LIFESTYLE ADVOCACY FAMILY FINANCE LAFF is a publication of DuPont Wealth Solutions and the law offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel blending original and curated content and is intended to educate the general public about investing, finance, estate planning, personal injury and small business issues. It is not intended to be legal or financial advice. Every situation is different. The information in this newsletter may be freely copied and distributed as long as the newsletter is copied in its entirety.
BIRTH ORDERS AND BEGINNINGS
THOUGHTS AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR
As 2018 draws to a close and the cold weather seeps in, it seems as good a time as any for reflection. Both as a professional and a human being, I’ve always tried to keep myself open to new avenues, better approaches, and alternative ways of thinking. Just looking at the books I’ve picked up over the last year, I’ve noticed a significant departure from my old interests. Throughout my professional life, I’ve read works dealing with hard data and analytics. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed these technical reads. But as the industry and my own interests have shifted, so have the books on my shelf. These days, I’m reading a lot more “touchy-feely” works on personal development and leadership. To my own surprise, I actually really enjoy this change. Just a few months ago, I tore through Dr. Kevin Leman’s “The Birth Order Book.” With the subtitle “Why You Are the Way You Are,” Dr. Leman’s work examines how your place in your family’s sibling hierarchy can influence you for the rest of your life. As I tend to do with these kinds of works, I went in skeptical — but as a middle child in a family of seven, I couldn’t help but see connections to my own life.
But ultimately, the point of “The Birth Order” isn’t to say that there’s a magic set of personality traits we are born into. Instead, the book illustrates the ways our childhood experiences can stick with us in real, often imperceptible ways. That’s the reason I picked it
up in the first place. The longer I’ve been in this industry, the more I’ve realized it’s important for me to understand the human condition.
I’ve talked at length in the past about how the proliferation of digital tools is fundamentally changing the way my industry works. As someone who has always prized adaptability, I’m not complaining. Let the algorithms do the number crunching. That way, I can turn my undivided attention to understanding my clients not as data points but as human beings. From personal finance to estate planning, I’ve learned empathy is often the first and best tool professionals in my industry can offer. Part of empathy is understanding where people are coming from. So many factors in our lives, including the time, place, and even order of our births can impact the way we view the world. Learning to recognize those effects in myself and others has helped in part of a broader personal journey to reinvent the way I approach my role.
I’ll readily own the middle-
“I’LL READILY OWNTHE MIDDLE- BORNTRAITS OF INDEPENDENTTHINKING
born traits of independent thinking and adaptability.
And yes, just as Dr. Leman suggests, I suppose I can be a bit of a rebel as
AND ADAPTABILITY. ANDYES, JUST AS DR. LEMAN SUGGESTS, I SUPPOSE I CAN BE A BIT OF A REBEL ASWELL."
well. The book’s analysis was so spot-on that I
started accurately guessing the birth order of the people I meet with. Honestly, it’s a
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