Mark Kenney - retirement

Today, we’re joined by Chris Smith, creator of the Campfire Effect and host of the Family Brand Podcast. Chris works with leaders and advisors in the financial planning space to help them tell their stories, scale their businesses, and unlock growth and change.

We’ve worked with Chris in the past to develop and tell the story of our brand, and we wanted to take this opportunity to share wisdom and insights you can use in your own life and business.

In this conversation, we discussed how financial planning is more than a numbers game, what separates a technically competent financial planner from a truly great one, and how to tell you’re receiving the kind of service you, your family, and your legacy deserve.

In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:

  • The important questions you should be asking any prospective financial advisor that go beyond portfolio construction and risk assessment.
  • How a good financial advisor helps challenge and support you to live your best life.
  • Why your financial advisor needs to provide you with guidance and leadership to ensure your successful retirement.
  • The surprising things we learned on our multi-year journey to understand how to best serve our clients.
  • Two simple things you can do to transform your mindset.

Inspiring Quotes

  • Nothing wrong with being an advisor, but advisors give advice and advice informs, which is useful, but leaders provide leadership and leadership transforms.” – Chris Smith
  • Believe the best is yet to come and don’t put any energy into what you don’t want. Put all of your energy into what you do want.” – Chris Smith
  • If you don’t define what your family stands for, I believe the world is going to do it for you.” – Chris Smith
  • The more leaders you create, the more impact you have, and the more lives you change.” – Chris Smith
  • “If you look for possibility, you’ll tap into it because it’s always there. Possibility never stops existing.” – Chris Smith


Derek Gregoire: So, we are so excited on this episode of the SHP Retirement Roadmap to be joined by Chris Smith of Campfire Effect. And Chris’s story began in Arizona where his family was among the first to settle this wild and beautiful land. He grew up a cowboy surrounded by storytellers, soaking up wisdom that cannot be found in books. He pursued a few vocations and found a measure of success in each, but none spoke to him. Instead, he spoke into each of them, connecting with people to create a narrative, find meaning, and unlock growth and change, and in doing so, he actually discovered his own purpose. His favorite quote is from Mark Twain, who said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”


He found out why he was put on this earth to help people see that they are the authors of their story and could create anything they want. Chris is someone that we’ve worked with internally to help create our brand here at SHP Financial, and we know he’s transformed a ton of lives. So, we think this information coming up hopefully will give you some clarity and give you some ideas to use in your own lives to be a better person, leader, family, and so forth. So, that being said, Chris, welcome to the podcast.


Chris Smith: Yeah. Thank you so much. I’m honored to be on here with both of you, guys.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah. I think it’s definitely a different twist on some of our recent podcasts that are more sometimes it can be on inflation and taxes and economic conditions and market. And I think, what’s unique about Chris and what he’s done in our industry, it’s not something you really when someone thinks about getting a financial advisor, right, the first thing that comes to mind is a portfolio, numbers, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, whatever it is. But very few people look at the other side of what goes on behind the scenes and companies like us here at SHP, what we actually think about when we’re designing a plan and not to get into too much right now, but Chris has really helped us and so many other companies like ours really just inspire our clients and beyond just the numbers in terms of like, and we’re getting into this, but like what is possible.


And I’m going to start right off with a quick story, Chris, that we had a client in a couple of weeks ago, they had this land in Florida. Never thought they’d be able to do anything with it. And their dream was to build down there and they said, “Oh, it’s going to affect our financial plan.” Well, it’s like, well, would you want to know if maybe it didn’t affect your financial plan? So, we ran this full analysis. Our team went to work and we built a plan that basically showed them that it is possible. Now, you might have to sell one of your two homes when you’re 88 years old, but you’re 65. You can enjoy that for the next 20, 30 years, if not the rest of your life. And let’s say at 78 to 88 you have to sell, well, you get that enjoyment out of it. And as soon as you sell, the expenses go down and you have a windfall of money. So, it changed your entire situation again.

So, that’s just kind of a tip of the iceberg but we want to make sure folks listening realize there’s so much more to financial planning than just the Xs and Os and numbers.


Chris Smith: Yeah, for sure. And one of the things I would say to those listening, so a bit of my background is I was a financial advisor nine years ago and helped grow a firm and we had a lot of success. And that inspired me to say, well, maybe instead of being an advisor, I want to go teach other advisors and firms how to achieve the kind of success that we had. So, for the last nine years, I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds, maybe into the thousands now of advisors and wealth management firms. And I’ll just tell you, as someone who’s not in the industry, so I don’t have any bias in this, if you’re looking for an advisor, I would actually encourage you to have your list of requirements of what you want from that advisor, that wealth management firm.


But I would actually have the portfolio aspect of it and the financial planning way lower on the priority than you might think. It still should be one of the considerations. But to me, if I’m choosing an advisor, knowing what I know now, one of the first questions that I want answered is, how are you going to help me achieve things that I don’t even know are possible? How are you going to help me see a bigger vision for me and my family than I can see on my own? How are you going to help me beyond the money? How are you going to help me beyond the investments? How are you going to help me beyond the assets? Because, look, let’s face it, the reality is today with technology, most advisors are pretty dang good at the investments, the risk, the portfolio.


