Childfree Wealth®

The Gap and the Gain (Book Club)

February 28, 2024 Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP® & Bri Conn
The Gap and the Gain (Book Club)
Childfree Wealth®
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Childfree Wealth®
The Gap and the Gain (Book Club)
Feb 28, 2024
Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP® & Bri Conn

Discover how "The Gap and the Gain" challenges conventional thinking about success and happiness. Bri and Dr. Jay dissect the book's key concepts, from reframing perspectives on achievement to navigating the pitfalls of social media comparison.

As they share personal anecdotes and professional insights, Bri and Dr. Jay invite listeners to question their own attitudes towards success and fulfillment. Whether you're a high achiever striving for more or someone seeking validation in their current accomplishments, this episode offers valuable reflections on finding balance and embracing gratitude.

Stay tuned for the next book club pick, where Bri and Dr. Jay will dive into the world of small business finances with "Profit First."

Resources:

+ The Gap and the Gain by Dan Sullivan & Dr. Benjamin Hardy

+ Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

​​
The Childfree Wealth Podcast, hosted by Bri Conn and Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP®, is a financial and lifestyle podcast that explores the unique perspectives and concerns of childfree individuals and couples. In this episode, Bri & Dr. Jay discuss The Gap and the Gain by Dan Sullivan & Dr. Benjamin Hardy.


Like the show? Leave us a rating & review. If you want to join the conversation, email us at podcast@childfreewealth.com, follow Childfree Wealth® on social media, or visit our website www.childfreewealth.com!


Stay up to date with Childfree Wealth® by signing up for our newsletter here! Schedule a meeting with a Childfree Wealth Specialist® here!


Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn


Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational & entertainment purposes. Please consult your advisor before implementing any ideas heard on this podcast.


Show Notes Transcript

Discover how "The Gap and the Gain" challenges conventional thinking about success and happiness. Bri and Dr. Jay dissect the book's key concepts, from reframing perspectives on achievement to navigating the pitfalls of social media comparison.

As they share personal anecdotes and professional insights, Bri and Dr. Jay invite listeners to question their own attitudes towards success and fulfillment. Whether you're a high achiever striving for more or someone seeking validation in their current accomplishments, this episode offers valuable reflections on finding balance and embracing gratitude.

Stay tuned for the next book club pick, where Bri and Dr. Jay will dive into the world of small business finances with "Profit First."

Resources:

+ The Gap and the Gain by Dan Sullivan & Dr. Benjamin Hardy

+ Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

​​
The Childfree Wealth Podcast, hosted by Bri Conn and Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP®, is a financial and lifestyle podcast that explores the unique perspectives and concerns of childfree individuals and couples. In this episode, Bri & Dr. Jay discuss The Gap and the Gain by Dan Sullivan & Dr. Benjamin Hardy.


Like the show? Leave us a rating & review. If you want to join the conversation, email us at podcast@childfreewealth.com, follow Childfree Wealth® on social media, or visit our website www.childfreewealth.com!


Stay up to date with Childfree Wealth® by signing up for our newsletter here! Schedule a meeting with a Childfree Wealth Specialist® here!


Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn


Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational & entertainment purposes. Please consult your advisor before implementing any ideas heard on this podcast.


Dr. Jay

Hey Childfree Wealth listeners, we are back in the book club and we are with the book that Bri almost wanted to throw at me for a bit. And that is the gap in the gain. Let me tell you a little story behind this, Bri & her wife, I help them with their financial planning. It's kind of one of those bonuses of working with us.


You get to get your own financial planning through us. And we were walking through different things they could do together. And I recommended reading the book Gap and the Gain, and I checked in with Bri like a week later, I was like, what did you think? And she’s like. I was like, whoa, what was that? Do you remember that, Bri?


Bri

Oh, yeah. I was not happy with you. Not happy at all. 


Dr. Jay

Why?


Bri

Because I've read a lot of self-help books, and I've done a lot of work, and I've struggled with my own mental health in the past. Getting this book, it was like, I've already done a ton of work and I've spent thousands of dollars on therapists and psychologists and all these things like, I don't need this.


I'm in a good place where I'm genuinely enjoying life and I'm happy. And I couldn't have said that five, six years ago, but now I can. So it didn't feel like this was necessary.


