“True measure of wealth: what do people say about you when you’re not present.”
In today’s episode, host John Laurito shares the podcast with a successful financial advisor who helps clients retire successfully. Jen Prosise has such a great perspective on life that this would be a great listen if you feel stuck right now. They chat about Jen’s painful past and how she leveraged and found hope from that. Tune in and absorb some awesome life lessons and nuggets of wisdom from Jen Prosise.
[1:34] Jen’s perspective on life
[4:31] From just existing to making significant choices
[7:49] Jen’s advice for those who feel stuck
[10:51] The connection of life’s aspects
[14:59] Jen’s morning routine
[18:17] Balancing business and life
[22:07] Jen’s coolest job as a kid
[24:06] Jen’s 5-10 year vision
[26:16] The importance of culture in an organization
[28:56] How to get ahold of Jen and her parting words of wisdom
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, Tomorrow’s Leaders, this is Jen Prosise, who is a very successful financial adviser in Illinois who I met recently, her and her team with Dynomite Team, and I love Jen’s perspective on life and some of the stuff she was talking to me about. I’m like, you got to be a guest on this podcast because you got a lot of good stuff to share. And she certainly did not disappoint. I love her stories, her perspective. I think you’re going to get a lot from this. So here’s Jen.
John: All right. Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host here with a great guest, very excited to talk with Jen Prosise, who is a recent friend, somebody who I met through work and through my travels around the country. She is a very successful financial advisor, helping lots of clients retire successfully and do all kinds of stuff. Jen, welcome to the show.
Jen: Thank you. I appreciate you having me.
John: Yeah, my pleasure. So one of the reasons I wanted to have you on was we’ve had some conversations recently and I loved your overall perspective on life. You obviously have and have had a lot of success. But I love your perspective on life. What is it you want to share with everybody?
Jen: Yeah. So for me, it’s you’ve got to be passionate about what you do. So I always knew that I was going to be in some kind of work where I serviced other people. I always knew that. But the idea of passion, like a lot of people when I talk to my friends, is like, well, yes, my job is this. And I’m like, oh, well, my vocation is this, because I get to do this. So every morning I wake up. There has not been one day that I have done this job where I’m like, oh, I gotta get out of bed and go to work today. I’m like, oh, I get to get out of bed and I get to go to work today because every day I’m meeting new people and it’s something new and different and I love it. I could not have asked for a better career.
John: I love that. I love the way you put that. It’s not that I’ve got to do this. It’s, I get to do that. Get-togethers. And what do you do? You apply that to everything. I mean, is that just something you get in your mind for work, or is it other parts of your life, too?
Jen: It is now other parts of my life. It was not before. So with work, it’s always been I get to do this like I truly love what I do and it just beams through me. All of my clients know how much I love my job, but all of them, in fact, sometimes laugh at me when I start talking about some products because my face lights up like a Christmas tree and they’re like, Oh, you really like this one? I’m like, Oh, I really like this one. This is going to be great. But in my
personal life, not so much. I’m just like everyone else. It’s like, you know, you’ve got good days, you got bad days. But now my whole new attitude is I don’t have to do this. I get to do this. So, for instance, like getting out of bed in the morning, I wake up at 4:30 to go train at 5:00 a.m. and most people like, oh, you’re crazy. You know, I get about 30. That’s right.
Jen: The way it’s for me, it’s I get to get out of bed and go work out because almost five years ago now, I lost my older brother in a tragic work accident. So it’s hard. You know, you watch TV and you see stuff on the news. And as a human being, you’re like, oh, that poor family, you know, I feel for them. But when you’re that family and you’re hearing it every hour, every eight minutes and it’s you and your family going through that, it’s really life-altering in a kind of sense of emotion. And you can’t stop it once you start reevaluating your life. You can never go back. It’s forever changed. So I am trying to take his tragedy and catapult it forward and just positive from this point forward and just make life-altering changes and lots of them in the last four and a half years. Wow.
John: Well, I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. I can’t even imagine. I know that there’s nothing that is more difficult in life. I know he meant a lot to you and you’ve taken a whole different change in your life. What is that? Tell us a little bit about that, where we’re what changed? What went on? What was that? What did your brother help you do now that maybe you weren’t doing before?
