Podcast

Podcast

Leo Pusateri: Your Next Big Project is You

January 15, 2020

Person staring at a lake

Summary and Full Episode

Advisors have been trained to view the world from their clients’ perspective. Consultant Leo Pusateri believes that if we flip the script and lead with an understanding of ourselves, we can have a more significant impact on our own lives and the lives of others. In this episode, he and host Bill Coppel – Managing Director & Chief Client Growth Officer at First Clearing – discuss how to get this process started.

Transcript

Host
Bill Coppel
Guest(s)
Leo Pusateri

BILL COPPEL: Hi, this is Bill Coppel and welcome to The Next Frontier. It’s no secret that we live in a 24/7 world today. And because we’re in constant motion, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s important in our lives. While technology has, in many ways, made life easier and more efficient, we find ourselves spending most of our time doing, and virtually no time being. This constant action-taking is at the expense of self-reflection and deliberation and often leaves us distracted, confused, and overwhelmed. What’s interesting is that wealth and success do not guarantee protection against this stressful and anxious state. We’ve all experienced this in our own lives and know our clients are feeling the same thing. So is our value today defined by our mastery of investment products and portfolio management or is our value the ability to understand what really matters in the lives of our clients and their families, helping them live a life of meaning and purpose? To help answer this question, we’ve invited back a previous guest, Leo Pusateri, to help us understand how to weed through the stressors and the noise in our life to focus on what really matters.

BILL COPPEL: For those of you who may not be familiar with Leo, let me tell you a little bit about his background. Leo is president and CEO of Pusateri Consulting and Training, a firm that helps financial professionals discover, articulate, and capitalize on their unique value by doing the internal work that lets them live lives of significance and be authentic in how they engage with clients. Affectionately known as the value man, Leo has provided inspiration and value-based training to advisors around the globe for more than 30 years. He lives his values effortlessly and with undeniable passion and teaches others what he’s learned over his professional lifetime. He is widely quoted in industry publications, and is the author of several books including Mirror Mirror on the Wall Am I the Most Valued of Them All?, You Are the Value, and Your Next Big Project is You. Leo, welcome back to The Next Frontier.

LEO PUSATERI: Thanks, Bill. It’s a pleasure to be joining you again. I really appreciate the opportunity.

BILL COPPEL: Leo, I’ve known you for many years, and I’ve seen the impact of the work you and your team have done related to defining and pricing your value. We could talk about that for hours. But when you told me about your latest work entitled Your Next Big Project is You, I not only thought this is something I need, but it’s something that advisors need, and their clients need. So I’d love to focus on that work if we could. So let me start with this question. When you say your next big project is you, what does that mean, and why is that important?

LEO PUSATERI: Well, Bill, what it means is that after years of serving clients, there’s a point where you need to start thinking of you. And not that these advisors that we’re talking about haven’t done this, but there’s a certain point in the next 5 to 25 years, let’s say, that this comes into play more. And what’s interesting it’s important because it may be driven by some of your retirement thoughts as an advisor, maybe succession issues, maybe you’re going through business valuation, maybe your health, relationships, or family issues, or personal issues. This stuff is really important, Bill. Advisors have been helping clients achieve this. It’s about time they think of themselves. They’ve got the same issues that their clients have. It’s just that they’ve never thought about it in this way. That’s why it’s important, Bill.

BILL COPPEL: When you think of it from that standpoint, Leo, what are the biggest questions that people, in general, need to be asking themselves about their own future?

LEO PUSATERI: Well, I’ve categorized these bigger questions to help people to think about their next big project being you from a career perspective number one, Bill, from a health perspective number two. Thirdly, I look at this for relationship questions you might be asking. Or fourth, from personal questions. I mean, without going too deep into all these areas, Bill, just look at the personal questions that I would be asking myself right now. Do you have an ongoing commitment to be your best? Are you seeking continued inspiration yourself as an advisor or a client? Are you wondering what’s next? Still curious, committed, or challenged to be your best? Are you seeking some invigoration? Are you in a rut? Are you being pulled in a different direction right now in your life? I say, are you searching for clarity, some sense of purpose, or direction in your life? Do you need life introspection to get your game back in order right now? I said these questions give you a sense of what I call a life time out, Bill. That’s maybe what a lot of people need right now. The clients that the advisors are calling on may need a life time out, not just an investment review or things like this. You might need to just to take some time to look at this stuff a little bit differently, and that’s the direction that I would challenge clients, folks like yourself, interviewing me today, Bill, important questions we need to be asking. We could spend another hour on these, but let me just stop there.

