Living Your Passion with George Kinder

Brian chats with George Kinder, the father of the modern financial life planning movement. George is the founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning. He has more than 30 years of experience as a practicing financial planner and tax advisor and has trained more than 3,000 professionals in 30 countries.

In the episode, George talks about the importance of passion, and how his passion for creating a strong training model fueled him to draft his famous three questions. He also discusses how his purpose continues to evolve as his life grows and changes.

Episode Highlights

Mission-driven businesses are driven to a higher purpose.

George defines a mission-driven business as one that is driven toward a larger purpose.

“It’s a business that is dedicated to a higher purpose, one way or another,” he said.

But it’s not just the business itself that can be oriented toward a bigger cause, George said. The people who run the business, the community, the staff, and the consumers can all be part of that larger purpose.

“If they are going to be mission-driven, businesses also have to be really personal and really connected with who we are,” George said.

Passion comes before precision.

George Kinder is perhaps best known for his three Kinder questions:

  1.  Imagine you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future. How would you live your life? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back on your dreams. Describe a life that is complete and richly yours.
  2. Now imagine that you visit your doctor, who tells you that you have only 5-10 years to live. You won’t ever feel sick, but you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining? Will you change your life and how will you do it? (Note that this question does not assume unlimited funds.)
  3. Finally, imagine that your doctor shocks you with the news that you only have 24 hours to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What did you miss? Who did you not get to be? What did you not get to do?

In the interview, George stressed that he didn’t arrive at those questions overnight. He established his passion for training and life planning well before the three questions were set in stone.

“The precision of that model took a while,” he said. “You got the passion for it, and little things get tweaked.”

Passion can fuel you to do great things.

When developing the questions, George noticed what brought his clients alive during their meetings. It led to a central question: “What brings them into a passionate relationship with their life that they’re feeling like they can make a difference? That they can be who they want to be? And that they can make a real difference to the world around them?”

For George, that passion was training life planners. Although he started his work as a financial planner and tax advisor as a way to earn money, his passion for helping clients craft a vision of their life — and then ultimately step into that life — fueled him to develop the three questions.

“I became passionate about creating the strongest model for training that I could possibly imagine that would deliver advisors into being mission-driven advisors, having their own mission-driven businesses, and then delivering all of their clients into living mission-driven lives,” he said.

One thing that still amazes both Brian and George is watching clients find their spark and come alive. Once clients find their passions — and know someone believes in them — they turn into problem solvers.

“What astonished me was that when you lit somebody’s fire, when you got them passionable about their lives, they went at it,” George said. “Suddenly, they solved a lot of the obstacles that stood in their way.”

Resources + Links

About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast 

Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.

On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.