Who has had the greatest impact on the direction of your life?

Over the desk in my office hangs a painting of General George Washington kneeling in the snow of Valley Forge, with his horse nearby. This painting used to hang over the fireplace in my father-in-law's den. That was his inner sanctum, his place to retreat, to meditate and to study.

After he died, my mother-in-law presented it to me as a gift of remembrance.

The painting reminds me of times when, as a young man, I would sit with him in his den and hear his firm but gentle tutoring. The gifts he gave me changed the trajectory of my life. He helped ground me in principles that would guide my important decisions through the rest of my life.

His life was an exemplary one, devoted to serving others. He was an influencer at a most critical time in my youth, and he helped me shape the life I wanted to lead.

When I was in his den, it was just he and I, one-on-one. The legacy he left was a blueprint for me to follow. The painting reminds me of our many personal conversations and the thousands of other people he influenced in his lifetime. And he did so, one at a time, with an understanding of what was most important to each person.

Honoring and continuing his legacy is important to me. I do so by first coming to understand what is most important to my clients, then build a personalized strategy to help them realize their dreams. Finally, I cultivate a lifelong partnership with my clients to help keep them on track.

Every morning when I sit down at my desk and see that painting, I am reminded why I love what I do.

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