You’re About to See What Transformation Looks Like

The Flight of The Soul Millionaire, Chapter 1. The journey to greater impact – to doing great work – requires transformational thinking and behaviour. Of course, this assumes that you want to create something that is truly meaningful, and a legacy that lasts.

It Started Here

I first spotted Mary in Guildford, Surrey.
Tall, slim, simply yet elegantly dressed, bespectacled, and with auburn hair. She sat in the audience, concentrating hard and taking notes, as I presented a three-hour workshop.

My first phone conversation with her was fascinating.

Mary didn’t start business life as a financial planner (I mean, who does?). She had been a chartered accountant since leaving university. She’d moved from Deloitte to eventually take on various financial director roles.

But that didn’t satisfy her yearning to be in control of her business destiny. She’d had enough of being an employee. She wanted to experience more adventure, more meaning and Purpose, in her work. She longed for a sense of contribution beyond figures and percentages.

So, here she was, in her mid-50s, having changed her successful career to become a fully qualified Chartered Financial Planner. Some might have said she was barmy!

She described her life to me working and studying “a million hours a week” as a financial planner attached to a high-profile firm just south of London.

As we spoke, I felt for her, trapped as she was on a hamster wheel of busy-busy activity. If she had enjoyed a break at weekends, that would have been something. But it didn’t happen too often.

Recognise This Story?

Worse than the exhaustion was her feeling of rejection and failure. Meeting after meeting ended with potential clients going away to “think about it”.
It’s not surprising that this knocked her confidence.

Her low self-esteem presented itself in her inability to charge a decent level of fee, given her skill, knowledge and hard-won life experience.

A fee of £1,500 per annum was about all she could muster. In her expensive – and wealthy – area of the country, it wasn’t a good reflection of her skills.

What I heard in that first conversation was irritation, exhaustion, disappointment.

Why The Frustration?

Well, put yourself in her shoes.

Firstly, you can’t sell to save your life. (But, you ask yourself, does financial planning have to be about selling? Surely not!)

Instead, you realise what you do have is a way of helping people relax – and feel in control – in your presence.

You’ve a solid financial background, with years of seeing how businesses work well (or not).

You’ve studied hard and are technically proficient. You’re organised, determined, and know you have something to offer.

But more than that. Much more. You care.

You care about your clients. You care about people’s hardships. You hate to see people confused, in chaos, fearful or suffering. And you have the natural empathy and insight into people’s feelings, that men consciously try to learn, and women tend to possess more naturally.

What She Wanted

As we spoke for a second and then third time, it became clear to me what Mary didn’t want. She wasn’t interested in acquiring things… more possessions or grander property. She wasn’t chasing power or popularity.

Mary revealed what she wanted most of all …

  • “Wouldn’t it be a delicious luxury to throttle down to a four-day working week, long before I retire?”
  • And what would be even better,” she went on, “would be to spend more time out of the office, walking the hills and cliffs of Dorset – in fact, all around Britain’s coastline – with my husband and our dogs.”

Yet, sitting there, talking to me, she didn’t see how any of this was practical.

And you’ve probably felt the same yearnings in your business life.

Something Different

On the face of it, Mary didn’t meet my criteria for new coaching clients. She wasn’t even close:

  • She was too new to financial planning.
  • She wasn’t creating nearly enough revenue to show me that she had mastered her craft.
  • She wasn’t the leader of her firm, so, in principle, couldn’t make the independent decisions I’d be asking of her.

But … but …

I sensed something distinctly different about her. Something that drove her to continue striving for an answer. Mary had a Purpose beyond making a living. A Purpose etched deep in the memory of her childhood.

The Clue Was in Her Tears

She still carried the memory of watching her unhappy mother resigned to her fate in a miserable marriage. Trapped financially.

As Mary spoke about it, tears welled up, and her chin quivered, quite unlike the controlled, confident individual of just moments before.

By the time she had started carving out her career, her pain had evolved into a determination to do two things:

  • Firstly, she would learn how to use money wisely to provide financial independence and freedom. She would never allow herself to be so trapped.
  • Secondly, one day she would find a way to help other women who find themselves confused, fearful and trapped by their lack of financial knowledge.

