Monthly Archives: September 2013

Nurture the Spark in People Around You

Friday, September 6, 2013

As I watched Brendan perform in his last Northwestern University Titanic improv show, I had so many feelings and emotions. Was it really four years ago when Nancy and I left Brendan at Northwestern  to start a new chapter in his life? Could it be ten years ago when Brendan was in seventh grade that we drove him to Chicago for Saturday improv classes at Second City in Chicago?  We can take credit for seeing the spark and finding the kindling, but Brendan worked the fire like an Eagle Scout. We were just one source of oxygen or kindling that helped his performing spark turn to a burning desire. His respect now for how hard it can be to achieve success is a result of the path he chose to take over the past ten years.


I read in the book Freakenomics that you need to work at something for 10,000 hours before it becomes second nature. Brendan and his Puma Mama teammates had definitely invested the 10,000 hours plus over the past four years to make last Friday night the best performance we’ve seen for this team.  It looks so natural and easy, yet having watched Brendan learn his craft over the past ten years, I know that’s not the case. I’m excited to watch the next chapter of his story as he begins another 10,000 hour track in Los Angeles with a few of his Titanic teammates.


Reflecting on Brendan’s passion and hard work, I think about the clients I’ve worked with as they move from one chapter to another in their lives.  I work with clients as they get married, start careers and families, save for their children’s college, plan for and maintain financial independence and then ultimately pass their wealth to their families and favorite charities.  I help clients as they start, grow and transform their businesses, and I help them pass the business to family and key employees when they are ready to retire.   As they enter each stage of life, closing one chapter and starting a new on, the tools and techniques used to help them achieve their goals change, just as the world, laws, and markets change around us.  I give clients the tools that help spark their unique passions and goals, but ultimately it is the clients’ perseverance and hard work that makes them successful.


When planning for the transfer of wealth to the next generation, often the biggest fear is how children and grandchildren will respond to receiving wealth.  Do they appreciate how much effort went into creating wealth and will they respect it?  Will the inheritance they receive be used to improve their lives or will it hurt them?  The key to successful generational wealth preservation is establishing processes aimed at discovering the unique spark in each member of the family and then making plans to have the wealth be the kindling needed to light that spark.


Keep your eyes open to discovering the spark in the people around you.  Doing so will help them catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish they are after.  More importantly, they will have control over how they catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans they fish in.


Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We strive to deliver transparent, proactive, independent, and comprehensive planning and communications to the families we work for”.


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