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July 15, 2020

061 – Avoid Lifestyle Deficit Disorder & Create More Perfect Days with Cokie Berenyi

Are you Suffering from Lifestyle Deficit Disorder™ (LDD)? DISCOVER THE CURE!
Are you stressed, exhausted, overworked, and undervalued?
Are your friends and family only getting your leftovers?
Have you lost sight of your passion and what brings you joy?
Are you an entrepreneur and you've lost sight of why you went into business in the first place?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's possible you're suffering from Lifestyle Deficit Disorder™ (LDD).

In this interview, we discuss LDD and how to Create More Perfect Days.

Are you Suffering from Lifestyle Deficit Disorder™ (LDD)? DISCOVER THE CURE!

  • Are you stressed, exhausted, overworked, and undervalued?
  • Are your friends and family only getting your leftovers?
  • Have you lost sight of your passion and what brings you joy?
  • Are you an entrepreneur and you've lost sight of why you went into business in the first place?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's possible you're suffering from Lifestyle Deficit Disorder™ (LDD).

In this interview, we discuss LDD and how to Create More Perfect Days.


  • Cokie Berenyi is a 20+ year Assest Manager and founder of Alphavest.
  • Cokie helps her clients base their investment decisions around their Perfect Day vision.
  • She has climbed 5 of the 7 major mountain summits of the world. (Some with her daughters, as early as 9 years old).
  • She founded the She Climbs, a non-profit that takes girls and young women on mountain climbing expeditions.
  • “As a new mother of two girls, I was terrified of all that could go wrong with raising girls. It was very clear to me that the key to successfully raising them was to do everything I could to build their self-esteem and confidence.”



2:30 - Making Perfect Days Really Simple by Leveraging Gratitude

6:00 - Death, Divorce & Rehab (When the Endless Pursuit of Money Isn't Everything)

9:45 - The Addict's Answer to "How Much Money Do You Want to Make?"

15:00 - What Most Entrepreneurs Say They Love Most About Their Work

18:00 - Signs that You Might Have "Lifestyle Deficit Disorder" (Not an official Psychological Disorder, by the way... it's a concept).

20:50 - "Pay Yourself First With Life"

22:15 - The 411 Strategy to Achieve a Perfect Day 

30:35 - The Asset that Asset Management Clients Value Most

39:45 - Learn from Other People's ER (Emergency Room) Moments

43:30 - What the Wealthiest People Know About Happiness that Most People Don't

48:45 - The Problems that Come with Success

53:00 - Guaranteed ROI Investments

54:15 - The Hilarious & "Inappropriate" Original Title for her Book (rejected by the publishing company)

56:00 - The AWESOME Sacrifice she made for her daughters (a huge gift)

57:40 - Why she works a 4-day work week



  • Cokie's Original Book Title (at 54:15)
  • "Sometimes you do what you love, and the money follows. Sometimes you do what you love, and your kid vomits on you."





Essentialism by Greg McKeown

The Strategic Coach Program

  • Cokie and I met in this program.
  • Dan Sullivan and their team are FIRST CLASS.

 The Book referenced was The Gap and the Gain










I hide this Wade here again, and today I'm very happy to have on a friend of mine, a long time friend, we've kept in touch a little bit here and there over the years. Cokie Berenyi Coqui is one of those people that makes you feel just a little insecure about your resumé. Coke is a mother, business owner or a founder of two non-profits, and I love that she wears the hat of financial samurai to her clients. She's the author of The Perfect Day and the Liberated Investor, a 40 under 40 recipient, a woman CEO of the year.


And I'm going to let her more tell you about what she does with this. But just to briefly mention, she's the founder of Alphavest, an industry pioneer, really looking to what she calls right size Wall Street and the approach to how she takes care of clients. One client at a time. And she also inspires entrepreneurs and individuals, easier entrepreneurs and individuals. It's funny when you read that things get messed up very quickly. Entrepreneurs interpret with their vision and really just perspective on life.


And I just when I saw stuff, I hadn't actually there in a while. So she's up to really excited to bring her on. And especially for those of you who are focusing on that work life balance, whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're an employee, whatever stage you're at, a lot of us sometimes get the benefit of seeing what other people are doing and then learning from their mistakes. And I've been presented with that. And I think Coqui, through the client she's worked with, has a perspective that's well beyond her years and wisdom.


So I'm so happy to have everybody dun dun dun Cokie Berenyi. Welcome, Khalaji.


Thank you, Wade It's it's awesome to see you again and just to have an opportunity to have a conversation so already so this makes today a perfect day.


Awesome. Boom. All right. So start a little bit just to give you what I'm doing and maybe how you can best help our audience. And a lot of the people I'm working with are just trying to get to that sense of an ideal day, an ideal week, an ideal life, and it can seem so far away. Maybe start out with a little bit of what brought you to this concept of a perfect day, what got you excited about it?


And by all means, feel free to go in any order. I'm certainly not a sequential speaker, but what really brought you to that and what has made it so important for the people you work with?


This is my favorite thing to talk about, so thanks for asking. And I think first I'd love to start is to underwhelm the listener, because whenever I talk about perfect days and having more perfect days in your life, I consistently get this deer in the headlights looking back at me. Like, what I mean, is that even possible perfect days. And like, I don't even know what that looks like and it just feels undoable. And it just seems that that's that's what stares back at me.


And so I just want to say, this is hokey as it may sound, having more perfect days in your life really just starts with a disciplined practice of gratitude. And for those of you are saying, no, that's just can't be just try it, try it. So everyone's a gratitude. Practice can be different. Mine's pretty simple. I do three things. My kids join me. We do three things at the end of the day. And I put them in a jar and it could it could range from I had an incredible podcast with Wade Galt today.


I was really thankful for the opportunity or it could be I pulled one out of the jar the other day. My kid put in I love that Wendy's offers a Mediterranean salad. I mean, it's just the little things. So sometimes they're not always big. So that's number one. Is that for those of you listening and for your clients who think that perfect days are far reaching, being grateful for things is just not something we we do with our brain every day.