Intro: Welcome to The Next Frontier, where we examine what the role of the financial advisor will be in a world that’s being disrupted by artificial intelligence and algorithms. Our mission is to spark new conversations that create stronger connections and build greater client confidence. Join us as we look at our industry and others through a new lens and explore the opportunities emerging at the intersection of high tech and high-touch. It’s time for a new conversation. Are you ready?

BILL COPPEL: Hi, this is Bill Coppel and welcome to The Next Frontier. It’s no secret that we live in a 24/7 world today. And because we’re in constant motion, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s important in our lives. While technology has, in many ways, made life easier and more efficient, we find ourselves spending most of our time doing, and virtually no time being. This constant action-taking is at the expense of self-reflection and deliberation and often leaves us distracted, confused, and overwhelmed. What’s interesting is that wealth and success do not guarantee protection against this stressful and anxious state. We’ve all experienced this in our own lives and know our clients are feeling the same thing. So is our value today defined by our mastery of investment products and portfolio management or is our value the ability to understand what really matters in the lives of our clients and their families, helping them live a life of meaning and purpose? To help answer this question, we’ve invited back a previous guest, Leo Pusateri, to help us understand how to weed through the stressors and the noise in our life to focus on what really matters.

BILL COPPEL: For those of you who may not be familiar with Leo, let me tell you a little bit about his background. Leo is president and CEO of Pusateri Consulting and Training, a firm that helps financial professionals discover, articulate, and capitalize on their unique value by doing the internal work that lets them live lives of significance and be authentic in how they engage with clients. Affectionately known as the value man, Leo has provided inspiration and value-based training to advisors around the globe for more than 30 years. He lives his values effortlessly and with undeniable passion and teaches others what he’s learned over his professional lifetime. He is widely quoted in industry publications, and is the author of several books including Mirror Mirror on the Wall Am I the Most Valued of Them All?, You Are the Value, and Your Next Big Project is You. Leo, welcome back to The Next Frontier.

LEO PUSATERI: Thanks, Bill. It’s a pleasure to be joining you again. I really appreciate the opportunity.

BILL COPPEL: Leo, I’ve known you for many years, and I’ve seen the impact of the work you and your team have done related to defining and pricing your value. We could talk about that for hours. But when you told me about your latest work entitled Your Next Big Project is You, I not only thought this is something I need, but it’s something that advisors need, and their clients need. So I’d love to focus on that work if we could. So let me start with this question. When you say your next big project is you, what does that mean, and why is that important?

LEO PUSATERI: Well, Bill, what it means is that after years of serving clients, there’s a point where you need to start thinking of you. And not that these advisors that we’re talking about haven’t done this, but there’s a certain point in the next 5 to 25 years, let’s say, that this comes into play more. And what’s interesting it’s important because it may be driven by some of your retirement thoughts as an advisor, maybe succession issues, maybe you’re going through business valuation, maybe your health, relationships, or family issues, or personal issues. This stuff is really important, Bill. Advisors have been helping clients achieve this. It’s about time they think of themselves. They’ve got the same issues that their clients have. It’s just that they’ve never thought about it in this way. That’s why it’s important, Bill.

BILL COPPEL: When you think of it from that standpoint, Leo, what are the biggest questions that people, in general, need to be asking themselves about their own future?

LEO PUSATERI: Well, I’ve categorized these bigger questions to help people to think about their next big project being you from a career perspective number one, Bill, from a health perspective number two. Thirdly, I look at this for relationship questions you might be asking. Or fourth, from personal questions. I mean, without going too deep into all these areas, Bill, just look at the personal questions that I would be asking myself right now. Do you have an ongoing commitment to be your best? Are you seeking continued inspiration yourself as an advisor or a client? Are you wondering what’s next? Still curious, committed, or challenged to be your best? Are you seeking some invigoration? Are you in a rut? Are you being pulled in a different direction right now in your life? I say, are you searching for clarity, some sense of purpose, or direction in your life? Do you need life introspection to get your game back in order right now? I said these questions give you a sense of what I call a life time out, Bill. That’s maybe what a lot of people need right now. The clients that the advisors are calling on may need a life time out, not just an investment review or things like this. You might need to just to take some time to look at this stuff a little bit differently, and that’s the direction that I would challenge clients, folks like yourself, interviewing me today, Bill, important questions we need to be asking. We could spend another hour on these, but let me just stop there.

