I caught up with Craig Harper and Melissa Cameron of The You Project podcast for a raw and vulnerable discussion about the importance of self-awareness and emotional control. It went pretty deep. We tackled some big topics including my personal relationship with wealth, my evolution as a business leader and my vision for the future of Finder.
Here are some highlights from our chat.
My relationship with money
In 2019, I made it onto the Australian Financial Review’s Young Rich List for the first time. You’d think this would be something to celebrate, but I was not ready for it and I don’t think I dealt with it well.
On the rational side, my relationship with money has always been a healthy one. I like to describe myself as a “quarantine saver”. Whenever I receive a paycheck, I quarantine part of it, and dedicate that money towards investment or savings. The rest is for whatever. Some people are great budgeters, but that’s not me. I just make some of my money off-limits.
On the emotional side, my relationship with money has been a lot more complicated. Just because someone looks happy from the outside doesn’t mean they feel that way inside. Money and wealth are tough subjects, and I have done a lot of work with my emotional coach to get myself to a space where I can process them personally.
When I started out I was emotionally bankrupt. I’d put myself at the level of an extremely obese person at the gym just begininning their training. That was me in the emotional gym six years ago. Now I’m at 65% good.
For me, the main challenge has been coming to terms with the idea that I am good enough, that I am deserving of success. For so long, I had been followed by a feeling that I should be doing more, that I was not worthy of achievement. I was so harsh on myself. Over time I started listening to how I talked to myself. I thought to myself, I wouldn’t want to hang out with that guy, I wouldn’t talk to my daughters like that. Once I had recognised that this internal dialogue was harmful, I committed to positively reshaping the conversation going on in my head.
Now when I sense and feel something, I can react to that. I can go, “Hey I’m feeling this, that’s a strong emotion.” And I can say, “Ok why is that?” Then I can go and unpack and address it. I didn’t have the tools to do that before. I was unconsciously incompetent.
Craig spoke about his PhD research, regarding “external self awareness”. To be externally self aware, is to have an idea what it’s like being around you. I see this as another layer on top of understanding who you are, stacking that and understanding how you affect other people. The next level beyond this is to imagine you are having a conversation with someone and think about the things that you might need to address or reframe in your mind before you start talking.
Craig also shared a quote from the French-Cuban-American essayist Anias Nin who once said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” His takeaway from this was that although we can never be fully objective, this doesn’t mean we cannot strive to understand things from the perspective of others.
I really like this quote. It made me think about an important dimension of leadership: managing not only what is said but how it is received.
As a business leader, I constantly ask myself: what do I need to learn about myself in order to be the best leader that can serve where this company needs to go and what it requires? I’m always listening for queues. This gives you a lens of your external self.
No pocket money
I have two young daughters, aged 7 and 10, and I take a different approach to most parents when teaching them about the value of money. My kids can have as much or as little money as they want, they just need to justify it. I want my girls to know that anything is possible, but to get anything you have to deal with problems and one of them is me.
When we were in New York last year, we visited the Lego store and they asked if they could buy some. I told them sure, but I needed them to give me 10 reasons why they needed it. The next morning, my girls came downstairs with a powerpoint presentation complete with diagrams and illustrations. After that, they got their lego!
I know I can’t teach my kids everything, but I want to bring them up to think independently. I believe that the child is the arrow and the parent is the archer. You don’t get the arrow back so you want to make sure you send it in the right direction.
The Future of Finder
I believe the tectonic plates of finance are moving. Customer expectations, the services we use to access our money and to pay for things are changing. Finder was previously more of a marketing company, getting out there to educate people and help them to make great decisions. Now we want to be a technology company, a fintech.
I want to change and bring the experience of using our finances and investing and spending and saving all into one application that makes it easy to do. I think this is where the world is going. This is why we have developed the Finder App, which is our comparison masterpiece shaped by more than 14 years of data and expertise.
I want Finder to become so deeply ingrained in people’s everyday lives that the original innovation is forgotten. “How did you get that?”, “I used my Finder”. Ten years ago you would have looked like an idiot if you tried to pay for your groceries with your phone. Now that’s everyday life. We want comparison to become just as natural and just as easy.
To listen to this podcast, check it out here 🎧