And so taking that opportunity is is absolutely a pillar of having more perfect days in your life. So obviously I have a process. I started this perfect process with my clients some ten, eleven years ago. I've been in the asset management business for going on, I believe, twenty four years now. I've got to cover it up a little bit. The wrinkles are there.


They've been around, right?


They are harder than the market has done, most of it the market of my two teenage girls, most of the aging for me, all that to say, managed a practice thirteen years prior to going into perfect process. And what the result was, is, as you can imagine, clients would come to me in on a wealth path. I want to grow wealth. I want to make more money, whether it's for returns or I want to do more with what I'm with, what I'm saving, or I want to grow my business or businesses.


And it was this pursuit of more OK. And I'll quote a few people, but it's really the was the somewhat undisciplined pursuit of more because it was all just about money. Money was the focus. And that's what I do. I've got my series seven am I sixty three. And I'm a CFP and I've been managing hundreds of millions of dollars for hundreds and hundreds of clients, both individually and institutionally. But what I found out. Was that for most of them, it was an empty pursuit and here's the want, and you may cut this from the interview because it's dark and dreary.


Oh, I love it when I tell you this is going to be one of the highlight reels.


Well, so when I woke up and I'm a statistic and you don't know this about me just yet, but so when I woke up, what I realized was I was I was sending my clients on a path and yes, we were achieving more wealth and yes, we were achieving better returns. And yes, we were chasing the money needle and it was working and it was going all the right way. But there was so much else that wasn't going the right way.


And it's the three things. And unfortunately, I call it death, divorce and rehab. That's what I've had the quote unquote air quotes for your listeners. I've had the quote unquote benefit of. Seeing that and seeing that endless pursuit of money and what it can cause, whether it's the heart attacks from stress and I can't I can't I can count on one hand the rehabs of my clients and my clients children. I cannot count on one hand. And the divorcées, I can't count on two hands, so when I when I woke up and said, wow, I need a more disciplined process, it's the most like Maslow's hierarchy, right.


Just sort of moved up the ladder in terms of I don't want to just deliver you to the wealth engine like I can do that. I knew there was something more and selfishly taking clients through this process because it reveals more about who they really are and their value systems and their beliefs. It's cemented my best client relationships. So that's the selfish part. But but the converse of that is, is it absolutely helps me serve them better as an advisor, consultant or asset manager for them because I can help make them better decisions.


Forest for the trees for what they really, really want. So when the client comes to me and says. I want the fourth house in the Bahamas. I'm like, let's go back to your perfect day, because I think it talked about simplifying your lifestyle and liquidity and the freedom to choose and to your wife and I don't know. So it helps us go around and and reveal maybe the dust under the shiny baubles that sometimes that's so awesome. People like to pursue when they're.


I know well, thank you. It's a it's been very gratifying, and I'll tell you this, Wade sitting in a conference room with new clients or old clients, existing clients. Perfect day process does not come naturally to me. I would love for you to whip out your statements and let me get out an Excel spreadsheet and let me get out my financial planning software. Comfy mumfie. You need a 401k. You need to do some Roth conversions and some cash balance plans and a profit.


I got two, but the perfect process is the hard stuff. And but what I know is it's. It's what. It's the clarity that everyone deserves to give themselves.


That's so cool, I know when I've worked with clients and coming from a similar slightly different background where I grew up in the insurance industry, but similar concept of helping people look at how do you best protect less focus on the growth of the assets, but protecting and a lot of the same conversations about, OK, there's the money or the thing, but why? What's behind it? And in the background, I would do psychology, did my masters in psychology and brought some of that to the work.


And I'd ask people, how much money do you want to make? And the scariest answer I sometimes hear heard about maybe one out of every four or five times is as much as possible, say, oh, that's that's kind of the answer of the addict, just stereotypically of the person, because they don't even know that one. I just want as much as I could. And what I love about the financial world is there are some anchors of numbers if you only do coaching and there's nothing wrong with doing coaching, but and if you don't bring numbers in, then people can very easily dismiss it as being airy and fairy and light and perfect day.


That's great. And and your gratitude. That's so nice and the most. And and they just slip up and there's this part that when people then have assets involved or business or all involved, profit and loss, and then all of a sudden they'll hear a little more to your same statement. OK, your fourth house. OK, let's talk about diminishing returns. What is your fourth house going to do for you that your other three haven't done for you?


Or sometimes I tell people, look, if you're unable to get your desired result in four days of work, what's that magical fifth day going to be like? And I think those are some of the harder questions. They certainly, as you mentioned, lead to deeper client relationships, lead to usually serving the client better if they want to grow. They definitely are more interesting than just doing the same thing day in and day out and definitely, hopefully challenged people to have a broader view of things, because, of course, you know, the money is usually for something.


It represents something. And I love your phone. You mentioned death, divorce and rehab. And again, these are things people don't like to talk about, but usually those are the symptoms of the flip side. So you have the person that says, I led a great life, but I didn't save money. And there's not a you know, there's some things that are not so good about that. And then there's also I've saved a lot of money, but I have a great life.


And I just from years ago, I think I kind of got this perspective. My mother was if every day you have a good day, we've had a good life, it can be.


That is that is very perfect day. Share with me your mother's name and. And OK, thank you, and I love that, I love that quote. I love that. And it's very, very perfect desk, and that's that's why I started with wanting to do the underwhelming aspect of perfect day, because perfect days aren't just this process is not just for the person who has four houses. I mean. Honestly, if we do have a perfect day and I don't know if my framework, but I have a little I have a little I like to bring hacks to it because just like you said, people like, oh, yeah, gratitude and blah, blah, blah, and how do we do it?


So how do you have a perfect day? So I think your mom would agree and thank you that I say that you do four things before 11 a.m. but those four things are centered around the four things that should be balancing the pursuit of a life well lived. So it's not money is is a quarter that your finance and your financial life is just one quarter of that. Because when we depart this earth and that's the other grim part of this process, is that we depart this earth.


But it's really matters, how about I ask you that when you depart this Earth Wade, what's the most important thing that you'll be thinking about when you when you depart, when you say, have your last breath, last breath?


