Much of a financial advisor’s work involves putting themselves out there, whether by pitching their services to a client, writing engaging pitches on their website, or promoting their own educational or written work. For many advisors, though, marketing themselves may initially feel intimidating, but the process becomes less daunting as they find success and get more experience under their belts. For many advisors, diving into new experiences may elicit feelings of “imposter syndrome” – a sense of self-doubt around one’s abilities to the extent that they may feel like a fraud – that are never actually eliminated regardless of their level of subject matter expertise or how long their track record of success gets.
In our 76th episode of Kitces & Carl, Michael Kitces and client communication expert Carl Richards discuss their own experiences with imposter syndrome and how they – and other advisors – have successfully dealt with it.
Advisors who struggle with imposter syndrome tend to have trouble internalizing their own capabilities, despite external evidence of their success. And rather than building confidence upon their successes, advisors often find it even harder to acknowledge their skill as they accumulate successes, because they develop the sense that there is simply a further distance for them to fall. Which can present a significant trial to advisors as they progress in their career, as while some uncertainty and feelings of “I don’t know what I’m doing” are normal when first starting out (or trying something for the first time!), when those feelings are continual, they can pose a challenge for advisors to do the things that will help improve their circumstances or represent their skills adequately – such as by asking for a fair fee or promoting their educational content.
Fortunately, there are ways for advisors to mitigate – and even leverage – the effects of imposter syndrome. By first recognizing that imposter syndrome is a very common experience and acknowledging that it can often present opportunities for advisors to stretch and improve themselves, advisors can devise productive strategies to help them effectively cope with their self-doubt. For example, one advisor who had trouble assertively discussing her fees wrote up a detailed script that she pulled up and read when having the conversation with clients, to keep any unfounded reservations about her value as an advisor from discounting her services.
Ultimately, the key point is that imposter syndrome is deep-rooted and challenging for many advisors, but developing coping mechanisms and leveraging the challenges that are presented to advisors can help them advance themselves and elevate the value they offer to clients. Because the advisor who can look back and realize how far they’ve come can increase their confidence over time – and genuinely embrace their expertise!
***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.
- Mr. Burns
- #FASuccess Ep 007: Matthew Jarvis On Building a Highly Profitable Lifestyle Practice by Age 35
- #FASuccess Ep 009: Carolyn McClanahan On Using A Complexity-Based Retainer Model To Deliver Holistic Financial Planning
- #FASuccess Ep 014: Validating Your Advisor Value Proposition And Overcoming Imposter Syndrome With Carl Richards
- #FASuccess Ep 094: Crafting Your Optimal Solo Practice By Simply Charging What You’re Worth With James Osborne
- Carl’s Sketch Guy column for The New York Times
- Learning To Deal With Imposter Syndrome
- Fujitsu ScanSnap
- Inviting Mara to Tea
Kitces & Carl Podcast Transcript
Michael: Greetings, Carl.
Carl: Hello, Michael. How are you?
Michael: I'm doing well. How are you today?
Carl: I am super good. Yeah, things, I don't know that they could be better, to be honest.
Michael: So I'm taking it your wife is still doing the redesigning because you still got the setup from our last episode: the shelves behind you and Mr. Burns hanging out over your shoulder. So you brought it up briefly last time. I want to come back to this. I want to hear the Mr. Burns' "imposter syndrome" story, which I'm realizing, even if we go down that road, you may need to define "imposter syndrome." So you had talked about this originally when you joined The Financial Advisor Success Podcast, which I think was like four years ago because you were one of the very first guests that was on. So...
Carl: Wait, wait, wait. You know what I'm still so offended by?
Michael: What's that?
Carl: I could ask you again, I've asked you three times. Tell me the episode number.
Carl: Gee. Just for context, everybody, Michael always runs around like, "Matthew Jarvis is episode number." He always runs around spouting off episode number... And the last time I asked him about mine he's like, "I can't remember." So, yeah.
