Shame and gut-wrenching fear: 20 years without the dentist.

Sitting in my dental hygienist’s chair gripping the arm rests to the point that I was ready to rip the leatherette and stuffing away from the steel frame, I had to keep willing myself to be calm and breathe.  Laying supine with my mouth gaping open while some dude was poking, and scraping, isn’t the scene where I can wax poetic or opine on some weighty issue.  I was focused on how many teeth he had left to do so I had some sense of when I could leave all that stress behind for another three months.

Don’t get me wrong, my hygienist is both gentle and patient.  Like my dentist, he is non-judgmental and encouraging.  But the journey to the hygienist chair was 20 years long.

I was at one point a custodial single parent.  That meant I had to make many decisions that parents must make, but some of them were weightier.  Cara and Shannon always came first and since money was almost always tight I neglected many things in my life, including my dental care.

As time went on the condition of my mouth got worse and worse.  It got to the point that I stopped smiling, I was so self-conscious.  But it took a decade for Linda, patient life-partner extraordinaire, to cajole me into walking into the dentist.

I was deeply ashamed and in absolute terror.  Childhood experiences coupled with a military dentist left me with a phobia that to this day I’m not sure I can adequately define.

Intellectually, abstractly, I was amazed at the warmth and kindness shown to me by both my dental clinic and equally my dental surgeon.  Without being pejorative, they were direct and honest without accusation.  After the initial assessment I agreed upon an eight-week course of freezing, drilling, sculpting and cleaning.

And I discovered the absolute delight of nitrous oxide.  A stressful time of my life professionally two years ago the gas itself was a great escape.  Every Friday afternoon at 4 I got to leave the world behind and float into the weekend.

How they approached me addressed the shame.  I wasn’t made to feel less-than, inadequate or somehow a failure.  And I could conquer my fear of dentists, or at least chain that beast, with a little help of some gas and a routine that I met without fail for that eight-week period.  And today I can smile, or at least learn to, with confidence.

Linda and I don’t have access to laughing gas although we can use a little humor to help put you at ease.  Our starting point is right now and what may come.  It’s our job to help you identify clearly what it is that you want to accomplish and help create a map for your journey to get there.

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada.  Why don’t you give me (437 266 1125) or Linda (426 266 1126) a call and help you begin the process of making more informed choices.

David Chellew and Linda Odnokon have been life partners and in business together for almost 19 years.  During that time, they have mellowed into their respective roles and enjoy working with individual investment clients.  Dave is a Portfolio Manager and Linda is an Investment Advisor with iAS and work out of the co-work space Brightlane on King West in downtown Toronto.

Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.

Value #5 Business and Digital Disruption: Perspective

Value #5 Business and Digital Disruption:  Perspective

Being a single parent when my daughters Cara and Shannon were toddlers meant keeping them on a schedule and providing for them.  Being too busy to enjoy some of the miracles of seeing through a young one’s eyes wasn’t all that unusual.  And being blinded by the stresses, trials and tribulations of everyday life meant that even when I wanted to, I couldn’t.

This past Friday I took the day off work and got to slow down a bit accompanying my oldest grandson, Alessio, on his adventures.  Going to see the dinosaurs at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) was as much about the journey there and back and giving him freedom to wander around the galleries that caught his interest.

I couldn’t help but notice that as much as we say that ‘childhood is wasted on children’ it was the parents who were rushing around ticking off the requisite destinations and once arriving rushing to and fro making sure to hit all the high points and exhibits.  Childhood is more often wasted on them.

As a grandparental I not only have the luxury of time if I wish to take it, but the great advantage of living close to many enriching opportunities, and can seek the opportunities to see the world through a two-year old’s eyes.

The fact that the ant crawling along the cracks of the sidewalk in Queen’s Park was more exciting than the prospect of seeing the dinosaurs at that one point shouldn’t have surprised me.  I was fascinated by Alessio’s focus on the insect struggling to climb up and around mountainous boulders in its path that to us were smaller than pebbles.  Only when he had satisfied himself by removing the “boulder” was he prepared to move on to his next adventure.

