make sure you’re capturing that information so you can actually see it.
Feedback Can Be Informative, But It Shouldn’t Keep You From Conveying What You Need To Express [00:24:18]
Carl: Yeah. Listen, one of the reasons I love this conversation is that we have different takes on things. And I don’t have…if it’s okay I just want to introduce a slightly different version of that number three.
Carl: And I don’t know where the boundary conditions are for this. I just want to give people permission that maybe have a feeling a little bit like I do sometimes, which is I don’t give a…I know I don’t swear. And I shouldn’t swear on this podcast, so I won’t, but I don’t give a crap about the feedback. Look, if I was pushed, I’m sure I would, right? Well, if nobody listened, you wouldn’t have a business. Okay, got it. Got it. But there’s another way to go about that, where I think you get to the same place. This isn’t right or wrong, by the way. This is just two different versions of doing it. Like, my team loves to measure stuff. And I’m just like, “Don’t tell me.” Like I had them remove comments from “The New York Times” because I didn’t want to write to the comments. I don’t want to know. I try not to look at likes and retweets. What I want to do instead is find a thing, then I don’t care if anybody else wants it in the world. I want it in the world. Right? Like, that’s the sense I have.
I have a friend who makes donuts, and they’re expensive donuts. And she sells them in L.A. And if you talk to her about sort of like the feedback, testing, measuring stuff, she’s just like, “Don’t even come all up in there with that. Like, I’m going to make donuts this way. And if you don’t like my donuts, get out.” Now, if no one liked her…I know where the boundary condition is, right? If no one liked her donuts, then she would be making donuts as a hobby at home. She wouldn’t be making donuts in a shop on Abbot Kinney, right? Like, she’s got some of the most expensive real estate in the world. She wouldn’t be making donuts there.
But I love that sense of forcibly inserting an opinion into the world. And it’s a thing that you just couldn’t not do. And that’s actually what Behavior Gap was. It made no sense. I was getting no feedback. It was my sister and my mom reading it, right? And historically, the joke goes, my sister was lying, right? But I just couldn’t stop doing it. Except I was getting feedback from a client who would smile and say, “Can I take that home?” And I was getting feedback. So you do get little bits of feedback. And I think I noticed them as tailwind. But I’m really resistant to a lot of measuring. And I’ve probably suffered as a result.
And so read Michael’s blog post about how to do it, and do it. But if there are some of you in here that are just like, “I don’t really care if anybody listens, I just want to put this…” That’s what Seth says about his work, Seth Godin says about his work, is, “I don’t really care if anybody listens. I’m going to write this daily blog every day because I want to write this daily.” For the benefit it had. He says, “Because of the metacognition benefit. It helped me think about my thinking. And I’m going to make it a daily practice. I don’t care if anybody…” In fact, now he says, “I don’t want any more readers.” That’s because he’s got all of them. But I think there’s that approach too.
So there’s not a right or wrong, it’s just, realize that if you have a sense of something…I believe everybody has a thing. And we can have a whole other episode about this, but I believe everybody has a thing that they’ve been shoving down, and sometimes it shows up and they worry that they should put it and they should measure it and they should da, da, da, da, da. And instead, I’m just like, just dance with the thing a bit, right? Dance with a thing a bit. So that’s a completely wacky Carl version of that number three.
So before we go deeper, let’s figure out if we want to move on. Do we want to move on and talk about what you would…like maybe how to structure that content, or should we save that for another episode?
Michael: I think we probably save that for another episode. Maybe we’ll…
Carl: Yeah, me too.
Michael: …just jump in soon and make that the follow-up episode to this one. So as they hear, like, here’s the, how do you figure out what to write about and that it’s okay to write about it? Like, we’ll cover that here. And how do you actually turn the thing in your head into an article or a podcast or whatever it is? Again, I’d really like to emphasize, you don’t have to make it written just because we happen to make a lot of stuff written. There’s a lot of different content mediums for this. But maybe we’ll turn to like, how do you turn the question and answer thing into actual content that you put out there? We’ll do that next as a follow-up. But I do think there’s a powerful…
Carl: That would be super-good.
Michael: …point that underlies all of this, Carl, that like…I think you’re so right. There are really two pieces of this. One is just, “What do I make content about?” Which essentially comes back to, don’t overthink it. Just answer the questions that are already being asked of you by the people that you work with. And the second part, which is, “Am I worthy to answer this question in the world and does anybody care what I think?” Like, that impostor syndrome that we get that holds us down? For which the answer is, yes, they care and what you think matters. Don’t be hung up on it, just go share what you want to share. It’s okay.
Carl: Yeah, totally. Look, I’m a kid from the hills in Utah. I use a Sharpie and a piece of cardstock. Now I use an iPad and an Apple Pencil to draw little things. Like if I had tried that 30 or 40 years ago, my mom rightly would have said, “Carl, go be an accountant.” Right? Like, “That’s not going to work.” But now, just by the sheer numbers, anything, I can promise you, anything you find interesting, there are enough people out there that will also find it interesting. And you already know because you’re being asked. So you’re already 10 steps ahead of the game. You don’t have to sit in a dark room and wonder, you know. And so now, just get out of the way, get out of the way.
And one of the reasons I care about this is the people need your help. And I particularly want to point to communities in our industry that are underserved, advisors of color, historically women. Like, people are sick of hearing from people that look like me. The same panels, the same discussion, the same blog posts, the same books. We’ve had our turn at trying to fix this system, right? The only way this gets better is if those voices are heard because they’re going to bring a unique perspective because they’ve typically been way underrepresented. So by definition, they’re going to be unique. And those are some of the same voices that I bet bump up against this the most. Like, “Does anybody want to hear?”
And I’m begging you, and I know Michael feels the same way, I’m begging you like, please, the reason we care is because your voice…we care about you, we care about you, but we also care about your voice needs to help…needs to be heard. And obviously, there are some systematic reasons why your voice hasn’t been heard and we’re all working on those. But right now, I’m just addressing one small piece. Like, when you bump up against the impostor feeling, like, “Nobody wants to hear this, who am I…?” particularly those underserved populations, for the benefit of you and all of us, like, permission granted.
Not that you need my permission, but the world is saying like, “Please do it. Do it, do it, do it, do it because we need to hear it.” That’s why I care so much about this is because I want this problem solved. And the only way this problem is going to be solved is unique voices with unique perspectives coming together with voices that have been around for a while and we meld them together and maybe we’ll see some change.
Michael: Well, thank you, Carl, for granting us permission today.
Carl: Yeah. Well, I feel so funny about…like, just everybody knows, tongue-in-cheek, I declared myself the self-declared king of permission-granting. And the only reason this king matters is because what you need to realize is that the ultimate permission is when you finally realize you don’t need anybody’s permission. You certainly don’t need mine. Right? So permission granted, Michael.
Michael: Thank you, Carl.
Carl: Yeah, thanks.