I was listening to a presentation on cashflow given to a group of colleagues recently that was being done by a mentor of mine. Cashflow, for those of you who don’t speak finance, is what the money world calls the intricate dance of money coming in and out of our lives.

What I love about how my mentor speaks about this dance is that she grounds herself in a values based approach – first having a long conversation about what’s important and then building a structure on top of that. I know to many of you that sounds pretty obvious, but it’s actually revolutionary in the world of finance.

After she spoke, a colleague asked her about whether there was a danger in having a client ‘dream too big’. What if you guided them through exercises and had them set money goals and values but they found that they couldn’t achieve them… wouldn’t that be irresponsible?

Again, it seems like the job of the financial professional is to tell you what is responsible. To tell you how you can fit the scope of your dreams into the realities of the present.

And that’s a belief that is nestled up next to the truth.

There are limited resources in this world. Limited time, energy and money. You can’t have all the things right now, none of us can.

But what frustrates me about this thought process is the overvaluing of the current numbers and the discounting of the value of good technique. Sure, it is helpful for a coach to come in and tell a singer “you can’t pull off that aria right now, you can’t handle it just yet and it needs to wait a few years”, but if they stop there… that value, the thing that excites them and inspires them to practice and work at their craft, is pretty short lived. What may be more helpful, especially for those at the beginning of building a financial craft, is to capture the excitement for the work and use that to build a technique. Even if the goals are somewhat lofty.

Any goal that lights a spark in someone and makes them interested to try to use the tool of money to accomplish it is a good goal, no matter how impossible it might seem right now.

The goal is not the thing, the technique is the thing. That is what makes us flexible in the face of an ever changing world.