January 11, 2014

What is Luck?

For Colts fans gearing up for the big game today, you probably think I'm referring to Andrew Luck!  And while I type this with my #12 jersey on, that's not what's on my mind.  In fact, the rest of this post will have nothing to do with sports, running, biking, or swimming (I know, right?)

Seneca once said, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity".  I couldn't agree more. 

I've said for years, "I'm one of the lucky ones".  But as luck would have it, I spend more time stressing over things that are out of my control than I do counting my blessings for the things I'm lucky enough to have.

So how lucky am I?  Well, have you seen my wife?!!  But aside from that, I've never won the lottery.  Oprah never gave me a car.  I never spun the big wheel or placed a bid in the showcase showdown.  F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "Nothing is as obnoxious as other people's luck".  I don't fully agree with that given that I've never survived a near death experience or escaped a burning building in the nick of time.  Those that have had that kind of luck need to look to a higher power instead of counting their lucky stars.

Perhaps my luck is what some would call "dumb luck", and I choose to believe as Douglas MacArthur said, "The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself".

So I share all of that to reveal this.

For the last 6 months I've been in ongoing talks with leaders in my firm to "go home".  Literally, I was born and raised in Connersville, Indiana.  An Edward Jones office has been in that town for my entire life, and this year, the long time financial advisor in that office will retire.  The office itself has played host to a legend in our firm, our own Managing Partner, James Weddle.  Jim was my grandfather's advisor and when he left, the current advisor came in and has been there nearly 30 years since!  I'm flattered to have this opportunity!

It's been over 20 years since I've lived in Connersville and it's not the same community it once was.  A declining manufacturing town with high unemployment and low socioeconomic undertones.  Yet, I'm proud.  Proud to be from Connersville, and proud to be a Spartan.  So when the opportunity came along to follow in the footsteps of many great advisors, I was more than tempted, I was ready to go!

Molly and I began our debate of pros and cons and she quickly informed me that she had no interest in living in Connersville, and I agreed.  The only way I could do this would be to commute...65 minutes one way...every day!  Ugh!  But for the right opportunity I would still consider it. 

Molly and I have lived here in Yorktown for 11 years now.  We are both deeply rooted in this community.  It is quickly becoming what we may forever call "home".   Ever had that conversation with your spouse about "when we die, where will be buried?"  yeah, me either, but when we do, I've got to believe that it could very well be right here in Yorktown.   I was a Spartan.  She was a Golden Bear.  3 children in 3 different school buildings, all on their way to graduating as Tigers.  How do we pick them up and walk away?  Away from our friends, their friends, and this community?

At the end of the day, every one has a price and, after 6 months of negotiations, I've decided my price is pretty high.  If they want me to move and take responsibility for this branch, I need a significant step up from my current situation.  I have an amazing job.  2.4 miles from my front door.  I can come and go as I please.  I can help my wife with unexpected mid day problems because I'm right here.  I can attend my children's school functions during the school day and after school.  I can take the day off and play golf or I can burn the midnight oil working late...and get compensated for the extra work I put in.  It's not an amazing job...it's an amazing CAREER!  And you can't put a price on the freedoms that come with the position. 

Those freedoms didn't come easy.  I worked hard to get to this point in my career.  What I've built here in the last 12 years is not something I'm willing to walk away from easily.  It goes far beyond money.  It runs much deeper.  The relationships that I've built with clients.  The trust that they've put in me to help them.  I've watched clients move from a stage of loyalty to a point of dependency when they look to me for advice.  That's an amazing feeling.  A huge responsibility, and not one that I take lightly.  It didn't happen by accident, and it certainly wasn't luck.  It was hard work.  Dedication.  Discipline. Commitment. 

So at the end of the day, yesterday, I've made the decision to officially remove my name from consideration for the branch office in Connersville.  I've made the decision to stay in Yorktown.  Indefinitely.  This is where I belong.  And I'm thankful to have gone through this decision making process to realize that I'm right where I'm supposed to be.  Doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. 

Garrison Keillor said "Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which, once you have got it, you may be smart enough to see it's what you would have wanted had you known."

Yep, I'm still one of the lucky ones!

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