You’d almost have to try really hard to mess that up. I’m not saying people don’t, but that’s kind of an equal playing ground. So, it’s like don’t base all the value in that. That should actually be a given like you shouldn’t be choosing, in my opinion, someone based on that. That should just be like the barrier to entry. It’s like beyond that. And I love what you stand for at SHP and I’ve had an opportunity obviously to work with you and your team. And it’s been a huge honor because that’s what my experience of SHP is that you’re not just about the financial plan and the investments. Like, one of the things that we came up with together is what SHP’s known for is helping people spend more time living and dreaming than wandering and worrying in retirement.


And I think that’s so critical because I don’t think most of us think about what’s possible. We think about what’s probable, right? And so, okay, what’s probable? Well, what’s probable is building our dream home in Florida on this land might affect our retirement, so we probably shouldn’t do it. That’s what’s probable. And then they get around someone like you who’s really a leader, and it’s like, “Well, no, let’s look at what could actually be possible.”


Derek Gregoire: Well, sometimes, Chris and Matt, like you have these clients and we see this all the time. It’s like we’re just happy our expenses are 6,000 a month and we should be okay on that. We live below our means. And it’s like, “Well, what is $6,000 a month allow you to do?” “Well, we can go out to eat once a week and maybe every five years, take a trip down to Florida,” you know what I mean? And it’s like, “Wait, do you want to know what’s possible? Like, if you could take your entire family to Florida or wherever it is twice a year and then give to your church to do X, Y, or Z, would you want to know that that’s possible?”


And that’s where it’s so inspiring. The work that we do here is we don’t want to just do the bare minimum like you said. We want to make sure these folks know. And not everyone does have that possible. Not everyone can do that depending on their situation, but more people that, more than not, there’s a lot more that can be done within a plan that they didn’t realize was possible.


Matthew Peck: Well, and that’s what I was going to pick up, Chris, a little bit. So, after you say that, I would have to ask like how? So, how do advisors reach that level of possibility? Is it going deep and really connecting with clients? Or if you could put a finger on it because, obviously, you have to have the technology to get you there. And I completely agree. That’s a given, at least obviously, in our opinion, it should be a given because you’re not really a real advisor unless you do have that type of infrastructure of portfolio management and investment planning. So, then, okay, given that foundation, how would an advisor make sure that people are realizing their possibilities?


Chris Smith: Yeah. And it’s interesting. You probably heard me say this, Matt, is the way an advisor would do that is by actually not showing up as an advisor but showing up like a leader. So, we make this distinction all the time that you can either be an advisor or you can be a leader, but you can’t be both. And we do that on purpose to kind of challenge advisors and sometimes like, “Well, what do you mean?” And I’m like, “Look, nothing wrong with being an advisor, but advisors give advice and advice informs, which is useful, but leaders provide leadership and leadership transforms.” So, you can be an advisor who says, “You know what, I’ll provide the technology. I’ll build you a really great financial plan. I’ll meet with you once a year, and I’ll basically just show you that you’re on track.”


That’s fine, right? It’s okay. But like in that scenario, you’ll never be the family that builds the dream home on the land. You’ll never be the family that moves beyond the $6,000 budget you’ve given yourself and eating out once a week and a trip every five years. And I’m not saying that that advisor is doing anything wrong by that client. It’s just that there’s so much more that’s possible. However, if you have an advisor who also says, “No, I’m going to show up like a leader, and I want to provide leadership to this family in all the areas of your life that are important to them.” And one of the ways we define leadership is what leaders do, first and foremost, probably not surprised by what I’m about to say, is leaders help you see a bigger vision of what’s possible than you could ever see for yourself.


Leaders are also willing to challenge you more than you’ve ever been challenged but they also want to support you more than you’ve ever been supported. So, that same situation, family who’s like, “Hey, we can spend 6,000 a month,” and most of the time they’re not saying that’s what they want. That’s just what they believe they can do. Again, it’s not what’s possible. It’s what probable. What a leader might say is, “Well, here, are you open to the idea if we could show you more that’s possible? Are you open to a scenario where we could actually show you, you can spend more than 6,000 a month and go out to eat once a week and take two trips a year?” And they might be like, “Yeah.” It’s like, “Okay. Well, this is possible. And we’re going to challenge you on some things, but we’re also going to support you in making it happen.”


And so, it’s like it’s this mindset and, look, just so you know, those of you listening, if you have an advisor who only talks to you about what they get paid to talk to you about, they’re probably showing up like an advisor. There’s nothing wrong with it. But if you have someone who’s talking to you about or willing to talk to you about things they don’t even get paid to talk to you about, like your dreams, your family, your charitable initiatives like what you really want, that’s probably a sign that you’re talking to someone who’s going to show up like a leader for you.


Derek Gregoire: Even things, Chris, like in our business, right, we even see things like tax planning. As boring as that might sound, a lot of folks, like we get paid to manage portfolios, but beyond that’s one like 50th of what we do, right? And so, I think when we first worked with your team, Chris, it was like, one of the other issues too in our firm was like we know we have this great firm that we, oh, but not to sound – it sounded bad even saying out loud. We know we feel like we have a good firm that can do a lot of great things.


