Before you get very far into your financial plan, you should discover and articulate your personal standards. Failure to do so will make it harder when an expedient but inappropriate decision comes along. People who know what their standards are have little trouble dealing with those.
Bill Walton is a retired NBA basketball player and member of the basketball Hall of Fame. He was a dominant player in both the NBA and college.
In the early ’70s he was the foundation of the UCLA basketball powerhouse. Two seasons of 30 wins and no losses are not common. 88 consecutive wins are unheard of. Bill was the backbone of that team.
The inestimable John Wooden coached it and coach Wooden had no problem with standards.
One of his standards was “No facial hair” while you play for UCLA.
Bill had been off with an injury and joined the team just before the season began. By then he had grown a fine beard. When he showed up for his first practice, Coach Wooden asked if he had forgotten the facial hair rule. Bill replied that he had not, but he thought that as an adult, he should be able to make his own decisions about something like that and that Coach Wooden did not have the right to tell him otherwise. The coach’s reply is a classic.
“Bill, I don’t have the right to tell you to not have facial hair and I think it is good that you want to make your own decisions and I admire your courage for bringing the matter forward.
And we will miss you.”
When you have standards and know what they are, decisions become simple.
Making decisions simpler is an important, silent attribute of good strategic planning. Life is hard enough without confusion.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
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