Michael: Oh, now I've gone and memorized it. I learn my lessons.
Carl: Anyway, good enough. Good enough.
Michael: So I realized that not everyone may be even heard that. If you want to go back and hear it: www.kitces.com/14 for episode 14. But maybe starting point is just defining "imposter syndrome" for those who aren't familiar with it just to kind of anchor us here. Then I want to hear the Mr. Burns' story and how you overcome imposter syndrome.
Defining Imposter Syndrome (And Why It Matters!) [1:43]
Carl: Yeah. Well, geez, because this is one of my favorite subjects ever. Okay, so let's start by just defining "imposter syndrome." And maybe even more, if it's okay, why it even matters because to me, and a lot of your work is the same, what we're hoping people can do is anytime you go to do something different than the way it's always been done. Any time you do something new and novel. And we've got so many, you get these emails too, so many young advisors coming in our industry, and almost like clockwork, it's 4–12 months after they start, I'll get an email that says, "I didn't know this is what it was like." They go to work for an incumbent big firm or whatever and they're like, "Oh..." They come out of some of these amazing financial planning programs ready to change the world and really have an impact and the service mindset. And then they get plugged into some relatively sales-oriented job and they're disappointed and they're thinking about leaving. And my message is always like, "No, go do the thing you thought. Like if you have to, for a couple of years, play chess, that's fine. But keep a hold of that thing."
Well, that thing is scary. Doing it a little different than the way it's always been done. And as soon as you bump up against anything that you're going to do that it's new and novel, especially if there's not necessarily an exact model for it. Like, how crazy, remember James Osborne, I'm sure he's been on Success Podcast, you know the number.
Michael: I don't remember the number. I don't remember the number, but he has been on Advisor Success, so . . .
Carl: Yeah, and how crazy is it that James decides... Just who gave him permission to decide that he could build a business around only 75 clients with a flat retainer? And Carolyn. We could just go on and on about these stories. Well, all of them have bumped up against this thing.
And I didn't know it had a name. I got the chance to meet with a—what would you call it? Like a professional industrial psychologist performance coach for people in businesses. I was meeting with one and I was telling them about this feeling I would get. Almost paralyzing, but not paralyzing. Almost. Just like, "Oh." And I am touching my chest right now because I could feel it in my chest. I can even feel it right now. And I was like, " It's this fear that someone's going to find out I'm just a kid from the hills in Utah. Who gave me permission to do this thing?" And she was like, "You know that has a name." This is the first time I learned this. This is really cool. And I can't remember, 2012, 2013. So I've been writing for The Times for a while. The book had come out. And I was like, "Every time I give a speaking engagement, why do I feel this tightness in my chest?" And she's like, "Well, that has a name." I was like, "Oh, what?" And I remember the thought when somebody told me it had a name. I was like, “If it has a name other people must have felt it." How great is it to know that it has a name? She was like, “It’s called ‘imposter syndrome.’” And I was like, "What? Tell me about it."
So I went down this rabbit hole of researching it. The technical definition is having a difficult time internalizing our own value, despite—and there's an important element—despite external evidence to the contrary. So you have a relatively decent record of success. And it may not be in the same thing. That's where the new and novel part comes from. It may be that you've had success in school and now you're trying to have success in your job and you think that they don't translate you, but you've got external evidence to the contrary that you know how to do things. And you're having a hard time internalizing it. That's imposter syndrome.
And a couple of more things about it, and then we can dive into the Mr. Burns' story.
It doesn't go away with success. In fact, most of the research says not only does it not go away, sometimes it gets worse. And I think that's because you have a longer way to fall. As you have success, you're looking down and saying, "Oh, if it happens now, that's a long ways to fall." So it doesn't go away. There is some evidence that it's a bigger challenge—this is not a sexist statement, it's right out of the literature—like, some evidence that it's a bigger challenge with women than it is with men. And that's purely because men typically have an overconfidence problem. So the fact that it's...