Matthew Peck: There should be there like an arrogant alarm every once in a while. It’s like, “Ah, does this…?”


Chris Smith: Hey, I’ll say it for you. I’ll say it for you, guys. You don’t have to say it because I’m a third party.


Matthew Peck: Please do.


Chris Smith: SHP is a great firm. Anyone would be lucky to work with them, I promise.


Derek Gregoire: I was going, well, the reason I was saying is like I know we do a lot of good things because I know, and by the way, almost none of it is me. That’s why I can say that. Because behind the scenes, this actually leads to my point. So, behind the scenes where there’s no way any of us, myself, Matt, Keith could do this on our own. And so, what I was trying to say is like, if we have this good company, how do we share it? Like, what’s the messaging around that? And you helped us a lot with that because, yeah, me saying as I just said, “Oh, yeah, we’re a good company,” is one thing, but how do we say like, “Hey, other teams, did they meet with you once a year? With us, we have a portfolio team.”


Their only job all year long with a CFA is managing portfolios and making trades and researching. We have a planning team that’s always looking at the research in terms of where Congress is headed, where tax laws are going. They’re speaking to attorneys and CPAs ongoing to make sure we’re not missing anything. So, we’re always looking for these opportunities for our clients, and we’re looking for ways to inspire them too with different events and fun things with their kids and grandkids and helping their families as well. So, my point is there’s so much I felt like we did but how do you convey all that into messaging so that people listening can understand, “Wow, they’re different. They’re not like every firm”? So, I mean, that’s what you help us kind of do is where we came up with our taglines.


Chris Smith: Well, and I think it’s really important to share that with people because, look, when I was an advisor, that really dawned on me when I was early on in this industry. I was like, wow, most advisors and firms only talk to their clients about what they get paid to talk to them about. So, if I’m an advisor or a firm who primarily does wealth management like investment advice, I’ll talk to you about investment advice because that’s what I get paid to do. Or if I’m an advisor or firm who sells insurance products, well, I’m going to talk to you about insurance because that’s what I get paid to. Or if I’m an advisor firm who sells annuities, guess what I’m talking to you about? And I’m probably not talking to you about anything else. But then that begs the question, who is talking to you about all those other things? Because my experience is all of those other things combined unaddressed is actually a greater threat and risk to your retirement than the thing you’ve hired that advisor for.


Derek Gregoire: Definitely.


Chris Smith: It’s like most people, you know, can happen but like my experience being around this industry for ten years is most people aren’t going to fail in retirement because of any one thing. It’s all of those other things that if no one’s providing leadership around, right? And those are sometimes the single greatest threats to people’s ability to be successful in retirement. And so, again, there’s nothing wrong with an advisor who only wants to talk to you about investments, insurance, or annuities. It’s just you have to know that you’re not getting leadership around all of the other things that combined are actually way more impactful on your overall retirement than just that one thing the advisors advising you on. And I think people just don’t realize that.


Matthew Peck: No, absolutely. And let me sort of connect two dots there because I think another thing that was very helpful, Chris, that you brought to SHP was the idea of combining that leadership with everything that Derek was just mentioning with all the teams, in a sense of saying like everyone can be their own leaders because I remember getting pushback to be like, “Oh, well, there’s natural leaders and there’s born leaders, and I’m a follower.” And I think you really were able to sort of just express to everybody that, “No. Everyone, leadership is not something you’re necessarily born with. It is something that everyone can become.”


Chris Smith: Totally. Yeah. And in the way that like in that leadership can be expressed in the form of some people are going to lead massive organizations and companies. Some people are going to lead a department or a team. Some people are just going to lead themselves. But it really bothers me inside organizations that this idea of leadership has been only reserved for the longest time for people in a certain role or a certain title. And it’s like, yes, there’s functions of managerial leadership that have a role or a title, but it’s like, why can’t we create a culture where every member of our organization who truly sees themselves as the leader and has a desire to show up for clients that way?


Because, look, every firm that has someone that’s willing to show up like a leader, the people that benefit the most from that are the clients. It’s these families that you have this opportunity to serve and make a difference for. And I just believe we live in a time in the world. My personal opinion is I believe people are searching for leadership maybe now more than ever, and they’re desperate for it and hungry for it because of a lack of it maybe that we see out there in the world. And so, I just think people aren’t looking anymore for just an advisor or someone that can help them. They’re looking for a leader.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah. Like you said, that’s the bare minimum. And I think that’s what we try to differentiate ourselves for so many years because we don’t want to just be that firm that sits down once a year and says, “Hey, you made money. You lost money. Hopefully, next year is good as well.” It’s like, number one, it’s boring. Number two, it’s not accomplishing what these folks deserve that have sacrificed their lives to get to this point of retirement. In terms of leadership, you had mentioned and that’s such a great point of like inspiring others beyond what they believe is possible for themselves. We have a common friend, and it’s tough to give them credit because we give each other such a hard time to give them credit in this situation is really tough for me.


