Dr. Mary Martin is a trauma sensitive mindfulness educator, a futures thinker, and the author of Mindfulness for Financial Advisors: Practicing A New Way of Being . She’s certified by Brown University to teach mindfulness-based stress reduction and has a PhD from NYU’s School of Culture, Education & Human Development.
Dr. Mary has worked in financial services for over two decades, has been teaching mindful awareness to advisors since 2015, and today she joins the show to share the work she does as a mindfulness educator, and why mindfulness is so critical in the field of financial advice.
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00:51 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Mary Martin, who joins the show to share the first financial lessons she learned, the early expectations she set for her life, and how she got into ghost writing
07:42 – Everything Dr. Mary learned about entrepreneurship she learned from her neighbors
13:31 – An independent mindset
19:05 – An awakening and the inspiration to teach financial advisors about mindfulness
31:17 – The absence of mindfulness in financial advisement
38:09 – How to identify which financial advisors are mindful
46:08 – The danger of falling into a trap of accumulation, consumption, and materialism
50:10 – A message of love
56:30 – One thing Dr. Mary would like others to know about her and the one question she would like to know the answer to
57:51 – Jonathan thanks Dr. Mary for joining the show today and lets listeners know where to connect with her
“What I always managed to do is find people who had wonderful things to teach me – theseamazing mentors – and work with fantastic, fun colleagues. And I was always making moremoney than anybody else my age .”(05:25) (Mary)
“Everything I learned about entrepreneurship I learned from my neighbors.” (07:47) (Mary)
“With this contemplative practice all of these years, I somehow failed to recognize that I had a body. I was this brain walking around in a meat suit. What I was doing with my body was all superficial.” (21:25) (Mary)
“Whenever I define mindfulness for people I say, ‘Notice you didn’t hear the word ‘calm’ in there. And you didn’t hear the word ‘relaxation’ in there. And you didn’t hear the word ‘bliss’ in there. And you didn’t hear the words ‘clearing your mind’ or ‘stopping your thoughts.’” (24:07) (Mary)
“Your superpower should not be super. Your superpower is that you’re a human being and you understand how you operate. And, when you understand how you operate – and your own suffering and where that comes from and what that feels like, and your own regret, and your own shame, and your own pain – you don’t understand someone else through and through, but you are able to empathize. Your own pain is a bridge to somebody else.” (30:17) (Mary)
“You have a way of being no matter what. Whenever you walk into a room, you have a way of being, so what is it? Do you even know? Do you have a way of exploring that with yourself in a compassionate way? And do you have a way of being with and working with your own moment- to-moment experience?” (41:32) (Mary)
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Jonathan DeYoe: Hello. Welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money Podcast, I’m chatting with Dr. Mary Martin. Mary is a trauma sensitive mindfulness educator, a futures thinker, and the author of Mindfulness for Financial Advisors, practicing new Ways of being. She’s certified by Brown University to teach mindfulness based stress reduction and has a phd from NYU School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. This is all to say that she’s someone we should listen to. She’s worked in financial services for over two decades, has been teaching mindful awareness to advisors since 2015. In April, she begins to teach her new course, the future of financial advice, practicing well being, and connection with Julie Forton, CFP, and a variety of other items. That’s the one I recognize and know very well. Mary M. Welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.
Dr. Mary Martin: Thanks so much for having me, Jonathan.
Jonathan DeYoe: I’m excited for this conversation, but before we get into it, I just want to let the audience know, where are you calling in from? Where are you connecting from?
Dr. Mary Martin: I’m, um, connecting from South Florida, from Jupiter. It’s on the east coast of South Florida. It’s usually the point where when you see the Weather Channel where it says forecast is forecast for the hurricane to land, it’s usually my town. So the Weather channel descends on Jupiter, Florida, usually, and sometimes we get hit and sometimes we don’t.
Jonathan DeYoe: Wow. Did you grow up there?
Dr. Mary Martin: No, I grew up in New York.
Jonathan DeYoe: Okay, so when you were growing, know you’re a kid and you’re in New York, what did you learn about money and know early, this is bad that.
