Column: The one thing that will either elevate or destroy your financial future

COVID-19 certainly brings challenges. Aside from the obvious effects of joblessness and reductions in economic activity, there is one common denominator in either getting through this and thriving or getting left behind: comparison.

It is natural to look at the way things were and long for them again. We want to fully go back to work, to earn those extra bonuses, grow our businesses, travel again, see all our family and friends, worship together and most importantly, hug those we love! But these things may not be possible right now.

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It is also tempting to see others and envy their wealth, the places they travel to, how many friends they have, how famous they are, how many Facebook likes they get and the list goes on. Our social media addictions sure don’t help matters!

These kinds of comparisons get us down and sap our confidence. We need to simply recognize these feelings for what they are – interesting observations over things that are largely out of our control. Comparisons are simply illusions. Unchecked though, we can easily empty our bank accounts and max out our credit trying to buy into those illusions, only to feel empty at the end of the experience.

Let’s use comparison to thrive!

Strategic Coach Inc. founder Dan Sullivan identifies four performance capabilities common to people who perform at a high level: They are Alert, Curious, Responsive and Resourceful. Let’s think about how we can leverage our comparative abilities along those dimensions.

Alertness – Pay attention to your instincts! These feelings often show up when comparing against an idea of how things should be. It’s better to harness that instinct and see where it is guiding you rather than let it get you down. Remember not to get distracted by those shiny ideas and objects though. Successful people act only on ideas that will add value and that are backed by evidence!  

Curiosity – This is where we dig deep and start asking the right questions. Don't be afraid to ask. The truly successful will honour your curiosity and want to help you. If we are not getting clear or consistent answers, it may be that we are only seeing illusions of success!

Responsiveness – Progress does not happen without action and it is difficult to act alone. For example, by observing the actions of truly successful investors and working with the right team of advisors, you can develop the capabilities and confidence to succeed on your own terms.

Resourcefulness - Resourceful people fully utilize strengths and resources that they already have. More importantly, they quickly find the people and resources that they need to fill in the gaps.

A successful financial plan at its core compares where you are now with where you want to be and defines the steps necessary to get you there. When you focus your comparative tendencies by being alert, curious, responsive and resourceful, you can truly transform your future.

This column is part of a monthly series courtesy of Richard Vetter, founder of WealthSmart Inc.

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