But going back to two, like we started our firm in 2003, right? So, 21 years ago, and probably around 2010-2011, somewhere in that range, we met Brad Johnson, who’s a good friend of both of ours. And so, back at that point, he was in the industry. I remember him like, looking at our company and kind of like, “Man, you guys…” Like, we did not even use the same language that you’re talking about now but I remember him being like, “You guys have so much like potential. You guys are good people who care about your clients and you have a good foundation. You just need to continue to build the infrastructure.” And he’s like, “I bet you’ll be doing X amount of business in this year.” And I’m like, “Yeah, okay.” But he had this vision for us that we didn’t believe possible once we bought in.


That’s around 2012-2013 is when we really set the foundation, hired our COO, Michelle, and really just like hired high-quality people that weren’t just here to get a paycheck but cared about the people they were serving and cared about each other. And that made all the difference. As a culture built, the clients bought in, the clients could see that how much we cared for them. They could see the leadership that we were providing in our team. And it just kind of fostered this amazing relationship between our clients and our team that still goes on today. And we try to improve upon every single day. So, leadership is such an undervalued area that I would have not known when we started the firm back in 2003. Matt have known but not me.


Matthew Peck: And so, to kind of bring that up and to kind of talk a little bit about your own background, right, like when you left from the advisor world and then kind of entered more the consulting and helping to grow practices with things like branding and kind of really helping people understand what they’re known for, did you know that it was or did you have a feeling that it was lack of leadership when you sort of kind of launched? Or was it, “No, there’s something missing. I don’t know what it is,” and then you found it was sort of a lack of leadership? Or did you kind of realize that at the beginning, and then it kind of just developed from there?


Chris Smith: Yeah, that’s a really great question. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that. So, with the firm I was with, we had merged two firms together. So, there’s a bit of an identity crisis. And I would just say that they weren’t figuring it out, and I was an advisor there, and I was really good at bringing in business. I was good at connecting with people, telling our story, differentiating ourselves. I felt like I probably did at that time show up like a leader instead of just an advisor but I didn’t have that language or that context. So, I went to the firm and said, “Hey, I’m pretty good at like my own brand, my own story, my own message. Can I help try to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish with this combined brand story message?” So, they let me just dive in and help.


And to make a long story short, within two years, we’d had massive growth and just more fulfillment and like impact. And we were serving a lot more people because we knew who we were, we knew it made us unique, and we weren’t afraid to go tell people. And we were showing up like leaders but that wasn’t a conscious thought of mine. So, when I left to start working with advisors, where I started was I started replicating the success that we had had with them. So, again, helping them with what makes you unique, what makes you different, what are you known for, and then how do you talk about it, and how do you really sell it with confidence? So, it was more about identity, story, messaging, and sales.


What we started seeing was these firms would grow every time until they hit what we started realizing was like a leadership ceiling. It was like, “Oh, we can’t grow beyond their capacity to like lead and see themselves as leaders and more importantly, create other leaders.” Because there’s a difference between, “Hey, I’m going to be a business owner and hire people who can help me,” then there’s, “I’m going to be a business owner who builds a killer team,” then there’s, “I’m going to be a leader who creates other leaders.” That’s a whole different like and most businesses never get there. And so, like one of the desires I have now in my own companies, I just want to be one of the leaders amongst leaders. Like, I would love for someone from the outside to come sit in on one of our team meetings and be like, “Who owns this company?” Because there are so many powerful leaders sitting at the table, no one would even know who the founder was or founders, right?


So, it was actually a combination, Matt, of like realizing like, “Man, if I’m going to build something of significance, I’ve got to step up my own leadership.” So, I went on this three-year leadership journey of joining as many masterminds, hiring coaches, joined this Leadership Institute program, made some of the biggest financial investments and time investments I’d ever made into my own leadership. And what I saw as I grew in my leadership, I could be a more powerful leader in my home, in my marriage, to my own team. And then it just started becoming so natural that that’s what our clients were desiring from us as well. So, really kind of started my company, the Possibility Company, started kind of molding into these two things, leadership and language.


So, that’s what we kind of tell people like, “Hey, what do you guys do?” It’s like, “Well, if we boil it down to two words, it’d be leadership and language.” But it started with the language but the language or the messaging was helping people be more successful, almost to the point of it was creating an issue in a good way. And then it was like, “Hey, if we can solve this leadership problem, then there’s no ceiling on this, right? We can just keep making the current ceiling the next floor by creating more leaders.”


Derek Gregoire: That’s awesome. I think how and a lot of people even ask us over the years as we’ve grown like, “What motivates you to grow more? Why do you want to continue to grow and hire and go through the headaches of that?” And I think for us, we believe so strongly in what we do and we believe so strongly that we’re impacting the families that we’re serving, that why would we not? It’s almost like part of my goal in life is to do more like work for mission work, right, for my faith, and so forth. And the more I think of it, this actually is almost like a mission field in a way where people can still see, “I can still do that on this realm by serving people at the highest level, and they can see who I am as a person.” And that’s part of it right there.


Obviously, I can do more and I can do other stuff but I think having that foundation where we strongly believe that we can continue to help more people in our area stop worrying about their retirement and living and dreaming, which I didn’t say it right but our slogan there. We basically the more we can do that and over time, internally, as a result of hiring and building out, I think Matt would agree, we do have so many good leaders on our team now that I can’t say we had 10, 15 years ago, not even close. So, it’s been awesome like the passion still is as strong I think with Keith, Matt, and I as it ever was 21 years ago, and that’s pretty cool. And a lot of it is like being inspired by folks like yourself and then being able to then inspire clients that we serve. There’s no end game to that, to something that we love doing.