Dr. Mary Martin: I’m going to tell you. I didn’t learn it from my parents because one of them lives upstairs, my mom. So here’s what I learned. My parents are, uh, both still with us. My mom is a, ah, Buddhist, and my dad was a seminarian. So my mom was an opera singer at the Metropolitan Opera in Manhattan. And both of them had very contemplative lifestyles. And so they raised my sister and myself to really, like, I don’t even remember talking about money. It was like, what’s important? What are your values? What kind of person do you want to be in the world? How do you want to show up on a day to day basis? And when you work, because you are going to work. When you work, it’s going to be with people you love for a cause that you love in a place that you love and don’t settle for anything less. So I got that message. And next, uh, door to me, fortunately, was a person who owned a BMW motorcycle dealership and just happened to love themselves some merry. So when I was 17, my first job, I may have been, you know what? No, it wasn’t my first job because I was a checkout person, a cashier at, uh, food fair, for that was my first job. But my first real job was working in this BMW motorcycle dealership on long island. And these people, my neighbors who owned it, taught me business like, they taught me how to. I was 17 years old, so I moved out of my parents household very young. Um, I had just turned 18. I left high school early, and I worked full time. I had my own apartment, and I learned how to run this dealership I learned about. And they had, like, rudimentary computers and inventory. So this is, like, in 1985. So this is a long time ago. Going to events and, of course, all about the, uh, motorcycles. So I worked there through college. I put myself through college and in New York and then in grad school. And so I loved these people. I loved what they were doing. And then when I was in. So I went to college for English, and then I went to my master’s for English, and I saw some flyer about making extra money because I always needed. I worked full time. I went to school full time. But I was like, I could have some more money. And it was tutoring for the Princeton review. So I end up leaving the BMW, and I was there for a long time. I was there for, like, six years. I ended up leaving there, but leaving there running it. So I was a manager of a dealership, and I was, like, in my early twenty s. And I started working with the Princeton review again, people I loved. A course that I loved. A founder, john Katzman, who was adorable and his first assistant is one of my very best friends to this day. So I met people I adored, and I worked with the Princeton review all through grad school, and I went to law school for ten minutes in Vermont, and I taught at, uh, Dartmouth for the Princeton review, and then through my PhD, again, the Princeton Review. And so what I always managed to do is find people who had wonderful things to teach me, like these amazing mentors and work with fantastic, fun colleagues. And I was always making more money than anybody else my age. So that was like a tough act to follow, but it was what I set up as my mindset and as my expectation for life. Like, I’m going to work with fun people, doing something that I like, and that is really kind of invigorating for me intellectually. And I’m going to make a bunch of money doing it. So that’s what I’ve always done. And then when I got to my doctorate, my doctoral advisor said, I’m going to put together a fellowship for you that’s not like anybody else’s, and you’re going to be a ghostwriter. He said, you write like an angel. I love that you can also edit, so you’re going to be a ghostwriter. So I put myself. So that was my doctoral fellowship, was ghostwriting at New York University. Who knew that was possible? I probably shouldn’t tell a lot of people that, but that’s what happened. And then I parlayed that into just ghostwriting. And again, working with people I loved, really intellectually fantastic, because I would meet somebody who would pay me a ton of money to learn something I knew nothing about and then write a book about it. And so I know most people are like, that is painful, but to me, that was joyful and it was fun and it was invigorating, so I loved it, and it was projects. So every couple of months, it was a new person, it was a new location, it was a new topic, and I got paid all this money to learn something and write a book about it. So that’s kind of how. And the important part there is it didn’t start with financial services, but I got kind of into financial services, into a company that needed writing for CFP study materials, including items for their mock exams and for all of the various licenses. And so I got into financial services and ended up writing, I don’t know, eight or nine books in the financial services industry, which led me to Susan Bradley and writing sudden money with her and then later working with her at the sudden Money Institute.
Jonathan DeYoe: Got it. What did you learn about money? Entrepreneurship.