For me, it's actually something I've thought a lot about, and it's so much part of it, not from an ego standpoint of how will I be remembered, because it's not so much about the reputation part. But yeah, what will people think in the sense of. Oh, I remember that Wade was a nice guy. I remember Wade inspired me in some way or Wade taught me to see the best myself specifically. I'm really big on having helping to facilitate people enjoy life.


People loved themselves and just. Not taking stuff so seriously and just being present for whatever it is that's important to them and knowing that somewhere in some way I contribute to that, or at the very least, you know, put a smile on their face or made them laugh very often with an inappropriate joke. That's also I'm big on those, but just something I get like life was enjoyed. It wasn't so serious. And in fact, I'm even realizing, as you're talking, the brilliance of the perfect day versus knowing the perfect week.


The perfect month. Perfect. Yeah. Nope, nope, nope. Just just one day. So, yeah, if I could be and that'd be pretty cool.


One isn't that and I don't mean to lead the witness, but isn't that really if you could sum it up in one word, it would be there for me, for what you just described would be connection or impact or relationships.




And really, none of that has to do with money, you don't have to have money to do any of those things, nor does it have to be centered around our career. But by the way, if we can connect and impact and better our relationships to our career, perfect day. Right. So kudos to you.


Yeah, well, you know, it's funny, I was just at a workshop that I was hosting for entrepreneurs and asked them a little bit about why did they get started and what do they enjoy most and what are the most grateful for. And I very often hear the thing they're most grateful for are the people. They mean it's not the money that they make. It's the people they meet, the connections they make. You know, as an entrepreneur, when I run in these people, when I go to seminars or I meet people or I grow a business or employees, I have a freelancers that work with me.


They usually talk about the relationships. They might also talk about the work in the nature of the work. I can't ever think of a time when somebody said just outright the money. It's you know, and even if it is, the money is because the money allows me to watch the money, give you our time with my kids, my wife, my family. And one of the things that I try to remind people of, because I've, as you have seen, many people with money and without money who are happy, actually many people with money and without money who are not so happy.


And so I've at least become very clear that money is not the primary variable. To be really clear. I'd rather have it than not have it. I look up, I believe there's a God. So yes, I'd rather have to not have it. But I also am pretty great that I've been an asset management for twenty four years. And as anyone who believes that you need money in your life, not for happiness, but it's me. I believe that I got it.


Yes. I'm not going to write myself out of a job there.


Oh, no, no, no. We don't want to do that. But at the same time, when I talk with people, it's even, you know, what would the money do for you? And then you start taking a step back and say, OK, well, how many of the things that are important to me could I do if I didn't have the money? As a parent? We do things that we have to do. So there's that question.


What would you do if you had a hundred million dollars in the bank? And I hear people say, that's your Soul Work. I said, no, no, no, that's not your Soul Work. That's your ideal lifestyle. And that would be really cool to me. Your Soul Work is what you do if you have zero dollars in the bank, like your kid wakes up in the middle of the night and you need to feed him or need to comfort him, nobody's paying you to do that.


But you'll do that. That's your purpose. And of course, the purpose and the profit don't always go together. Sometimes you do. You love the money follows. Sometimes you do what you love and your kid vomits on. You necessarily mean you get paid for it. But I think there's a balance. And it sounds like you're very much in that conversation of both of how people do both. So it's not this sort of deluded stereotypical hippie version of what we're just going to all just hope we're going to live on love and everything, take care of itself at the same time.


It's also not this just monomaniacal pursuit of only money, assuming that some larger number on a piece of paper is going to all of a sudden unlock some level of happiness. So what do you find when you talk with your clients? How do you know or if they're self examining, how do they know if they're really in a good place with their relationship with money and how they live their life and when maybe they do have what you call that lifestyle deficit disorder, where maybe that's perhaps creeping in a little more than would be desired.


Well, lifestyle deficit disorder is something that I suffer from, and I believe that it's something that once you have it, you always have it and you just have to keep it at bay. I am here at forty six years of age recently. Just sort of. Unofficially diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, so it's kind of funny that it comes two years after, I guess I had a very sneaking suspicion two years ago when I coined and patented lifestyle deficit disorder that it's something that all of us entrepreneurs sort of suffer with.


Right. Squirrel, squirrel, shiny bauble. Go after this new idea. A new vision. Pravit Yes. Correct. So it's it's that un it's that feeling of just being out of control and being on this hamster wheel of life. And it's a life that looks like you're living it by default to not by design. And I take that phrase from one of my favorite authors, Greg McCowen, of Have You Read Essentialism? And if not, all your listeners need to write that down essentialism when you talk about things being grateful for.


I had the opportunity last week to actually have a post keynote conversation with him one on one. Got to tell him you have gone to the roof of four of the seven summits of the world with me because I take that book with me a week. Maybe this part of the interview into which part of my very first perfect day, which is being an Alpine mountaineer. But I got to meet Greg McCowen last week and it gave me a big old bear hug at the end.


And it just was so inspiring. And just that concept. And I think that's just like a directive that you could take to your clients. And I know you subscribe because of the 4-Day Work Week. It's it's do you want to live your life by default or by design? And that's I mean, it's it's a yes or no answer. And so the world ebbs and flows and you can wake up and going, oh, I'm living by default, not by design.


Zohn it in. Get your time systemin. We hone your perfect day, get super clear about where you want to be. But I think that idea of essentialism and keeping elders at bay is how you have perfect days and just simple framework for one. One, like I mentioned, makes it pretty easy. But paying yourself first financially is sort of a concept we've all heard about. Right. Which you should also pay yourself first with life. And so when we talk about that elusive work life balance thing, here's the deal.


Little secret. I believe there's no such thing as perfection, says the author of Perfect Day. And I don't believe that there's such a thing as balance, but that for one one framework for a perfect day sort of is this yin and yang of balance of the imbalance of balance. So it's shoving everything for you, paying yourself first, shoving everything for you in the first part of your day, and then throw in the rest of pot. And who knows what happens after 11:00 a.m. the world is the world can push and pull on you.