Chris Smith: Yeah. And I just kind of see this direct correlation between firms like yours. And you can just see it. The more leaders you create, the more impact you have, and the more lives you change. And then, of course, the financial success, that just takes care of itself. You don’t even have to worry about it.


Derek Gregoire: You don’t have to think about it.


Chris Smith: Yeah. I tell business owners all the time, “If you grow your people, your business will grow.” Like, it’s not rocket science. It’s like you could actually be growing your people and then actively try to stop your business from growing, and you couldn’t stop it from growing.


Derek Gregoire: You couldn’t do it.


Chris Smith: But a lot of times, I don’t think we realize we’re doing this but business owners oftentimes are trying to grow their company at the expense of their people instead of having their company grow because of their people. And this has become such a focus of ours and such a demand from clients, we’re actually getting ready to create a new offering. It’s the first time I’ve ever talked about it publicly where we’re going to have, which is called Leadership Transformation where we don’t go and do anything with identity, nothing with story, nothing with messaging. We simply go in and hand-select people inside of an organization and literally, we tell the business owner we will accept 100% responsibility to create them as leaders in a more powerful way than that could ever have been done. Like, it’s just like literally we’ll go in and create leaders.


Derek Gregoire: That’s awesome.


Chris Smith: You know, because it’s like, and here’s why. One, yes, that’s a benefit to the financial advisory or the wealth management firm but, two, it’s because I believe that this industry could use some radical disruption. It’s been like really archaic and thought about in an old-fashioned way for way too long. And I really love the idea of disrupting the traditional like advisor. You know, I give you a little bit of advice for some money relationship, and I want to push the industry to like step up and be like, “No, we owe it to these people.” Because you said it earlier, Derek, like, look, if you’re listening to this and you work with an advisor or you’re thinking about working with an advisor, I just want to tell you for a minute like I want to speak directly to you and tell you what you deserve.


Because I think there’s a lot of people out there that are looking to go work with an advisor or already work with them. No one’s ever told them what they deserve, so they don’t know what to look for and they don’t know if they’re getting what they deserve.


Derek Gregoire: Exactly. They don’t know. They have nothing to compare it to.


Chris Smith: Yeah. You deserve to work with someone who’s going to show up like a leader for you and your family. You deserve to work with someone who’s going to talk to you about way more than they get paid to talk to you about. You deserve to work with someone who’s going to help you accomplish things that you didn’t even know were possible. Like, you deserve to live a life way beyond and greater than what you’re living now. That’s what you deserve. And there are firms out there like SHP who can help you with that. And sadly, I believe there’s also a lot more firms that not that they can’t help you with it. They’re just not in a position yet and haven’t committed to be that.


So, I want to create as many leaders as I can in this industry because then we’ll have way more people out there being served at the level they deserve through real, bold, committed, loving leadership. And I don’t think that most advisors and firms, and I also don’t think that most individuals who work with the advisory firm realize that I don’t know of another industry that has a greater direct impact on the fulfillment of the living of someone’s life for generations than this industry. There’s just not another professional services industry I can think of as a consumer that I could go take advantage of that will have more of a direct impact in the fulfillment of the living of my life and potential generations than this industry. And it’s like think about the power of that statement.


Derek Gregoire: Really powerful.


Chris Smith: And think about if advisors and firms brought themselves to the work, like, “Hey, we’re responsible to make a profound difference in the fulfillment of the living of this family’s life and how that will impact their family for generations. And so, I just want to create as many leaders as humanly possible so that we can serve way more people better.


Matthew Peck: Well, and just to kind of pick that up a little bit, I mean, what I was going to kick out of is the fact that the balance when it comes to leadership and growing leaders within your organization, and I’m curious your opinion on this, where it’s like the spectrum where sometimes I’m like, “Okay. I really need to be hands-on. I need to be here. I need to be present. I need to lead by example.” And then it’s like, “Wait a second. If you allow some space and some air and some people to grow, that’s pretty good too, my man. So, go ahead and step back a little bit.” Even though you’re no longer leading by example per se, you’re allowing space, you’re allowing air, and you’re allowing people to expand and to take over that space.


Derek Gregoire: Careful in your response, Chris. I might not show up again.


Chris Smith: Yeah. That’s right. That’s right. Well, there’s a few thoughts that come to mind and I love that you’re sharing this, Matt. It’s actually really timely because of something that just happened last week that I’ll share. But I think Richard Branson had this quote. He said, “Leaders who never listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” And then you could run that out in so many scenarios. Leaders who always step up will be surrounded by people who never have to step up. Leaders who always do it will be surrounded by people who never have to do it. So, this idea that like, what does it actually mean to create leaders? There’s a huge difference between leading a team and like even leading managers versus leading leaders, creating leaders.


And last week, so Derek mentioned Brad Johnson, who’s one of the co-founders of an amazing company called Triad that SHP, Matt, and Derek are part of. I’m a strategic partner and they put on these incredible events. They put on these incredible experiences. They don’t call them events.