Mary was driven by a Purpose.

And it was that Purpose that deeply impressed me.

“Help me,” she said. “Help me to become the person, the professional, the business, that women on the verge of painful divorce turn to.”

And so I did.

We Started The Journey

We embarked together on a well-tested, step-by-step Journey:

  • There were searching coaching conversations.
  • There were group masterclasses and teleconferences.
  • There was email coaching, copywriting, role-playing.
  • She needed guidance in designing new services and client material.

The journey was emotional, illuminating and satisfying to be part of. Mary was like a dog at a bone, relentlessly implementing what she had learned.

What was most surprising was Mary’s attitude. She seldom argued.
She left her ego at the door. Once she understood a principle or practice, she acted. Whatever I recommended, she did it. Immediately.

Rare. Particularly in any male-dominated business sector, where egos abound.

The Delightful Science

As you read, you might be forgiven for thinking that Mary’s journey relied solely on her Passion and sense of Purpose. They were important, yes. But there was more to her decisions than that.

Underlying her journey, Mary discovered science and substance, principles and practices based on carefully-researched empirical evidence. They were learnable, logical and independent of charisma or sales skills.

Mary was delighted. She could stop persuading and focus on serving.

Mary discovered… principles and practices based on carefully-researched, empirical evidence. They were learnable, logical and independent of charisma or sales skills.

Now Look at Her!

As one of our VIP guests, Mary attended our Soul Millionaire Summer MasterClass in 2017.

I’d invited her to be one of three clients/guests who would give a progress report on their Journeys.

As I watched her enter the room, she radiated confidence, and glowed with a quiet satisfaction as she spoke.

She told us of the two prestigious business awards she’d won in the previous six months, with a third expected.

She explained that clients continue to line up to see her.

Meanwhile, solicitors invite her to their offices, and introduce her to their new client, saying: “Allow me to introduce you to your financial planner, Mary.”

Before meeting her, new clients already know that her minimum annual fee is six times what she charged mere months ago.

More importantly, she understands how (and why) to charge fees separately to financial products. These are real fees, not commissions by another name.

Truth be told, she has broken the mould for her profession.

That’s Not The Question

Now, you might be thinking: Well, I don’t deal with such wealthy or high-net-worth clients, so how is this relevant to me?

If that thought has crossed your mind, then perhaps you’re asking the wrong question. But don’t worry. We have time. And you will be crystal clear about the real question, by the time you’ve finished reading this book.

I’d recommend a different kind of question, perhaps two:

  • What do others see in Mary and her business that warrants high recognition of her work?
  • And how has she redesigned her professional role so that clients are attracted to her, and ready to pay multiples of what they would pay to other financial advisers and planners?

Decide to Be Different, Not Just Better

Firstly, it’s important to understand this: she doesn’t receive those fees because she seeks out wealthier clients.

She’s paid six times what she used to be paid, because she has learned how to make her service different, more client-relevant, more valued.

But It’s More Than That

If I let you leave this story thinking, Ah! This kind of financial success is the point of Mary’s efforts! then you’d be missing the point.

You see, Mary’s interpersonal skills have an unusual impact on the wellbeing of every client who engages with her. Her work (and the way she works):

  • Reduces her clients’ fears.
  • Renews their hope.
  • Replenishes their peace of mind.
  • Revitalises their relationships at home.
  • Regenerates their aspirations for a better future.

I urge you to pause here, to ponder this list.
Because these are natural outcomes of a service founded upon
The Flight of The Soul Millionaire.

This is not about tidying up clients’ finances, saving them tax,
or improving the performance of some investments. The impact we’re looking at is emotional, mental, physical – even spiritual.

Listen to Her Explanation

Many business leaders tell me, “We’d like to make a real difference.” I’m sure they’re earnest in their desire. If that’s the case, this story is just one example of what “difference” truly looks like.

Life by life, Mary is transforming the world around her. And, in the eyes and words of her clients, “Working with Mary is like nothing we’ve ever experienced in business before”. It’s life-changing.

This is the way she explains it:

“I believe that I have the best job in the world!

Underlying all that I do is a Purpose about which I’m Passionate: to help women who are in a stressful and vulnerable situation.

