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Friday, Sep 22, 2023

The Secret to Building a Fulfilling Career

Iregularly meet and mentor women throughout the country and have found the following two questions to be the best to produce an “aha” moment:
• How do you want to impact the world around you?
• What is stopping you from doing the best work of your life?

What is profound about these questions is that they are rarely asked. When we start our working life, we are usually looking for a “job that pays” and not a career that allows us to make an impact. The unfortunate part about this is that having a “job” is generally… boring. You clock in to spend your days focusing on repetitive work and controlling email mania, just so you can clock out and start your “real” life. A job may pay the bills but you are spending the majority of your waking hours executing someone else’s dreams. In contrast, if you ask yourself the two “aha” questions, you might be surprised by the answer. I asked myself these questions a decade ago, and my life transformed.

In 2013, I was newly married and finding my way. My jobs included working at a coffee shop as a barista, teaching Pilates classes at a local studio, and moonlighting as a wedding planner. My life was half survival and half chaos with no clear direction in sight. I found myself constantly stressed to make ends meet and kept adding jobs to the list to make every penny count. The concept of a “career” wasn’t even on my radar, but I knew something was missing. I was terribly unfulfilled and intellectually dying.

I’ve always been naturally curious and looked for ways to make my jobs more exciting, but just couldn’t find “it” through coffee, Pilates, or weddings. I started to feel like I was wasting my time but couldn’t figure out a way to change my stars. However, I did have a strong desire to work hard and create impactful experiences for my customers. Early in childhood, my father taught me that to truly be excellent in life, you had to practice until you were excellent. I took that into every job I held with the belief that someone, someday, would notice and an opportunity would arise.

I met Meghan Pinchuk in 2012. She was a standout client at the Pilates studio and came to class every Thursday at 7pm after a long day at work. She worked incredibly hard and took every challenge I threw her way. We had fun joking and sweating together, and I admired her dedication to fitness even though it was obvious that she had to squeeze it in. After working out together for over a year, she approached me after class and made the “ask” I didn’t know I had been waiting for. She said, “I love your classes. Do you want to join my firm and start a career in wealth management?” I politely said, “No, thank you,” but she persisted. She saw in me what I couldn’t see in myself.

In early 2014, I started my career at Mor-ton Wealth and left my “jobs” behind me. When Meghan recruited me, she explained that wealth management was much more than data and investment selection. She made me realize that the work we do can transform lives, families, companies, and communities.

I could see the opportunity to grow a career where learning is endless, and impact is unlimited. So I took the unglamorous position of filling out paperwork — not because the work was fulfilling, but because I could see the potential to change not only my stars but also the stars of others.

By 2017, I had completed my education and become a certified financial planner with every intention of helping people in my community make financial decisions that gave them a more fulfilled life. That was (and still is) my mission, but at the time, I was offered a new opportunity to make more of an indirect impact. During my initial years at Morton, I tried to create impact in small ways by developing training programs, updating marketing strategies, and mentoring new hires. I figured out a way to add value where I could, and that effort paid off in a short 3 1⁄2 years when I was offered the chief operating officer role. Since 2017, I have helped build a company that serves over 1,100 clients through financial education, life coaching, planning, and investment management.

Early on in my career, I realized how fortunate I was to have landed in this industry. One of the tragedies of our education system is that we send young adults out into the world to make financial decisions without any education or training. Almost everything we do has financial impacts, but we are not taught how to set goals or strategize to maximize our potential. I want to change this. I want more people – irrespective of their net worth – to have access to advice that is unique to them, aligns with their values, and results in them having a more fulfilling life. This mission drives my every decision and has not only resulted in a fulfilling career but one where I get to make a positive impact every day.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done to get myself to the place I am today but I know there is so much more to do. I’m constantly asking myself the two “aha” questions to both keep my eye on the “impact prize” and remove the distractions that are holding me back from doing the best work of my life. The questions and their corresponding answers are not finite; they are ever-changing and evolving, with the objective of creating a fulfilling career where you can impact the world around you.

Stacey McKinnon is chief operating officer and chief marketing officer at Morton Wealth. Learn more at mortonwealth.com.

To read more about McKinnon’s career journey, check out her recent whitepaper, here:
issuu.com/mortonwealth/docs/your_career_is_up_ to_you

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