... And the Pursuit of Happiness
Many financial advisors start a new client relationship by exploring what financial success looks like for that client. Not surprisingly, most financial success milestones, whether paying for college, installing a new kitchen or pool, or buying a dream vacation or retirement home, are less about the thing itself and more about the emotional state (i.e., the happiness) the client perceives each item will provide for themselves and those whose happiness they care most about.
In this way, the role of advisors goes well beyond being stewards of client wealth—advisors are ultimately stewards of client happiness, whose importance ranks among liberty and life itself!
So today, we're exploring two specific tools advisors can use to bolster not only client happiness but their own as well.
New Dogs, Old Tricks
I recently came across a Psychology Today article that outlined a fascinating study that outlined a fascinating study about handwritten letters of gratitude.
In short, with respect to letters that went beyond a simple thank you, but that still took less than five minutes to write:
· Writers GREATLY OVERESTIMATED how awkward recipients would feel and how insincere the notes might seem.
· Writers GREATLY UNDERESTIMATED the positive effects the letter would have for the recipients, with many recipients saying they were ecstatic to receive their note.
If you don't currently practice thanking clients in writing for new introductions, especially when it leads to a new client relationship or a long tenure of continued loyalty, read the article noted above and consider this your prompt to start!
Removing the Habits That Undermine Happiness
In a "Good Day New York" interview, Tony Robbins once boiled down what undermines happiness in a single sentence: "Anger and fear are what screw people up the most."
He then explained that a simple, 3-minute daily gratitude ritual—one where you breathe deeply and don't just say or think about something, but internalize significant feelings of gratitude—can actually help lift us out of anger, fear, or frustration. More than simply kumbaya, neuroscience has proven that practicing real gratitude literally rewires your brain to be happier. Not only are neural pathways not capable of processing feelings of anger, fear, or frustration at the same time they are experiencing feelings of gratitude, but studies have also shown that those who practice gratitude more often report feeling more optimistic and positive than those who are less deliberate about catching and stopping irritation, fear, or anger. As an added benefit, participants who deliberately practiced gratitude reported better sleep and exhibited better health as well!
Whether it's reflective, verbal, or written, adopting a daily practice of personal gratitude and articulating your gratitude for clients in writing can help pave the path to happiness for you both!
Christy Charise, Founder & CEO of Strategic Advisor