Dusting. When I was a little girl growing up in St. Louis I really believe my father was obsessed with dusting. Well, let me clarify that — he was obsessed with ME doing the dusting. Every Saturday morning, I would get up to do my chores and the one thing I hated the most was the dusting. Our home was filled with knickknacks (a/k/a “clutter”) and my father wanted a dust-free home. I would dust the TV, the shelves, the end tables, the legs of the piano even. Dusting. Blech.
One day when I was about eleven years old, we had guests over and I clearly heard one of the women say to my father, “Your home practically shines!” and naturally thinking my father would point toward me and tell everyone what an awesome duster I was, he just smiled and said, “Yeah, I work hard to have a clean home.”
Is he for real? YOU work hard to have a clean home? I’m the one over here smelling like Pledge, buddy. While I tallied up in my head all the times I dusted, vacuumed, washed dishes, did laundry, took garbage out, etc. in a few moments I became bitter that I didn’t get the credit for all of that work. From that point forward dusting not only had zero appeal to me, resentment sank in. The lesson in this did not resonate.
Now fast-forward to me at age thirty-four. My father has had a stroke, a triple bypass and he couldn’t do anything for a while. I not only dusted my father’s house, but I mowed the lawn, took out the trash, made dinners, etc. I wasn’t looking for the validation of doing these things. They were the things that needed to be done…and then it clicked. I needed to quit keeping score and just serve another person from my heart.
Working in financial services, it is nice to get the credit, but it’s absolutely not necessary. We go into this profession with the desire to help people achieve their objectives. Whether it’s to cover funeral expenses, manage assets, have disability and gap coverage in place for possible care events, etc. we should never go into this community thinking, “I did a lot of work for this client, he better give me a referral.” That would be nice, but it’s not necessary.
It took me more than twenty years to understand the lesson behind throwing away the scorecard. (I’m a slow learner.) Credit is not something we need to validate the work we do. When we see the faces of the families we’ve helped, businesses that have solid planning, children who can go to college debt-free: that’s the reward in this journey.
When we stop tallying up the work we’ve done, stop looking for the credit due and realize the actual reward is the difference we make in someone’s life, you will be a much healthier financial service practitioner because of it.
Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!
Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite