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Senior Correspondent

“I’ve read several of your articles, including your story, and I realize I’m not you. So can I do what you’ve succeeded in doing with your finances if we’re so different?”

So started a conversation with a new client recently. And to answer, I borrowed generously from Paulo Coelho, in his new book Manuscript Found in Accra:

If they (your coach in this case) once took a wrong and dangerous path, they will never come to you and say, “Don’t ever do that.”

They will merely say: “I once took a wrong and dangerous path.”

This is because they respect your freedom, just as you respect theirs.

Avoid those who believe they are stronger than you, because they are actually concealing their own fragility.

Stay close to those who are not afraid to be vulnerable, because they have confidence in themselves and know that, at some point in our lives, we all stumble; they do not interpret this as a sign of weakness, but of humanity.”

What I Write About

I write about how I messed up (and still do!), what I did about it and what worked for me. It’s called “making my mess my message.” Parts of that will work for you. Parts will not.

But I also write about the experiences of all those I interact with — especially those who work with me to turn their finances around, because they teach me new wrinkles. Once they have success with a particular technique or strategy, I integrate it into my writings so you have that option as well for your finances.

I’ve had readers comment that I come at the same issue from so many different directions and that they appreciate me giving them choices … as well as second or third opportunities to deal with an issue they may have been avoiding.

You see, I too have had to get hit over the head several times before I woke up to some unhealthy behaviors I had around money. So I realize the value of coming back to fundamental issues again and again. Besides, we don’t all hear things the same way.

My hope is that I never look upon any money behavior with judgment. We all came to have our behaviors for different reasons, many of which had nothing to do with us. Instead, many behaviors are inherited or carried forward from childhood, when we had little control over the messaging we were absorbing.

What I Believe

In short, I bring with me three underlying beliefs:

  1. We each must take personal responsibility for our lives. In the end, that responsibility belongs to no one else and relinquishing it is like rolling the dice in a craps game: you have no control over the outcome.
  2. There are many roads to the same destination, including that of financial peace of mind. None are wrong and none are right; they just take more or less time and effort.
  3. We are all dealt different hands in life and have different skills, but we all deserve the exact same financial peace of mind … however we define it.

I would hope those are the beliefs of any coach or advisor you align with. Here’s what that means: it means I cannot do the work for you, I cannot prescribe just “one right thing” and I have no right to limit in any way what your outcome might be.

On the other hand, there is just one person who can make anything happen, and that person is you.

Let me know in the comments section below if you see mentoring, coaching or advising (whatever term you prefer) any differently.

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