Jen: I think before I was just existing, I was going through life and I was just existing and I was kind of accepting the status quo, my personal life, my professional life. And then when that hit, I was like, huh, he doesn’t get to make these choices anymore. And we all complain about stuff or say, well, you know, maybe one day I’ll do this. Or if I could go back, I would have done this differently. And I thought, you know, I’m still here, I’m still breathing. I got that opportunity and I can make changes. So I made some big changes in my personal life. And it was something I was afraid to do for years. But I’ve never been happier ever since making those big choices.
Jen: And now I just choose to live life to the fullest and make great choices every day. And I’m always evaluating this choice today, does this align with my long-term and my short-term goals? Because every day I wake up, if I don’t make choices that align with my daily goals, I’m miserable. I am not happy because I’m going against the grain. So I just make sure that I wake up, do what I need to do, and do stuff that brings me passion and joy and happiness. And I want to bring that to other people.
John: I love that. And, you know, so many people live their lives to run their days where they don’t make conscious decisions on what they’re doing. They just kind of go through life almost like the passenger in a car. They have no control. It is just the deal with what comes at them. And you, on the other hand, are conscious of the decisions, the choices that you make, because we all do make them, whether we think we are or not. And I love your perspective that if it’s not something that lines up with what you want long term, it’s not something I understand. Right, that it’s not something you do if it’s not in line with your long-term goals, it’s not something you’re going to do. Is that right?
Jen: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s hard. I won’t say it’s hard because we are who we are, we’re all who we are because of who we were as children and how we grew up and that shaped us. So when things present themselves as adults, it’s comfortable. It’s so easy to go with it
because we know it. It’s familiar. Sometimes it reminds you of childhood or someone or something feels safe. But as an adult, you have to step back and say, OK, this may be comfortable because I’m used to it doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make it good in this doesn’t align with my goals. So now I’m going to change this. We’re going to make changes and we’re going to move forward and we’re going to do what really aligns with what we want our life goals to be and what brings us joy and happiness.
John: Well, it’s amazing because I think about so many people, and I’m sure you can think of a lot of people that fit in this category where they’re either maybe in a relationship that they’ve been in for a long time, that they know they shouldn’t be. And it’s not the relationship for them. They just stay in it because they’ve been in it. It’s comfort or a job or career that makes them miserable and they just stay in it because it’s just the path that they’re on. I mean, you’ve got so many people out there that are stuck like that or they perceive that they’re stuck. What do you say to that type of person that hears you? They see you, they say, OK, I get it, but I just don’t know how to make that change or take that decision to make a change.
Jen: Well, this is where I don’t know how you describe this may be a unique gift. I guess I can talk to anyone. And for some reason, everybody wants to share with me. People open up to me about stuff they would never share with other people. The stuff my clients tell me is amazing. I’m also usually the first to know if they’re going to get divorced, married, or have a baby. I think people just share with me. So people are very comfortable talking to me because they think they know I genuinely care. So if I was sitting down with that person, first of all, I want to know them on a more personal level, because if I don’t know you personally, I don’t know what drives you. But then the other thing is, I want to know what you’re afraid of. You’re stuck in this relationship or you’re stuck in this job because you’re afraid of something.
Jen: And a lot of times people are afraid of success because they’re not used to it. And so what if I succeed? What does that look like? How does that change me? I’m not used to living in that realm. So a lot of times they really they’re holding themselves back. So I want to know, what are you afraid of? And let’s talk about it. And what does it look like? What could change if you made this change in your life now? How does your life look? How does your future align with your goals and who you want to be and where you want to be in life?
John: That’s great. And bottom line is, people, unfortunately, fear the unknown and it’s easier and more secure and safe to stay on a path, even though they know it’s not the right one because it’s one they know versus the one that they don’t necessarily know. But I really love your perspective on that, because what I also am taking from that is just the fact of talk. In with somebody, I think a lot of people keep it all bottled up, but I’m guessing your clients get huge value out of just talking with you. It’s not just advice on financial steps and strategies, but it’s also just the ability to talk through what’s going on with somebody.