And I'm telling you, it's happened. I can do my four one once and I can have a flight get canceled. True story. And be in Atlanta and the flight gets canceled and I can't get home, and what because I actually did my four one ones that day, it was still a perfect day. So it's an example of how life can still give you lemons. But if you've paid yourself first and done some some far reaching little micro tasks, that gets you towards this bigger vision of what you really, really, really want, then you can absolutely have more perfect days in your life.


Absolutely, I love that default rather than design. I definitely need to check out that book out, make sure we put that in the show notes. Tell me a little bit for one one. What's that?


It's doing four things before 11 a.m.. That's going to make it a perfect day. So go back to our strategic coach days, so we're filling out our pocket coach and you have these things and I'll I'll speak. I'll speak essentialist. I'll be Greg McCown for a little bit, which is very perfect day. What are the four things that are essential and pick a time frame? So you and I are your listeners are sitting here a year from today.


It's April the twenty ninth, two thousand and twenty or whatever date this airs. Write that down listeners, write it down whatever a year or whatever time frame you want. But I would suggest pick a year. You're going to have to do a reset. You have to go outside, you put your toes in the sand, you'd have to take a break to really think about what is what are the what are the crucial and essential things that you want to be true a year from today.


Make sure there are only fifty one percent possible. So don't don't have these constraints of time and money and I can achieve those. And how how am I going to do this. That's why you have to really, I mean if you have to drink beer, drink a couple, I don't know. But it's hard to switch our brains to get into the place to say. What am I going to be brave enough to actually put down on the piece of paper?


Here's the deal and it's free. I do have a webinar. It's in our webinar that takes the can take you through a very quick version of Perfect Day. Cokie Berenyi dot com, and it'll give you in an hour just a quick framework as to how to do this reset, put your toes in the sand and write it and create it. But for one, one is basically what are the four things? Because it's really forcing your hand to say, you know what, we all wear ten hats.


And as a woman and a single mother, I have to tell you. Were and this is reverse sexist, sorry, but we're worse at that than our male counterparts we wear typically. 30 percent more hats, I would say, than our male entrepreneur counterparts. But the bottom line is, as we all suffer from wearing too many of them and the way the essentialist says, if you wear all these hats, you're going to achieve nothing. You know, where's the quality in that?


Where's the design? So you got to I tell my clients to put a virtual hat rack in the corner. So around the corner, your office, you can sort of look over there and you're going to have to decide which hats you're going to put aside. It doesn't mean you don't get to put the hat on every now and again over the course of the next year. It just means that when you have another free minute of time that comes in your life or an extra dollar, you know, the four hats you've chosen, you're going to spend that time and money on.


And so that's what for one want to helps you do, so your four one one, three or four things you do before 11 may just be tiny tasks that take 10 seconds or ten minutes. It shouldn't be two hours of your life that's devoted to these four major tasks, but it's just about keeping momentum and progress towards that vision. Did that make sense?


Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I think for a lot of I have this handy dandy. I have this handy dandy little for one one like mine's a mass, a little Patagonia's sticker and it's just out of my notes into it. But like, if I fill this out every day and I and I go about my day and it happens, it's magic.


Very cool. Will definitely include the link to the webinar on that. Yeah. It's something I think that it's most of us have read it and we've heard it. It's the counterintuitive stuff. It's like when people hear me say, oh, you're going to work less and make more really Wade it sounds like you're in your Insurance bill. Right? OK, sounds like Insurance like sleezy cheesa Insurance salesperson's promis. Somehow you're going to make magic happen. And it's really not so much magic because there's just no and look, you can't you know, there's there's a concept in software you'd rather have a half completed project that is one hundred percent work.


In other words, no bugs then to have a project that's double the size and fifty percent of its crashin. So people get, you know, if you work it in that way or other different ways or just say you're going to do a little bit at a time, or probably one of the best things I've heard helped me with the scroll. Singerman, what do I do next? And was look, you can do everything, just write it all down, but you're only going to do one or maybe two or three things at a time.


And like you say, so maybe maybe there's this hat rack and maybe there are some of the ones in the front, maybe the back. And I don't really know what it looks like, but I'm imagining mine and mine would kind of have this thing like a dry cleaner. It comes out in front where I'm like, OK, those are the hats I'm going to be looking at a few months from now. I'm going to put them back there.


I love those hats, but I'm not ready for that. Absolutely. I think even just that that sense of having some sort of balance, because, again, just a simple concept as a parent to say how can I simultaneously focus on my business, that I care about my children that I care about, and let's say be present with my friends. You can't do all three at the same time, and it doesn't mean that one is more important than the other, you really have to kind of I don't know, it's like a serial monogamy or whatever.


The thing is, you have to be present with one and then you can move on to the next one. But I think we have this expectation that we can do multiple things. And as it's been demonstrated, this thing called multitasking, there really is no such thing. Our brain doesn't work that way. Our brain does work on one task at a time. And so it might happen quickly that we do this, do this, but it's actually still single tasking in sort of this serial way.


There was read an article that explained it better and that our brain takes so much time to reset when we keep changing tasks. And so in all of this, so much of this is just an expectation when you compare what we have and how simple, as we say, gosh, I wish I had it simpler, like kids to have it simpler. We'll just have less things take take take some things off the plate or at least push them to the back.


And it sounds easy and it's certainly not easy. But I think to your point, with checking in each day of what you're grateful for, you check in for more than a week of what you're grateful for. And you almost say, when I'm noticing the pattern here, the things that most grateful for usually don't fall under the category of money or productivity or, hey, my Ariana, I just went up. Usually it has something to do with a relationship or an achievement or a challenge or something.


We didn't know we could do something that's more speaks to our spirit. And I think that's something that I find the clients I have that when they're coming to me, they're talking me about how much more. In my case, it might be more of their business, how much more they need to make. And they're so dissatisfied with Suzy or Johnny because they need to perform more. And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's talk about your weekend was like my weekend was horrible.


I obsessed over my business. OK, so that's the issue. You're not finding happiness. It's not about Johnny or Susie or EROI or whatever, because Johnny had good months and you've had good months. But that expectation, and especially in with what's going on in the world, there's expectation things that you continue to go like this. Certainly I mean, this week it's reverse on the camera, but the things are just going to keep going up. And if you look at the Western world specifically, if you you and I live in America, United States of America, we're used to economy going up and things increasing.


