Why I Used to Hate My Clifton Strengths, but Now Embrace Them
Team members at Hixon Zuercher Capital Management, where I work as a Senior Wealth Advisor, have all taken the Gallup Clifton Strengths Assessment.
I noticed that my financial planning peers had results with words like “analytical,” “futuristic,” or “focused.” For me at the time, those descriptors are what made a great financial advisor – someone who is infamous for their spreadsheet skills, known for being a visionary, and can dial-in with laser focus on achieving goals.
On the contrary, my words seemed… soft.
I know that I am a great problem solver. I know that I can be analytical. I know that I am very decisive.
Why, then, did I have words that seemed so unpowerful and noninfluential?… I ended up jumping to the idea that this assessment was just inaccurate, because it didn’t reflect who I wanted to be at the time.
Now, after nearly five years, I’ve realized that these five strengths define me and are truly essential skills for effective financial advisors.
Here’s why, as a financial advisor, I now embrace my Clifton Strengths:
– Being an achiever pushes me to improve. I always want to learn more and accomplish something each day (even if it is small). I therefore recognize the need for many of my clients to feel a sense of accomplishment too. That is why I like tracking my clients’ “small” goals or ensuring that we accomplish even just one thing during a meeting. Achieving and learning something daily keeps you motivated!
– Having a talent in “harmony” means that I try to find consensus. I want to ensure that everyone is bought into the plan. As your financial advisor, I will have my own vision for how I want your plan to play out…. But it’s not my plan – it’s yours. I ensure that I merge my objectives as an advisor with my clients’ dreams and find a way for them to mesh.
Do I want a client to forgo saving for their own retirement because they are prioritizing paying for their children’s college? Honestly, no. However, if that’s my client’s goal, I know how to effectively advise on giving the best chance of making both happen.
– I tend to see strengths within people, even if they are hidden. I love seeing those strengths grow. I get immense satisfaction when clients come to our office not knowing anything about their finances or investing, and over time, come to take confident ownership over their own future. I get to see it happen meeting by meeting, and almost nothing could make me happier! I want my clients to succeed, and I want to help them grow.
– A Relator tends to want to deepen relationships. Me being a Relator means that I make strong efforts to better understand you. I want to know how you feel about your finances, how you feel about working with an advisor, what you fear could happen if you are not well prepared, what you dream to have happen. Clients can’t always verbally communicate these things at first. Establishing a trusting working relationship takes time, and investing the time and effort into making it happen is one of my biggest goals!
– As an arranger, I love putting order to chaos. Your finances are a limited resource, and there are a seemingly infinite number of expenses and goals vying for those resources. Not only do you have to figure out what financial areas even deserve your attention – you must determine when they need your attention. Your life circumstances are constantly changing and therefore how you arrange your resources must constantly change as well. I thrive on considering all the variables in my clients’ lives and aligning them in the most productive way possible. Sometimes I will make a “fool proof” plan with a client and then life throws a curve ball. I’m your partner to help you think on your feet and rearrange the resources we have available!
I hope you learned a bit more about me and my style of giving financial advice. I strive to make finances simple and non-intimidating. Everyone’s personality and approach to financial management is a bit different, and I hope you have found a resource at The Everyday Advisor that resonates with you!
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