BILL COPPEL: That’s important because what I find in my travels, Leo, is that oftentimes advisors, in fact, don’t recognize that they’re actually clients. Seems to me that the questions that you’re framing here are applicable to any of us, whether we’re a client, whether we’re an advisor, etc. So with that as a backdrop, Leo, this is a big area as you just said. Without going too deep, but how do you frame– how do you think about this? If you were to kind of categorize those areas that you’d be reflecting on today, how do you handle that in this new endeavor?

LEO PUSATERI: Well, understand, Bill, that the questions that advisors’ clients need to be thinking about are the same exact questions that the advisors themselves have to be asking themselves. I categorized this when we developed our model. And after just all my life experiences and all the coaching of advisors I’ve done over the years, it came down to seven key areas for me. And that was living a life of significance was the first one. The second one was living a life with no regrets. The third one was a look in– a viewpoint around the concept of having abundance in your life. And then I talked about gratitude. Then we talked about having perspective. Then we talked about the quest to be your best. And then ultimately to live your legacy. So when I looked at these opportunities for questions for clients as well as advisors, they were able to come down into these seven specific bucket areas for me, Bill, and that’s what started to happen. I mean, when we have more time someday– I’m laughing to myself here. There are 57 specific questions I came up with on all of those seven areas to do that. So I’m just saying, you go really deep and get very introspective from a life perspective on all of these important areas.

BILL COPPEL: Well, I think that they’re– as I listen to you and I jotted down some notes. This notion of a life of significance, living sort of with no regrets sort of that inner pride sense, abundance, intentional stewardship, gratitude, perspective, and becoming your best, and live your legacy. That’s really insightful. And you did this through this process or journey that you actually put yourself through, as I understand it.

LEO PUSATERI: Yeah, no question. It was interesting because I’d launched my program around unique value introspection back in 1997. And it was real interesting in those first five years, Bill, of working with a lot of top advisors. It was interesting because, in one part of the program, you’re unzipping the zipper on someone’s chest, you’re reaching in and touching their heart trying to feel what’s in their soul regarding themselves and their businesses and why people would do business with them and what makes them different and what’s the real value they bring to the table. And after all these sessions that I conducted and all my travels, Bill, all these advisors– the far majority came back to me and said, “Man, you’re really making me think not just about my work and my business practice here and a way to bring new assets and new clients in. You’re making me think about me and my life.” These people are experiencing life. I’m experiencing life. And I said they’re going through issues themselves. They don’t even realize it because all their conversations have been around investments and asset allocation, and diversification, and things like this. But the core issues that we’re making them think about– who are you, Bill? Who are you as a father, as a brother, man in your life, things like this, as a community member, as a worker? It started to get a lot deeper. It started transitioning not just from business differentiation, but to thinking about their life. And that’s how these seven areas started to appear and forced me to start thinking myself because I was living them.

LEO PUSATERI: I’m practicing what I’m preaching here on this phone call and thinking about my own life of significance and no regrets and abundance, perspective, gratitude, being my best, living your legacy. All these things, Bill, come into play, and that’s what started to happen for me. And between life events that hit me, losing key members of my family, having health issues to contend with. And then if you’ve ever had an oxygen mask deploy, Bill, on a plane at 27,000 feet– it happened to me once, and I’ll never forget it. It was on 9/11, but 2014. And all of a sudden when you start thinking that you got like five minutes left and this plane’s descending, and you’re thinking, is there anything in your life that you hadn’t done? I mean, what is it as you’re holding a phone wanting to call your wife or to text your kids and to figure out what the heck is it. These things really crystallized for me and my life purpose and my life mission to figure out– I got to do this. I got to help advisors. I got to help them to be better advisors to clients. I got to help them to help them practice what they preach in ways. They need their own wake-up calls. And this thing just took off, and that’s how this thing really got off the ground.

BILL COPPEL: Well, it’s interesting you say that because I often find that when I talk to advisors, their inability to recognize that they’re a client is remarkable. And I know that you and I have talked about this in the past. And the other thing that we talk a lot about here at The Next Frontier is this notion of digital disruption and how that’s really kind of reshaping our sentiments and expectations, but more importantly, the digitization of our life. While it’s made it easier in many respects, it’s also made us much more distracted. So what do you think of this relative to why we have such a hard time focusing on these things today in our life?

