Does being a farm girl really make me a better financial advisor?
I recently started using the phrase, “from farm girl to financial advisor” to portray an authentic picture of who I am and how I approach my profession as a financial advisor. Which leads me to write this to share what those words really mean to me.
As many know, including my partner Michael Wagner who is also a farm kid, farming is not for the faint of heart. It takes hard work, diligence, sweat and often tears. Plus, a great compassion and love for the world around you. I read an article recently that identified some words that describe a farm girl, and I believe it is obvious how those words translate to action as a financial advisor.
- Resilient. A farm girl can work hard all day on farm chores, only to lose it all to storms, insects, faulty fencing, etc. Resilience is defined as that which can recover from difficult conditions. In short, bouncing back, not only physically but psychologically, adapting to stress and adversity.
- Positive. Everyone knows that most farmers are hopelessly optimistic. You know that saying about the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. The saying is probably right. But farm girls don’t just keep throwing themselves blindly into a doomed scenario. Instead, we tweak it a little each time, fully confident that with some time and small tweaks we will definitely get it right. One of my favorite sayings on a t-shirt I own is that life goes my way always. Even if it doesn’t, the attitude results in more positive outcomes.
- Resourceful. It’s true what they say about bailing wire and duct tape. But farm girls are resourceful in other ways too. When one solution doesn’t seem to fit quite right, we keep trying until we feel we have exhausted the alternatives and then make the best possible choice. I once had a client tell me he felt as a woman that I might be a better financial advisor because “women are better shoppers.” When I probed a little deeper on what he meant, he added that with men, “any old brown shoe will do,” but with women we take into consideration price, style, heel height, etc. Our resourcefulness is uncanny.
- Brave. To be clear, bravery is not about being without fear. It is about acknowledging fear and doing it anyway. A farm girl walks across a hay field even though she is afraid of snakes or backs a trailer without help when there is no choice. Being “farm girl brave” means to dare to try it at all. The biggest lesson I ever learned from my father was making the “choice” to take a risk. Just like farmers invest time and money and heart and soul into farming, I learned to apply that bravery to everything I do.
- Realistic. Plants don’t always grow in neat little rows or mature in the exact number of days it says on the grain sack. Sometimes everyone needs a good strong dose of reality. Being realistic is not about being negative or defeated. It is simply being better prepared. And if that doesn’t translate well to being a better financial advisor, I don’t know what does!?
Remember, the very nature of farming is about growing things, not the least of which is our own skills and attitudes. I am proud to be a farm girl and even prouder to be a successful financial advisor.