Dr. Jay

And in the end, was it?


Bri

It was helpful. I will admit it was, it was helpful. But it took a few months before I got over my annoyance.


Dr. Jay

The interesting thing is sometimes the books that annoy you most are the ones you need, and sometimes they're just annoying books. So you don’t know which one it is.


Bri

Yeah. That's true. And I think a little bit of both of that, I would say it was good, but at times it felt like it was, so there's a lot of toxic positivity in it, which I am not about. I don't like that I, I don't like sugarcoating things. And sometimes it felt like this wanted you to sugarcoat everything in your life.


Dr. Jay

Okay, talk to me. What do you mean when you say toxic positivity?


Bri

Where you have to just, it's the idea that everything can be good and oh, well, this is good. And the whole everything happens for a reason that I don't resonate with and I don't like. And I think it's harmful to people to be seeking that out. That's what it felt like. This book wants you to because it says take every gap and turn it into a gain, like every bad thing has a good thing that comes from it.


And frankly, I don't believe that about some of the things that have happened in my life. And I don't think it's helpful to tell people that either.


Dr. Jay

Well, and I'm going to challenge you. I didn't read that when I got the, when I read the book. It's Dan Sullivan, and, by the way, a lot of their work is somewhat on the positive and reframing things. And I think to start with the basics, is we have this problem and I think it's heavily in the U.S., but it might be other countries of we always want people to like overachieve and we have a problem right now like, hey, you need to do this or you will not get in a good school, you will not have a good life, you will not like.


It's always like you need to get the gold star, which the problem is when you're always looking for the Gold Star, you miss where you've been, the journey, all of that and giving yourself credit for where you’ve been. I don't think of that as positive, you know, toxic. What’d you call that, toxic positivity or something?


Bri

Yes, toxic positivity.


Dr. Jay

I mean, that's not toxic positivity of saying, hey, you need to appreciate where you've been.


Bri

Yes. But it also I don't remember where it was in there, but it made me so mad reading it. It was like, oh, well, bad things happen in life, but good comes out of it. And I’m like, listen, no. Not all these bad things that have happened have been good in the end. This isn’t okay.


Dr. Jay

I don't know. I think the truth is where we've been has brought us to where we are. That just always is the case. Not all for good. That is the truth of that. There's an author I like, Brandon Sanderson. He does a lot of stuff on the fiction side. And one of the key principles he used in one of his books is, he calls it journey before destination. And I like that concept. You know, we appreciate the journey before we get to the destination, which is a slightly different spin and gap and the gain. Are you with me? If we say, hey, we just need to appreciate the journey as much as the destination or before the destination? 


Bri

Sometimes, but I don't think everything, like if anybody is listening to this podcast, returning listeners, you know that I can talk about estate planning and I enjoy talking about it. A lot of that was from seeing death and trauma very, very closely in my life. Yeah, I can talk about those things now, but that doesn't mean I should have had to go through that.


Dr. Jay

I've never argued that you should have gone through it, and that's where I'm piecing the, pulling this apart. From a book standpoint, you know, there's a balance between appreciating what you've gained and saying, hey, I made progress. And just looking at the gap. 


Bri

Yeah.


Dr. Jay

You know, so let's bring this to the financial world. If you want to see people really have fun with this, their first million dollars they hit, they're like, yeah, that's nothing.


Now I need to do 2 million. And I'm like, did you miss that you just went from negative net worth, got out of debt, got your first million? They're like, yeah, that was easy. I'm like, no, it actually wasn't. But they're like looking at the gap of saying, yeah, but my friend has 4 million.


Bri

Yeah. In that instance, I think that's fine. But I didn't like how they were just saying everything needs to be a gain. Not everything needs to be a gain, okay? Like yes, if you've made $1,000,000, you should take time, and that was hard work to get there. Plain and simple. But if they would have said a lot of things in life or some things instead of everything, I think I would have not been so irritated with the book for the longest time.


Dr. Jay

So like one word in the book is what you're upset at.


Bri

Yeah, that made me so mad for a long time.


Dr. Jay

And by the way, that’s fair. I think first of all, if you think you can read any book and take everything that's in it and apply it, that's never gonna be the case.


