My Next Big Dream


Would you Rather Be Tim Horton or Ron Joyce?

The hard thing isn’t dreaming big.  The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.  – Ben Horowitz; The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

I have not had an easy life. 

I don’t mean to make it seem like I’ve had a hard life.  I was born into a typical middle-class family and even in my worst moments I’ve never gone hungry.  Yes, I’ve had my gas turned off.  Yes, I’ve received more than my fair share of “final notices”.  I haven’t had a vacation in over 10 years.  I’ve stretched the definition of a “3-month oil change”.  I’ve even visited the odd payday lender.   At the end of the day however, I’ve always had food on the table and a roof over my head.  I’ve never had a major health issue.  And other than these minor annoyances, I really can’t say that I’ve known anything close to extreme hardship. 

But I still haven’t had an easy life.  When you are an entrepreneur there is no such thing as easy. 

Entrepreneurs are by nature dreamers.  The bigger the dream, the deeper the passion, the harder it is to come to terms with difficulty and set backs. 

I say “difficulty and set backs” instead of failure because when you carry a big dream backed up by deep passion, failure only happens when you give up.  I’ve never failed at anything.    I’ve worked through some difficulty, had my fair share of set backs and I’ve even had to completely rethink my plan, but I haven’t yet failed.  As long as I am breathing – I will never fail!

In 2019 I’ve begun to evolve my financial services practice to include a coaching division for individuals and entrepreneurs. 

I love entrepreneurship.  Building your own business from nothing, starting with a bold vision scratched out on a napkin, so to speak, and working to make that vision a reality, is the closest thing many of us will ever come to winning an athletic championship. 

Entrepreneurs have a lot in common with athletes.  We are like prize fighters who step into the ring everyday and go 10 rounds with the world, or marathon runners who pound out mile after mile with no finish line in sight.  The sports analogies are endless.  No two groups of people are more dedicated to their dreams than athletes and entrepreneurs.  Maybe that’s why so many retired athletes end up starting businesses when their playing days are over. 

My coaching arm is focused on helping individuals and entrepreneurs realize their dreams of financial security. I will teach you to develop systems that transform your life from simply working and owning a job that is 100% dependent on your daily grind to owning a business that can run without you.  And then finally owning something that someone else will pay top dollar to purchase. 

Tim Horton owned a single donut shop, Ron Joyce built and then sold an empire.  While Tim Horton created a brand, it was Ron Joyce who turned that brand into a household name, one of the most recognizable in Canada.  My business consulting arm will help you grow from being Tim Horton, to Ron Joyce.     

Check out the new website I’m developing for my consulting business and get in on the ground floor of what I predict could become one of the most successful firms of it’s kind in Canada.  That’s right – I’m thinking like Ron Joyce for my own business too.

See you soon – Lauren

Quick Tip #16 – The Value of An Advisor


There are a variety of places to get advice. Working with a professional financial security advisor who takes a holistic approach to your finances can:

  • Help reduce anxiety on the road to meeting your future goals
  • Help give you the confidence to look at your financial and life situation
  • Let you focus on what really matters in life because you have a sound financial security plan in place

The Karpman Drama Triangle in Financial Practice


A psycho-analytic study of the roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach as they pertain to Financial Planning

karpmanAs a Financial Planner I have had to become a student of human behaviour. What follows is a detailed study of the psychology of transactional analysis and the so called Karpman Drama Triangle with specific reference to the ways in which the various roles and interactions play on one another and influence the ways in which we buy, sell and plan for our financial futures. This is a bit of a departure from what I normally publish in this space so please forgive both the length and depth of this post. As a Financial Planner and self-styled financial life-coach I feel it is important for clients to understand the interplay of personal psychology in the work I do here. I will return to a more personal, practical and hopefully shorter post on Saturday.

The drama triangle is a social model of human interaction which maps the type of potentially destructive interaction that can occur between people in conflict. It was originally conceived by psychologist Dr. Steven Karpman and published in 1968. Karpman was a part-time actor and member of the Screen Actors Guild while studying psychology and therapeutic counseling under Dr. Eric Berne, the father of transactional analysis. Legend has it that after reading the novel “Valley of the Dolls” Karpman conceived of the triangle with the role of victim at the bottom point, a persecutor at the top left and a rescuer at the top right.

The novel, written by Jacquelin Susann and published in 1966 tells the story of three relatively unknown actresses who meet and work together in New York City. The story tracks their careers over a 20 year period of highs, and lows fueled by poor choices, toxic relationships and substance abuse. After Karpman explained the story and the triangular interplay of the characters to Berne a whole new school of psycho-therapy, based on human interaction was born.

Simply put the Karpman Drama Triangle theorizes that people in conflict play one of three roles. They are either: the Victim, the Persecutor or the Rescuer. While we all tend to gravitate to one or another of the roles, it is possible for the roles to change depending on the situation. More importantly however, each role needs the others in order to function.