LEO PUSATERI: Well, one of my best friends and very successful C-suite executive at a very big national– a global firm that you would recognize said that he used the analogy that he felt like he was on a selfish rocket ship, Bill. And what he meant by that was he said, “I just kept climbing, Leo, in my career.” And you think about advisors or folks that we typically conduct conversations with daily, it’s like the next deal, or it’s the next new client, or it’s the next project, or it’s the next presentation we’re working on things. It’s a constant climb to do this. It’s like when is enough, enough? It’s one of the important questions in the program as we teach this thing is to get people how do you get off the rocket ship? At some point when your kids are growing, and you’re missing the next soccer game or the next swim meet or the next basketball game or some kids’ outing or something important to your spouse or your significant other, we’re just climbing, and we got another deadline. We got something else brewing at work that we got to take care of. My boss is calling me. This is impacting my bonus. This is impacting my net new revenue metrics where I get an additional kick at the end of the year. There’s something going on. It’s just like more, more, more, more, more. And that’s why, Bill, people we’re– we’re just on this rocket ship and it’s not stopping. We’re not coming down to refuel. I’ve used the analogy as well. He mentioned being on the 24-hour Le Mans race and his– when I was talking to my friend about this, I said, “But the race never ends.” Or you’re at the Daytona 500, you just get off, and you refuel, or you change a tire, but you never get off the track to literally stop and think about you and helping your clients think about themselves in ways other than, “Yeah, we’re doing a good job with your investments. We got a million dollars. We got 10 million. We got 100 million. We’re charging you this fee. We’re sending you the reports. How do you like me so far?”

LEO PUSATERI: We’re not digging deeper. We’re not squeezing somebody’s heart. We’re not figuring out what’s in their soul. We’re not extending our questions to the next level. That’s what’s going on. We’re just more, more, more, more, more, Bill. We can’t seem to turn it off and to stop and to think about what’s really important to people.

BILL COPPEL: And you’re right, Leo, and maybe perhaps we’re measuring our success with the wrong instruments today or the wrong senses of measure. An important point that you’re making here, which is part of what I hear you saying, is to get to this point where you begin to focus on those things that truly matter in life, you’ve got to begin to change the way in which you measure your own success. And what I think is important and I want to share this with our listeners is that this has been a work in progress. You’ve been at this now, as I understand it, for several years in kind of building out this thesis and then bringing it to life. And recently, as I understand it, you’ve created an experience, and I believe you call it The Sabbatical Experience. Can you tell our listeners about this experience, and I think you recently had an event if I’m not mistaken in Arizona. Talk to us a little bit about what you learned from that event and what the folks that experienced it walked away with.

LEO PUSATERI: Well, I wanted to create something after hearing my clients, my advisors, and C-suite leaders of these firms who were challenged to distinguish the companies and then it’d filter right down to the advisors or the relationship folks. I wanted to create something, Bill, that was really world class, that would be memorable and compelling, something that people could leave and say, “This was absolutely the most impactful personal development program in my life.” Where I could bring like-minded, very successful financial wealth management entrepreneurs together, who are all successful and in their own way have reached a point of clients loving them, they’ve made a lot of money. But them, themselves are starting to think about their next 5 to 25 years. What was beautiful to watch, Bill, was to see people really open up. And advisors finally these aha cards were starting to go up in their minds and would raise their hand at the tables and realizing that it wasn’t just about them. That, “Oh, my gosh. I’ve got a client who’s a top engineer in our community, or I got a guy who’s one of the top real estate developers here in Canada, or I’ve got somebody that’s a big– he’s an architect, or he’s a physician or any walk of life.” If I just could look at their book of clients and realize that these clients have these life inflection points themselves. It’s just that we just haven’t dug deep enough to open up their hearts and to squeeze them as I say.

LEO PUSATERI: And with the realization, Bill, and advisors going to the program are all of a sudden thinking, “Oh, my gosh. I have these same issues. I literally have these same issues. I got to do something about this for myself now.” And to see them start to crystallize in their minds, that, “Oh, my. We’ve got to do something to help my clients now. I’ve got to figure out an event to have them realize these types of questions that they need to be thinking about differently. And, oh, guess what? I need to go after this myself as the advisor.” That was the big takeaway for these folks is not just realizing that it was a need for their clients as well, but they deep down knew they had issues around these seven areas that we talk about. And that was the beauty of seeing this thing unfold like that.

BILL COPPEL: So the sabbatical in a sense was kind of a time out, right? This wasn’t a two-hour event as I understand it. This was over several days. So the reality was that in a 24/7 world where we’re constantly bombarded with information, you are successful at getting some number of folks– I think it was 16 or 18 folks to actually take a time out and think about– through self-reflection about their own life. That’s counterintuitive in this day in age. How did that happen [laughter]?

