What Are You Practicing?

Few things are as powerful as conversation. 

Few things are as powerful as conversation. 

We don't often think of day-to-day actions that we taks as "practicing" but in every sense of the word, that's exactly what they are.

We don't often think of day-to-day actions that we taks as "practicing" but in every sense of the word, that's exactly what they are.

What are you practicing today?

Just this week, Seth Godin, who's blog I frequently refer to, wrote asking us "what's the first thing that you when you sit down at your computer each morning?" That struck a familiar chord with me because Seth managed to go on to ask if our first effort was emails, Facebook and social media, which largely at times mine is. I hadn't realized that I'd been practicing those activities as my first step, but I had been and true to form, I'd gotten pretty good at it.

What are you practicing today?

To my dismay, Seth went on to note that surely, there must be something I could be practicing that had more to do with moving my company or my life forward a bit. Perhaps focusing on advancing an important initiative, growing our corporate culture or relationships, or creating some other value in the world. And for me at least, there are all of those and more. Are there similar options for you?

What are you practicing today?

In her blog, "How To Develop A Creative Practice (And how it actually makes you more creative)" Justine Musk tells us much more about the power of our intention. She artfully and adroitly shows us how our intentions, once "stated" summons us to notice those things in our lives that support our intentions and advance our cause, while allowing for us to ignore the things that don't.

Justine talks too about the interconnectivity of personal exploration, spirituality and personal finance. I find a normal connection between spirit and finance, understanding as I do that the goal to have a great life is what leads to the best financial decision making. Decide what you want your life to be (state your intention) and the financial decisions become pretty easy from there.

What are you practicing today?

The financial planning process as Carl Richards denotes in his diagram above is only as good as the conversations that give it life. If you could work with an advisor who focuses you more on your intentions and less on the market or buying products, you would do better and be a lot happier. What if you could work with someone who would help you figure out what your "great life" is and give you the things to practice that would get your there?

The financial planning process is truly the epitome of "the whole" being greater (by magnitudes I might add) than the sum of it's parts. A properly designed financial plan tells the world what your intention is. It sets out who it is that you intend to be, not by deciding on investments or insurnace, but rather by declaring, "this is who I am, this is what I value in life, and this is the life I want."  If you're like most people and continue on the roller coaster of financial bliss and dissapointment your answer lies in where you intention is focused. If that focus is on products and markets, then your happiness will rise and fall along with them. But if you instead start by defining your life's goals and let the rest of it flow from that, you'll experience great peace and a plan centered on you, not markets.

Is is surprising that doing it the other way around, where we put things before our intention, doesn't work for very long, if at all?

Absent that properly drafted plan, let me ask: "what are you practicing today?"

(Special thanks to Leo Babauto of Zenhabits for inspiring this blog post)