Dr. Mary Martin: Growing up that’s a title of a book. Everything I learned about entrepreneurship, I learned from my neighbors. I had this young family who lived next to us, and young in that they were like, ten years younger than my parents, who were already young. So when I was a kid, when I was, like, ten, they were like, 21, and they had a BMW motorcycle dealership. And my first real job, full time job, was working for them. As I was working my way through college, I left my house when I had just turned 18. I left high school early, and I got myself an apartment, and I worked full time and went to school full time. And they taught me everything. They had early computers. They taught me about inventory, about, um, taxes, about sales tax, about event planning, about, obviously, management and people and the products and parts and service and all of these things I really didn’t care that much about at the time. But, uh, what I cared about always was learning. So to me, it was just like, I was just immersed in this, learning how to do something. And it took me a couple of years, and by the time I was in my master’s program, I was the manager of a BMW motorcycle dealership. Who knew?
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, it’s interesting because I always talk about small business, being like, the greatest teacher of finance. Like, you learn all the ledgers, you learn all the flow, cash flows, balance sheets. You learn all this stuff about personal finance by being a small business. But did you reach out to them? Uh, how did that first connection get made between you and your neighbors for work?
Dr. Mary Martin: Well, they saw me since we moved there. This is on long island when I was, like, in third grade or. Yeah, third. You know, they were right next to me the whole time, and they knew that I was super curious, and they knew that I was very motivated. They knew I wanted to get out of my house. They knew I needed a job or a different job. I think at the time, I was working your register at the local food fair, and before there were scanners, and you had to count the change, you had to count backwards to give people change back in the olden days. And they just threw it out to me. They said, hey, you want to come work for us? And I was like, sure, that’ll be fun. Because I loved them, and my parents really raised us to find work that we liked with people that we liked. And I loved them, and I trusted them. And they were people who, for my childhood, and this is not the first time I really lucked out. I know. Uh, I talk about this now in 2023, when I was a kid, I was around people who really could have abused my trust. And I spent time alone with a lot of people who were amazing, wonderful people who I trusted implicitly. But it could have gone all kinds of bad ways, and it didn’t because they were all wonderful people. Uh, but back then, you could spend the day with a guy who’s 14 years older than you in a store by yourself. I would never let that happen. I have a tween now and I would never let that happen. So we trusted these people and we could trust these people, and they were kind of the beginning of a long line for me of mentors, of people who just said, hey, come here, kid. Uh, I think you might be interested in this. Or my mentor at my doctoral program. Hey, I think you might want to do this instead of the regular doctoral fellowship. And he ended up being my mentor. So people kind of took me under their wing, and I always just went with it because I never had a bad experience.
Jonathan DeYoe: I wasn’t going to go here, but this mentorship thing, I wonder, given, because I was raised, I think, in the same environment you were, where we trusted our neighbors, everything was fine. I spent lots of times with older adults and no one thought anything of it. And now I have an 18 and a 15, and I’m terrified of just leaving them alone with adults that I don’t know. And maybe that terror is unfounded. Maybe it’s not necessary. I mean, I have to admit my own anxiety is probably coming out in that, but I wonder how much that will hurt them because they don’t have the same access to building those mentorship relationships that we had in a much more trusting environment 40 years ago. Right.
Dr. Mary Martin: I’m going to do a little plug for Jonathan Heights, the, uh, coddling of the american mind and for the free range parenting movement. And I actually was a little off topic, but really started as a free range parent. And my kid goes outside and she rides her bike to swim practice, and it’s dark out and it’s a mile and a half. And I don’t let her hang out with older adults. That’s kind of like the line, but I encourage her to go out and experience the world. And so it’s definitely less than I did as I was a kid. It’s the joke with the gen xers that we left in the morning and our parents did not care where we were and we just had to be home before dark. So it’s not like that. But I had to find a happy medium because I just couldn’t be a helicopter. I just felt like, my kid needs to experience adversity, and she needs to learn how to navigate her way socially, and she needs to learn how to advocate for herself and stick up for herself, and she needs to learn how to defend herself, hence the early taekwondo. So, yeah, I’m with you on that. And it is very clear that kids are not experiencing enough independence or adversity now, for sure.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I want to not mishear something you said, and so I’m going to ask a clarifying question here. It sounds like you didn’t learn a lot of financial lessons from your parents because your parents were contemplative, right? And you say, like, I tried to get out of there, graduate high school. I got it. I got my apartment when I was 18, and it was my neighbors that sort of taught me these things. Were there important, negative experiences as a child that led you to being as independent as you were, or was it just not your right environment?