LEO PUSATERI: Bill, it’s the old adage if you’re not convinced, they won’t be convinced, or if you don’t believe, they won’t believe. And quite honestly, I just reacted to living my life and listening to my clients. Because people asked me how’d you come up with this? I said my clients, my advisors were talking to me and telling me the issues that were important to them and their next steps in their career and where they were going. That’s how this thing evolved. It was, in essence, almost like built by advisors for advisors, but I was the lead architect and the builder, the contractor that brought these principles to life. Now I’m just feeding it back to them after all these years of having them in my programs and going through all this unique introspections. Tell me who you are. Tell me what do you do and what’s driving your thinking, and how do people work with you, and who are your best clients, and what makes you different? Why should I do work with you? And, oh, by the way, how much are you going to charge me? The advisors started to realize themselves they’re on this rocket ship. They’ve got issues that they’ve got to call a time out. And the more they started to realize it for themselves, they started to realize, “Oh, my gosh. Have I even connected and aligned emotionally correctly and logically correctly to my client base? Have I been talking to them about issues with their family and postretirement?” Because it almost seems, Bill, an advisor’s discussion with a client like, “Well, Bill, what are your plans with you and your wife to retire, right? What’s your timeframe for this? Let’s look at a budget for what you’re spending each month, and are you going to be able to afford this or going to be able to afford that?” But in terms of getting their hands around somebody’s heart and asking them questions about what does significance mean to you? What regrets do you have? What are some things that are on your bucket list? How are you going to use your time, talent, and treasure to affect others? Do you really have perspective of what you have now what others don’t? What could you be doing? Are you committed to being your best? Are there things in your life or in your business world?

LEO PUSATERI: As an advisor, you were trying to do things to have a presence in your absence or to build your reputation. Now we’ve extended between beyond almost a continuum, Bill, from someone’s presence and their absence to their reputation to their legacy. How do you want to– can you do something transformative? Can you do something that affects communities? Can you do something not just for yourself or your family, but can affect something that’s personally connected to your heart, into your soul for– whether it’s a cause or something that you’re trying to do. So we’re challenging people through this, but the advisors when they experience this for themselves first, Bill, it’s now opening up their minds to think, “Oh, my God. I got a lot of clients that are going through this themselves. I’m nowhere near as close to my clients as I thought I was. I’m almost like this registered vendor, some investment advisor charging a fee. Do they look at me as someone who’s really making a difference?” That’s where this conversation needs to extend to, Bill.

BILL COPPEL: What I hear you saying here is being authentic, right? When you talked about– I mean, when I think about your own backstory, I mean, you– wildly successful career with Pusateri Consulting. And this is a major departure from essentially this notion of defining and pricing your value, right? I mean, this is– while that has tremendous merit, you sort of step back from this looking at your own life. And it might be helpful for our listeners to hear a little bit more about sort of your backstory. Because you and I have had this conversation now for a while, right? And we’ve both agreed that the third half of our life– when you think about the fact that the prospect of us living potentially 30 or 40 years after that traditional magic number of age, I should say of retirement, call it 65. You got another career ahead of you. You got another life ahead of you. Share with our listeners sort of the motivation if you will, Leo, of what got you to this point, sort of the backstory that kind of drove you in this direction.

LEO PUSATERI: Well, it’s not, Bill, just years that are ahead of us, but, to me, my mindset is our best years are ahead of us if we have that type of attitude. And you do all these things in your career, Bill, that lead you up to things in your life where you’ve worked with clients, you’ve done this magnificent job, you’ve built trust, you’ve built respect, you’ve done things professionally, and you’re at a point, to me, age doesn’t define me. I’m looking at the next 5 to 25 years of my life as the absolute best opportunities to continue to max out to be the very best I’m capable of becoming. And too many people, I just think their backstories have been success. They’ve achieved a lot. They’re at a point and said, “You know what? I don’t want to do anything more.” It’s almost like the beginning of the atrophy of their mind and of their lives are starting to happen. Even though they’re fulfilled, and they’re living in their retirement communities. They’re playing golf. They’re doing things. They wanted to travel to do the things like this. And God bless them. I’m just at a different point of challenging myself and challenging people to really– to make a difference in what you can do by being more introspective. So that backstory, for me, of formally sales consulting, training to the Fortune 500 world, teaching people the business of making connections with other people, to be a good consultant, to learn how to win mandates, to carrying a bag as helping advisors to learn the business of professional money management for three years, to dipping in the entrepreneurial pond myself 27 years ago, of knowing that there was a way of helping advisors to elevate their confidence, to find more passion, to bring this thing called “speak”, to reduce hesitation when people ask them questions about themselves versus competitors or why they should do business with them.

