Some people seem to know what they want from an early age. Others take a less direct path.
What did I want to be when I grew up? The question hardly ever hit my radar. Not as a kid. Not as a college student. Not as an early job seeker. Just never.
I’m simply not wired that way. In place of “future thought” though, I’ve had a fascination for understanding the world as it was presenting itself to me in the moment. We’re not talking about intelligence here. More like engagement. I always felt like my wiring was a bit different. That caused difficulties, yet was a gift as well.
So, how did I get to here if I didn’t plan it? Ironically, by way of a seemingly random walk through life that when looked back upon has prepared me as perfectly for this role as any plan could have.
My personal struggles and difficulties have taught me deeper truths than my easy successes. Sometime around high school age, I developed a somewhat obsessive curiosity for why people were the way they were. Some seemed to glide through life so easily. Others struggled. Most were basically good, a few not. Some were friendly and kind. Others, not so much. Some were giving, some greedy. Some brave, others paralized by their fears. Some broken, some defiant. Some driven and focused, others floating down some slow moving river.
I don’t know how exactly but I came to the belief that only one thing really mattered in a life well lived. One thing always worked. And when violated, that one thing caused internal damage. Stuff was important. We all like to have stuff. Money was necessary to get stuff. So that seemed important too. Then there’s all the daily life factors. Getting educated. Getting a job. Developing a career. Getting married, having kids. And all that’s important, but none of it is worth one dime if we aren’t at peace with ourselves. In my world, one thing and only one thing is at the foundation of that internal peace. Kindness.
Philosophy? Yes, I’m not a believer in true altruism. But when helping becomes the reward, life aligns. When we allow base instincts to become our primary driving force our soul wilts. To damage another, is to damage ourselves. To be clear, I’m not talking about any religious concept, but rather discussing a product of our evolutionary wiring.
Built on the back of that philosophical foundation, I’ve tried my hand at a number of business endeavors, all aligned with Real Estate and finance in one way or another. Real Estate brokerage, direct lending, property management & renovation, long and short term investment. Decades long experience supplemented with almost constant attendance in courses designed to “sharpen the saw” has prepared me for this role.
In the early days, I held things together through sheer force of will. But there were the inevitable failures. As I stated earlier, the failures have taught me more. There were successes in there too. Those may not have provided deeper lessons but certainly, the validation and funds they provided helped with the necessary confidence factors.
It is a combination of practical business experience and a philosophy of kindness that drives me. Of course, as CEO, it’s my job to make sure we attain sufficient revenue to keep the lights on and pay people well. But, it’s the alluring vision and attainable prospect of disseminating financial knowledge and tools, that can make real and positive substantive change in the lives thousands of people at a price point that nearly everyone can easily afford, through an online financial platform, that gets me up in the morning.
Richard Webster is the author of this article and is the CEO of Rena-Fi, Inc. Learn more about him and the team at Rena-Fi.com.