Dr. Mary Martin: I had a sister who was larger than life and was a bit of a television personality, and she got all the attention, and she did whatever she needed to do to get it. And so I was really invisible in my household. And so it was very easy for me to become a ghostwriter because I was used to being invisible. So, uh, to me, it was like. So people would say to me, how could you do that? How can you write somebody else’s book and not get credit? And I’m like, do you know how much money I got? Uh, it’s fine. I don’t care about the attention and the notoriety. So I got used to. I found a way to use being neglected as, like, a positive. And it wasn’t really neglected, but it was like I was invisible. I just was invisible. And, um, the competition was very fierce, and I was okay with it, though I was a weapons grade introvert, so I was fine. I wasn’t complaining about this, but in high school, as you know, you may not know this, my husband is the only person I know who loved high school because he was, like, handsome, um, and funny, and everybody loved him. And I’m like, I wanted to kill myself in high school. Like, I was legit depressed, and it was a horrible experience for me, and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, so I left high school. Uh, I went to my guidance counselor, and I said, I can’t take this for another minute. Is there a way I can get out of here earlier? And they said, well, you can’t leave now. We have to double up on this and this, but you can leave five months early. And I was like, done, I’ll do that. And then I found out I could leave my house, too. And I thought, well, I want to do that. So I wanted to do my own thing. But I wasn’t the type to run away from home or anything. I just wanted to be on my own. So I left, and my parents eventually got divorced. My sister left. And it was kind of like a joke because my parents got divorced and lived in the same house, but they didn’t want to leave the house. They didn’t want my sister to be in a house with just one of them and have to go back and forth. So they stayed in the house, which.
Jonathan DeYoe: Creates its own weirdness, but it was.
Dr. Mary Martin: Like a new normal, and they were all fine with it. So they eventually get divorced, and, uh, my sister eventually leaves, but I wanted to do it. They didn’t kick me out. It wasn’t some horrible fight. I just wanted to be on my own.
Jonathan DeYoe: Do you think as a kid, being raised in a more contemplative household, do you think you received any kind of messages about money or about personal finance, that it’s bad or wealth is bad, the whole eye, uh, of the needle kind of a thing, or was it just not spoken?
Dr. Mary Martin: No, it wasn’t that. It was bad. And we were in the middle financially, so we were like, true middle class. And we were in a neighborhood where there were people who were a lot wealthier and less as well, so we didn’t feel the pressure that we could feel, I would imagine. And it wasn’t huge deal. Everybody was friends with everybody. I did go to sweet sixteen s at the plaza, and I also went to sweet sixteen s at people’s houses, and kids got jaguars for their sweet sixteen s, and kids got nothing. And it wasn’t a big deal. And so it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t that wealthier. People were bad. It was probably that they did something that got them more money. And my dad was like, uh, he had a PhD, and he was a high school administrator, and it was like high school administrators don’t make a ton of money. And my mom, just the way it is, stayed home. And then she worked her way through college and became a therapist. But the way she wanted to do it, being home for us as much as possible, I can’t work full time and be a parent the way that I want to be a parent, which sounds very familiar to today. It’s not that much different for women. Sure, you can work, but can you work and parent the way that you want to parent.
Jonathan DeYoe: Right?
Dr. Mary Martin: Which led me to building a career for myself where I was like, okay, if I’m ever going to be a parent, which I was very late to, by the way, I’m going to do it the way I want to do it, and I need to have my life set up so I can do it that way. And I’m not going to rely on some job to do that.
Jonathan DeYoe: Were you meditating when you were a kid? You said your mom was a Buddhist, your dad was a seminarian. Did you have a contemplative practice, and were you trained in that as a kid?
Dr. Mary Martin: We did from very young. Uh, and all different kinds of. By the way, my mother wasn’t just. She also was. For a short time, she was an orthodox jew, but then she was like, okay, no, because she’s also a feminist. And those two things don’t really go together. And so we learned about the world’s religions, we did all kinds of meditation. And I, at one point, did TM for over 15 years and then ended up with mindfulness. So my whole life had something, some form of contemplative practice.