Michael: It's hard to have an imposter syndrome problem if you're going to have an overconfidence problem.
Carl: It's hard to have an advisor problem if you think you're the master of the universe. So it's not a good reason but the fact that it's a slightly larger problem with women than it is with men is actually a compliment. Not a negative thing. So...
Michael: Just because women are actually self-aware, and we men just bull ourselves into stuff.
Carl: Yeah. And the literature, again, is relatively clear on this, that overconfidence is a problem for both genders, but it's a stronger problem for men than it is for women.
So those are a couple of just the factual things. And the level of imposter syndrome I'm talking about here… I think the word "syndrome" is even a challenge here, because there are some people that it's actually paralyzing. And I'm not talking about that. I want to be clear about that. I don't know what to do about that. That's beyond the scope of anything I know about. I just know about this almost-paralyzing fear. And the word we use there is "imposter syndrome."
Leaning Into Expertise To Combat Imposter Syndrome [7:26]
Michael: Well, I'm struck by it, and I was fascinated by this first hearing about it. And I think, really, truly, I think I'd first heard imposter syndrome and kind of the label and the framework from you. Probably some conversation we had many years ago. And I feel like this is one of these things there's probably way more out there in our advisor world than we acknowledge and give it credit for. It's any of us that are out there talking about the dollars that we earn, the fees that we charge. Like, to actually say to another human being, "Well, I'd be happy to work with you. I bill $300 an hour. Or $400." For anyone to me who's ever had trouble saying out loud their fees, what they cost. Like if you ever hiccup, particularly when you put it in dollar terms, like, "So this many hundred dollars, this many thousand dollars to work with me." If you feel that pause, that hesitation, that catching your voice when you try to get out, "My financial planning fee is $5,000." I think it's a piece of this.
Like, "Oh my god, what if they actually realize that I've really only been doing this a couple of years? And I've got my CFP marks but a lot of other advisors have done this longer, and they have more designations or more experience or have studied more stuff or it seems they know more than I do. A client is going to find out that other people know more than I do." And just we start piling it on ourselves. Just, that’s imposter syndrome. There it is. There it is.
And I've seen a similar phenomenon for some advisors that it does seem to get worse with more success. At least what I see. For most advisory firms, particularly in our world, just success for us often means more complexity and more affluent clients, higher fees that come with it. It's like, if your voice catches when you try to say you charge $2,000 or $3,000 or $5,000 for planning fee now, like, wait until a couple of years there now when you're getting clients when you're charging $10 grand, $20 grand, $30 grand. You're telling clients 1% and they've got a multi-million dollar portfolio and you're doing the math in your head and you're like, "If they find out that it's going to be $30,000 and my average client only pays me $5 they're going to freak." And we start piling it on ourselves.
And I think the good piece that you draw back to is that this is about the challenge, internalizing our value despite external evidence to the contrary, right? It's the, "I'm afraid if I say the fee and I put it out there that someone's going to not want to work with me. Well, cool. You have a lot of clients you already charge that fee too. How many of them stick around? "Oh, yeah, we got a 97% retention rate." It's like, “That means they really like what you're doing.”
Carl: That's external leverage.
Michael: Like, if you were way off, you would have an 80% retention rates. You're nowhere near that. That's that external evidence to the contrary that if your clients are not leaving in mass, you are delivering the value, you are showing up and worth it. The people who pay you believe it and that's why they keep paying you. So what's the hangup and why it's so hard to say our fee? And me, at least, this crystallizes when you have to say your fee out loud to someone. I find that's where it hits more than anything else.
Carl: I think there's two really important things. And then layer on top of it that you're supposed to create content and do it in public. You're supposed to hold your hand out and write a blog post. You're going to write a book, you're going to start a podcast. Like, "Who am I? Who am I to be talking about this?” like that. And then one thing that I think you'll really relate to is that one of the classic pieces... I was working on a book with a team of academics on the subject, and we still have the manuscript, maybe we'll release it someday. But we were trying to come up with, what do you call them? Archetypes of the imposter syndrome and how the imposter syndrome shows up.