Jen: Yes, it is quite normal for me to do marathon meetings for two to three hours. It’s kind of normal. And my boss or Cathy, my work colleague, she’ll be like, what are you guys talking about there? And I’m like everything and anything because the more I know about them, if I truly know them, I know what drives their choices and I know where it’s coming from. And then I am better equipped to help them make better choices. Oh, it’s very normal for me to do two or three-hour meetings with clients, and most of them when they come in, we do not
start talking about business. It’s all personal. Usually, in the first 45 minutes, they want to share with me and they want to know what’s going on with my life. It’s a two-way street with them. Yeah.
John: How important do you think it is to have different parts or how connected do you think different parts of your life are? In other words, do you feel that in order to have success in one area it often affects, or when you have success in one area, it also affects another? If somebody is very successful in their quest for health and their physical fitness, that helps their relationship. So that helps their business life. Or do you feel it’s more you know, it can be all over the place? I’m not sure if I’m asking that clearly, but does that make sense?
Jen: No, it does, and I think so. I think we’re all a work in progress. Like, for instance, like so I get up at 4:30 in the morning to go train with a trainer at 5 a.m. Am I always getting up at 5:00 a.m. and working out, especially the days I have to go. No. Do we all fail? Yes. But we all know that the comeback is way better than the step back. So if I think that no one’s going to be perfect and we’re never going to nail it, because then if we nail it, like, what are we going to the gym for? Like, if I’m like, well, you know, I finally reached my success. I think I’m done getting up and going to the gym. Well, then I’m going to be right back where I was before.
Jen: So I think that the better you get in different areas, I think the more overall success you’re going to have because as soon as you get a taste of success and that feeling of self-love like you’ve got to love who you are first or no one else is going to like you nor love you. So once you get a taste of that, I think people go after that and they want more of it. It’s a great feeling. It’s endorphins. Nothing’s better than loving yourself and being happy. So if you can achieve that across different lines of your life, it’s making you better as a whole. So, yeah, you may be great at your job, but what if you suck as a spouse? How does that benefit your family or your spouse? So you want to be good in as many areas as you can. And I think if you’re successful, it kind of will filter over into those other areas.
John: Well, it’s interesting because when I started my career, I thought that, OK, if I put everything into my business and literally immerse myself and become a workaholic and work around the clock, that it will solve other things and my relationships will be better. My, my, my social life doesn’t work that way. It really did. And I became so myopic on that one part of my life that it was just at the detriment of the other areas. And when I found that I actually spent more time in the other areas, it actually improved my business. I felt better. My stress level was lower, my happiness was higher, and I was actually better in business. And it was amazing, just the realization that balance and life actually work better. And I found that at least than just being the singular focused guy.
Jen: Yeah, you know, a lot of women like us like to claim that we’re multitasking and I have self-proclaimed that many times. But you can’t multitask. You truly can only do one thing at a time. But even for a multitasker, are you really excelling in one area? Because if you are like you said early on in business, you’re like, I’m going to be this worker and it’s all going to fall into place. But you have neglected everything else. So, yes, you may have mastered that, but everything else fell to the wayside. So you’ve got to learn. Most people have to learn balance and they don’t, because if you’re not good to others around you, really, how good are you in business? Because if you don’t have anything else to back you up besides when
you’re doing it, what your clients know that they may know, you may know your job, but who are you out in public like? Are you involved in your community?
John: Right, exactly. And what is your purpose in life? Is it just the business or is it to give in other ways? I love that your day starts waking up at 4:30 in the morning. I give you tons of credit because that’s still in the deep stages of sleep. I think I get up pretty early, but it’s about an hour after you and that’s tough enough for me. So I give you tons of credit and then you work out what’s your daily routine? What’s your morning routine? I’m always interested in this with people.
Jen: So normal would be to get up at 4:30, then I drive over, I train like usually about 5-6. So that’s workout number one. And then as I drive back home, work out number two happens at home. That would be a half-hour of cardio. And then from there, it’s breakfast. And then after that is my favorite time of day, I get to sit on my front porch if it’s warm enough because I’m
in Chicago and that’s where I do my morning journal. So I’ve been doing that for about two years now and I feel that is when I’m most at peace and calm. So in the journal every day, I like to write down three things that I’m grateful for. It can be big, it can be small, and some
days it’s just for the weather or listening to the birds chirp while I’m out there writing. And then I’ll follow that up with what’s meaningful, like right now, what’s going on in my day, my life right now, that’s very meaningful to me.