Jonathan DeYoe: I could mirror your story. Like, I have a very similar story. Raised with lots of contemplative practices. Ah, we didn’t have any money. But it’s interesting to me that you somehow brought the two together. So you have the dealership that you manage and you grew up in, and there’s your neighbors, and you’ve got this contemplative practice. How do you come together and say, okay, I’m going to teach financial advisors about mindfulness?
Dr. Mary Martin: Okay, well, there’s another piece in there. So there’s contemplative practice, which I had, but I didn’t have this piece of mindfulness. And no matter what the story is, you don’t have this story. So the story is, it’s 2002 or whatever, and I’m in Princeton, I’m at my cousin’s house, and I start hemorrhaging, bleeding all over the place, huge pain. Oh, my gosh, what’s happening? I don’t at all get upset about it, and I call my doctor, and I say, I’m going to come home from Princeton. There’s something up with me. I don’t even explain it. I don’t go to the hospital. And so I go to the doctor later that week, and he says, okay, so here’s the deal. You’re pregnant about five months, and you’re miscarrying, and you have been for, like, the last eight days. Ah.
Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, my God.
Dr. Mary Martin: Still have this. And you need to have a DNX, as in, like, extraction. So that happens. And a couple of months, that’s why I said, you don’t have this story, because I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have that. So a couple of months later, I’m at this party on Palm beach, and it’s at a therapist’s home, and there’s other therapists there. And I overhear one saying to another, I can’t believe that happened to Mary. And the other one says, of course that happened to Mary. She doesn’t live in her body. And I’m like, I am just never going to pass up a confrontation, but in an interesting kind of playful way. So I go up to her and I say, sue, tell me more about that. What is that about? And so she goes over to her bookcase, and she gets, wherever you go, there you are. And she says, look, just read this. And I was like, no, but tell me more. She’s like, this is my party. I’m not talking about this now. Therapist. She’s got boundaries. She’s like, I’m not talking about this now. Just take this book. Read it, don’t read it. I don’t care. But that’s why I made this comment. So I read the book, and I’m like, oh. So with this contemplative practice all of these years, I somehow failed to recognize that I had a body.
Jonathan DeYoe: Intellectual. Very intellectualized.
Dr. Mary Martin: So I was this, like, brain walking around in a meat suit. But what I was doing with my body was all superficial. So I was always in really amazing shape. And I was a vegan since the. Went to the gym all the time. I was a runner. So if you looked at me, you’d think, oh, she’s really healthy and fit or whatever, which was true, but those are like, those outer layers. I wasn’t paying attention. You have to have a special level of not paying attention to be walking around five months pregnant and not know it, and then you have to exponentially multiply that to be having a miscarriage for a week and not think that maybe that’s what that is. So that was a kind of an epic level of not paying attention to your body. And that’s what her comment meant for sure. So I stopped the tm. Um, I stopped everything else I’m doing. I take the MBSR class. I become a woman obsessed. I take all the classes I get certified to teach to kids for mindful schools. I start the MBSR training. I do the trauma. I really any kind of somatic stuff I can get my hands on. And I do the polyvagal theory. So I really get into this complete embodiment, practice of embodiment. And that’s the thing I was missing. So I kind of played to my strengths for my whole life. I played to my brain, and that was my strength, and I played to the part of my body that was, like, easy for me. M so it was easy for me to. I mean, I took a lot of work, but it was, like, work that was easy for me. I had a lot of dedication to running and to eating well. So that really wasn’t that difficult. And then when I hit this piece of sitting with yourself and facing what you’re feeling, I was like, that was really hard.
Jonathan DeYoe: I think you’re hitting on something that. So I hear people all the time. I don’t meditate. I run or I don’t meditate. I walk in nature and I tell people, that’s not meditation. That is not the same thing. Right. And so you’re hitting on why. And I’ve never heard it explained in such a beautiful way. You’re not really paying attention to your body and sensing what’s actually happening around you. You’re just enjoying a nice, quiet moment, which is fine. It’s all good stuff, right? Yeah, but that’s so important.