The victim lives by the mantra, “poor me”, and feels oppressed, hopeless, helpless, powerless and ashamed and seems unable to make decisions, solve problems or take any pleasure in life. Most importantly, the victim, if not being actively persecuted will seek out a persecutor in order to justify their feelings of hopelessness and general lethargy and also try to find a rescuer in order to avoid making any positive change on their own.

The rescuer’s mantra is “let me help”. They are the classic enabler. They need the victim just as much as the victim needs them in order to feel self-worth but the real motive of the rescuer is for a feeling of superiority over both the victim and persecutor. “Without me to hold the persecutor in check and helping the victim through their troubles the whole world would go to hell.” Or so they think. The fact is, in most cases at least, the rescuer has defined help incorrectly and given the victim permission to fail through their constant rescuing. In focusing all of their energy on the trials and tribulations of someone else they also tend to avoid their own problems.

persecutorThe persecutor is not evil; controlling, blaming, critical, oppressive, angry, authoritative and arrogant perhaps, but not evil.   The persecutor is often more fed up with the failings of the victim they are actively pursuing their downfall. Their mantra is; “it’s all your fault”. The persecutor is in many ways the antithesis of the rescuer but these roles are often interchangeable as the rescuer experiences burn out or the persecutor softens his heart when reminded of his own potential to be victimized.

In fact all of the roles are interchangeable and we tend to play each of them in varying measure throughout our lives.

What does all this have to do with financial planning? Stay with me, I’m getting there.

While the Karpman Drama Triangle was originally conceived as a way to analyze interactions in conflict and developed in group and family therapy sessions that centered around issues of codependency and substance abuse, in more recent years it has begun cropping up in the analysis of more co-operative efforts as well. In 1990 Alice Choy published “The Winner’s Triangle” in which the roles were renamed vulnerable (victim),   assertive (persecutor) and caring (rescuer). The thesis of the winner’s triangle being that conflict can be resolved when the actors begin to see their roles and each other’s roles in a more positive light. But the winner’s triangle is still about conflict.

It wasn’t until 2009 that the Karpman Drama Triangle was reconfigured in a completely positive light and turned into a tool for collaboration. The Power of TED (The Empowerment Dynamic) released that year is a self published work by David Emerald. (Not to be confused with the TED conference; which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design) Emerald is an executive coach who has spent his career working with corporate clients developing collaborative teams that have helped thousands of companies achieve stunning success. In The Power of TED, Emerald encourages readers to think of themselves and each other as either: creators (victims), challengers (persecutors) or coaches (rescuers) and in the process shed all the negative drama.

creatorThe creator is encouraged to become outcome oriented as opposed to problem-oriented. The challenger is encouraged to ask questions and push the creator to clarify their needs, focus on resolving tension between current reality and an envisioned goal and take incremental steps toward a desired outcome. The coach is encouraged to ask both the creator a challenger a different type of question intended to help everyone make informed choices. The key difference between the coach and rescuer is that the coach sees the creator as capable of making his own choices and solving his own problems and he sees the challenger as an ally in this process, not an adversary. The coach asks questions that enable the creator to see the possibilities of positive action, to focus on what they want, not on what they don’t want.

So what does all this have to do with financial planning? I’m glad you asked!

Financial planning is a collaborative process.  In my financial practice, Emerald’s Empowerment Dynamic forms the framework of our day to day interaction with all of my clients.

I view my clients as creators – the business plan calls my ideal client a “person with big dreams and an even bigger heart, who may or may not have experienced financial hardship in their past”. It’s easy for people like that to play the role of victim, beaten down by circumstance. “What’s the point of dreaming if we can’t even keep our bills paid?” It’s my job to help you see beyond your present situation, visualize a brighter future and help you find the tools to get there.

If you haven’t already guessed, I view myself as your coach.

Challengers come from every angle. They could be a bill collector, a family member or your boss. They are generally people who just don’t have the tools or the patience to help you out of your financial predicament. They also tend to be people who need something from you, a bill paid, your time or other physical task completed. But challengers don’t always come in the form of human beings; they could also take the form of a medical diagnosis, a lack of available work or any other circumstance that is causing hardship and difficult circumstances.

The client’s role as the creator is to look for and implement solutions to the problems the challenger gives them. My role as the coach is the make suggestions, provide tools and stand on the sidelines giving encouragement. A good coach is at once a devil’s advocate, mentor, personal assistant and cheerleader.

winning coachHave you ever watched the Super Bowl? Who cheers the loudest in the last seconds and leads the charge onto the field in the moment of a victory? That’s the coach! And that’s me when you reach your financial goals. Nobody celebrates like a victorious coach.

