Well. There we have it. Turns out I’ve found the end of my tether, having reached it last week! With reopening just around the corner, we should really just be on the home stretch, but this week has just about broken me. I started the new year still a bit worn out from Covid and haven’t had a day/evening/weekend off since. And I’m feeling it.

And I’ve been seriously asking myself if it’s really worth it.

We’re so busy, particularly in Para-Sols, that I’ve actually been brought out of report writing retirement (desperate times indeed). I was kinda proud of not having done any paraplanning since October 2018 (after an initial tantrum about having to give it up), and so it feels odd to be back doing my ‘trade’ (though I am of course secretly loving it). However, the challenge is that it is essentially my 6th full-time job, on top of running four separate businesses plus The Verve Foundation which has the We Are Change initiative.

There’s trying to support clients and employees who are all also feeling the strain. There’s doing the day job while trying to also build all the processes. All challenging enough. But there’s also development; there are new services being created, new websites currently being built, an app in the works (shhh), a steady stream of new hires and endless conversations about how we do more with Verve, and do way more with the Change initiative. And this week, when I’ve been feeling physically and mentally exhausted, I’ve had to stop and ask myself if it’s worth it. Quite frankly, I could easily pause any additional expansion right now. I could steady the existing businesses, let the Change initiative roll along at a steady pace, do some paraplanning, spend more time with my amazing team, be less exhausted to spend time with my amazing son, and all would be good.

It would mean no longer pushing ahead with the mission of changing financial services and helping develop it for the future. But is that the worst thing? Is it really my / Verve’s responsibility to do that? Is it even a problem if it doesn’t happen? We can all tick along just fine. And I guess this means that this week my mission, personally and professionally, has been thoroughly tested. I’m having to make a conscious decision as to whether I actually want to keep charging up this steepest of hills, which feels like one step forward five steps back at times. Especially when you read stories like this and just wonder what the flipping point is sometimes. Or whether I want to step back and accept that some progress has been done and just enjoy a “normal” life instead.

But no matter how worn out I feel, I also know there’s more to do and I also feel privileged that we’re in the position to do it. It really does come back to the mission – and makes it more tangible. Do I get a buzz out of compliance? No – but I do get a buzz out of firms telling us that our compliance support has helped them make their business dreams a reality. Do I get a buzz out of nagging people to sponsor our not-for-profit initiative? No – but I do get literal goosebumps reading the applications of people who just want a chance to get started on a career and take their life in a different direction. I guess this week’s been about trying to find the wood when the trees are pretty much suffocating you. And those glimmers of the good we can do, especially when working together, are the reminder of why I, and we, are doing what we’re doing.

So yes, I do think it’s worth it.

And to get through the strain in the meantime? Lots of sleep. Lots of laughter. Lots of wine. Obviously.

Cathi Harrison

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