It’s a Wonderful Business: Understanding the True Meaning of Success

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During the holiday season, many financial advisers find themselves trying to balance end-of-the-year business tasks with personal holiday traditions. Finding time for both is not an easy task, however every year we manage to fit in all of these important activities, making each holiday season a special one.

One such holiday tradition that I reserve for a quiet evening somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas is to sit down and watch the heartwarming, timeless classic It’s a Wonderful Life. It is the story of George Bailey, a small-town businessman who through a series of misfortunes finds himself contemplating suicide. Clarence, an innocent, lovable angel in training to earn his wings, helps George see the true value of his worth by showing him what life would have been like if he never existed.

As George comes to realize that his life and actions have had an amazing impact on friends, family and loved ones, he longs for the chance to put things back as they were and return to his wonderful life—now with a solid appreciation for what he has and a clearer understanding of the meaning of success.

The final scene shows George holding his daughter by the Christmas tree surrounded by a house full of friends who have come to his financial rescue. He opens a copy of the book Tom Sawyer given to him by Clarence, and reads the inscription: “Dear George, Remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings! Love, Clarence.”

So, why am I explaining a movie that you may have seen a dozen times? I believe that the message from the film not only applies to our personal life but to our professional lives as well.

Like George, you may have faced struggles, self-doubt, hardships and even the occasional feeling that, “It would have been better had I never been in this industry.” You may have felt that you compromised your dreams or been faced with the thought of financial ruin.

But, if you were given the opportunity to see what life would be like for your clients had you never been their adviser, chances are that you would end up better understanding the meaning of your own success. The significance of the planning and guidance you have provided your clients surely has had a rippling effect on their families and loved ones as well.

I find myself blessed when clients express the influence that I have had on them with a statement such as, “If it weren’t for you, I would be out of the business.”

So remember as you take time this holiday season to reflect on your business life and accomplishments that it is the positive impact you provide to your clients that is the true meaning of success in this wonderful financial services world.

Daniel C. Finley
Advisor Solutions Inc.
St. Paul, Minn.

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