We talk a lot about being a CEO Rockstar – getting your business to the top, making the big bucks, keeping your team happy, and making your customers and clients want to come back for more. But every so often we need to take a step back and look at the larger questions. Being successful is important, but when you get there, what then?
This week, I’m delighted to welcome Beau Henderson and Joel Wilsford of RichLife Advisors. We talk about philosophy of wealth, how to create your own definition of success—oh yeah, we eventually get around to retirement planning and managing investment behavior, too.
Start With the End in Mind
We live in a world that is in some ways more connected than ever before. If you happen to wonder what ever happened to your high school prom date, or the girl you got into a fistfight with in the third grade, it’s likely that you can pop onto Facebook and check their latest updates – and you know what? For the most part, their lives look spectacular.
We stylize our lives through social media, and we do a solid job of projecting an image of success. As CEOs, it’s even more habitual and necessary to communicate an aura of accomplishment. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s how we play the game. The danger comes when we believe the game too deeply. When we really think, based on those external markers, that everyone else has it figured out – or even worse, that we do.
As we generate our lives consciously, it’s important to seek the why in the winning, and the why is different for everyone. Having this conversation in the context of preparing for retirement is perfect. For many successful people, retirement is an abrupt shift away from the hard driving career that has given their lives meaning thus far. With people that are financially successful, retirement carries a set of concerns outside of financial stability. Loss of identity, purpose and social connection can lead to issues like depression and divorce, as well as health concerns.
Of some successful clients, Beau says, “They have made all the money, they have hit everything, but they got there and they said, ‘Oh wow. I achieved all of that stuff, I got to that destination, and I’m really not happy, and I’m really not fulfilled.’ And a lot of times, it’s either getting to a point like that, or hitting kind of a rock bottom with some kind of a crisis.”
It’s great to have experts to guide you through that process, but there is plenty you can be doing now to set yourself up for a smooth transition – as well as experience deeper satisfaction in your success in the meantime.
Nurture Authenticity to Enjoy Wealth
Finding your values comes with living your truth. Easier said than done in today’s world, right? Finding value is incredibly important, but for a CEO, so is image and monetary success. So, where’s the balance?
Joel says, “I think that we get trapped, because a lot of our culture, a lot of our teachings and trainings and everything we go through in business, doesn’t really teach us about that side. It’s about how to be more efficient making money. It’s about how to cut costs. It’s about how to increase revenues. It’s about all of these other things; which are important and good, in and of themselves.” But when we take them as the full expressions of our success, he explains, we get in trouble.
He says, “I think a lot of us have an either/or mentality in this world, that it’s either about that image, and the financial success, or it’s about being happy and at peace and fulfilled. And really, you can do both, it’s just got to be very intentional, and you’ve got to integrate it in a way that the world really hasn’t showed us to do it.”
Being able to dig deep takes a great amount of vulnerability, which is not always part of the job description for CEOs. He suggests building relationships with around five people that you can have honest conversations with, those that will “have your back when you go to war.” He says, “It’s never going to be, I think, a large circle. I think what we’ve seen with social media is that we can fill our circle with thousands of friends, but we never have a meaningful conversation with that friend.”
Don’t let external forces become the value driver for who you are. Joel explains, “If you’re trying to drive your image, or your being and your wellness from external, you’ll never reach that satisfaction. You’ll always have this dichotomy that’s going on.”
When you learn to see life through your own value lens, you begin to let go of the external idea of how things need to be. Joel explains, “I call it living life without filters. And living that life requires a certain degree of vulnerability.”
Bring Other People With You
We’ve talked a lot on the show lately about conscious capitalism. I’m a big believer that if you are successful in life it’s important to turn that success outward. Finding your own drivers has to do with where you want to focus that success. Who do you want to bring with you? Do you want to help other business people succeed? Build your immediate community? Support education worldwide? Write a book that passes on your knowledge? Knowing the difference you want to make in the world helps give a deeper meaning to the success you see as a CEO. It can help pass on a message of success to others that is larger than just the car you drive or where you company is on the INC 500 list. It begins to allow you to project an image of accomplishment that will inspire a greater sense of connection and humanity – not just a greater sense of materialism. And it will give you a deeper sense of satisfaction as well.
Stick to the Journey
Which brings us back to retirement. If your success is coming from a true sense of purpose, retirement can occur as another step on that journey. Go, spend your months on the golf course. Travel. Catch up with your spouse and your kids. And keep on the journey you’ve already set for yourself.
Says Beau, “It’s going back to that same idea of, we have to be honest with ourselves. We have to be honest about our situation…so many people don’t know what they want their future to look like, so they’re just kind of heading towards it, hoping things turn out alright. If we can get really clear and be really honest and real with ourselves about those things, then we can live rich, and I’m not talking about just financially.”