Add to that the coaching and questioning skills I’ve learned, helping me to change the lives of these clients, not merely reorganise their money.

What’s more, the carefully-structured Journey I’ve travelled has given me the confidence to charge an unusual level of fees.

What’s behind my work? Well, because I believe that money, on its own, has little value, I’m satisfied that the work I do is far less about my clients’ money and far more about each client’s life!”


The Question Is: Are You Asking The Right Questions?

Right now, you probably have a few, don’t you? I’d be surprised if you didn’t.

Questions like:

  • How did Mary learn to think and behave so differently from other financial advisers and planners? And in a way that few business leaders would ever dare?
  • Why do clients flock to her, already aware of what she charges? Why do they ignore other skilled financial planners within their radius?
  • Why do solicitors regularly organise formal introductions to Mary, confidently instructing their clients to work with her?
  • Why has she rejected much of the assumed wisdom that is being spread around the so-called ‘best-practice’ circuit?
  • What allowed her to see that the comfortable traditions that abound in the financial services sector are unhelpful, and paralyse the will to change?
  • Finally, what exactly is this Journey she undertook, to more than fulfil her dreams within a few months?

Heart of Gold, Mind of Steel

The answers to the questions I’ve posed are what drove me to give birth to this book.

You see Mary recognised that Passion and Purpose alone would not create the results that she wanted. Certainly, she quickly understood that they are the Heart of Gold of a business. They can be catalysts, emotional drivers, which lift an organisation to greater performance.

She also appreciated that even gritty effort wouldn’t do. She already worked her socks off each week.

No, her decades of business experience told her that commercial discipline, a Mind of Steel, was part of the equation.

What she sought was a coherent strategy, a framework, which would add science to the art.

The Journey she spoke about is just such a strategy, a framework, a disciplined approach to her professional role of Adviser.

The Journey brings together that Heart of Gold and Mind of Steel.

Where those behaviours overlap is the sweet spot of superior business accomplishment.

Mary put that sweet spot to great use.

So, come with me now on that Journey.

Let me show you what has been right under your nose since you were a child.

Let me show you what has been staring at us since the dawn of mankind.

Let me show you what everybody has enjoyed, yet nobody in the UK has ever thought to apply to business accomplishment.

Let me show you those who have gone beyond Success… to Significance… by following this Journey.

Come. Fly with me to new heights.

Come with me to …

The Thinking Bench

In 2004, when I first started coaching full time, my children bought a lovely Father’s Day present. It was a bench.

They noticed that I loved to sit, think and ponder in my garden if I was wrestling with a personal or business idea or problem.

They called it The Thinking Bench. And so it became.

It sat in the shade of a beautiful magnolia tree. As a concept, it found its way into my first book, The Soul Millionaire.

From The Thinking Bench flowed five years of fortnightly blogs and e-zines. Creative ideas galore helped me to make sense of my life, launching a totally new career, with unfamiliar rules for success.

But, sadly, I stopped producing it, as my business became more successful and more demanding.

Now, in writing this book, my wife, Wendy, as well as one of my coaches, Andrew, followed by my editor, Jo… have combined forces to persuade me, crying, “David, it’s time to bring back The Thinking Bench!”

It’s time that I listened.

At the end of each chapter, I’ll invite you to sit with me on The Thinking Bench. I’ll share some concluding thoughts and personal musings with you.

After that, I’ll invite you to consider the chapter you’ve just read. I’ll encourage you to engage with the questions that have arisen in those pages, and within yourself. Doing this, you’ll make this Journey an experience, rather than just a casual read.

What Have You Learned?

  • What do you see as the driving factors behind the transformation in Mary’s circumstances?
  • What frustrations do you face in common with Mary?
  • What are your thoughts on why clients now pay her six times more than before?
  • What traditions do you see in your business sector that are hindering your progress?
  • What examples have you seen in your industry where a successful business might not be technically better, but is certainly different?

What Will You Do Now?

  • Can you list three practices or principles from this chapter that, when applied, could improve the results in your business?
  • Which one would you act on first?
  • What skill would you most like to learn that you believe Mary has developed on the journey she has taken?

If you would like a copy of the book please email David Scarlett