And now that you have a world economy, things are sort of flattening out a bit because the opportunities being spread and people are kind of losing their mind, like, oh, we're America, everything's supposed to go up. And no, it doesn't always work that way. And what do you do when you realize that, no, you're not always going to make all the money in the world forever. What is your what are you leaning your happiness against?


And like you said, what are you grateful for?


The gratitude. Exercise for the perfect day process, I'm going to I'm going to give a little bit away here to the process, what it leads to is this Aha moment. Of what are your most prized assets in your life? Because when you do an asset inventory and you ask clients and they come into your asset management business and they've got their Merrill Lynch statements or whomever, and and when they get into asset mode, it's houses, cars for one case.


But again, when you do the gratitude exercise, it's not what hits the paper. And so what I learned when I wrote my very first perfect day in two thousand and three. I think this might be a good story for your listeners, but what I learned in two thousand and three with perfect day and how it was the perfect day process was brought to me and what I've done to air quotes, again, perfect it or make it a little bit better, because isn't that what we do as entrepreneurs?


Right. We just take a wheel and we just make it bigger and better and more efficient. So what I found with myself and some others, not not so much with with myself and others in 2003, with our perfect as written, is that there were a lot of shiny baubles written in them. And so this gratitude exercise is the foundation of writing your best perfect day and forget about writing your perfect day. It's the foundation for having that clarity and that vision.


So if your listeners salivate at the idea clarity or salivate at the idea of vision, and I certainly do, it's like we can never have enough can never have enough clarity of vision. Right. It starts with the gratitude process, because when you look at your gratitude lists in your inventories nine times out of ten, your perfect recipe is just simply going to be about making more of what's already on your list. So whatever's on your list, if you're thankful for your health, if you're thankful for your relationships, if you're thankful for your farm, make more of that, better that.


And, you know, it's unfortunate, the human condition. This gets a little bit back to the multitasking, it's unfortunate the human condition is one of. Taking our most prized assets for granted and how all our brains lie to us all the time about multitasking and about the idea of distractions or our businesses and how the lie of if I spend my whole weekend focusing on my business, it's somehow it's going to better my life when really it's just a distraction away from the things that are most important to you.


And so your brain. Our brains lie to us every day and it tells us that multitasking this is great because I'm so busy or I'm working all weekend on my business. And that must mean I'm so successful. No, not at all. Not at all. So I think, again, not to beat a dead horse, but when you do go through a perfect process and identify the four hats that come first. So it's a filter, right.


I now have more time. For some reason I got lucky and I found an extra hour in my day or I found an extra ten dollars. What are you going to do with it? You go to your four hats and it goes there. That's it. It's not to say that. Not to say that you're not going to pick up that other hat at some other point, but nine times out of ten, one of those hats is is you and your health and your family and your relationships.


And so my goal is to. Impact others to that, that's their answer, that that's where they put their next resource. So I think that that's been one of the big ideas, but, you know, the two thousand and three perfect day, I want to share this with your listeners because again, I love the idea of underwhelming people. And here's what you need to know, is that in twenty three, I was managing upwards of three, three and million in assets and I was a one armed paper hanger and I was newly married, no children.


And my business coach said, you've got to come in and you've got to do this thing called. You've got to take an entire day and you're going to pay me for it and you're going to write your perfect day. And yes, you're not going to earn any money. This is a nonrevenue day and you're going to pay me you're going to sit in a room with strangers and you're going to sit down and write and and write your perfect day.


And I'm like, I'm going to do what? So I said, yes. And the moment I said yes is probably when I probably peed my pants the worst, because it was like when I do that, I'm committed and I'm in. So I'm in. It was a cold day in January, twenty three, and I literally pull in on two wheels in my car and I'm blaring Enya and I'm late. I'm like, I'm blaring in so I can try and get in the zone of, like, Zen.


What am I doing? Like, OK, get in the zone. Get in the zone. You're wasting an entire day. You're not going to earn any money. It's cost a lot. Turn it up louder. Go faster like this. Complete conundrum, right. I pull it on two wheels. I remember this. I go to get out of the car and my seatbelt is still on. And so I basically get whiplash. I mean, I can't even get out of the car to run into the workshop and I'm late.


And what I need you to know is that was my frame of mind, so if that feels familiar to you and I still get there, I still have those days, by the way. I do often. Often. But what listeners need to know, and this is in the book, the book, I believe, is free download still at Cokie Berenyi Dotcom. But and I share a copy of my perfect day in the book. But what emerged in your listeners don't know this, but I'm from Charleston, South Carolina.


I was raised at sea level, never climbed a mountain in my life, and I walked out of that two thousand and three workshop. Call the Seven Summits of the world, and I had a nonprofit called she claims it was to empower and build the self-confidence of women and teens of all women of all ages. Fast forward 12 years, and this is the underwhelming part, because I don't know how that happened. I still don't know how that happened.


I promise you, I don't. And it was not Inya like blowing out the base in my car that day. It wasn't. I love you, Inya. But no, I still don't know how that happened, all by the grace of God. But the intention of of wanting clarity and wanting vision I need everyone to know is enough. That's enough. Next step is writing it and putting on the page is enough. You don't even have to look at it again.


If you write it and put it on the page, you heard the stories about some of the bogus this, I think there's some bogus stats around the success of the people who actually write down their goals. But same thing. You don't even have to relook at your perfect day. Just just try it. Just try and get in the moment. Try and get one written, because fast forward 12 years. I'm summiting Kilimanjaro with my nine year old daughter, who becomes the youngest female American to climb to climb Kilimanjaro.


And she climbs was born. So I'm Wade, you know me, and when I write something down, guess when I want it done yesterday, I don't have anyone that resonates with anyone. But 12 years to the future she claims is born and 16 years to the future. 17 will be next year, I'll be topping out. Lord willing, Mount Everest, which will be my fifth of my seven summits of the world. That's awesome. So it's just setting in attention and it doesn't have to be it doesn't have to be a grind, doesn't have to constantly be rolling a boulder up a hill in this constant push to achieve all these things.


