Happy day to you. This is Ken Kaufman, and I am thrilled you’re here for episode number 76, “Curiosity and Courage.” Now, what do these two things have to do together and what is the subject of today’s podcast episode? I am actually, for my organization, at a two-day retreat where we are meeting with a lot of the leaders in our organization and getting aligned and presenting some things and setting out a vision and a plan here for the next year. And in going through this process, there’s a gentleman named Clint Bruce who came.
He is a very respected speaker, Navy Seal, former NFL player, and has had a lot of really amazing and great experiences. And one of the things that he said today really stood out to me. He talked about how curiosity is one of the great attributes of being an amazing leader or being what I’d call elite. So he actually started out by saying, “Look, there’s five potential outcomes. Either the outcome is bad, it’s average, it’s good, it’s excellent, or it’s elite.” And he differentiated excellence from elite by saying the elite are the ones who deliver excellence but then are never done.
They’re always looking to the next summit to climb, to the next challenge. He even said once they accomplished something with excellence, that after a very short period of time, they start getting uneasy, uncomfortable, anxious, looking for that next challenge and that next thing. And so in talking about elite leadership, he said one of the key attributes is being intellectually curious with courage. And this is how he defined this curiosity and courage, which really resonated with me. He talked about how we have to be willing to show that we don’t know something, and so we’re willing to ask. And so that feels scary.
We’re putting ourselves out there. We’re being vulnerable. We’re afraid to ask questions usually for two reasons, either, you know, we’re afraid to show that we don’t know, or the second one is you’re actually afraid of what the answer might be and that perhaps it could cause a lot of work, or pain, or struggle, or it’s information and news that you didn’t wanna hear, you know, that was bad or negative in some way. So being curious requires a great degree of courage. And when you engage in this process of being curious and asking questions, acknowledging that you don’t know, that it’s just the sign and attribute of somebody who is going to be preparing themselves and driving themselves to try to perform at a very elite level.
And he even mentioned this in the context of elites are curious and they want to find out so that they don’t have to be found out, meaning found out that they don’t know. They are just hungry for this information and hungry to figure it out and always humble enough and willing enough and courageous enough to step in to that unknown. And he even described how, when evaluating others on your team, when evaluating yourself, and I’m gonna take this over to our financial plans and our investment strategies, when evaluating those things, we need to have the courage to ask the questions.
And so my question for you today, and the thing that I really want you to think about and ponder is, what are the questions you have when it comes to money and finances? And I don’t want you to hide behind, you know, either the past because you feel bad about it or in some way you’ve felt shamed for something, you know, in the past that’s gone wrong or hasn’t worked out well. Hopefully, I’ve shown you I’m willing to tell you what all my mistakes have been. I’ve definitely been open and transparent about that. But hopefully, you’ll take a minute, stop, and ask yourself, like, what is it that you don’t know that you need to know or you want to know?
Be intentful, be purposeful in determining what is your…or what are the questions that you have that you would like to be answered and start to put them out there in the universe and ask them. Have the courage to step forward and ask them. Maybe it’s about life insurance. Maybe it’s about how you can’t seem to make it through the month without running out of money, or you don’t know how to budget, or you’re not comfortable with how to invest your money at your company’s 401K plan. In all of these scenarios, there are people around you you can ask. You can ask your HR department or if you have friends who are in finance.
And, again, I’m not saying…you’ve got to figure out who the right people are to go get advice from. And there are some that are fiduciaries and like there’s legal responsibilities around that, but just asking lots of people questions is very helpful to start to get information. And when you get information, all of a sudden, you start to create things. Curiosity is a catalyst for growth. It’s a catalyst for not being stagnant and staying where you’re at. And the more information we have, the more empowered we are. Remember that definition of elite, the difference between excellence and elite is the elite are the ones who deliver something or accomplish something with excellence, but then they’re not done.
It’s true with our finances. We’re never done. There’s always things we should be thinking about, or planning for, or tweaking, or changing, or getting a broader perspective so that we can think more clearly about how we should be planning comprehensively and holistically and thinking about how we’re going to be invested in the market and manage those investments, you know, with the perspective of your risk tolerance and taxes. I mean, there so many things that go with it. So there’s so many opportunities here around finances. But in our culture today, this is taboo.
Talking about finances, talking about financial troubles, talking about those things are painful. I’ve tried to be transparent here on this podcast and tell you some of the places where I’ve made mistakes, where my wife and I have made huge missteps, where we’ve literally lost $100,000 on a real estate transaction. And I want to do that to try to help you avoid some of those mistakes and to show you that it’s okay to ask questions and be curious and have courage to ask your curiosity questions because it’s gonna empower you to avoid making the mistakes that you could potentially walk into, not knowing because you weren’t willing to ask the questions.
So our efforts to strive to have an elite financial strategy and plan and elite tasks that we need to accomplish to ultimately go the direction we wanna go. This is what curiosity and courage have to do with each other. It takes a ton of courage to be curious and to execute on asking questions and being thoughtful and really digging deep. So my one ask is sit down and write down, what are a few questions you have right now about your financial plan, about your investment that you’re not sure the answer to, but it would be really helpful if you knew? And, ask some people. You know, you can send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I try to answer them. Others around you, friends, family, feel free to be open. And, you know, let’s make this money concept a topic, not as taboo, and let’s look at how we can all help each other in the process.
Well, there it is. That is curiosity and courage. Thanks to the motivation I got from Clint Bruce today. Feel free to go check his website out, I think it’s just clintbruce.com. Really cool guy, did an amazing presentation, brought in the family. And anyways, a lot of elements that were just really great takeaways from what he said. And, again, yeah, curiosity and courage, and when combined together can help you achieve an elite status in your financial plan and really in everything else in your life. Well, that’s it. That’s a wrap for episode 76. Happy day.