Matthew Peck: Yeah. I was going to say Brad would be upset if you didn’t get that, Chris.


Chris Smith: They put on incredible experiences and I have the opportunity to speak at most of them. Well, last week they put one on called the Scale Summit, which is for founders to bring their teams to. And Brad reached out and asked if I’d like to be part of it. And I was committed to being in Cabo.


Derek Gregoire: Tough commitment.


Chris Smith: Yeah. That’s right, with my family. My wife and I were co-hosting a couples retreat. And so, I said, “Hey, Brad, I won’t be able to come. But let me tell you why you would want to have Matt on my team there. Matt is one of the most incredible leaders I’ve ever met in my life.” And he is. And a year ago, Matt didn’t see himself that way. A year ago. Matt’s like, “Dude, I don’t know if I can speak. I don’t know if I can sell,” and I recognize this really talented guy that was having his soul sucked out of him in corporate America and brought him into The Possibility Company. And then for the last year, I’ve just poured into him just seeing the gifts that he has, spoke possibility in him, challenged him more than he has ever been challenged.


And he’ll tell you like beyond what you ever even thought someone could challenge him, but also try to support him when he’s ever felt supported. And I’ve really tried to be the example to him of like, be the demonstration of everything that I’m teaching, not just say it, but be it. Kind of that idea of like teach and if you have to use words. But a combination of all of that, Matt has just boom, like the things that he could literally run the Possibility Company. He can do everything I can do. So, he went and got on a stage, shared the stage with Joey Coleman, who’s an incredible, like, bestselling author. And I’m getting text messages from tons of people in the Triad community, from Joey Coleman himself be like, “Who is this guy? This guy is like an amazing leader. Like, he’s on your team?”


And I’m like, yeah, because also, if I can’t be the demonstration of it, how can we, as the Possibility Company, go in and tell companies and say, “We can help you with this,” but it’s like, man, that was a confronting thing for me for a long time because I thought like I had to be on every sales call. I had to be the one speaking at every event. And it’s like, yeah. And the other thing is you also have to create that space and I love your terminology there, man, of like creating space for them to step up, but also creating space for them to like not get it perfect and not get it right and not have to like…. And one thing is like, well, what if they don’t do it like me? Well, just give that up because no one’s ever going to do it like you.


And I think what business owners are really saying is, “What if they don’t do it as good as me?” You know, my buddy, Dan Martell, says 70% to 80% done by someone else is 100% freaking awesome. But I just love this idea of leadership. Like, when you develop leaders, everyone wins. There’s no one that doesn’t benefit when you develop a leader. Like, their family wins, that person wins, the clients they’ll end up serving win, you win because you just got more freedom back. It’s almost like no one wins when we’re not developing leaders.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah, I agree. That’s so important. We can talk about that leadership forever but I do want to pivot to another question, if that’s all right, around think about a lot of our clients come to us in like 55 to 70 range. We have clients that are in their 20s and some that are 98 but our average client, let’s say they’re in their 60s, early 70s and they’re saying, “Sometimes it can be discouraging.” There could be health issues popping up. They could have lost a friend or just things, life happens. What would you say to that person in terms of where they are right now, and what might be possible, and how their mindset can change a little bit?


Chris Smith: Yeah. I’ll say this and the first thing that comes to mind is hold on to the belief that the best is yet to come because it’s just a beautiful place to live life from. Because the opposite of the best is yet to come is, well, the best has already happened so it’s all downhill from here. But it’s like there’s a really amazing book actually by Arthur Brooks, who came and spoke to us at launch. It’s a different one of his books, not the one he talked about there. It’s called From Strength to Strength. And it actually talks about how there’s a lot of things in our life that get better in our 40s, 50s, 60s, even like cognitive abilities and things like that. And so, the mind is a really powerful thing and basically, it’s going to find evidence for whatever you tell it to look for.


So, if you’re in your 60s and in your 70s and you’re thinking like, of all the things that you don’t like about your life now and that aren’t working and what you don’t want and what you don’t have, sadly, you’ll just create more of that. It’s so fascinating that like, and I think sometimes we have good intentions. It’s like, “Well, no, if I’m really hypercritical and hyper-focused on what I don’t like, what I don’t want, what I don’t have, and what isn’t working, I’ll be able to do the opposite of it,” but it never works that way. The more you focus on what you don’t want, you just create more of what you don’t want. You’d be way better off investing that energy into like, okay, well, at this stage of my life, what do I want? What is still working? What do I want to create? Right. What experiences do I want to have?


And I’ve just chosen to adopt that belief now that, “Hey, I’m 42. Best is yet to come. And my intention is that when I’m 52, yeah, the best is yet to come. When I’m 62.” And I think we could look at it like the best is yet to come for this season of my life. Because I can promise you, in your 60s and 70s, you still have a ton of life left to live. There’s so much still that’s possible for you. There’s so many experiences. Like, my second oldest son didn’t come on the trip with us last week for spring break. He’s a freshman and he’s worked really hard and he’s worked his way, and he’s a starting third baseman on varsity baseball as a freshman, which is a big deal for him. So, he’s like, he didn’t want to leave because he has a game during spring break and we let him make that choice.