And one of the sort of classic hallmarks of imposter syndrome is you've done something so many times that it's easy for you. And it may even be that it just comes naturally. Like, I don't mind public speaking. It may be that it comes naturally to you. Either because you've done it so many times it's become easy, or it comes naturally. Either way, what you do is you make an assumption that because it's easy for you—like it's easy for you to throw around the word "standard deviation" and know what it means—because it's easy for you, you assume it's easy for everyone else. And if it's easy for everyone else, it must not be valuable. That's the line of thinking that goes on. So imposter syndrome is, I think, it's the normal expectation you should get that it's going to show up because you're a humble expert. Once you become an expert.
So I think those are some of the important parts to understand about this little guy.
Michael: Well, and the irony that comes from it as well, I think there's a very powerful point you make of just what happens when we go through our learning curve and become experts? Sort of the infamous, "we don't know what we don't know," that we start learning stuff, that we have learned a bunch of stuff that we know, that we learned so much that we realize, again, how much we actually don't know because we've become to experts enough to realize where the gaps and limitations of our knowledge is. I find that that's where it starts to seem to hit for a lot of us as advisors. We get over the initial learning curve and then you start realizing how much there really is beyond the stuff you learned originally and how much you don't know. And it seems all these other people know more than you do.
And we kind of forget, Yeah, but if you've done this for even a limited number of years, or heck, even if you just got your CFP certification, you literally now know more than about 99% of the population, and most of the 1% who knows more than you, they're not your prospects. They might be your colleagues. It's not who comes and asks you for advice. The people who come and ask for your advice, I pretty much guarantee a 99.9% chance, you know more than them. A lot more than them. That's why they came to you and they're seeking you out for advice. But the more we know, the more we realize what we don't know. And I find for a lot of us, that seems to get us even more stuck. Because we forget how much more we know than our clients. That's why you're not an imposter. That's why it's legit that they're paying you and you're the one giving the advice and you're the one getting paid and making the money.
Carl: Yeah, yeah. And that's again, one of those, sort of, archetype things, right? There’s imposter syndrome that’s the version of never ever. Like, "I haven't ever done this before." You're feeling that because you are an imposter, right? And we all go through that. We go through that. And we got to be really careful with "fake it until we make it" in a professional setting, but it's a little bit of, "Hey, I'm just going to believe other people are telling me that I'm okay with this." And I always think of it as matching the problems I'm solving 10% below my capacity and then just sort of moving that up. So if a problem is above my capacity, we have full permission in this industry to say, "I don't know, and I can get you an answer." But as long as it's below, that's the never-ever problem. And then, of course, you get the expert problem that we've talked about, too. So I think that's what imposter syndrome is about.
How Imposter Syndrome Correlates To Opportunity (The Mr. Burns Story) [15:24]
Michael: So all that being said then, so how do you deal with it?
Carl: Yeah. To me, this is a really, really important trick. And it may just be a trick. That I think the way we've historically been taught to deal with it. The imposter syndrome is very close to just a specific strain of fear. And typically, how we deal with fear is we punch fear in the teeth, right? Like, "No fear. I have no fear." We have t-shirts like that saying, "No fear." That's how we've traditionally dealt with it. That doesn't match for most of us. I don't think it works, period. But I think particularly for most of us who, hopefully we're service-oriented, hopefully we have some sense of humility, we've experienced overconfidence, we're aware of the fact that if we believe we don't have an overconfidence problem, we have an overconfidence problem. Like, we're aware of blind spots, we're aware of all of this. So I think the better way to deal with it, and this gets us to Mr. Burns here.
So, I'll tell you the story. And this will answer the "how do we deal with it" question. And then before I start, remember it doesn't go away like the research has shown. So like "kick it in the teeth" doesn't really work. So, every...
Michael: Coping mechanisms work.