LEO PUSATERI: This backdrop for me, Bill, and listening to my clients, listening to them at a deep level, “Tell me more. What are you being encountered with? What’s happening to you?” was that I found success searching for more personal meaning. They made tons of money. Their personal balance sheets and their wealth accumulation is through the roofs, but there’s more to wealth. It was that personal wealth equation of really starting to make a difference. This brother and sister team said they were walking along the beaches in Southern California and said, “God, our–” one was 60, one was 64 years old said, “Our clients love us. We made tons of money, but what are we really doing ourselves now to– are we living life with significance? Are we making a difference?” And the principles that we’ve come up in this program are challenging these advisors to really think. And as you continued like– remember, Bill, when we created our value ladder with the seven questions and as we spin this wheel from significance to thinking about their life about– do I have any regrets? Are there any rocks in my backpack? And I could do more with my time. What have I always wanted to do with my talent or expertise? I haven’t thought about these things. As you continue to go around this wheel that I developed and thinking about your life and this road of being your best and living your legacy. When you put them all together, Bill, this seamless integrative feeling of becoming somebody that’s within you, it’s just ready to explode. It’s just ready to open up to say, “Boy, if the next 5 to 25 years– the next big project, it can be me. And look at all there is for me to still accomplish in my life. Look at my career has been.” If you ask them to do their backstory, and then ask them where they’re at now. But what’s your future story?

LEO PUSATERI: And this is what’s exciting I believe for these people leaving with a sense of invigoration about that there’s– it’s almost like a renewal, Bill, that this new set of enthusiasm and people would just– looking forward to saying, “Oh, my gosh. I’d never thought about some of the stuff for myself.” And then when they start thinking about their clients, that they never dug deep enough like this, this thing goes to a whole other level. That’s the beauty of it. I just love seeing people– seeing them thinking about their lives and their clients’ lives in ways that they never have thought about before.

BILL COPPEL: So, Leo, to get this going as an advisor, it seems to me that what you’re saying is advisors need to start this process on themselves first. If that’s the case, how do you have this conversation? How do you start this? What are the significant and deep connections that one has to have with themselves, if you will, to really trigger this process? Because it sounds to me like until they have – and I like to say – a near-death experience if you will, minus the death part, but some kind of crisis often is the stimulus that gets us to change. How do we replicate that, that sort of essence to want to think differently without having to experience it?

LEO PUSATERI: Yeah. It’s funny, Bill, how you say that the near-death experience. That’s what I was telling you earlier. A plane descending for me, which was the final point of me jumping into this new opportunity and really making a difference that I wanted to. There’s no magic pill. And from coaching and training advisors, thousands over the last 27 years of my life, so many times they’re looking for just– can you just give me the script or can you give me the answers? And sometimes, it’s just like the sweat equity and the hard work in saying you just need to get professionally uncomfortable as we help them to elevate their business and their practices to a different level. It’s the same type of challenge, Bill, for this. The confidence to start by asking different questions than maybe they’ve asked themselves before. I write about this in our book and in the program just asking just penetrating questions and the simple ones around significance for instance. What does it really mean to you? Who’s living a life of significance that you know? What are their traits, their characteristics, or qualities? Why do these people stand out to you? What are some of the things that you know that people have done? If you had to be introspective yourself and look to the things in your life with yourself, what could you do to be– do something meaningful that would be significant in your life? How about your family? How about your friends? How about your career still? How about your community? When advisors start to open themselves up, Bill, to newer questions, that are focused on themselves and not just how do I drive another million dollars in revenue for my team or my business or I need to bring on this other practitioner that can do financial planning, or I need to strategically align with this other center of influence.

LEO PUSATERI: If we can get them away from the business building types of things, the practice management types of issues that they’ve been doing for years, if we can get them to stop, get off the damn rocket ship, man, just park it. Just change the tire, get off the track for a few minutes, and start to think about your own life and start to think about your clients in a different way. One of my clients they’ve got these pillars, Bill, and they talk about things from investments to income and asset protection and all this stuff. And you end up with family conversations and I think a lot of people that they put that down as a pillar, but they never get to it. They think like, well– they tell me, “Oh, you got two kids, or you got four kids or you got 10 grandchildren. You got this or that.” And it’s like check, check, check. They think that they’ve got it done, but in terms of asking deeper questions to these clients about their clients’ lives, who many of these clients are doing things and themselves are living lives of significance. And when you can go deeper with these other categories, clients start opening up themselves, advisors will themselves, but the advisors just need to get off the track, get off the rocket ship, and start looking at themselves differently and their clients a little bit differently. And everybody’s going to win if they do it properly like this, Bill.