Bri

Oh, 100%. And I agree with that. And I know I don't think, I think this book just hit me enough in that, in like the right, it pressed the right button to just really upset me for a while.


Dr. Jay

Where are you at now with this book?


Bri

Now I'm like, okay, yeah, it's good. Read it.


Dr. Jay

All right, let's talk issues and principles. And I think what I like out of the gap in the gain is the reframing of the way we look at things. And with Bonnie, it is very, very common to look at what you don't have. Well, I don't have X, Y or Z, whatever it is, whatever matters to, rather than looking at what you do have.


And that's the difference in the gap in the gain. Saying, hey, I've worked so hard for X, I've been lucky at Y, and ignoring, yeah, but I don't have Z. Like that's the problem. And I see this a lot with clients and this one drives me crazy. They go, well, I just read this article, it says by 45 and supposed to have X in my account and I don't. I'm behind. And I'm like, behind who?


Like you're running your own race. Look at what you have been able to accomplish because you're comparing against people that aren't you, and who knows if the measures are right? But we get stuck in this comparison thing. And the book does talk quite a bit about the comparison. It is actually the book is a few years older and they’re talking about social media.


And I think social media has exacerbated this completely.  Of you know, we see people's, they bought this, but I don't see their debt behind it or whatever else it is. And I think the hard part is, if you're focusing only on the gap of what you don't have, you'll never be happy.


Bri

I 1,000% agree with that.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, I hate using like every or never. But that literally is if you're always looking at the gap, you'll never be happy.


Bri

Yeah, because there's always going to be things that you don't have and it's okay to have that. But you're right, social media is a huge issue. You know, I was a social media manager for so long and now I don't even want to be on social media. That's part of the reason, aside from the fact that you just don't have a lot of time, that we don't post a lot, because if I could throw my phone in the river, Dr. Jay and I were having this discussion yesterday, like I would.


I just don't want it and I don't want to be on social media. You know, after reading this book, my wife has deleted social media. She doesn’t even check it anymore because it's such a comparison trap. It's all of these things where if you're not doing it like this, somebody I follow into a lot of like fitness stuff and they said, how many dreams have died because you've seen somebody run seven minute miles or do all these big amazing hikes and you feel like because you're not there yet, you're just not going to try at all.


Dr. Jay

The problem is, I think our society, it's kind of like a, they love misery a little bit, kind of like it's okay to just be like, well, I don't have this and all that. And I think I just have this conversation with somebody. We're going to do a separate podcast on this, but my concept right now is I want to get people to a place where people will say, I'm proudly childfree and wealthy.


I can be proud of who I am, where I am, what I, what I've done. That's the gain. But then people go, well, but if I'm proud of the gain, am I not reflecting on the people that didn't have the same chances? Am I talking about privilege? Like is it not okay? Do we always have to look at the gap in order to reflect on, you know, people that are struggling?


I don't know. What do you think?


Bri

That's a hard one and have these conversations you know you can do work and acknowledge your privilege. But at some point you can't just be so worried about your privilege that you don't do anything. It's okay to acknowledge you have it and then also take action to help others. But it's okay to just be happy with the things you have, too.


You don't have to always be apologizing for what you have and what you've worked for and done. And even if you've gotten lucky in life and been born in the right country and born to the right family and all these things, that's okay too. 


Dr. Jay

Yeah. I just think that Bri and I offline have been having a lot of discussions about privilege and how does it fit in and money and who do we serve? Who's the right client? You're seeing some of that bleed over here. And I wonder if part of the reason why people like hanging out in the gap is because it doesn't feel like you're bragging there.


It’s kind of like the false bravado of like, well, you know, I actually humblebrag more like, well, I got this, but and then we balance the two. Like, people always start mixing together. Is it okay to be happy with what I've got or do I have to struggle? If I don't struggle, does it look like it's too easy?


Like I got lucky. Like there's all this baggage that really is just bullshit.


Bri

True. So true. And I do think there is a point where you don't want to acknowledge the things you have or even be okay with it. My grandpa, he used to get a brand new pickup every other year, so what they did was one year my grandma would get a vehicle, the next year he would. And he didn't want people to know that he would get a brand new one every year.


