A View from the Top:
Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA Monday, 30 January 2017
Finding the path through life's transitions
The Sherpas of Nepal spend their days guiding eager and daring travelers up the treacherous paths of Mount Everest and other peaks of the Himalayas. What they have witnessed in a month is likely more terrifying than what most of us have experienced in a lifetime. And yet, they continue on. Day in and day out, acting as guides to thousands of visitors per year. I admire these Sherpas. Although the paths are dangerous and they will undoubtedly encounter countless obstacles, the ability to embrace the uncertainty that the peaks of the Himalayas hold is part of their life, their livelihood, and their nature.
When it comes to major transitions in our own lives we might pause to take a lesson from the Sherpas. They do not seek to remove themselves from the challenges they face. Rather, they square up and get through, finding the most navigable solution in order to arrive safely on the other side (or to the summit, as it were).
On the Mountain
We all, at some point in our lives, are likely to experience a major life transition. Retirement, sale of a business, divorce, loss of a spouse, inheritance, birth of a child, marriage, career change—these are all common experiences that many of us face. And all of these are transitions that can lead to feelings of excitement, fear, confusion, turmoil, frustration and, in some cases, depression and sadness. When you take a step back from what you might be experiencing at the moment you can see that transition is part of life and to “get out of it” is like trying to “get out” of life. It doesn’t work that way. Experiencing each day and finding the enjoyment in the things we do is what we all strive for. And there are also times when things are challenging. But we get through them - usually considering them a means to a goal. In reality, we are always on the mountain.
I often meet with people for the first time during the biggest life change they might ever go through. They are struggling with how to cope with the change that has been forced upon them, or a change that they have decided upon; but no matter the circumstance, they are just trying to get out of the change they are experiencing and find some sense of normalcy again.
Experience and Opportunity
In many cases the major changes that have taken place in our lives may have passed, but the transition process has still not been completed. This process makes us ask questions we might not have the answers to and we are often faced with the discomfort of having to be in the transition (on the mountain, in the storm). Unfortunately, this mentality cannot help us get through our transition any faster and can hinder us from seeing clearly what needs to be done to ensure a favorable outcome for the future.
In our society we are encouraged to look at things in black and white. Did we succeed, or did we fail? When it comes to times of transition, this mentality can hinder our ability to see a new path or beginning. It can stop us from envisioning something new for ourselves and from taking the steps necessary to make that potential a reality. When going through a transition it is important for us to understand that our experiences are opportunities to learn and grow. Looking at our circumstances through a new lens that helps us ask the right questions and explore them, rather than trying to determine what the exact outcome of every scenario will be will help us find comfort in discomfort, see beyond what is and discover what could be.
Understanding that life transitions are things that we must get through, not get out of, is a great step in the process of breaking down what needs to be done in order to come through the storm and continue on our journey to the summit. As a financial planner I find great satisfaction in providing my clients with choices and helping them to understand the possible outcome of those choices.
Knowing What Is To Come
The Sherpas of Nepal have endured avalanches, ice ravines, blinding storms, bitter cold and so much more, but they continue on. They know what paths to take, how to read the landscape and where to place their picks. At Flourish Wealth Management, we have the expertise to help our clients navigate their “Mountain”. In many cases, our clients just want to be able to have the time and resources necessary to deal with the emotional and psychological aspects of their life changes. Having a trusted advisor on their side, guiding them through the practical pieces of these transitions, affords them the time and emotional space to get through the storm and see the view from the top.
About the Author
Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA
Kathy Longo brings over 25 years of expertise and experience to Flourish Wealth Management. Kathy is wholly dedicated to improving the life of each client and finds joy in making complex matters simple and easy to understand. She excels at asking the right questions, uncovering new possibilities and implementing the most advantageous strategies for success. Playing such a pivotal role in her clients’ lives remains an honor and a privilege. After earning a degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University, she began her career at a small firm in Palatine, Illinois where she worked directly with clients while learning to build a viable, client-centric business. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and wisdom working as a wealth manager, financial planner, firm manager and business owner at notable, various sized companies in both Chicago and Minneapolis.