In case you haven’t heard, Apple ($AAPL) passed $1 trillion in market capitalization last week. Everyone rightfully noted the importance of the iPhone to the company’s success. You could argue that the success of the iPhone would not have been possible without the growing number of Apple Stores to support the launch.*
There are many explanations for the success of the Apple Store including great design and a great experience. However I would argue that the Genius Bar was an integral part of the popularity of the stores. My guess is that if you own an Apple product of some kind you have availed yourself of a genius at some point.
The genius of Genius Bar is that Apple made it okay to ask for help. We humans resist asking for help. We think it makes us look vulnerable, weak or incompetent. Things nobody wants to feel. The Genius Bar was a relatively safe space to look (and feel) like a technological idiot.
In the broad scheme of things, a broken iPhone screen is not that big a deal. Your physical or emotional health is another thing altogether. For example, two retired, prominent professional football players, Richard Dawkins and Steve Smith talked about their struggles with depression. Which is a big deal. Steve Smith talking about his situation said:
“My advice to anyone suffering from mental health issues — and specifically athletes who can relate — is this: Ask for help. Stop trying to deal with these serious matters alone. You’re not alone. Believe me.”
While things are certainly better when it comes to talking about these issues, there is still a stigma attached to depression and mental health. Sometimes we can’t even admit when we have physical issues to deal with. For example, Abby Fabiaschi writing in the Washington Post talks about her reluctance to admit she had a serious medical condition, rationalizing it away as a virus. After getting diagnosed she now writes:
“None of the doctors was impressed to hear I worked out almost every day with untreated PEs [pulmonary embolisms], gasping for air. I thought I was teaching my kids resiliency and strength, when really I was teaching them to be ashamed to ask for help and to ignore their gut.”
It’s this unwillingness to feel vulnerable can lead to bad outcomes. Casey Mullooly in a moving and heartfelt post writes about his experience being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia or CML. Casey talks about the physical and emotional challenges of living with CML. Since his diagnosis he notes that one of the biggest challenges is accepting the limitations of the disease and coming to terms with it. He writes:
“I’ve learned that being alright and being pain-free are not the same thing. There’s an unrealized distinction between knowing that everything will be alright in the end and feeling alright in the day-to-day. Everyone suffers in some way, it’s what we do. Learning how to cope is a process. There are many people and resources out there that can help. The only way that those people will be able to help is if you admit that you need help. “Getting help” with anything is not weakness, it’s strength.”
As Mullooly notes, after our physical and emotional well-being, money is a big factor in our lives. That is why investment advisors have an important role to play for their clients. Sometimes clients come to an advisor because they have tried (and failed) to manage their money on their own. In all cases, clients know, on some level, they need help managing their money. The best advisors will listen to a client’s needs before making a diagnosis, or recommendation.
Modern life is complicated. No one can do it all their own these days. Take care of your physical and emotional needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. So hopefully when it comes to dealing with your money, asking for help should be second nature.