So he would change the license plate and then you'd ask him about it and he'd say, No, it's the same one like, Grandpa, you're lying right now. The headlights are different. Like they changed the design. You got a new one, just admit it, it's fine. And I think that comes from the fact that we’re told that we cannot be okay with what we have and we should always be working for the next thing.


So it's hard to enjoy where you're at now.


Dr. Jay

Yeah. And I've mentioned before, I struggle. What my parents taught me was whatever you are, be the best at it. That really screws with your head. It just does. Kind of like, because you can always do better. You can always do more. You can always, and this is the difference between the gap and the gain. And the way in the book, they talk about measuring backwards. Measuring your progress against how far you come, not how far you have left to go.


That's kind of, anti where we're at. I'll give another example. Childfree Wealth created a process for financial planning for childfree people that didn't exist. It just didn't. There was very little discussion, if any, in the financial literature before we started. And we're looking at our plan and saying, okay, if we do stuff perfect and we just bust our butt for the next 15 years, we'll be able to serve about 1% of our target market.


Now, we could look at that, at the gap and go, yeah, we, we’re not serving 99%. We can look at the gain and go, yeah, we created some that didn't exist, created a category that didn't exist, created a process that didn’t exist and served thousands of people. The problem is like I could find myself and I still do it at times going, yeah, but what about the other 99% we can't serve? Like I don't know, am I just messed the head or is it, you know, are you with me Bri?


Bri

I think you've gotten a little bit better about being okay with we can only do so much. It's very evident about how many emails you send me too like, oh, how do we bring this?


Dr. Jay

What do you mean?


Bri

Sometimes, I just…


Dr, Jay

Okay, I share this with the group, explain it because they're not in the emails.


Bri

I will get emails from him all day long, especially Fridays and then weekends, sometimes on weekends I shut my emails off. But some days I will just close my email because I don't want to read another email from him. Like I cannot take another one of another idea or another thing. I'm like, I already have a bunch of stuff that needs to be done piling up.


No, that can wait. That is not that important right now. Let's just pause that.


Dr. Jay

Okay. Here's what's really going on. First of all, I freely admit I have ADD, okay, so that is what it is. I'm getting better actually now scheduling my emails. So they come out on Monday morning instead of the weekend. I'm not perfect at it. My phone I can’t schedule, so I have to figure it out, but I will have these ideas and I'm like, here's a way to make it even better. And Bri’s over here going, listen, we still got to get everything perfect from before, and we've made such progress. Be okay with it. And I'm like, okay, we'll add it to the list. We'll get to it eventually. I think that's the hard part. The book The Gap and the Gain, it actually specifically says the High Achievers Guide to Happiness, Confidence and Success. And the point is, if you're always going to look at the gap, you're never going to be happy. My nature is always to be constantly improving. Literally, I talk about we’re a learning organization, I'm helping clients learn and helping staff learn. That's what we exist for. I'm going to find ways to improve things and Bri’s right. Like, I have, we haven’t even finished the first idea and I've done version three. Version three is better, but we need to do version one to start.


Bri

Yeah, there are some things I'm like, you know what, I'm not even going to start this because I know it's going to be different next week or even tomorrow. So I'm just going to ignore you until you send me the next email about this.


Dr. Jay

Well, and I think that's human nature, especially in the society we're in right now. Where we're measuring ourselves against, I don't know what. Some fake bar. I'm going to turn this into a session about, we're gonna do therapy for me, but like I really don't have huge personal goals is one of my realizations this weekend. Making more money does nothing for me like I'm more in that FILE approach. Enough.


I'm going to die with zero. I'm good, but how many lives can I serve and help? That's the juice. That's the goal. That's the thing. And the hard part is when you're driven to serve others, it can feel like if you don't serve them, you let them down. And now we're stuck in the gap.


Bri

Yeah, but.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, but what? No, go ahead.


Bri

Some of this stuff, I'm like, they wouldn’t have even known because we aren't doing any of it. Like you're already doing so much. Then you want to add more. It's fine. Just chill out a little bit. Go join that sword fighting gym that you talked about.


