By: Andrew Rosen, CFP®, CEP®

As you can see from the title, I think very highly of myself (haha). With yearend approaching (where the heck did it go?), it’s time for reflection. I love this time of year, as holidays, family, time off, and new beginnings are upon us. However, I mainly get a little nostalgic as I think about the person I was and the person I am today.

Now, I don’t want a mass exodus of clients here as I admit how bad I was a year ago. Truthfully, I wasn’t thattttt bad, but my standards today are much higher. Here’s the concept through my eyes; I think all of us were worse a year ago. At the time however, if asked I would have said we are all as good as it gets.

After doing this exercise for myself every year, I’ve learned a thing or two about personal growth. Even if I was the best father, business owner, husband, financial planner, and pizza expert a year ago (which I wasn’t), my hope is that was the worst I’ll ever be at those things.

Every year I’ve worked my toosh off to be the best. At some point during the year, I even foolishly convince myself I might be. Then I instantly remember that I felt that same a year ago, and my talents are far superior today than they were then. Even when I think I can’t get any better, I look back and realize how foolish I was. This has been a tremendous growth year for me, both in business and in my personal life.

The idea is to be the best version of oneself, to be constantly improving and evolving. I watched an interview with Malcom Gladwell and he said something quite brilliant along these lines. He said he wasn’t embarrassed when one of his economic theories isn’t right and he needed to change his mind. He said, “Isn’t it all our jobs to look at things objectively and take in the new information to constantly improve ourselves and our thoughts?” I always loved that notion. One day I may really argue point A and the next, I may argue point B. So what? That doesn’t make me a hypocrite, instead it makes me willing to admit I’ve learned and will better myself.

I’ve given this advice to many of my employees, friends, clients, and anyone that’ll listen. Just the other day, I was talking to one of my newer employees who has really grown a lot this year. His comment was, “I learned a ton. I’m really starting to get this stuff.” You can predict my next response, right? I said, “Great. I’m impressed and you really have shown tremendous growth. However, know today even with all that growth you stink yet again and will continually do so next year along with the year after that. Go out there learn more. Improve yourself so much this year that next, you’ll look back and realize how much you stunk.”

I know I sound like a terrible boss (telling my employees they stink), but it goes hand-in-hand with the old concept of “progress, not perfection.” If we can all take that perspective, I think the following will come from it:

  1. A willingness to better ourselves and those around us.
  2. A realization that we’re all a work in progress, ideally leading to more patience.
  3. An understanding that if we’re only so good today and we have the desire to improve, then the same should hold true for those around us.

My question to you all is not how bad do you stink today, but what will you do with this reframing of your and everyone else’s abilities? Will you use it to remind yourself of these facts, that we should always be growing, and thus, putting ourselves in a position to be the best versions of ourselves. If you take nothing else away from this exercise, I hope you find your own power in “progress, not perfection.”

That said, you’re all wonderful, even if we’ll all stink next year!

Stay wealthy, healthy, and happy.

In his role as Financial Planner, Andrew forges lifelong relationships with clients. He coaches them through all stages of life and guides them to better achieve their life goals. Andrew loves helping others by spreading his knowledge on finance, investments, and the pursuit of happiness/fulfillment. He writes nationally recognized, weekly blog posts on these topics and is a regular contributor to Kiplinger. Andrew has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Financial Advisor Magazine, US News & World Report, USA Today, CNBC, along with many other publications.

For more information or to book a consult with Andrew or the other firm partners, Kyle Hill and David Levy, click the link below.

Andrew Rosen, CFP®, CEP®
Kyle Hill, CFP®
David Levy, CFP®

Financial planning and Investment advisory services offered through Diversified, LLC. Securities offered through Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments, Member FINRA/SIPC. Headquartered at 80 State Street, Albany, NY 12207. Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments and Diversified, LLC are not affiliated companies.