So, he stayed home with my parents who were in their early 80s. And my parents, we picked them up last night. They’re like, “We had the best week of our lives hanging out with Tanner.” Him and my dad watched tons of March Madness basketball, talked about baseball. My parents probably took him out to eat for every meal, you know? And so, I think, but if you’re not careful, you’ll really find evidence at any area of your life. You know, I’ve seen 20-year-olds who are like hyper-focused on what isn’t working in their life and what they don’t want. And if I could boil it down to this simple, I would say two things: believe the best is yet to come and don’t put any energy into what you don’t want. Put all of your energy into what you do want.


Derek Gregoire: Well, hey, Chris, why don’t you tell everyone what your recent goal is? I saw it on Facebook.


Chris Smith: Yeah. So, my son, who’s a freshman, plays baseball. He also had a really good basketball season. And I started playing a lot more basketball. Gotten back into it, which takes you some time to get back in basketball. And he was making fun of me one day like I reached up and barely touched the rim. And he’s like, “Oh, don’t you wish you could still dunk?” And I was like, “I’m going to dunk this year at 42. I’m going to dunk again.” So, I bought a vertical jump program. I’ve switched up my workouts. And the other day I actually jumped up, after playing some pickleball, I actually jumped up and was able to hang on the rim with two hands. So, I’m getting close. So, anyways, but it’s like, yeah, in that same way, it’s like I always want to have something that I’m pursuing, like something that’s challenging me, something that I’m living into.


I also think it’s really interesting in the Japanese culture. I took my boys to Japan last year, and there’s a really amazing book that maybe some of you listening might enjoy. It’s called Ikigai. And it’s the Japanese term for purpose. And I found it fascinating reading that book and then visiting Japan. There’s no word in the Japanese language for retirement. It doesn’t exist. Now, people will slow down their work or they’ll stop working but it’s like they never retire from their purpose. And so, I think that’s an interesting thing to think about too is like you always have a purpose in life for yourself and for others.


Derek Gregoire: That’s awesome. As we get close to the end here, I have a couple just final to wrap it up. Another thing that my wife and I and my two boys who are 13 and 15 are taking part in, you and your wife, I’d say Melissa is probably running it more than you are, right?


Chris Smith: Yeah. She’s the hero for sure.


Derek Gregoire: We do. It’s Family Brand and the same thing. I think it’s important because you go through life even as having a family. And even with my boys, you do the best you can to instill values. And you always feel like, well, our kids had it better than we had it and we had it better than our parents. That cycle kind of continues. And making sure like when I started this career, I knew if I didn’t succeed, I had a hawk and trowel in the plastering world just waiting for me. So, it’s almost like motivation. So, I want my kids to have that same, like, “Hey, we need to grind this out. We need to have a work ethic. We’re not going to settle on like go work for dad’s company,” because they already know they’re starting from the ground up if they ever. We already made a deal with the partners. They’re not just coming in and getting a cushy job. They’re going to have to work like everyone else did.


And so, I think that’s another cool thing is like we’re in the process right now of kind of what does our family stand for? What’s our identity? What are our values? Because everyone has values of a company stand for but you would do that with your family. And that’s a cool way to be intentional with your family, to make what could be one of the most important things in your life as strong as possible.


Chris Smith: Yeah. So, I’ll just share real quickly. My wife had this idea. So, I had the idea several years ago, driving home from the office after a client flew in and spent a day with us. That’s how we used to do it before COVID, to kick off our engagements. They’d fly in their team, spend an entire day with us. And on the drive home from the office, I was reflecting on something that this client said. He owned a wealth management firm and he said, “Man, Chris, the work we did just today and getting clear on who we are and what we’re known for, it’ll impact our firm for the next hundred years.” And I kept thinking about 100 years because it’s about three generations, and most people probably familiar with the statistics that unfortunately, often in this industry, any money that’s inherited or passed along, it’s all gone by the third generation, and the family’s completely destroyed.


So, knowing what I knew about the industry and knowing what I know about like I just had this thought like, “Well, I don’t want that to happen in my family.” I want my family to become progressively stronger with each passing generation, which is really against the odds, you know? And so, then I just had this thought like, “Why have I never taken my family through my own process?” So, I ran the idea by Melissa, and she loved it. And so, we just basically created the same thing for our family. Like, how are we going to create leaders in our home? How do we define leadership? What are we known for as a family? What are our values, like the shared language?


And we did it almost as a fun experiment and made a really profound difference in our home, in  our marriage, in the relationship with our kids. And I’m sitting there one day and I was like, “We just branded our family like you would a company, but we did it for our family. That’s like a family brand.” And so, then the website was available. I bought it, and then Melissa just caught this vision for it. And three years ago, she started the podcast. I just realized the other day, she’s missed two weekly episodes in three years.


Derek Gregoire: That’s quite a podcast.


Chris Smith: She’s up to like 170 some 80 episodes.


Derek Gregoire: She’s committed.


Chris Smith: Yeah, it’s consistently on top of the kids and family category on iTunes. And then she’s developed some programs so families can buy a digital program and go through it. They can join one of the groups like you and Derek, or they can hire Melissa privately one-on-one. But the point more than anything is like if you don’t define what your family stands for, I believe the world is going to do it for you.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah.


