The Behaviour Gap

The Behavior GapI had the pleasure of being invited recently to a PWL Capital event where the featured speaker was Carl Richards, CFP, author and a New York Times contributor.

His new book The Behaviour Gap – Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money, is primarily focused on financial investments.  It also explains the confusing gap between what we think and feel, and what we actually do.  These highly transferable life lessons that were not lost on the young urban crowd that attended. 

What’s more, the beauty of Carl’s approach – and how his artwork became featured in the Parsons School of Design in New York – is that he distills the concepts in his book into deceptively clear line drawings that deliver the whole message.  If Carl can’t fit the idea on a cocktail napkin, he’ll work at it until he can.

So what did Carl have to say about financial investing that can be extrapolated to people, patterns of behaviour and careers?  Here are just a few:

  1. We can decide what we really want out of life.  So the more you know about yourself, the better you can align your actions with your goals.
    1. Overconfidence is a serious problem.  The ones who are most overconfident are least likely to recognize it.
    2. We can embrace uncertainty.   Change isn’t always a problem if we can be flexible rather than locked in.
    3. You gotta be you.  You need a strategy that’s made specifically for you.
    4. Happiness is more about expectations and desire than it is about income.
    5. Anxious people tend to get stuck in the past and seek comfort in familiarity.
    6. Good things happen too.

Every summer needs a good book. So, if you’re a reader, enjoy.  If you’re visual and just want see the concepts in sketch form, head to his website, they’re all there.

Where’s Your Tribe?

So often we talk about finding your life’s work or following your passion. What if you just followed your people?
We spend some heavy duty workplace time with our co-workers so it makes sense that the more connected we feel, the better we function. And that’s directly linked to our enjoyment of the job and the quality of our work.

Who you work with in many cases can be almost as important as what you do.

As one client told me, “I’d like to work with the kind of people I’d be happy to have a beer with – after work.” They weren’t looking for pub-mates, but that they wanted peers that were savvy, smart and interesting. Genuine workplace relationships with like-minded folks. In other words – “my kind of people”.

Those you work with are also another good way to assess your fit with a current or future employer. Does this group have the kind of energy and direction that keeps you going or do they drag you down?

Realistically we don’t get along with everyone all the time. In fact there may be only a few bright lights on the team that really make the difference, but they can make all the difference.

I’ve met clients who’ve had only a few regrets about leaving an employer or even their line of work, but I do hear that there are people in the company they will miss. The ones that made their day, appreciated their work or shared their interests.

Find your work, find your passion – and find your tribe.