When my muse was no more
When you think back over your life, there are people, places and things that have left an impact on who you are. The person you were prior to experiencing them or that situation isn't quite the same afterward.
For me, one of these moments took place in August of 2015. I finally had the opportunity to visit a place I had coveted for months, the Society of Grownups (SOG) in Boston. Its core messaging resonated with me on many levels. It stood for community, comedy and irreverence all the while being a space helping people identify financial needs and solutions to make today and tomorrow more tactical and relatable.
For all I had built it up in my head through research, it did not disappoint. The playful statement outside, the welcoming coffee shop environment inside and the array of classes which touched topics that felt relevant and were delivered in a peer-learning fashion.
It was divergent from the typical financial planning method, which is often a person in a suit selling you products rather than giving you insights on how to approach and tackle a situation. These conversations tend to revolve around about distant times in the future, are about seemingly impossible sums of money, all-the-while we're still trying to manage our day-to-day effectively. I understand when a financial advisor tells me, "planning for the future is important." But I don't feel I am heard when I say, "planning for the future feels less urgent when I'm still trying to be a competent adult today."
While discussing my visit with my friend Kaori, she exclaimed, "yes!" and then summarized this better than I'd ever heard, "Who is in charge of telling me, 'you can't afford that?'"
My experience at SOG was impactful enough that it helped me build the consensus to launch a program inspired by it called, "Show Me Adulting", where the focus is, "helping you live for today and plan for tomorrow." This muse inspired me to try something on my own. I evangelized it regularly.
But a couple weeks back when I needed some inspiration, I pulled up their website to investigate something and found this....
And just like that, it dawned on me the place I idolized had pivoted. Their reasons make sense in a way. To reach scale they needed a model different than a coffee shop. They decided to focus their efforts online. But its hard to deny the beauty and value provided by an intimate in-person environment. As a business, the metric they were called to address is, "number of people impacted" rather than "scale of impact on each person". When there is a bottom line, profits often win. But by moving away from a classroom environment, something has been lost. I felt pretty lost for an hour or two after I saw this.
We all know that things don't last forever. Its just more unsettling when you think you're on to something that is above those rules. It certainly makes me want to try harder with my own initiative to get it right this time. But only time will tell where it takes me.
Go Forth Boldly