Lessons from my Neighbor

Happy November…the time change that I so loathe happened the other day & after 2 days of getting dark at 5PM, I’m already over it! 2019 has been a great year for me…am blessed to have lots of new referred clients that have been delightful to work with. My new financial planning world is extremely enjoyable with the new strategies, concepts, and workshops that we are implementing and optimizing for our clients & prospective clients. I haven’t written in a while, and while the country continues to be divided, conflicted, and opinionated, I decided to talk from the heart rather than the business.

I’m blessed beyond measure to have the next-door neighbor that I do. She has been a dear friend for the six years that I’ve lived in this house. She built her home in 1966 & has lived there ever since. We share a love of westies, and she has Sadie, who was a BFF for Charley while he was alive, and now Jeep, who I adopted in the Spring. I call her house “doggie daycare” as she has a fenced in area where they can play, run, chase squirrels, & just be outside.

She’s 90 now, still very active, and sharp as a tack. In her day, when there was a handful of banks, and they were Nashville based, she was a very influential woman…working with business owners and individuals throughout the area. When we talk, she doesn’t drop names like so many people I know…but she talks about them as friends. When I go to get Jeep in the afternoon, we usually wind up talking about politics, or watching the news together.

She doesn’t have a computer, nor does she want one…she reads the Tennessean cover to cover & I give her a subscription to the Nashville Business Journal so she can keep up with current events. Occasionally, she will ask me if I’m going to the pet store for something and I jump on my Amazon app & order it right there…she just shakes her head in disbelief & asks me how much she owes me.

The other day, she was going through a lot of her memorabilia, and found a list of 50 “isms” that she had either collected or created during her working years. There is humility and grace throughout. I thought I’d share a few of them with you…

  • If you want a successful career, forget money & titles, get your foot in the door and work smart.
  • You can have everything! Just not at once.
  • I do believe life is divided into two sections. The life we learn with and the life we live with afterwards.
  • Life a balanced life – share, play fair, lead, help and care deeply for your fellow man.
  • Proceed in your career as if there is no risk.
  • Education is less expensive than ignorance.
  • Seven essentials for success: personal integrity, courtesy, loyalty, humility, wisdom, sincerity, and her favorite, charity.

So, there’s 7 of 50. Several of these are specific to women, as in her prime, a successful businesswoman was oftentimes frowned upon…and she’s proven many wrong over the decades. She showed me a handwritten letter from the CEO of the bank from when she retired. It’s a cherished gift. He said two very important things to her, and that was that he loved her, and more importantly, he appreciated her.

I meet so many people that are so wrapped up in themselves. They continue to confuse cash flow with intelligence. A lot of people are making a lot of money in this raging bull market we call Nashville. The impression that they give me is that since they know a lot in their field that they know a lot in everything. Unless I specifically ask for professional reasons, I truly don’t care what your title is or how much money you make. It’s not impressive. I do care about your character and how you treat me, and of course others. Obviously, by putting this out there, I’m raising my bar pretty darn high. Talk is cheap, right?

I cannot remember who I can give credit to for this, but an acronym for the word “EGO” is Edging God Out. It’s a mantra in my life and way to keep me in check…just like the last “ism” in the list above. Maybe it’s my Dad in me, but there are times that I am working hard for a client and realize that the compensation earned wouldn’t pay for my lunch and occasionally there are times that I feel overpaid for the work I did…but that the efforts for the client are identical.

Hopefully there was an “ah-ha” in my diatribe that resonated with you…if so, let me know…it’s always good to hear from you…remember, the offer for a coffee has always been there. I wish you and your family a peaceful, joyous, and safe Thanksgiving.

Many thanks,


**Examples are intended for illustrative purposes only and may be not indicative of your situation. Individual results may vary.

Share This Blog Post With Your Friends!

Brian E. Carden, Insurance & Financial Advisor
Phone: 615.506.0300
Email: brian@briancarden.com

Securities and Advisory services offered through Madison Avenue Securities, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment advisor. Past market performance is not indicative of future performance or success. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.