Dr. Jay

Okay. By the way, there actually is. Just outside of Nashville there’s an armored MMA sword fighting. I would, that's cool. That's on my list some day. What's happening is and this is why I like the book. I did not pick up the everything that you got. Is, we need to stop and say what are you measuring? Are you measuring the gap or are you measuring the gain?


Are you taking a minute to go, wow, I've achieved a lot? Or are you just always looking at it going, well, I'm never going to achieve this big goal?


Bri

Yeah, I think you were sitting in a point where you were just really doubting everything for a while there and how far things could go. You're like, well, I don't know if we can actually do that or I don't know. It was weird. It was weird to watch, but you are in a weird place for a while there.


You know, you seem to be much better about being okay with the things setting and the goals are setting now.


Dr. Jay

And I'm using, you know, I actually like Sanderson's journey before destination rather than gap and the gain a little bit. And I'm trying to enjoy the journey and say we're doing the right steps. So where we end up matters less, which is the same concept, this gap and the gain, but it's a little different spin on it and just enjoying the ride.


And I think that's really hard. Like that is one of those things. Like, I've always been goal driven, like you gave me a goal, I will beat it and then you hit the goal and you're like, I move the post. Let's no, that's useless. And that's where we when it comes to finances, we have a problem because there aren't numbers and like these are absolutes.


And you know, I just had a conversation with somebody we’re talking about numbers, and I'm like, listen, at the end, you're going to die with millions of dollars. That's a problem. And they said, yes, that is. Well, then why are we using the numbers as the goal and why are we using that? Why are we focusing on that? Why don't we instead focus on the journey, the gain throughout life, and what we're doing with it?


And it sounds like it's semantics, but it's not. It's a completely different way of thinking. You know, we will say in our language, you plan for life first, then your finances. Life really is the gain. The finances are the gap.


Bri

Yeah, that's true. I had a conversation recently with somebody who, I asked him why they're still in their job. They're already at their financial independence number, and the first answers they gave me were all around money. And I called that out on them. I said, all your answers are surrounding money. I think you, yeah, you said you enjoyed it before, but when I asked you why you're still in your job, the answers were all money.


You don't need it at that point, but you still are focusing on that.


Dr. Jay

But I can tell you exactly the way that conversation goes because my mind just went there. Well, but I got to keep struggling for money because other people are struggling. I'm like, that's not true. First of all, there will always be people struggling and you succeeding is not going to help them struggle less or more. I wonder if just we are at a place as a culture, as a society where it's just not cool to say you're happy, that you're good with life and people just go, well then you have it easy and we'll see this.


Childfree people will literally go, you've got the easy button because you don't have kids. You know nothing about my life. You're making an assumption. And they go, well, the gap is you don't have kids. You have it easy because you don't. No, that is not true. But it may be, but you don't know. Where instead, we can look at and say, I'm living my best life and that's okay.


Bri

That's very true. It's not popular to be happy.


Dr. Jay

So how do we change that?


Bri

Delete the internet. It's probably the first step.


Dr. Jay

I'm kind of with you. But like, I don't think that's going to happen.


Bri

Yeah. I think it just over time will take a lot of work, and I honestly think social media is a big problem of why people are so unhappy. And, you know, I don't know that the entire virtual world is super helpful. You know, I made a comment like, we need to get together at least once a year in person versus always being virtual.


Because I think there is such an important part of connecting with people in person and being surrounded by people and just being in the same room as them that we don't have as much, especially since COVID. And that could be one step in the right direction.


Dr. Jay

That's fair. I think if you want to see the gap, go on Reddit. Like literally that world is built for the gap. I have a love hate thing with Reddit. Okay. And if you really look at it, people go on Reddit to talk about the gap. Always. And if somebody actually talks about the gain, they get, like put down.


Bri

Yeah.


Dr. Jay

I don’t know what it is about Reddit. What's that?


Bri

I said and that's why I'm not on it.


Dr. Jay

But I don't know why Reddit is that particular cesspool.


Bri

I have no idea.


Dr. Jay

Because it's anonymous. I don't know. I'm like, they'll pick apart anything. And I think the other part is like by the way if you look at the financial Reddit it’s even worse, they're like, well, I paid off all my debt in a year. Well, yeah, because you make double the amount of money I do. Or like, whatever else it is. And then that just makes people feel worse.


