What My 10 Year Old’s Soccer Team Taught Me about Planning

Published by Paul West | @PaulWestCoach

I’ve been a working financial professional for 19 years. I’ve traveled a good amount of that time all across the U.S.; I’ve never freed up my schedule to commit to be a coach for my kid’s activities. This year was different. I agreed to help coach my 10-year-old son’s soccer team.

While I know I was supposed to teach them about the game, they too taught me about life.

Like financial planning, your game plan always needs adjustments. Here is what I learned:

1   The kid’s soccer knowledge increased dramatically from game one to game 12. This is not dissimilar to our investment knowledge improving over time.

2   The combination of kids on the field made a huge difference. Our best unit was NOT the best players on field at same time. It was the combination of the players who played best TOGETHER. Just like our own personal finances, we need all of different pieces of our financial puzzle to fit and work together.

3   The best kids knew how to play the game. I didn’t need to teach them skill. I did have to help them with strategy and most importantly, realizing that they can’t do it on their own. There’s no “I” in Team.

4   They have short-term memories… While frustrating to a coach, I stepped back and turned this into a positive. The boys equally forgot both the positive and constructive feedback. They also didn’t dwell for long on the constructive coaching. The kids didn’t re-hash old games, old mistakes or when coach told them they needed to make a change. They learned from them and moved on.

This last point really made me think about how I work with people and their financial plans. We as planners provide guidance on the future. However, some people can’t help themselves from constantly thinking about the past. We can’t change the past. We can only change the future. You’ve all heard the line: Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Thanks Revolution (our soccer team name) for giving me reassurance that behavior and attitude leads to success. Learning, refining and sticking to our plan led to a winning team. Looking forward to the Fall Season!


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