EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

One of the most endearing qualities of us financial folks is that we almost always have a firm opinion about everything. And, if we don’t have an opinion about something, we figure we can reason one out. (Hey, just take the facts and multiply by two!)

It is sort of part and parcel of who we are. Nothing wrong with it, per se, but it does get in the way of getting advice from others, which is an essential part of the networking process.

Believe it or not, APPEARING to be open to new ideas is a lot harder than it sounds. (Or, I’m not as stupid as I look.)

For example, members will often announce at meetings that they won’t move to another part of the country as part of their 90-second pitch. I hold up my hand and say: “Okay, I have a job that pays a $1,000,000 base salary in Tampa. Will you move there?” Well, of course they will. (Did I mention that there are no measureable responsibilities for your 50% bonus and a company car?)

So, perhaps this closely held belief in what is true and certain about you isn’t so true after all. And, perhaps there are other things about your career, past, present and future, that aren’t true either.

One of the normal conditions of a job search is the need to change industries or to build on only one aspect of our long and sterling career. So, off we go on our networking way, only to “cop an attitude” when presented with ideas and suggestions.

Brainstorming sessions, so common in marketing and advertising, are not so well respected in financial circles. No, we come to our ideas and perceptions about how the world works through cold hard analytical thinking.

Funny thing is that in my recent life, I have more often than not learned to let others play out their ideas and watched from the sidelines to see if they worked. And I have learned to ask for suggestions and restrain all negative expression from my face as I listen to ideas that I just know won’t be any better than what I have already figured out. Only, funny thing, it doesn’t usually work out that way.

More often than not, I hear new perspectives on old situations and find myself saying “I wish I had thought of that.” I don’t know, perhaps it is old age and I am not as bright as I used to be, or, could it be that I have just learned to ask good questions and to be smart enough to wait for the answers?

It has been said that we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak. Pretty sage advice, don’t you think?

If you are seeking out others for their advice, and this is why we network, then have the common sense to hear people out. Let them play out their thinking, and pretend to take notes.

Who knows, you just might learn something that will change your whole life.

Regards, Matt

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