Carl: Yeah, or tricks. Every Thursday morning... My deadline for The New York Times is Thursday morning. And I was in Park City, Utah, like I am now. And my window, like it does now, the sun's coming down—it's a fall day so we're getting a little sun, looks out at mountains and sagebrush so I can't see much else. I'd go in Thursday morning, and I'd look out the window. And I would stare at a blank screen and I'd write the column. And then I'd have to draw a sketch and I would use an actual Sharpie, and some cardstock, which I don't have any around. And then I would take the Sharpie thing, there was always a huge pile of cardstock behind me. And then I wouldn't even have to take it over. Sitting next to the desk was a Fujitsu snap scanner. I'm trying to emphasize that it wasn't like a flatbed scanner that was a thing. It was a Sharpie, cardstock in Park City in the hills in Utah, and a Fujitsu snap scanner. So all of this was leading up to this like, "What are you doing?" This feeling was growing. Just about when I'd hit send to the editor, I'd literally feel this presence. Over my left shoulder was where my door was. And the door was frosted glass, so if there was a person outside, I could see the outline of the person. And it was like every week I would look over my shoulder, right about when I hit "send" I'd feel like there's somebody watching. Like there's...
Michael: Who's witnessing that your leading column for The New York Times is literally you scribbling on paper with a Sharpie and then throwing it in your little Fujitsu SnapScan.
Carl: Isn't that cute? Right. And some of the comments that I would get, like, "My four-year-old could do that." None of this helps. Right?
Carl: So I'd look over there. And in my head, what started to happen... And I actually had a dream one night. I had a dream that... So there's two versions of what would happen. But the dream was, I looked over there, in my dream, and there was a guy there and he looked just like Mr. Burns. And for those of you who are just listening, I've got a bobblehead of Mr. Burns that Justin Castelli sent me after hearing the story, which is so thoughtful, because now it's like I've got a thing, right? But Mr. Burns is Homer Simpson's boss. And you remember him. He's got these little fingers where he's always looking down in his nose—like he's kind of mean.
In my dream, Mr. Burns was out there and he came in and he opened the door. And he was like, "What is going on in here? Is that a Sharpie? Is that cardstock? A Fujitsu ScanSnap? Is this Utah? These are hills. You're a kid from the hills. Wait until they find out." And then he'd asked other questions like, "Who gave you permission to do this? Where's your permit?" And then in my dream, there was one of those big giant breaker switches like that you see in a giant building. It was a huge switch. And it set on and off, and it was in the on position and the switch was labeled "Carl's Career." And Mr. Burns reaches up, grabs the switch, looks at me, laughs, and just turns it to “off.”
Michael: I like how he doesn't just turn your career off. He has to look at you and laugh at you first. Just to rub it in. That is some vivid imagery.
Carl: That was my dream. And so then from that time on after that dream, every Thursday, I looked over and I would just see Mr. Burns standing outside my door, being like, "Wait, who gave you permission?"
So then what happened was I was in and I remember where I was. I was in South Africa, in Cape Town. And it was my first event that was like 5,000 people. So it was my first event that was like stadium seating. Not stadium but, sorry, theater-style seating. And I drove up to the event and there was people out on the road towards the event and they had signs. Some of them said, "Carl." And it was like pointing. They were just telling you where to park. But that's not what they were telling me. What they were telling me was like, "Oh my gosh." So then I drove in, and I went to do the soundcheck and I walked out on the stage. And literally, there was no one there but there was 5,000 seats. I literally turned around I was like, "No, there's no way." But later on that night, in the green room, and I'm almost done here, I recognized the same feeling. And then I realized, a couple of weeks later, I was at another event and it was 40 people, the same feeling. And then I went on a radio station, the same feeling. And then I was like, "When else have I had that feeling?" I started to think back through all the things in my life that had gone... Some of them didn't work, but... Like, I remembered my wedding day, same feeling. The birth of my first child, and actually, all four of them. But certainly the first one like, "What? Who thought this was a good idea?" The start of a mountain bike race. And I'm in no way comparing those. I'm just saying the feeling was always there.
