I am very pleased to announce that this is the first blog to be written in my new office in the City of London. Many would say it is ironic therefore, as I sit in the middle of the financial centre of the world, that the theme of my latest blog be professional honesty.
For whatever opinions people have about banks and bankers – some justified and some completely unfounded, it must be said that those individuals and companies that work in the sector certainly do not own the monopoly on bullshit (and I’m not even referring to the politicians either).
Maybe I notice it more because I work with people affected by it and are therefore more actively on the lookout for it, but it seems not a day goes by without an advert for get rich schemes, notably teaching people how to trade FX or binary options, pops up on my social media feeds.
You’ve probably seen these adverts at some point on your own Facebook, twitter or instagram pages too – and even though each tries to distinguish themselves as either being more efficient, more straightforward or in some instances more ethical than their competitors, the fact is they are all just on the look out for suckers.
These companies will invariably look at CFD trading or binary option trading (which incredibly still isn’t illegal here despite other countries making it so) and promise to teach you how to play the markets using the information they are going to teach you and a number of fail proof strategies that once set in motion, will lead you on a path to glory and riches. Often dangling pictures of the the ‘entrepreneurs’ and trainers sipping champagne, posing next to expensive cars and supported by very questionable back stories, they lure in the overly optimistic, naive and plain stupid in disturbingly large numbers. However scratch below the surface and the claims or credentials quickly fail to stack up. What is worrying is that the people who enrol on these get rich quick schemes do not do their due diligence and this is exactly what the companies are banking on. Even worse, so swayed are they by the possibility of the seminar or course being an answer to their problems, their new strong cognitive biases will counter argue or block out anything that they normally would flag up as concerning.
So they go to the free seminar (it’s free they tell themselves – why not?) and then once there, find themselves signing on the dotted line to enrol on their journey to a life of infinite comfort. Shockingly some of the companies are not done with them and even use it as a further opportunity to up-sell to new higher, greater levels of trading mastery.
Now a part of me should be grateful for these companies because they do supply me with a stream of clients, many of whom are either in complete denial or genuinely bewildered and beating themselves up that they couldn’t cut the mustard as financial whizz kids.
But without wanting to sound pious, I’d rather not have to be the final destination in their failed journey to becoming millionaires or retiring early. A lot are in denial, many have real identity and sense of self issues (preyed on mercilessly by these sharks) and all are disappointed when I suggest to them its not therapy but reality what they are in need of the most.
This can be a bitter pill for people to swallow. They’ve already been semi brainwashed into thinking that all the answers lay in following simple trading procedures and so good is the sales job these people have done on them, when I say it will take so much more than a simple hypnosis procedure to put their trading in the black, some flatly refuse to believe me.
There is no single, simple way or system you can learn or use to consistently make money and you certainly won’t get taught it by a kid with no track record of their own who not long out of nappies has decided he or she wants to be an entrepreneur teaching others how to be entrepreneurs, or a trade guru who wants to share their secrets of success. Bollocks. It doesn’t happen like that.
I have watched some of these ‘wealth masters’ and ‘realistic traders’ touting their dreams on Facebook and the like and I genuinely think they are scumbags. They’ve all read Tony Robbins Unlimited Power, maybe they got some of his DVDs for Christmas and they proceed to then do some diabolically shit impressions of him to a crowd of slack jawed gullibles.
I watched a video of one today spouting the ‘I was down to my last tin of food – I know what its like to be poor’ crap and I thought give it up idiot you don’t even sound like you believe that story yourself and thats because its not your story at all.
I’m a huge, HUGE fan of Tony Robbins and when I see these cretins trying to do shite impressions of him and worse, people falling for it, I get angry and dumfounded in equal measure. Not only have these people not experienced being poor or having to make money the hard way, I’d wager all these kids started from privilege and have used that initial leg up to appear as though they are self made successes.
Awful, awful people.
The ones that are not promising trading skills will generally be selling business acumen and entrepeneurial skills instead, but the premise will be the same – they haven’t made money in the underlying thing they are selling skills in, they’ve only ever made any real money selling the skills (or lack of!) and dream to others.
I have often asked myself how do people not see through the bullshit, but in truth I too have fallen prey to the same approach in the coaching and therapy world. In the therapeutic and coaching world we are bombarded with false, exaggerated, irresponsible and occasionally downright dangerous claims on a daily basis and in the past I have found myself on the receiving end of a course that has ended up either not teaching me anything, or taught me something else in different packaging.
People will sell hypnotherapy courses and make references in the prospectuses or literature of earning over £100k a year or seeing thirty or forty clients a week every week when in fact the frequency in which this happens is so small they shouldn’t be allowed to mention it in advertising. If it isn’t happening for them they shouldn’t be able to mention it at all, or at least give a clear explanation as to why.
The fact is even good hypnotherapists rarely see that volume of clients week in, week out and fewer still make six figures. Yet every day you will see people referencing the thousands of people they help or train, yet still finding time to be on Facebook at fifteen minute intervals throughout the day and on most days.
If it isn’t full courses its CPD and training workshops that are packaged as teaching you ‘revolutionary’ or ‘game changing’ therapeutic techniques that, once the layers are peeled away may just help a few people on a few occasions, some of the time.
If it isn’t the certification or CPD training its the promises of therapy itself. Everything fixed in one session, 95% success rates and so on and so forth. I’m sorry but the world of change work doesn’t work like that so be prepared to run for the hills if a therapist or coach starts spouting such statistics.
I firmly believe our professions biggest issues with credibility lie in the lies we therapists tell.
Therefore it was refreshing to hear Andrew Austin’s quote ‘theres a lot of stuff therapy won’t do anything about’, while doing his highly recommended PTSD course, because it is absolutely true and ties in with the problem I have with either the deluded wannabe FX traders or the therapists peddling instant miracles.
We all bend the truth and occasionally tell fibs. I did this week. I had a lovely ten year old client and her family in the office this week and I wanted to create a running metaphor for the session to encourage her to look at a particular subject that was causing her anxiety. I devised a scenario that one day in seven the missus cooks something so disgustingly awful that even the dogs wouldn’t nick it off my plate, but I wasn’t going to let it spoil the six days when she cooked something delicious and so on. Of course this isn’t true, we get take away for two days a week and Hello-fresh for three more but thats not the point – the point is sometimes a lie can be productive.
But when that lie gives people false hope and costs people money, often sizeable or even relationship destroying amounts, thats when lying becomes very bad indeed.
Be more authentic and stop the bullshit.