You know, I've seen it called misery porn, you know, like, just want to feel like, hey, I can see it. You're worse off than me, so I'm okay. Like, it's the trolls, it's the ones saying, you know, they got to knock you down.


Bri

Yeah, that's true. That is very true.


Dr. Jay

So I want to swing back to key takeaways. One of the things I like in here, they talk about at the end of night actually making sure you use your time wisely in setting yourself up. But they talk about something that is actually in a lot of positive psychology. So Bri doesn't probably like it is the three good things, which is at the end of every day writing down the three good things that happened to you that day.


And interesting enough, there's some really cool research that finds that that it has a better impact on your mental level, where you're at your feelings than many medications. Of literally just going, at the end of the day these are the three things. It works. Have you tried the three good things, Bri?


Bri

Do you see all those journals behind me? That is years of that. So yes, I do do that. I actually, I like that. 


Dr. Jay

So you see? That's positive psychology. But you know, the three good things. I also, so we do our team meetings, we'll do wins and losses or roses and thorns if I do it that way. I like to allow people to at least put words to the things that didn't go well, but focusing in on the good stuff. And I think it's just that moment of a little bit of accounting, you know, like, hey, for the last week, this is something that was great, this is something that I could have improved or could have went better or like something stupid happened.


By the way, usually when we do our team meetings, the wins and losses, the losses is usually something stupid, like I dropped something on my foot or something. Yeah, like literally it's something stupid. This week we did one, wins and losses, Bri’s like I fought with a vacuum machine and I won. Right?


Bri

Well, I don't know yet. It's not. I haven't put it back together yet. That's on my list for today. I’ll report back.


Dr. Jay

She started meeting with, she had an idea and she started fighting with the vacuum. It doesn't have any big things. It's about appreciating the wins you do have. Some days, the win is, I got up, I took a shower, I ate, I made it through the day like, that’s okay. There are some days where I'm like, I'll get to the end of the day.


I love what I do, love the meetings, love the clients. And literally my win for the day is I made it through the day. Because there are some days I look at my calendar, I'm like, I'm an introvert by nature. Too many meetings gets me. I get stressed when I look in the morning and I'm like, my win: I went through the day, clients got what they needed. I can now just go hide. Like, that's okay. Now I could be looking at the gap and go, well, I could've done this better, I could have done this better. I could have been in that better. It's a balancing act. Yeah, we do. After every client meeting, we ask three questions: what worked, what didn't, and what would you do differently?


The reason we have those three questions is, you can learn from every experience. I don't want people, just, people get stuck on like if you do like the call plus delta. What worked? What didn’t? They get super on the didn’t. They like, poke on that. If you add on well what would you do differently next time, we're looking again at what do I have to gain? Where am I going? The process. Not the gap of like, oh, I said something stupid in that meeting. That's pretty much every meeting for me, you know, like, but I can learn from it and improve. Does that work for you, Bri?


Bri

Yeah, and I, I think it helps because there aren't sometimes there aren't things that are just, oh, those didn't work. It was well, I could have approached that or tried a different way and it probably would have worked a bit better. Like it worked. It wasn't the greatest, but changed it up a little bit and it probably would have been better.


Dr. Jay

It's a different way of phrasing. So, Bri, in the end, what, how do you rate this book?


Bri

I gave it a four out of five.


Dr. Jay

Okay. Even though you, like, hated the beginning. Four out of five. And who is, at best, who should read it?


Bri

I think if you were a person in school, you always had to have good grades. You did really well. And even if you don't think you're struggling with that now, I would read it anyway because you might just figure out that you can chill out a little bit. That's what I learned.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, and I'll say it this way. If you want the Gold Star, like to like, you know, on the board, you did well. You need to read the book, but you know, if you like counting gold stars, you need to read the book.


Bri

Or if you're addicted to your  work email.


Dr. Jay

Exactly. Next up for the book club, we are going to go into a book that interestingly enough, Bri and I both loved even before we met, and that's Profit First. It's one of those that I recommend for all small businesses. I don't care if you're running a side gig, you got a big business, small business. It is like, on that must read for small businesses.


So if you ever thought about running a business, you have a business, you have a hobby business, read it and we will pick that up in the next book club.