Many moons ago, when I was a rapper, I would scan books and the early internet for quotes. I would use them in my songs, but little did I know that they would serve a higher purpose in building up my positive disposition.
I decided to dig up an old practice and see what inspiring quotes I can use in my coaching and counseling.
This is not an argument for mere positive thinking. Thoughts without action is useless. Calls for resilience without considering systemic and structural pressures is disingenuous. These quotes are not the answers for our clients challenges, but can serve as a booster to give our client a fighting chance.
“That’s just how I am.”
When discussing finances, many of my clients tie their destiny to the notion that they cannot change who they are. That’s just how they are. Bullshit. It is not easy, but it is not insurmountable. Everyone can change and become better with managing money.
The problem is mainly that people are tired of failing. They’ve tried budgeting, the latest get-rich scheme, or a side business. All ended up in the same place, a failure. A quote that could be powerful if delivered well and sincerely:
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.Charles Swindoll
This is not to minimize one’s journey, but there’s no question that we have seen our fair share of clients who have persevered despite challenges that would have probably crushed us. This quote shares the notion that even with obstacles, a significant factor in overcoming them is attitude.
Other potentially useful quotes:
Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.Henry Ford
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.Tony Robbins
This is terrible. I can’t recover from this.
Sometimes it’s blurted out in a moment of visceral pain, other times its tacitly conveyed. “My life is ruined.” As counselors a big part of our job is to help clients take a step back and see a way through their struggles. That’s partly examiner, showing clients what happened, which dynamics occured, what forces were at play. And that’s partly motivator, confirming clients’ dreams or leading them to a place where they can start to hope again.
When clients cannot see beyond the barrier to their goal, you can share:
When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.Helen Keller
This quote is powerful in two ways: the message, and the messenger.
Again, whether verbally communicated or not, many times fear is an impediment to progress. When I sense a client is fearful of the next step, I often try to build up their coverage by reminding them of their goal and sharing a resonant story. There are also some powerful quotes that succinctly convey the message they may need to hear. Here are two:
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. – Amelia Earhart
You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try. –Beverly Sills
I really like these quotes. It’s all about moving beyond the fear of getting started. I can’t wait to try at some point in my sessions.
When a client is faced with some structural obstacle, perhaps you can share their paradigm-shifting quote:
You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails.Unknown
When a client is ruminating over some regret for not taking a particular action:
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.Chinese proverb
And finally, when that regret leads to a negative outlook on the future:
It is never too late to be what you might have been.George Eliot
Quotes are not some magical tool that will turn clients around on their own, but they play a role. And financial counselors and coaches will lose out on their power if they don’t have a few quotes or powerful passages at the ready.