Chocolate Chip Cookies
J. Paul Humphrey, my father, followed in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps when in 1973, he quit his job at Standard Packaging to become a stockbroker at age 42. He had a mortgage and three children, and off he went!! For those of you who know U.S. economic history, this was a very difficult economic period. With soaring inflation and high unemployment, it was certainly not the best environment for starting a business, certainly not a career in investments. Many refer to this period as the worst stagflation (a period of high inflation and low growth) since the great depression. Paul Humphrey started with a vision of helping people manage their financial assets, a long list of friends and contacts, a high level of integrity, a telephone, and a typewriter.
As an eleven-year-old, I remember the family’s financial hardships as my mom went to work and my elder sisters both had after-school jobs. My major hardship was not having chocolate chip cookies after school, so it was relatively easy on me. I also remember my sister and dad working late every night typing letters and addressing envelopes to contacts, friends, and family encouraging them to trust J. Paul Humphrey with their financial assets. It was my first encounter where both connecting and trust united with a considerable amount of work. He spent the remainder of his professional career protecting and growing his clients’ financial assets. My dad continued to be an avid investor into his late 80’s.
What’s Your Chocolate Chip Cookie Metaphor?
Everyone has chocolate chip cookies metaphors in their life if they want to move ahead. Sometimes those cookies involve borrowing money to start a business and sometimes they are a loss of sleep and health. To succeed in life, you will have your own chocolate chip cookies that you will have to do without. Despite the monetary and political environment of today, there is no free lunch. Eventually, we all pay the price. I’ve heard it said that “if you want something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done.” I believe that is true. In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about his own journey from a critical head injury to becoming a college baseball player and eventually a successful author. Early in the book, Clear discusses how habits are the system or engine that assist people to make small changes in their daily habits that result in success. One of the most important factors of this positive change is a person’s identity of themselves. Change begins when you see yourself in a role that you desire. In the services business, the role of “trusted advisor” is given to those service providers who can sell and delivery quality to their clients. The journey to “trusted advisor” requires each of us to forgo our metaphorical “chocolate chip cookies” and see ourselves in a trusted advisor role. If you are not willing to change and/or sacrifice, you will never get to the pinnacle of a career in the services business. Begin the journey today!