Jen: And then after that, I want to start on positive notes. So then I’ll be like, all right, well, what were three wins from yesterday? Like, what can I say? I’m going to say it today because this is what I did yesterday. So I write down three wins and then after that, usually about one or two affirmations, statements just about who I am and what I deserve. And if I’m a good person, I’m this and that and just some affirmation statements. And then from there, that will lead to a dance party. So everyone gets ready. And in my bathroom, there is a dance party that goes on because if you cannot laugh at yourself, you’re not going to have fun. So every day I master my so-called salsa moves. So there’s a lot of singing and dancing that goes on. And I’m not claiming to be good at either one of them. So that happens in the morning and that gets the blood flowing.
Jen: And then I go to work and usually at work, it’s not just working all day. I multitask because I’m extremely involved in the community and I sit on many different boards. A great example is yesterday during the workday, I left, my son had a baseball game in the middle of the day. So I went to that bar while I was at the baseball game. I made a phone call with the city because one of the groups that I work with volunteers my time. We put on a big craft beer event and a concert. So I met with them from the baseball field. And then after that call, I was on the phone and I was booking bands for the event, left the baseball game, went back to work, and then stayed at work till after seven o’clock last night. Wow. That’s so. And then it’s usually some sport in the evening for my kids or something. And then just like anyone that you’ve had on your show in the past, I mom, I made I’m the cook, I’m maintenance on the landscaper, on the pool girl. I’m the advice, I’m the sounding board. Or sometimes I get the attitude because I got teenage boys. So that’s a full day.
John: That is a full day. I’m tired just hearing that it is a start to finish a packed day. There are so many questions I want to ask you. First of all, how do you do that? I mean, honestly, and I mean this in all sincerity, you run a great business. You’re very successful. It’s not just
about the business you’ve got. It’s almost like, you know, it blends in with everything. I mean, the way you are in business with clients, with your family, with friends, and the community. But how do you balance at all? I mean, that seems like almost an insurmountable task to do that much. And you said you have four sons, is that right?
Jen: No, no, no. I have two boys, two.
John: Two, sorry. But that’s you’ve got a lot of baseball games and you’ve got all this stuff going on, so. Which are sometimes unpredictable. Yeah. How do you do it all?
Jen: Well, a couple of years, one way longer than a couple of years ago, I will admit, I literally said to myself, I’m like, I got this. I can totally be. I’m going to be a super mom. And at one point I actually thought about buying myself a cape. I could do this, like, I can be everything to everyone. I can burn the candle at both ends. And I did it for quite some while. And then I started getting sick and my health was deteriorating, just like catching common colds all the time. But my drive and my energy come from my upbringing. I was raised by a single mom and we had four children at home. We had two different fathers and no child support.
Jen: So when I was younger, my mom worked for jobs at one point, but it was pretty regular for my mom to have three jobs and then pretty much for my entire life, two jobs. That was pretty standard for her. So my work ethic is strong. You will be hard-pressed to find someone that will outwork me. I have been gainfully employed since eighth grade. Wow. Yeah, I have since eighth grade. I have been employed. I’ve had over 20 different jobs and I realized in high school really quickly, I was consistently picked to be a supervisor or a manager. Like I just kept moving up because of the work ethic. So that’s where I get it from, is my mom.
Jen: Because when you have a mom who works that much, there’s really not someone who is around to kind of coddle you or help you with homework or even show up to your sporting events. I played everything under the sun and I was very, very fortunate, blessed. I was MVP
of everything I ever played, but my mom wasn’t there. And like my friend’s parents had to adopt me for the evening, especially if it was like a parent night. Yeah, but that’s where I get the drive from. And I learned that failure is not an option. There are no safety nets. And I will tell you something. No one is coming to save you. You have to save yourself.
