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…on the wall. And she knows I’m a vegetarian!
Mentor meetings are most productive when they increase your professional and personal focus, not increase your anxiety and crazy. If you find it hard to open up when Fifi’s stuffed head grins at you from across the room, it might be a good idea to look into finding a mentor who is not into taxidermy. Keep in mind why you sought a mentor.
Was it because of what Alan Greenspan said? The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake.
…your therapist, financial planner, mentor, spiritual advisor, or life coach:
- Insists on playing country rap music for your background sound in your intake session.
- Exhibits caricature sketches of you in the waiting room.
- Has a photo album in the waiting room table of his successful teeth extractions.
Skidoo as fast as you can.
As a rule of thumb, a professional’s office decor includes nature scenes and flying birds. Sea gull themes are popular, too.
Teddy bears and bonsai trees are good also.
Conversely, prominent displays of switchblades, or coffee table books such as Plastic Surgery Blunders: The Photo Review, or shrines to the professional’s mother (no matter how small the shrine) are not recommended and should be viewed skeptically.
Use the following information to your advantage. Just as you may not want to talk to your plate-collecting neighbor about same-sex unions, or your favorite Public Television episodes on stem cell research, you’ll want to limit your intimate disclosures to the therapist who displays her collection of antique toothbrushes, or notebooks with lists by her other clients of their greatest fears.
Office décor tells a lot about a person much in the same way home décor says a lot about a family. Between Martha Stewart and Home Depot, there’s no excuse for the average bloke to go without making a major décor statement these days. Besides no money. Or bad taste.
Just as you want to limit your exposure to that neighbor who displays the complete Ann Coulter or Tim O’Reilly decorative plate collection, accompanied by the matching towel set, you’ll also want to pay attention to the décor in any of your professional advisors’ offices.
The above-mentioned, by the way, clearly do not live by the Dalai Lama’s words: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
Listen, you are not in some hip downtown club, the cocktails are not fifteen dollars and you are not waiting at the end of the bar for some guy to buy you a drink. You’re at your therapist’s office. It’s fine for him to charge an exorbitant hourly rate, provided that he provides quality service. That service should include high returns on the dollar, though, and maybe some nature sound therapy, perhaps some green tea or coffee, and yes, a place to put your coat. For free.
Look for any of the signs offered throughout this blog, and if you get a glimpse of even one of these quirks in any one of your advisors or gurus, all you have to do is pull out your notes and use this as your personal reference guide to double-check your instincts, as you ask yourself: is it time to pull the plug, or not? Time to ace out your therapist, life coach, or financial advisor.
Keep in mind, most helping professionals:
- Are wonderful, god-fearing human beings.
- Consider the ozone layer their friend.
- Would give you the leather couch and matching ottoman off their back.
Are you wondering if you even need this blog and its almighty ultimate wisdom, tips, and info?
Just ask yourself the following questions:
1. Have you ever consulted a helping professional?
2. Has anyone ever suggested or threatened to send you to a therapist?
3. Are you currently in therapy, or seeking the advise of a spiritual advisor, mentor or life coach, or considering seeking help from any one of them?
4. Are you looking for a new financial planner?
5. Are you anticipating that someone will institutionalize you sometime soon?
6. Are you hoping that someone will institutionalize you soon?
7. Are you an actual real life therapist, mentor, financial planner, spiritual advisor, or life coach?
8. Do you need subway or airplane reading material?
9. Are you a direct descendant of any famous guru or popular helping professional? (Think Oprah, Dr. Phil, Suze Orman, the Pope, Sigmund Freud, for example, or Bette Midler even. Humor helps, right?)
Pick a guru for the day: Dr. Phil aka Dr. Fix-It
Suze Orman, with out without money. Yeah, right. without $$?
If you answered, “Yes” or “Well, kinda maybe” to any of those questions, this is for you! You’re gonna learn when and how to skedoo and skedaddle from your helping professional. Let freedoom ring.
The sum of all those digits we pay our helping professionals, our therapists, life coaches, and financial advisors is a huge conglomerate according to The American Psychological Association, who recently released a report showing that the Number One cause of anxiety for Americans today is money fears. Just anxiety? But that survey was in June 2008. Stress over rising gas, food, and energy prices feels like nothing. Today, with the myth of net worth and prestigious careers at risk, and job security a fairy tale of the past, the climate is one of heightened uncertainty and outright fear. What about devastation, even suicide? Now consumers are watching hard-earned savings shrink and disappear as long-term careers dump and self-worth dives into the ditch. Oh girl we really do need help.
For most, money and mental health are taboo topics, just as, for some generations, talk of sex was off limits. Even in the best of times, some hide their hearts when it comes to portfolios, sexual preferences, and sanity. Now at the heart of everything sits the new world in the face of the new economy. Long gone are the words of Milton Friedman: The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.
Sorry, Milton, classical economics and efficient markets do not dominate now. It’s all flawed. (Even I knew something was fishy about that when I got my degree in Economics.)
Today, unlike the tribal healer, helping professionals conduct their business behind closed doors, promising not to tell anyone what’s going on. What do consumers get out of this? A vague sense of comfort that some describe as downright eerie.
Not only that, we have to pay for this by the hour with triple digits. Who has that? Who even has a single digit bill?
If you do, send some to those that don’t.