BILL COPPEL: So, Leo, one of our guests and a good friend of The Next Frontier, is Dr. Ellen Langer from Harvard, who’s a psychologist and also known as the mother of mindfulness. And what she talks about in the context of mindfulness is not the component of meditation. What she talks about is the simple concept of noticing what’s going on around you. What I’m hearing you say, to a large degree, is to stop and look around and begin to notice those things in life that truly matter. Is that a fair way for me to sort of frame what you’re talking about here?

LEO PUSATERI: Yeah, because applied mindfulness is a part of our experience as well, so I totally concur with that thinking, Bill. And, to me, that mindfulness is building on your description of what she’s taught you is about being more present, right? It’s about being more in the moment. It’s being more curious. It’s being more attentive. It’s caring more in things like this. It’s slowing us down to be in those moments – right? – and clearing our minds – right? – where there’s so much clutter in our minds, right? And my own mindfulness coach has coached me on this herself and trying to clear all the clutter that’s here to become– as she said, “Your mind is full, Leo, but you need to become more mindful.” You have to picture someone’s head with all these things in it and then to have the head cleared with just one thing in it and to be more present and curious and in the moment is what you’ve been taught as well. I 100% concur with that thinking, really, really important.

BILL COPPEL: So could you imagine an advisor who has actually gone through this experience and sort of rediscovered what matters in their life, how that would kind of reshape their approach to interacting with clients because so much of what we have relied on as advisors to continue to grow our business has been through referrals. Is your experience in this process and project– are you beginning to see that authenticity come through and affect the way in which advisors are capturing new business?

LEO PUSATERI: Yeah, totally. And this renewed introspection, Bill, comes confidence. And you used the word imagine. Imagine advisor A, someone managing someone’s money, doing a great job, charging a fee, sending out the reports, all this stuff. When you’re at the club or you’re at a social event at a picnic or at a party with somebody, and all of a sudden a discussion of wealth or money comes into play and inevitably at some point somebody says, “Well, Bill, who do you work with? Do you have an advisor?” And imagine somebody saying, “Oh, yeah.” And those answers typically range– correct me from your experiences, Bill, but they’re usually from, “Yeah, he or she, they’re okay,” to “Oh, yeah, I got somebody who’s amazing, who’s absolutely awesome.” And it usually comes down to– what I say there’s three reasons why people get hired. The decisions people make in their life– I said do people– it’s all based on likability, trust, and value. Do you like them? Do you trust them? Do you value them? So likability comes into play and a lot of people usually stop there. But trust, at least in my beautiful Buffalo dictionary, is total confidence that others have in three things that you possess to your integrity, your character, and your abilities. And when you add on trust by that definition in terms– and then value, what people are doing to make an impact. And usually the impact, Bill, is typically oriented around the investment management document or you’ve taken me 1 million to 2 million. You’ve taken me from 5 million to 10 million.

LEO PUSATERI: The impact is usually quantitative. It’s not as much qualitative or emotional to do this. And with the experience we’ve been talking about, reaching in and digging in, I believe the emotional aspect of reaching, touching someone’s heart and finding out what’s in their soul through proper questions that dig deeper into these seven areas elevates your game from just being likable to being trustworthy and of somebody providing not just value, Bill, but extraordinary value where people do talk about you when you’re not around. Your reputation is through the charts, but you’re also building your own legacy as an advisor as well as helping your clients to achieve those legacies close to their heart in different ways through your conversations through the questions that I believe we’re asking people these days. That’s why you become more referable.

BILL COPPEL: I agree 100%, and that’s been the experience I’ve had, and I’ve witnessed in my career as well. I want to be respectful of your time, Leo, and I thank you very, very much for sharing your thinking and thoughts with us today and for our listeners to begin to learn a little bit more about this shift in your work because I think it’s very important. And I think it’s very telling for the future, but I kind of want to wrap it up with one final question. And it’s really around this notion of how do I as an individual, as a human being, begin to think about what comes next in discovering what matters in my life?