It just takes renewing your sense of who we are and what we're doing here on the face of this planet. And you said something earlier about your clients and asset protection. And I think that. Again, whether you have a client was five million or five thousand dollars in their in their bank account or on their net worth statement. The sooner that they can realize and learn from the E.R., I call them moments in the book, the sooner that they can learn from all the death, divorces and rehabs that I'm trying to spread among the world and sprinkle of all you know, they have a choice.


Either you can learn them by listening and actually. Having some sort of transformative change in your life, or you can have the moment yourself and you can wake up yourself and you know what the statistics are and which one is which way it usually goes. It's unfortunate that most people like the child touching the burner. They have to touch the burner themselves. So it's my sort of overall overarching goal to try and get people to sidestep those moments. But the sooner that people at large, no matter what your net worth, can learn that our greatest asset is our ability to contribute.


The sooner that we can learn that, the sooner we find happiness and joy, and that's honestly what everyone wants, right?


Absolutely. And one of the things I'm going to throw something by that I I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this, but what I've experienced or what I've seen is in watching people that have a lot of money and people have far more money than I have or earn more than I have. I've seen something that and I think it's almost like kind of the great secret of the great lie and I'll make, first of all, like analogies and I'll share the secret sauce, build up to hear, you know, if you were to tell most people or have them experience, OK, like take a teenager and say, OK, let's have you get up in the morning three times and let's have you feed this thing called a baby.


And I've heard some parents do this when they hear their kids might be coming active little earlier than they'd like or whatever, like, OK, let's get you up for a month, three times every day. You might not romanticize as much specifically something that could lead you to getting pregnant. And again, it's almost maybe even a little pragmatic as opposed to the whole idealistic view. But just really simple. Like you might not want to be a parent yet.


And you'd say, OK, maybe they'd have a different appreciation. And the person says, oh, guess what? My husband and I just got married. We're not happy. And or my wife and I just got married. We're not happy. We're not going to do we're going have a kid like that's the fix. That's that's that's not the approach. And what I don't want to talk about, I want you to experience that, you know, and having children, it can be beautiful, but it's work.


And so most people you can hear in their in their how they talk, whether they have children or not, with the way they refer to certain things or how easy certain things are. And similarly, I think there is I got this second hand to your point. I got to watch a lot of my father's friends, my I was a very talented entrepreneur. And back in the eighties, a lot of my father's friends were making multiples of six figures, which back then is like, you know, at least seven figures in today's money for the most part, and at least where they were because they were high and mid to high up six figures.


And I got to see and this is net income just in case, you know, people talk about gross, this is their net income and more money than not to do it. And again, some were very happy and some were just so miserable. But the ones that were most miserable there was this. They got blindsided because they really genuinely thought these are good people, hard working that thought when I hit this number and it's all going to change and I've always told people the reason why I think sometimes some of the biggest meltdowns come from your stereotypical Hollywood star sports star that has literally eight, nine figures of assets or whatever it might be.


Your income is it? They actually know what the majority of the population doesn't know. The majority, the population is still said, oh, when I get there and they've got that hope. So I don't know. It's it's it's not it's not fun now. But when I get there and so they're living off of that, whereas the others, they know the truth. And if you've lived your life up against that ladder, if you've really bet all your money on, you know, that what happens when it's not there, I can imagine that can be very disconcerting when you.


And that's an understatement. I'm trying to work on my words, so don't use that big fancy the saucy words. In essence, you don't realize you put all your life into that and then they start thinking about I gave up this and gave up that. I gave up that for this. And that's the part I think that sometimes people have. And so what I love about talking to someone like you, who's worked with people is really genuinely and specifically in the perfect day.


Unless I'm mistaken, your model is not set up to make a bazillion dollars off of that. You're already good. You're making money, don't you? Already do. So this is more of a passion thing for you. I mean, not that you can't make money, but you don't you don't need it to eat. And so to tell someone, look, this is somebody who doesn't need you to buy their course is not her only source of income.


That said, look, I work with people that have lots of money. And and again, it's great when they can do it. But I mean, what's your experience on that or what would you say to that, this idea of people betting so much on it and then realizing that it's not it, and then that being probably one of the bigger disappointments for them?


I would say one hundred percent of the time and in my business, in my line of work finance regulated by the FCC, blah, blah, blah, you can never say this, right? So it's not in my it's not in my fabric to speak this way. But let me just say this. One hundred percent of the people we are all wired with, what I call and you know this through strategic coach and otherwise a cognitive horizon as a horizon out there that we're always moving towards you never, ever get there.


And one hundred percent of us. Are wired that way, that's how we were born. That's how our brains are built. And so there's no question if you're going after that shiny bauble or I'll be happy when you fill in the blank. It's just it's a lie. It's another one of the lies and. The recipe going back to an ad for one one is you've got to find it today. You just you have to find the happiness and the joy to day and again.


I'll give you five thousand dollars or five hundred million dollars if you don't find it today, there's no guarantees for it tomorrow and it's just as simple as that. And if you want to put your hand on the burner, you could put your hand on the burner, but you're going to get burned and it's going to hurt. And so you have a choice. You have a choice. And what I've seen with money and Greg McCowen talks about this in essentialism, and I think it's classic because you can for your entrepreneur clients who can think about some of the greatest corporate failures and what comes to mind.


I mean. Right now, it comes to mind for me is is Blockbuster or Toys R US, it also comes to mind for me is Lucent Technologies and sort of dating myself. But back in the day before Lucent failed, it was the number one most widely held stock on the New York Stock Exchange and an asset manager. I know this. We all had Lucent. Right. So. Then transpose that to the human, to to the entrepreneur, to the individual, and and do sort of this parallel with corporate success, it's you either have these failures, such as we just eliminated, either you have these failures or you have these plateau's.


And so think about yourself personally and financially or with your own business, are you are you growing? Or are you plateauing or are you failing and what comes with success? Is options, right, opportunities, right? Your business starts thriving, and so then you have all these different opportunities, whether within your business or with whether your personal life. Right. And so what happens when you get options?