Dr. Mary Martin: It could be meditative. Exactly. And whenever I define mindfulness for people, and I tend to use John Cabotson’s definition as, like, paying attention in a particular way with curious friendliness. It’s a long sentence from moment to m. Moment without judgment. But I say, notice you didn’t hear the word calm in there, and you didn’t hear the word relaxation in there, and you didn’t hear the word bliss in there, and you didn’t hear the words clearing your mind or stopping your thoughts. And then they’re like, wait, what? So, yes, other things can be meditative, and other things can be calming, and they can be relaxing. But you’re not on the cushion to calm yourself.
Jonathan DeYoe: You’re not doing the work.
Dr. Mary Martin: Yeah. You’re doing the work of getting to know your human experience, the full spectrum of your human experience, and to be able to meet all of it in the same way. And what I was doing is I was taking this whole chunk of the spectrum, the chunk that I didn’t like, and I was doing what most people do, which is avoiding it or pushing it away. And that’s not what we do here in mindfulness, just like we’re not grasping to feel good. It’s not about being happy and feeling good. And it’s really hard to get people on board when that’s your message. Your message is you’re not pushing away your pain. You’re not trying to be happier. Your practice isn’t, I’m trying to be happier. You’re learning how to meet, what shows up. You’re putting out that welcome mat for the entire spectrum of your full human experience, all of it equally with curious friendliness. And that is so hard.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I’m noticing two parallel things here. Like 20 years ago, 2002, you have this experience, and you said you’re married to your husband for 25 years. Is that what I heard? 22 years? So was it his practice in the financial advisory world that sort of introduced you to probably marrying these two? Or did you get to that from your work with the books and the authors?
Dr. Mary Martin: It was really before him and then being married to him. And he does mindfulness, though. So I would look at him and I’d be like, he’s different from. So we have a huge social circle of financial planners, as you would imagine. And me giving the. Doing the work that I’ve always done. I know a lot of financial planners, and he’s very different. And he didn’t seem to have a lot of the same issues or there’s an easefulness about him and there’s just a way of being that he has that. I had to work really hard for that to get even close to that, but he just has that. And so it’s part who he is and then he works on it. And I’m just here working really hard at it. And I saw that there was a different way to be when I compared, which we don’t like to do that. We don’t like to play the comparing game, but I will say we do that. We do it because we’re human. And I saw like, wow, they need this. He’s got this. He doesn’t tell anybody. He keeps it a secret. He doesn’t go around talking about his mindfulness practice. But I felt like, okay, they need to do this because there’s so much talk of doing and so many scripts and so many checklists and so many tools, but who are you? And how are you when you’re showing up to that person? There was recently this great article once again about Chat GPT, which I love and I love playing with, and I love AI and I love futures thinking. So I’m a fan. And what this study showed, though, is that it’s now capable of, like quote, empathy. And it’s a predictive engine, so it predicts what it should say based on the emotion response that you put in. So is that empathy? Who the heck knows? But it put in the perfect response, the perfect empathetic response. And the net message of the article was people prefer an imperfect human being to a perfect response. So what people are in business for with human beings, the people who are still choosing in people, humans are choosing them because they’re human and because there’s something that they get from that. And that thing that they get might someday, and there’s all kinds of work on it, be able to be gotten from a social robot of some sort. But in the next ten years, that’s not going to happen. So for the next ten years, you’re good, you’re safe.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I’m just going to put these two very literally. So what you’re saying is mindfulness is a path to being more human, to actually recognizing and embodying your humanity.
Dr. Mary Martin: That is exactly what it is, Jonathan. Because I was being that brain walking around in a meat suit, I was not embodied. And so what the practice embodiment can people. It’s such a weird word, but if you’re not living in your body, like that woman told me I wasn’t doing, and she’s totally right. If you’re not living in your body, you’re not aware of what is happening from moment to moment, how you’re getting affected by what people say, by what’s in your environment, by the amount of caffeine that you had, by the fact that your leg hurts from yesterday and you don’t even realize it by you’re underslept and you don’t even realize it, there are so many things to notice about your own experience from moment to moment right now. And if you don’t have some kind of process, your own way method, your own model for understanding your own experience, it’s affecting you no matter what.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. It’s important to understand these are not benign things. They actually affect your responsiveness and your reactiveness to everything. Right.