So then I started to realize Mr. Burns gets an invite to all the cool parties. And so then I started to realize… and this to me is how I deal with the imposter syndrome. Now, Thursday morning, I look over and if Mr. Burns is there I'm like, "Hey, brother." Now, you can personify the imposter syndrome to be anything you want. It doesn't have to be a brother. It doesn't have to be him. But for me, it was Mr. Burns. "Hey, brother. I'm glad you're back." You know what I mean? That's what it became. Like, "Wait, if he's at all the good parties, why am I trying to shelter myself or protect myself from Mr. Burns? Why wouldn't I want to expose myself as often as possible – with periods of rest, I've learned that, with periods of rest in between – to Mr. Burns' events, events that Mr. Burns will be at?" Because to me, that's the same feeling. The feeling is, "This might not work. It's new and novel. And that's the stuff I love." So that's how I did it.
So last story. There's a story from the Buddha that he was teaching under a Bodhi tree. And there's a bunch of people there. And out in the back, in the bushes behind all the people there was some ruckus. And one of his attendants came up and said, "Buddha, Mara,” – Mara, M-A-R-A I believe, Mara is a mischievous devil – "Mara is here." And the Buddha, I love this, the Buddha reportedly said, "Oh, good invite her in for tea." That to me is how we handle this sort of imposter syndrome. Like, "Oh, good. I'm glad you're back. Let's get to work." Because the other way doesn't work. Elizabeth Gilbert says, "It's Llike your crazy uncle. He can come on the trip, but he's never allowed to drive."
And remember the reason it doesn't work is because fear has kept you alive. So the idea of like, "kick it in the teeth" is kind of silly. Just don't want it to drive. So that's the whole story behind Mr. Burns.
Michael: Very cool.
Carl: You're right.
Coping Mechanisms To Reduce Imposter Syndrome [24:51]
Michael: It reminds me as well just you as my career built as well, I certainly felt a piece of this. I'd experienced it as well. It hit me just as fees started to rise and what I could charge started to rise and like...
Carl: For what? For your advice or for speaking or both?
Michael: Both. Both. And just it got hard to say the number. And the bigger the number got, the weirder it felt to say. And I will admit, I'll just say, one of the coping mechanisms for me was I started pushing my fee my fees more externally, on the website, on the information. For a while, I had a thing of like not only was the fee schedule out there, but if you were going to schedule a meeting with me, you had to check a box that said, "I acknowledged the fee schedule, and I'm comfortable with or this is my range,” or something to that effect. Because I was trying to create for myself an environment like, Look, if they're going to balk at the fee, I don't want to put myself in the situation because I know it's garbage. They balk at the fee, I'm going to be like, "Maybe I'll give you a little bit of a discount." I didn't even want to create the environment. Like, if I'm going to catch on the fee, like my voice is going to catch when I say what it costs, I'm just not going to put myself in a position where I have to say what it's going to cost in the first place. And I'm not going to put myself there.
I knew another advisor that had a version of this as well, particularly when we converted to Zoom, to virtual world. Whenever she got to the fee conversation, she literally wrote a script for herself. Word for word, it's what she would say. And she would keep it up on the screen because virtual world, I can literally put it right in front of me so I'll see it as I'm looking at my prospect. And she wrote the script up there. So whenever she got to the fee conversation, she would literally read the script. So she couldn't deviate. So she couldn't catch herself. So she couldn't try to haggle herself down. It was literally reading the script to keep herself from moving off script and starting to compromise herself when the imposter syndrome kicks in.