And depends if you know what you want to do with them to your point, if you're if you're not on target, I imagine, at least in my experience, I can undo all the good stuff specifically financially. I can undo all the good by not knowing what I want to do with that stuff. I know. That's for sure.


So if you don't have vision and clarity and you have all those options back to your back to your clients who have all high net worth, high net income, and you talk about how you have all this all this extra wealth doesn't mean you have more time in your life. You're also managing all that wealth. So with with success comes opportunities and with opportunities comes complexity. Yeah, OK, we don't want complexity, right, we want simplification, at least I do.


Oh, it's simple. Simple, like make it simple, baby. And so that's that's the secret sauce of whether you fail or plateau or grow is when you get to that opportunity bucket. Do you really have a clear vision and can you keep it simple? Delegable. If you don't have the vision, and I like that Greg suggests every 90 days doing a reset and he says you can't and I agree with him wholeheartedly. Again, go back to me on two wheels, pull into the parking lot blaring.


And, yeah, you can't you can't get into the space of creating the clarity and the vision of what you really want. That's going to be rooted in your values and your beliefs and bring you happiness. You can't get there without sort of stepping outside of yourself every 90 days is impressive. I, I don't own a highly disciplined way. I do it every 90 days. I get the benefit of any time I take clients to a perfect day boot camp or one of my workshops.


I also take the opportunity to renew my inventories of gratitude and assets and rewriting perfect days. But, you know, part of my discipline process, you probably heard about Bill Gates. It doesn't Bill Gates go in the woods for like a year, a year every year? Doesn't he go in the woods with like 12 or 15 books or something? I don't know if you've heard that story. I haven't heard that. But I. I get in a tent and I go on the mountain and I peel off everything and it doesn't have to be that extreme.


But I'm that girl, you know, it's like there's no financial exchanges. The simplification is, am I warm? Am I hungry? Am I hydrated? And that's my reset. And that's where I get my clarity. It doesn't it doesn't have to be that hard. I also love it, by the way. I love alpine climbing.


Well, I tell people is trying to figure out our wiring. And I think the perfect concept is what I tell people with what you do. I think, what would you do with your Fris? And it doesn't have to be frightening. It doesn't have to be four days, but it's a framework. And in my case, I absolutely loathe running. But if you put a leather ball in a net in front of me, I'll run on the beach for five to six hours in 90 degree weather chasing the volleyball.


I don't know why. I certainly but I like that. So I'll do that work. So I have time to do that. And just even something as simple as, you know, why not give that to yourself and allow yourself to have that and that? Yes, the most simple things, the things that make life perfect are enjoyable very often are the simple things. And there's nothing wrong because they're easier. They're low hanging fruit. We can still take those.


That's smart. And then, yes, if you add to that some complexity, some drama, some excitement, things you don't know you can do, certainly. But I think, at least in my experience, the things that make me happy is the things that at the end of the day, whether it's a gratitude exercise or when I'm writing a list, like you said, or talking about you, what do you what do you hope for at the end of your life, Will?


Specifically, I hope my kids and my wife are think I did a good job. Yeah. As a dad and as a husband, I hope they can feel all the love I have for them and all those things. So all the other stuff wouldn't matter to me. And so if I can focus on those things and do those things on a daily basis, my stock portfolio will go up and down or my numbers go up and down on my assets.


I certainly have lots of regrets about financial decisions I've made, but the guaranteed investments I've made have been investments in relationships with the people I love. Most have been investments in myself, but investments and activities, I enjoy those. You just can't take that away from me. And so tomorrow I can and I can anchor with that the better and and the more I can do it on a daily basis. Absolutely. What would just last my last question for you then take us where we like.


What do you teach your daughters? What do you teach them? What are you trying to impart? And then what are you showing them, by the way you live to impart to them, which perhaps might even be the same lesson you leave our audience with. What are some of the most that maybe the two or three most important lessons you're hoping that they get that you've learned that maybe you didn't know?


Wow. Well, let me start with. So this is the answer to your question, but this is what comes to mind, part of it, the working title, the working title for Perfect Day was so I managed I majored in finance so I wouldn't get screwed. And the publisher didn't like that was to say and let me tell you where that came from. That came from my mother. And my mother looked at me when I was eight years old and we were going to somewhat of a very large family crises where my father no longer was an income earner in the family and she was a stay at home mom of two and is now looking at having to go and get a job and support us.


And she said, don't you ever, ever count on anyone to take care of you? And so fast forward to being a freshman in college and going, well, those words just hit me like, so then what do I major in life? What do I need to do in order to not have to rely on other people? And so I did a little exercise in my brain and I said, you know what, if there's any way I'm going to get screwed in life, it's going to be with money.


So I better find a very trustworthy insurance agent. Right. Or know a whole hell of a lot about it. So anyway, that's the working title of Perfect Day is having those. That value structure and that belief structure was put in me at a very young age, and so that shaped my decisions and shaped my decisions. 15 years to the future. So then that's a part of it. And to really answer your question. I think what my girls would learn and know is that two years ago, two years ago, I made a decision to merge the larger of my asset management businesses.


And I did that because my girls at the time were 10 and 12. So that was the age at which I felt like, OK, I've I've I've amassed a couple of businesses and nonprofits and I've worked hard during these school age years. They're now at this point where I'm really shaping their value structure and their beliefs and their work ethic and and quite frankly, I'm going to be doing them in five or six years. You know, they're going to go off to college.


So for me, if if I were to draw my last breath today, I would want to be able to say that I gave my girls a foundation that A, when they go off to school or if I were to depart this earth today, that they had that foundation and knew how to live their lives and knew how to put first things first and what was important to them. So I made a decision a couple of years ago to pretty much sell the golden goose super early.


And so they know that I made that sacrifice, they know that I sold a large part of my business and offloaded a large part of it so that I could be more present as a parent and as a mom and as a friend and as a as a as a leader of our family, because some people can do it better than I and don't have to make drastic changes like that in their life. But I just knew me and I tried it many, many, many times.