Dr. Mary Martin: Um.
Jonathan DeYoe: They’re not benign experiences, right?
Dr. Mary Martin: Yeah. And it’s not like, oh, it matters because it’s affecting what you do from moment to moment, and you don’t realize it. And so in that way, it’s like, my husband calls it a superpower, but I don’t want to do the superpower game, but it is like a superpower, but it’s really a human power. It’s like your superpower should not be super. It’s your superpower is that you are a human being and you understand how you operate. And when you understand how you operate and your own suffering and where that comes from and what that feels like and your own regret and your own shame and your own pain, you don’t understand somebody else through and through, but you are able to empathize. Your own pain is a bridge to somebody else. And it doesn’t matter what. You don’t have to feel their pain. Like, that’s not a thing you need to do. It doesn’t matter what their pain is specifically, it matters that you know of. Uh, pain.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. That is pain. What I’m seeing is pain.
Dr. Mary Martin: Yes, I know of that because I have touched my own, which took me 42 years.
Jonathan DeYoe: Well, I mean, many people still don’t know. In our culture specifically, we walk around disembodied. I think it’s an epidemic. Right. I’m curious, what in particular makes financial advising so ripe for the benefits of mindfulness?
Dr. Mary Martin: It’s so absent. You look at the knowledge topics for financial planners, right? For the CFP, they recently added investor psychology. So now, looking at the investor and their behavior is important. In 2023, that has become important, which is wonderful. But you know what’s nowhere in there is the advisor and the advisor’s well being, the advisor’s self awareness and self knowledge and developing of themselves and waking up to their full humanity, for better or for worse, and being able to fully understand anybody else’s pain. You have to touch your, um, own. You have to do that. And spending time in solitude, it’s all so important. And it’s also absent. And when I recently, uh, it was interesting because when I applied for CE units for my mindfulness course, I got 7.5 for some reason out of like, 13 or whatever. And this time around, I did not get a lot of ces at all. Julie and I didn’t get a lot of ces, and I wondered why. And they were really strict about the knowledge topics, like advisor well being is not a knowledge topic. Advisor self awareness is not a knowledge topic. So it’s important to me. It should be important to them. And if you’re going, just forget it.
Jonathan DeYoe: Right? I’ve been an advisor myself for 25 years as well. Um, a little more than that. 25 years. And I’ve meditated for longer than that. And it wasn’t until four years ago I had the courage to rename my firm mindful money because I was so afraid of what the judgment would be about the. Oh, that’s soft. That’s squishy, that’silly. How can you call it? But it’s so entwined. It is so important that both clients and advisors embrace mindfulness, because otherwise we’re going to react ourselves to oblivion. We’re going to react ourselves to death, right? Which is not good.
Dr. Mary Martin: And they’re still not on board. And the question, everybody wants me to phrase it in terms of roi. And I’m just, uh. I. Once you start to. I remember Sam Harris said once on one of his podcasts that made me laugh because I totally agreed. He said, if you were to tell me that we have all this research that shows you that mindfulness is bad for you, he said, you know what? I would still do it, because I know from my own personal experience. And he’s like, and that’s not going to happen. But what I’m saying is, once you experience what it is like to get to know who you really are and what you’re about, I’m not going to say there’s no turning back because a lot of people quit immediately because it’s terrifying. But even if they quit immediately and it was terrifying, they had that moment, and they know that there is a different way to be out there. There is a different way to act, to think, to relate, and it changes who you are, really.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I was going to say, if it’s not Roi and you were just about to go into, do I think, what are the benefits for being a mindful advisor? What do I get out of it if I’m going to be mindful?