Carl: Yeah, so good. To me, we could talk for hours about coping mechanisms. I think the most important thing is to realize you're not alone. I still feel it. Almost, I mean, if I go a couple of days without Mr. Burns showing up, I think something's wrong. Like podcasts interviews, "What am I going to say?" I get it sometimes before we record this. I'm like, "Oh, geez, what do I have? Michael's got all these things behind his name? He knows all this stuff. What am I possibly going to have to add to this? I draw with a sharpie. Come on." Like that's literally some of that. And then as soon as I feel it... So to me, the key is most of us feel it, but it's unconscious and it's just this level of tension underneath. It feels like anxiety is what it feels like. To me, I'm pointing right now at my chest because I've learned as soon as I feel it, and I often feel it at my chest I can go. It's just a deep breath like, "Oh, hey, there's that thing." And now, I personified it. So it can be, "Oh, hey.” And I always look over my left shoulder, no matter where I am. I always look over my left shoulder I'm like, "Oh, hey, that's that."
So I think that's the important part is number one, if you feel this way, you are not alone. I did a bunch of research for this book we were working on. And by the way, don't email us. Every time I even mention this stuff I get hundreds of emails from listeners. It's just like a book we're working on. I have like 20 of those, so don't worry. But I did a bunch of research. And I interviewed all sorts of people. CEOs of huge companies that you'd all know the names of.
Let me tell you one super quick story. I had a conversation with somebody who's running one of the biggest churches in America. And I asked him about it. And he told me this story where, in his dream, he's driving home from the church. He was young. He was like 32, and he was running one of the biggest churches in America at the time. And he said, "The other place this happens a lot is if you've ever been in a boardroom and you're looking around to see who the adult in the room is and it's you." And you're like, "Oh, no, everybody...." He was saying, "Look, we'd have these big meetings. I'm 32. I don't even know what I'm doing. I know I'm a great pastor, but whatever. And I'd drive home..." And in his dream, a police car pulls up behind him in the dream driving home. And out of the car is God. And he walks up, and he knocks on the window. And he makes sort of the universal sign for "Give me the keys. Who told you you can drive?"
Michael: That is some high stakes when you're a preacher. Wow.
Carl: "Who told you you can drive?" Was what he says. Like, "Give me the keys."
My point is, everybody feels... There's a story about Obama. Obama saying, "Gosh." Like the first time alone in the Oval Office. "I hope nobody finds out I'm here." So my point is I think that's the important message. Like the coping mechanisms are amazing. But it helped me so much to know that we all deal with it. And the only way to deal with it to me is to realize the difference between people who do the things and the people who don't isn't that the fear went away. It's that they felt the same fear and did it anyway. And to me, that's the most important part of this.
Michael: The part that has stuck for me was someone who had said, "Just remember, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." You don't have to know more than anyone in the world. Because the leading expert in the world who knows more than you doesn't come to you for advice. The people who come to you for advice are people who lost and need some help. That's why they come to you. That's why they seek you out. When you know more than they do, you are their expert, and you are adding value. And that's the only comparison that matters.
Carl: Totally. Totally. So yeah, that's such a fun conversation. I just think, if we can get to the point, and I think personal resilience, and I mentioned rest. I think if we can get to the point where we're regularly exposing ourselves. And some people, you don't want to live that life, and that's totally cool. I'm totally good with that. I've got friends like that. Just stable and steady. And it's awesome, right? But it's okay if you feel like, "Hey, there's a thing I want to do. It scares me a little bit." Name the scare, name the fear, and then decide how to do micro-actions and some of these coping mechanisms we taught and do the thing.
My message would be, specifically the financial planners listening to this, that thing you want to do the different way, your voice has not been heard, particularly among underserved communities in our industry. Look, of course, it's hard. Of course, it's scary. But we desperately need that voice. We need people thinking about different ways of doing this. And if you need permission, I grant it to you. I've got my permission-granting wand, not that you need it from me. But sometimes we just need it from anybody. Like a flip of a coin. Like, "permission granted." But please go do it. And don't let the fear get in the way. And if the fear gets in the way, just slowly work through it because we need that voice. We need new and novel. Of any industry, we need new and novel, right? So that would be my message.
Michael: Awesome. Well, thank you, Carl.
Carl: Cheers, Michael. That was super fun.