And I do do the four 4-Day Work Week, but it still wasn't enough. And I talk about this in the book about who's getting your leftovers. I still was working just so hard and so intently during the week that I'd come home to them at a very respectable hour, five o'clock. It's not 8:00, it's not seven. But I still they were getting my leftovers. I was emotionally spent. And so they know they know that I made that decision and frightened the hell out of them.


I'll tell you that. They were like, oh, are you going to be a stay at home mom? So I told them, no, no, no, I'm not going to stay at home mom. That was really scary to them. And so that would be one thing that I would share. I'm sorry for the phone and I'm not sure if you want me to pause. No words. So that will be one thing is I think that they need to know that I chose them and they know how I am a serial entrepreneur and they know how much I love the business and they know how much I impact lives.


And I just I love what I do. They saw me. They saw me put that on the shelf and they know why. So that's one thing. And I do think the second thing is. They know how important it is for me and in all my hands and non-profits and and how I try to give back, they've seen the joy that that's brought my life. So it's not just about serving on boards, but it's just they've seen the joy that's come from contributing.


And and, yes, they roll their eyes when I'm like, we've got to. She climbs event and Gabriel, our lead guide from Africa, is in town. We've got to take him to dinner and do a dog and pony show to the to the three middle schools here in town. And they roll their eyes because they need to give speeches because there she climbs ambassadors and and they're teenagers. Right. But they're still exposed. They're still exposed to it.


And they know how busy I am. And I hate that word. Busy, but they know how full our lives are. But they know that I still squeeze in the puzzle piece. They know it's a part. It's a corner of the puzzle. And you can't finish the puzzle without the corner. A contribution is the biggest of the corner pieces that has got to be there. So if there's going to be a puzzle piece, it falls on the floor.


You can tell we do a lot of puzzles in my family. If there's going to be that proverbial puzzle piece, it falls on the on the floor and gets lost in the rug or the dog picks it up and takes it off somewhere. Do not make it your core. Do not make it yourself and your family and your relationships or your contribution to this earth. Maybe make it your experiences, maybe make it financial. I said that. So I think that that would be two things my kids would say is that they see me put my business aside a little bit.


I still work. I mean, I'm still working four days a week, but it's having offloaded investment management for hundreds of millions of assets to a team of six as opposed to just me. There's been a big, big deal from my life and from my kids.


That's awesome. I think, you know, when I think of just the whole overall picture, everything, so yeah. What would you give up for the people you love? And then you also realize that a lot of it's not even so much a giving up as it's realizing. Perhaps, you know something, it's even of a higher value than you want something you treasured. You know, the one thing that you found, something was even more valuable that you willingly give it up even though you kind of want to.


But but you do that. So that's awesome. How can our listeners learn more about. You made a couple of references. So you reference the book I know on essentialist and which we'll put that in the show, notes the links. I'll get all that information from you. Where can they learn more about your work and what you do?


Cokie Berenyi dotcom, which is the hardest thing to spell out. Yes, so Cokie Berenyi dot com we'll talk about, you know, I love being on the speaking circuit and being able to share the perfect day concept with others. So I've got information there about that. You can get information about how to engage with me if if I try to deliver perfect day in all modalities because people learn and people transform in different ways. But I'll tell you, I have a perfect podcast, which I'd love to have you on.


I thank you for this opportunity. I mean, I'm not a huge pastor. I'm not a huge E person. But but people are. So I deliver I deliver perfect day in all modalities. My favorite is to do one on one. Engagements with the entrepreneurs I work for is really putting the rubber where the rubber meets the road between their personal finance and their business pals and then putting an umbrella over all of that of perfect day and bringing it all together for them and us, making personal financial and business decisions that are guided by their perfect vision.


That's what I love doing that so that all all of that, as well as a guide to what I think is a solution to most of my clients lives, which is the asset management piece, because you and I both know it does take it does take money to make the engine go around. And I always like being a solutions gal. So when I'm consulting with my clients nine times out of ten, it's. You know, the investment management is such a headache, so we have a solution for that, too, so Cokie Berenyi dot com and you can find all things about perfect day, including give this last shout out.


I do this crazy thing on Facebook five, 30 a.m. every Monday morning, and that's where we kick off for one one. So if you want to know about more about four one one or just see me riff with a cup of coffee and maybe last night's mascara on air, maybe me sweaty just off the treadmill. It's my it's the look you'll find me in most as opposed to what I look like on the cover of my book. But you'll get the real cogie.


And it's five thirty in the morning. And I believe it's it's the secret to transformation. So if you don't want to fail or plateau, if you don't want to be that corporation of that business, of that person, that settles with plateauing and you want to avoid touching the burner for me. For you, it's get up at five thirty in the morning and set your intentions with your four worn ones and I'll help you do it on Monday morning.


So Facebook. So that Facebook page is perfect day connect.


Awesome, thank you, and we'll definitely make sure to put all those links in there. Thank you so much for coming out and talking with me and sharing this with our audience. I really do what I can to get really talented people and people can provide a lot of perspective. And I think our audience is going to love what you're sharing. So for those who are listening, again, whether you're an entrepreneur or an employee or freelancer, what I'm going to make sure I do is share with you people who've had each of those experience and most of us who are entrepreneurs at one point were employees or worked for somebody else.


We've done these different pieces. So I encourage you, whatever stage you're at, that it's not just the money advice. It's not just the lifestyle advice. It's not just the happiness advice. It's the perspectives of people that have done this and are sharing things. And again, you can you can put your hand on the fire yourself to really make sure that the fire burn or hopefully you can learn from some of those. So I hope you'll enjoy this.


Look forward to hearing your feedback on this. Coqui is definitely somebody who can help you. And as always, look for helping you make more money and less time doing what you do best so you can enjoy your friends, your family and your life. Thanks, everyone.

Cokie BerenyiProfile Photo

Cokie Berenyi

Cokie is a mother, author, business owner, founder of 2 non-profits and wears the hat of financial “samurai” to her clients, big or small.
Author of Perfect Day and the Liberated Investor, a 40 under 40 recipient and Woman CEO of the Year.

Cokie’s Lifestyle Deficit Disorder services provide lifestyle consulting and a spin on Performance Coaching that brings a fresh look to your best YOU.