Jen: So as soon as you realize that I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got my pity parties. Oh, I do. I do really well with pity parties, me, and a glass of whiskey or bourbon. And we’ll try it out for about five or seven minutes and you have to put on your big girl pants and move on because you’re not going to get anywhere while just sitting there crying about it. But I have my moments and I break. But it’s just it’s been ingrained in me since a childlike, wow, it’ll get done one way or the other. And there’s no one else that’s going to do it but you. So you better get moving.
John: Well, your mom sounds like an amazing person. It’s absolutely incredible that she was able to do that. And she must be really proud to see how that’s impacted you and the person that you’ve become.
Jen: Yes, I will say she’s extremely proud. We’ve had a couple of talks over the last year, actually. And it’s really nice to have those conversations with your parents as an adult and hear what they have to say and think. It was really kind of heartwarming, I would say.
John: That’s nice. That is great. You know, so many times we’re, you know, the people that we are today, it ultimately comes down to who we were, what our upbringing was. I love the fact that you’ve worked 20 jobs. It started in eighth grade. What was the coolest job you had as a kid?
Jen: Oh, man, I had some really good ones, I was even a pizza delivery person, I made really good tips. I would say I think the one I really enjoyed the most, most people are really surprised when they hear this. I used to work construction, so I was at O’Hare Airport redoing runways and taxiways. But I used to have a lot of fun doing construction because I got to be a boss. So that was fun. I’d walk around with, like, you know, a Nextel and a couple of different, you know, I look so cool. I had all these different walkie-talkies on me so I can talk to all different people. But that was the one I enjoyed the most. That to me was the most fun.
John: That’s cool. I love the whole experience of different things, I think is really important. I did so many, so many different jobs growing up and my favorite one was being a pizza maker. I gotta make it because I was a Pizza Hut chef. I call it a chef, even though they may not classify as a chef. I made pizzas and I got to take a pizza home every night. I could make a pizza and then take it home with me. It was unbelievable.
Jen: So, yes, I would if I would make the pizzas when I was at the pizza place because I actually was there to take orders. But when they would get busy, the owner would give me his car because I grew up so dirt poor we had nothing. So he’s like, here, take my car and go deliver pizzas. And then the guys in the kitchen would let me make them. They were great. The other fun thing to do is just down the road. I worked at TCBY Y and still a friend of mine to this day worked at Subway next door so we would knock on the wall and we would trade. Give you some ice cream if you give me a sandwich.
John: Now that sounds like the best job ever. I used to live on TCBY. I remember.
Jen: Oh my gosh. That I would bring home every night. It’s amazing I’m not three hundred pounds.
John: Oh ok. That’s great. Wow. I love that. So when you’re thinking about, you know, your next five years, ten years, what is your vision, what do you want that to look like.
Jen: Oh all right. So I’m already starting on it because I want to build my little empire. So I figure I am so blessed, fortunate to have this career that I want to include as many people as possible. So where I’m at right now, I’m the succession plan. So and whenever the owner of the company decides that she wants to retire or if she wants to retire, I mean, quite honestly, we’re like wine. The older we get, the better we get at this job, the more helpful we are. So she’s at the top of her game. But I’ve already started with an assistant, Brandon, who I’m very, very fortunate and blessed to have. He’s a whopping 22years old, fresh from U of I, and eager to learn.
Jen: And the most important thing that I like about him is he’s genuine. He is just genuinely a good person. And I know that he is going to help people and do right by people. So he is the assistant for right now, but he is studying to get licensed. And then the goal is, well, once he gets licensed and he starts taking on clients, we’re going to bring in another person to be our assistant, and then we’re going to train them, and then we’re just going to keep repeating the
cycle. So the goal is to have a bunch of advisors working with me so that we can help as many people as we possibly can.
John: I love that. And I got the great opportunity to meet you at your office and meet the rest of your team. Cathy, Brandon, Tom, everybody, you have a fantastic team, fantastic office. And I was struck by the culture. I just saw certain businesses you walk in, I think all businesses, you get a sense right away of the feeling and the culture. And there was such an element of positivity. There was a lot I felt there was a lot of mutual respect, admiration, great relationships, incredible competence, and talent. And it’s just rare. And it seemed like a very trusting, open environment as well. What is your take on how important culture is in an organization? You’ve got a lot of leaders that are listening to this, that run organizations, or that are small business owners that may or may not know the importance of it or even how to build the right culture. What’s your take on that?