LEO PUSATERI: That’s a deep question to end this call, Bill. You’ve got to just turn it off, and I liked what you said earlier from your mindfulness expert. The more we can just stop, slow down, be in the moment, think about the things that are truly important to us. If you could just turn it off, and at some point, to just start asking yourself the questions on the personal side. Not as much like, “Oh, my gosh. Look what I built here. I built this extraordinary team. Look at our wealth management business that we’ve now been able to bring about. Look at our branding. Look at all the clients we have. Look at the wealth we’ve accumulated, things like this.” Time out. Just start transitioning to thinking yourself about these fundamental questions about look at what I’ve accomplished now. Am I personally fulfilled? Am I doing something that’s truly making a difference now? Is it just padding my own balance sheet? Is it padding my own savings account, my own investments as an advisor myself? Have I really done some things that are so impactful now that’s out there for me that I can still grab? Because the next big project is me or you, as my book implies to do this. So the transition moment I believe is just from the personal moment of introspection and starting to shift the questions to yourself regarding how much is enough, what have I accomplished, what’s my next 5 to 25 years look like? And then overlaying them or integrating them in with specific questions around significance and regrets, abundance, gratitude, perspective, being your best, living your legacy. The answer’s in there, Bill. The answer is within some of those questions where people will put up their own aha card, or they’ll call a time out, or they’ll start to do things.

LEO PUSATERI: I’ll leave you with one exercise. What we did in Arizona couple weeks ago is part of gratitude. And I had people literally all of a sudden in the second day– I mean, when you see people– what are you really grateful for in a smaller group setting, I mean, people really opened up and the vulnerability was amazing to see, the emotions for some of these people unfold with people that they got to know very quickly. But I asked them, I said, “Some of the top– if you had a top 100 list of people in your life, who are some of the people who really affected your success? Who’s been some of your mentors, people that made a difference to you that have allowed you to achieve what you’re doing today? Who are some of those people?” And I had them– I challenged them to write some of the names down, and I said, “Let’s not text or email or call.” I actually brought some envelopes out with stamps, and I had the folks in that program write a personal note. I said, “Pick one person, one person in your life that’s made a difference in your life. Why don’t you start there and see what happens as a result of pen to paper and getting your emotions on paper? I can guarantee you it’s going to affect their heart when they open up that envelope someday and realize that you took the time.” And I believe by going through that just that simple act, Bill, it’s going to force you to think about who are some other people that have had an effect in my life and it’s going to start to transition to yourself thinking about your own life and how you can become even more significant to yourself and to others. Start there.

BILL COPPEL: Well, Leo, that’s incredible. Thank you very, very much for sharing that with us today. And let’s kind of stay in touch on this because I’m sure our listeners are going to want to learn more as you go down the road here. But I want to thank you for your insights and sharing your experiences as you yourself have embarked upon this new journey.

LEO PUSATERI: Bill, I thank you for the opportunity and can’t say thanks enough. I really do appreciate it.

BILL COPPEL: Okay, my friend. For listeners who are interested in learning more about Leo, please be sure to listen to his previous episode from season one. We’ve also included his information in this episode’s show description. We hope you enjoyed our conversation today. Please take a moment to subscribe to our podcast. And if you like what you heard, please tell others about it. It helps people find us and ensures you never miss an episode. It’s also a way to challenge you to think differently about your business and the role you play. And together, we can change the conversation. Thanks for listening and, until next time, be well.

Outro: If you want to join the conversation or connect with us, please visit us at www.firstclearing.com/thenextfrontier. This content is provided for general informational purposes only. The views expressed by non-affiliated guest speakers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of First Clearing or its affiliates. First Clearing and its affiliates do not endorse any guest speakers or their companies and therefore give no assurances as to the quality of their products and services. This channel is not monitored by First Clearing. For more information on our podcast, visit firstclearing.com. First Clearing is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. Copyright 2019 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved. First Clearing provides correspondent services to broker-dealers and does not provide services to the general public.

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About The Guest
 

Leo Pusateri is president and CEO of Pusateri Consulting and Training, a firm that helps financial professionals discover, articulate and capitalize on their unique value by doing the internal work that lets them live lives of significance and be authentic in how they engage with clients.

Known as the “Value Man,” Leo has been providing guidance to advisors globally for more than 30 years. He is frequently quoted in industry publications and is the author of several books, including Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Am I the Most Valued of Them All?, You are the Value, and Your Next Big Project is You.

Ways To Contact Leo

Block Quotes

The questions that advisors' clients need to be thinking about are the same exact questions that the advisors have to be asking themselves.

Leo Pusateri

Disclosures: This content is provided for general informational purposes only. The views expressed by non-affiliated guest speakers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of First Clearing or its affiliates. First Clearing and its affiliates do not endorse any guest speakers or their companies and therefore give no assurances as to the quality of their products and services. This channel is not monitored by First Clearing. For more information on our podcast, visit firstclearing.com. First Clearing is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. Copyright 2019, Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved. First Clearing provides correspondent services to broker-dealers and does not provide services to the general public.

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