In 2005 I filed a consumer proposal in bankruptcy.  It took 4 long years to pay off that debt and get discharged and a few more years to get on a solid financial footing. Now, over a decade later, I have not forgotten the pain, mental anguish and personal shame that come shrouded in debt.

In many ways hiring a financial planner is like finding a coach. Good coaches are the ones who have played the game. The best coaches are the ones who have both won and lost, understand the difference and can see the warning signs well in advance of a spectacular loss.   I’ve been there, I get it, and I can coach you through it.

Contact me for more information on The Karpman Drama Triangle and how my planning approach can help you achieve financial success.

Bull’s-eye!


Or Maybe Not… (A Conversation about Sin, Politics, and Financial Coaching)

bullseye

 

This past week I started a new promotional campaign for my Financial Coaching service and the books I’ve written on the subject. Check out the newly updated products page!

I don’t have a marketing budget so everything I am doing is focussed on-line and I am meeting with certain influencers who can help me get in front of the right target market. The financial service industry calls these people Centers of Influence. They are not the people who are the ultimate target market for the services I provide, but they know who they are and have influence within that community.

My first meeting was with a Christian business leader that I have known for about 3 years. I told him on the phone that I had written a book on a Christian approach to economics and that I was starting a financial coaching practice. Before I could even ask if he would be willing to sit down with me he blurted out, “Awesome, when can you come by?”

So just before lunch on Thursday morning we sat down in the board room of his company. I proceeded to walk him through the main points of “Meekonomics; How to Inherit the Earth and Live Life to the Fullest in God’s Economy” and the “6 Steps to Financial Freedom” Coaching Program.

He was really great. He didn’t interrupt more than a couple of times, just to get a bit of clarification and make sure he understood what I was saying. That was good because this being the first time I had really shown my ideas to anyone I needed to get the kinks out of my presentation. I fumbled a bit, missed a few points and hand to back-track but he got it, and was very gracious.

Then at the end he asked a question, that I am sure he had been holding back since I had called him the week before. He said, “I’ve been trying to figure out where you stand politically, you haven’t answered that for me.”

Politics are a hot button issue within the Christian community. A lot of people will measure how holy you are by where you stand on certain issues and how you vote in general elections. I’ve even heard it said that there is no such thing as a “liberal” Christian. Non-sense! But that’s a discussion for another day…

I think my response surprised him a bit. I said “Good, because this isn’t really a question of politics and I don’t want to be pigeon holed as either too conservative or too liberal.”

The point here isn’t where you stand on a political spectrum. The point is whether or not you understand mathematics well enough to keep your bills paid. And from a Christian perspective, whether or not your understand God well enough to know that, this side of heaven, to a certain degree we are all heretics.

Here’s an excerpt from “Meekonomics” that sums up what I’m trying to say;

Dr. Greg Boyd who we first met in the last chapter, once put it this way.

Right Doctrine – Love = Worthless Noise

This point is this; you can have right doctrine by living solely out of a ruler mentality or solely out of the caretaker mentality. The endless debate we face as Christians today between the right wing and the left wing believers is, at the end of the day a debate between two groups that truly and honestly think that they have a clear understanding of what God wants and why we were created.

And they are both equally right and equally wrong at the same time!

The reason the debate exists is not because one side is right and the other side is delusional. The debate exists, and will continue to exist in endless perpetuity because both sides lack enough of a love mentality to be able to find balance between the two. This isn’t a debate between right and wrong. It’s not even a debate between good and better. It is a debate between sin and other sin.

When we view sin as anything short of the perfection God envisioned then both sides are sinners in equal measure.   The best definition I’ve ever heard of sin is simply to miss the mark. If the bull’s-eye is defined by the love mentality then any straying toward either the ruler mentality or the caretaker mentality is sin, plain and simple and any debate that does not take into account the love mentality is as Dr. Boyd so aptly put it “worthless noise.”

Everything, and I mean everything we do as Christ-followers, from the way we evangelize new believers and disciple each other, to the way we go about the mundane necessities of life, like going to work, taking the kids to soccer practice and paying the bills, must be done through the lens of God centered love for our neighbours.

That’s the bull’s-eye! Anything less is sin.

Does that make me a conservative or a liberal? I don’t know, and quite frankly I don’t care.

I’m a Christ-follower who loves his fellow man so much I want to help everyone I can live their best life. One way I know how to do that is to teach you what I know about finances and help you “inherit the earth”.  That’s what The Meekonomics Project is all about.

Is it perfect? No!

Does it line up with conservative or liberal theology? Who cares!?

At the end of the day it’s just math.

For more information on my Financial Coaching service visit the products page or write to: themeekonomicsproject@gmail.com

And stay tuned for an announcement regarding the re-launch of “Meekonomics; How To Inherit the Earth and Live Life to the Fullest in God’s Economy” coming soon to a book store near you.