Dear Advisor Partners,

It’s hard to believe we are only three months away from the end of the year, and what a year it has been. We have all been so busy and this recovery coming through like an avalanche, it’s hard to even get a few minutes to think. However, I remember a phrase I heard at a recent conference – “Don’t forget to look back every once in a while.” Those words have clarity that is only understood if you go through what our industry went through the past two years.  In fact what triggered all of this was curriculum night at my son’s high school where I met his World History teacher. I had a deep conversation with his teacher, Mr. Ferro, about our family origins in Uganda, Sudan and Kenya. It was by coincidence that he was covering this very topic in his class and asked me to schedule a time to come in and speak to the class.

As I left that night, I began to reflect. I thought about the adventure my life has been and the adventure my parents and my wife’s parents have had, both worthy of being written in a book. I then wondered where the last two years fits in the grand scheme of world history. Will the pandemic be a chapter in world history lectures, or will it be a unit in bio-chemistry, or human geography, or will it be the period in history that rewrites all economic books and delivers new mathematical theories to track leading indicators and GDP? The answer is all of the above. No period since the last world war, has impacted the entire globe the way Covid did, and no history book gave anyone a playbook on how to get past this. We had to invent it. We had to sacrifice, persevere, endure, be patient and have faith that this would pass, believing that this was part of a journey and not a finality. Then it dawned on me, like a shot of adrenalin, the story is not the pandemic, it’s us, collectively.

We know our medical professionals and scientists were at the front line, however, so were we, and we did it without the media shining a sympathetic spotlight on us. Those of you independent contractors we proudly include as advisor partners, you are all small business owners. Think back, sitting in your remote office, having painful conversations and overcoming seemingly impossible odds to make things right for your clients. I spoke personally to many of you during those days. We worried together, we were frightened together, we made plans together, and we overcame together. No matter what happens from here on out, nobody can take that away from any of us. This is your story, this is my story, this is our journey.

This brings me to my friend and mentor, Jay Golden, author or the book Retellable. Jay and I bonded at a Virtuoso Sustainability Council meeting before the pandemic. We then became very close in 2020 and remain close today, working together on his model called The Journey Curve, and the legend that is our life. Key moments that define who you have become, a living legend with new moments added regularly to shape who you will be. Well, Jay and I workshopped and started sharing stories that were conjured by the effects of the pandemic.. Now there is a new story, and it’s one all of us can tell in our own way – how we came out of the pandemic stronger than we were before.

While I realize not all of us are public speakers, those of you that know me, know that I love speaking in public. Some of you have even heard me speak on matters ranging from sustainability to family travel. I share with you, a great passage from Jay on his LinkedIn Page about a term he calls “glossophobia,” the fear of public speaking. I felt important to share this as all of you are on a stage. The world sees your value like never before, and they recognize your stage. Now you have to recognize it too. Every conversation you have with a client is your stage, every conversation you have with your suppliers like Big Five, is our collective stage. Use Jay’s points and I suggest reading his book. You survived these last years, now live the rest.

We love story telling and you and your clients are a large part of our story and my personal story. Perhaps this is why our mission statement is quite simple – “We don’t tell stories better, we tell better stories.®”

Please enjoy this week’s video, courtesy of Jay.

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