We all move about with blinders on.  I’m not sure we could cope with the constant bombardment of stimuli if we didn’t.  But if having perspective means having a broad vision, doing so from the tunnel of our own needs, experiences and expectations limits us to the often-heard refrain, “I should have seen that” or “I knew that!”

If there is one value that the advice-giving channel has as a competitive advantage, it is our ability to create and maintain perspective for our clients.  It doesn’t serve as a governor or limiter on actions or client behavior (in other words a conscience).   Instead we can provide a balance from which to make more informed decisions.  What a client does with their money is not my concern, but telling them the consequences of their decisions is.

Blowing past the blinders in social media can be difficult.  How far do I push provocation?  How blunt do I need to be?  What should my image be?  If I can’t get past people’s elaborate paradigms, particularly as wholesale change threatens the very foundation of those elaborate mental structures, how can I ask them to see my perspective as valid even though I resorted to some sort of shock approach?

Surfing through my morning social media take, I continue to be surprised by the depth and breadth of “sex, drugs and rock and roll” in messaging.  The seven deadly sins, or as a friend, mentor and supervisor from earlier in my career summed it up, “fear, greed and envy” are equally prominent.

My thirst for perspective, whether dealing with the sloppy commodity markets or with the specter of looming interest rate increases, is a combination of experience and an academic thirst for knowledge.  Communicating it and blowing past investor’s preconceptions is both a function of making bold statements and using bold imagery.

In fact, of the five values that forms our professional value proposition, it is this one that I work hardest at and yet the images we choose to use have the biggest impact.

But what I cannot do is rely on sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.

Value #1 Business and Digital Disruption: Idea Generation and Communication

Linda (@lindaodnokon) and I often have arguments about how often I give away my investment ideas for free.  Love of my life and business partner, I often frustrate her or lose my temper, but I fail to explain myself fully.

Ideas mean nothing without the ability to execute, and we have that capability in spades.  Nor does anybody benefit from taking advantage of an idea on their own; they have no idea when that thesis comes to an end nor will they subsequently benefit from the next idea, and the one after, and the one after that.

There is a whole industry out there dedicated to selling investment ideas.  It doesn’t matter what the quality is, and for the average investor something like the Motley Fool is superlative whereas some of the shills, otherwise known as newsletters, are nothing more than sensationalized pieces of poop, preying on baser emotions of fear, greed and envy.  Without subscribing for or paying for enriched content, you don’t get access to the ideas.

What is more important is that the ideas that appear in the press, whether publications like the Globe and Mail, or on business news networks like CNBC, or even newsletters good or bad, quickly result in a crowded trade.  I would love to be in a place where my opinion could move a market, but that’s not going to happen.  On the other hand, I won’t crowd the trade – I make money not on selling the ideas, but in executing timely ideas in an efficient and compliant way.

I have built a considerable business on at least five occasions relying on selling the “big idea”.  I’ve used seminars, cold calling, referrals and prospecting of friends and acquaintances. I’ve built extensive explanatory communications to make sure that I could explain both the complexity in simplest terms and in an ego gratifying way show that I can take all those disparate parts and package them up into something elegant.  And inadvertently I’ve built into those projects their own obsolescence – markets, tax regimes and economic conditions change, but a well-built structure is worthless because you can’t renovate the bones that it has been built on.

Information has become so much more freely available.  But as communication has disrupted tightly constrained paradigms, I have more freedom than ever to communicate timely ideas that cumulatively represent a whole that is unique. I can let the body of my work, the constant flow of ideas, cumulatively to represent a dynamic “big idea”.  And I don’t have to spend endless amounts of effort explaining myself, because either an investor will have to rely on my expertise or do the heavy lifting for themselves.

(CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.