Chris Smith: If you don’t help your children develop their identity, the world’s going to do it for you. And, look, this is something that can be passed on. Another interesting thing about that research, when they looked at, well, why do so many families over 90% by the third generation, why is all the money gone? And why is the family destroyed as a result? They cited two things in the research: lack of communication and a lack of shared values. There was nothing that governed like, “Hey, yeah, here’s some money but more and more importantly, this is who we are and what we stand for. This is what we want to be continually known for.” And it’s had me to really rethink legacy as well. I used to think legacy is what you leave to your kids. Now, I think legacy is what you leave in your kids. It’s what you leave in them, not to them.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah, 100%.


Chris Smith: It’s like what you leave in them is way more important than what you leave to them. And what you leave in them is going to serve them far longer than what you leave to them. And so, yeah, what’s cool is we’ve had families with young kids at home like yours, Derek. We’ve had empty nesters, do it with their grandkids or no children. But more than anything, not to make a plug for Family Brand is if you haven’t had an intentional conversation as a family, and it’s never too late and it’s never too early, it’d be useful to sit down with your significant other and enroll some of your other children and families and be like, “Hey, who are we as a family? What do we want to be known for out there in the world? Like what are our values?” And, yeah, if you’d like an easy framework, my wife shares amazing resources on her podcast, and then she has her website, Family Brand.


Derek Gregoire: What’s your podcast? Is it Family Brand?


Chris Smith: Yeah. If you just go on any of the platforms and just search Family Brand, she tries to keep the episodes 15 to 20 minutes because she knows that the majority of families listening are busy families. But I just really love watching her do that work. And like last week, she put on a couples retreat in Cabo and had ten couples come, and it was like, sadly, it’s really rare that families in our society, Mars included at times, it’s rare that we proactively invest in the strengthening and building of our families. And sadly, we reactively have expenses when there’s a problem like rehab, therapy, counseling, divorce. And I’m grateful for those resources. They serve a huge purpose in the world but I often think, how much need would we have for rehab, counseling, therapy, and divorce attorneys if we spent more time proactively investing upfront?


Matthew Peck: Yeah. Reinforcing it. Right.


Derek Gregoire: It’s easy to get caught in the madness of life. You know, you get up and then you’re on the go, go, go. And when you have a break on a Sunday, you watch golf or football or March Madness and life goes on. But I think even like this past Saturday, Collin and I took a drive, just us two. It was raining out. Put the podcast. Put one of the videos, some of the videos that you and Melissa did, just kind of get back thinking like, alright, first, we got to do our homework because on Easter, we have one coming up, a call. But number two, it’s helped us like really rethink like how do we want to do this and hopefully pass it on to our kids and they’ll buy in like we are to make that happen and make that kind of… Our family is a good family with good kids. You just want to make sure that they’re clear on the vision and what we stand for as a family.


Chris Smith: Sure. Yeah. I think, again, that conversation of like there’s always more that’s possible for our family, just like there is for our business, like for leaders. And not to overlook that we’ve talked all this time about leadership and developing and creating leaders. And like, man, the most powerful leaders we will ever create are the ones that live under our roof. You know, that’s easy for me to overlook sometimes too. It’s like I’m on a mission to change the world and develop all these leaders. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah. These, my own kids, right?”


Derek Gregoire: Yeah. The mission feels more important at home like that’s not easy to get caught. And like I just put all my energy at work and I get home, I don’t really have much energy left. It’s easy to fall in that trap if you’re not intentional about it. And so, I think, as you see for everyone listening and watching, Chris is an amazing person and cares about the people he serves. And I think companies like ours try to take that vision, improve not only our companies, but our families, and hopefully, for those clients that are listening. I know a lot of our clients listen and watch this on a weekly basis. We hope that you see this play out in your own lives based on how we’ve gone about running our firm in the best effort to serve you so that all these areas taken care of and you can live that life that you deserve, that you dreamed of and not have to take these worries out of it. So, any closing thoughts, Matt, Chris, before we part?


Matthew Peck: No, I love that idea of the 100 years and that third-generation aspect of it. I mean, if our lives, if one of our purposes is to leave the world a better place than we left it, what would be a better way of doing that with that type of time horizon in mind? So, I just love that last part. And, Chris, thanks so much for everything you’ve done for the company and everything you’re doing, all the ripple, all your own ripple effects.


Chris Smith: Well, thank you. Yeah. No, it’s an honor to be here and, yeah, I guess the last thing I’d say is if you look for possibility, you’ll tap into it because it’s always there. Possibility never stops existing. And sadly, if you look for limitation, you’ll create it. So, it’s like don’t look for limitation. Like, just tap into the possibility that exists. And I just will say, again, to those of you listening, you deserve to work with someone who’s really going to show up like a leader for you. And if you’re already working with SHP, congratulations. You found something rare here. And if you’re not working with SHP, I would strongly encourage you at least go meet with them and just see, like, see what’s possible. So, thanks for having me on.


Derek Gregoire: Yeah. Thank you so much, Chris. Thanks for joining us on the SHP Retirement Roadmap podcast. And we’ll talk to you again very soon.

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