Jen: I believe culture is either going to make or break you if that’s how important it is. I was very blessed to be a jack of all trades because it exposed me to great managers and great organizations, and it also exposed me to the absolute worst that is out there. And I can say
that if you don’t have a good culture, it takes one bad apple to infect the rest of the bunch. So if you’re not paying attention to the people who are working around you, you don’t know them on a personal level. You don’t know what drives them every day. Like I want to know. So if you’re having problems at home, like I want to know if someone’s sick in your family, because then if you kind of come in and you’re a little bit crabby, I know where it’s coming from.
Jen: And I’m not going to take it personally, but I’m actually going to ask how are they doing or how are you doing? Do you want to talk about this or whatnot? But the culture, I don’t think people realize that that can battle close businesses because if you don’t have mutual respect, there’s no honesty among coworkers and you don’t feel like we’re all moving in the same direction for the common goal. It’s all going to fall apart. You may hold it together for a little bit and it may look great on the outside looking in, but internally it’s just a ticking time bomb.
John: Mm-hmm. I agree 100 %. And I’ve seen this. Unfortunately, that culture can slide. I’ve seen organizations that have great cultures. And then a year later, they turn around and they’re scratching their heads saying, how do we get to this point? And oftentimes it’s that slow degradation of quality. It’s not overnight. It’s just a one percent difference every day or every week. That’s almost imperceptible. But then you see it over a period of time. It’s like not seeing, you know, a niece or nephew for six months and, you know, you see them and they’ve grown so much in between that period of time. The same thing for an organization.
John: It can go both ways. But I understand what you’re saying and the importance of getting the right people into that organization, the right people in and the wrong people out is really important as well. So I love everything you’ve said. You’ve got so much great advice.
And I know we’re running short on time. And I know there’s a lot of people out there, first of all, who would love to get in touch with you. So if they want to learn more about you, they want to talk to you or get a hold of you, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Jen: I would probably just say through our website just VoyageurgroupLTD.com. We are located in Joliet, Illinois. So Chicago, but just south and west of Chicago. But that would probably be the best way email and phone are. Everything is on there.
John: Excellent. Great. And not to put you on the spot, but I love it. Maybe some last words of wisdom that you can share with the audience members. We got people in all different walks of life that are just looking to lead their life better, whether that’s leading other people or leading themselves. That always starts with leading yourself. What parting words of wisdom would you give to someone who wants to either get on the right path, make a change, or just in the general lead their life better?
Jen: I would say you’ve got to be genuine, you’ve got to truly be who you are because otherwise, everyone’s going to see right through it. You can’t fake it to make it in this job or in this industry, you really have to be a genuinely good person, know who you are, know your core values, your core belief system. Someone I was at a meeting recently and I heard this, and this was one of those aha moments, something that was going to stick with me for life. And as a guy was up there talking, he’s like, you know, a lot of people talk about wealth and what that means to them. And he’s like, I think a true measure of wealth is what do people say about you when you’re not present? Because then, you know, if people are talking well about you, you’re a very wealthy person, it’s not just about money or who you are as a person speaks volumes across all areas of your life, not just business.
John: I love that. What great words of wisdom and great ways to wrap up this show. It has been fantastic talking with Jen. I appreciate it. And hopefully, we’ll get another time to do this down the road. And I know you’ve got big goals ahead, so I’m looking forward to watching your progress, and maybe we’ll have you back on and see how things are going down the road.
Jen: Yeah, I would love to thank you. And thank you again for having me on today.
John: You got it. So we’ve been here with Jen Prosise, who is a very successful financial adviser and has a successful life, offering some words of wisdom to everybody out there. Hope you’ve enjoyed this show today. As always, greatly appreciate your support by liking, sharing, subscribing, all that kind of good stuff. Go down below, give a five-star review and make sure you tune in next time for our next episode. Great stuff ahead. Great stuff to come. Thanks, everybody. Have a good one.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!