Dr. Mary Martin: Well, you get benefits for your own ability to be at choice with your attention. Being at choice with your attention is hard. So it doesn’t mean mindfulness equals focus. So there are several types of practices. There’s focused awareness, which is great for that convergent thinking. And then there’s pure awareness, open awareness, which is better for creativity and divergent thinking. So it helps your creativity as well as helping your focus. So it helps you home in as well as broaden. It helps with emotional agility, with, uh, cognitive flexibility. Cognitive agility, it boosts well being. There’s that old study from Matt Killingsworth. A wandering mind is an unhappy mind that was actually demonstrated that even when people were doing something they didn’t want to do, if they were paying attention to it, they were happier than when their mind was wandering. So focus as well as creativity, as well as getting to know your own experience, and then there’s this whole other level. So first you get to know your own experience, and then there is, well, let’s reflect on that and decide for ourselves, is this how we want to be? Because, uh, your brain is a predictive engine and you act the way you act, because your brain is predicting that you should act that way. And if you want to change how you’re doing things, guess what you have to do. You have to change how you’re doing things. So there’s no way your brain is going to predict that you behave differently when the person who really pushes your buttons when they walk into the room. You will behave the way you always behave until you start doing something different, because your brain says, oh, it’s them again. Let’s do the thing. Because your brain’s lazy and takes the path of least resistance, and you’ve got that neural pathway that says, oh, it’s the person who pushes my buttons. So it’s hard work. You have to change your brain. You have to change the way your brain is going to predict. And that comes from first learning how my brain predicts. So you learn about your brain, and then you say, oh, well, here’s a bunch of stuff that’s good, and here’s a bunch of stuff that I need to change because my brain is not going to change on its own. So I have to work on that. And we have practices. It’s like mindfulness 2.0. We have practices to change those things, to change the way you think, to change your brain, to change the way you behave. But that’s not to be confused with mindfulness is about changing your behavior, because it’s not. So mindfulness is about getting to know who you are and how you got to be here. Doesn’t really matter how you got to be here, but here you are. You’ve got these behaviors. You’ve got these stories you tell yourself, how’s that working for you? Is it working or not? Where is it not working? Okay, then let’s work on that. So a lot of people who, when I see a lot of mindfulness presentations, they’re jumping right into pivoting once you’re uncomfortable. And that’s like missing the whole foundation of why you’re practicing in the first place and then missing the whole kind of, well, let’s identify. What about the way we are being that isn’t working for us? And then let’s identify a path forward to try to shift that. So it’s like gravely simplifying it to mindfulness equals trying to be happier, and it’s not.
Jonathan DeYoe: You said earlier something about, there was something about your husband when you met him, that was different. Or maybe not when you met him, but after you had the circle of financial advisor friends, and there’s something different about him. What is it specifically? Because I think we could. I’m not trying to get to roi here. I want to know, how do you identify when you’re looking at. There’s this room of advisors. Can you look at them and say, that one’s mindful, that one’s not, that one’s not. And what are those identifying marks, if you will?
Dr. Mary Martin: They’re simple, but they can’t be faked. And I can tell you that because I’ve been with people who are faking them, and I’m like, oh, they can’t see me. I’m looking at them, and I just know. And here’s what you know. Your nervous system knows that know the body keeps the score thing. And Elizabeth Lisa Feldmanbratt would say, your brain keeps the score and your body is the scorecard, which I like even better. But your nervous system is telling a story at every moment. So I can walk up to you and I can look you in the eye and I can shake your hand, and I can be present for that, and I can still not be there. And you can still feel like that’s just a person in front of me shaking my hand and looking me in the eye, and I can shake your hand and look you in the eye, and you can feel that I am open to getting know you, to know you and enthusiastic about that, and I am interested in you in that moment. You can feel that.
Jonathan DeYoe: I think that’s the path to RoI. If the industry you wanted to gather students, because you can input mindfulness, but you can attract with something else and then offer mindfulness as the service, you increase your ROI, and you could give them mindfulness to do that, but the idea of actually being open and aware and kind and sweet and authentic in yourself and embracing that, that’s attractive. That’s not repellent. That’s an attractive thing.
Dr. Mary Martin: Yeah. You can feel when somebody is defensive. It’s kind of hard to explain, but when you are aware of your own inner experience and you’re kind of tracking and you’re monitoring how your nervous system is doing and the quality of your mind, and you’re always kind of continuously tracking that, not like in a heavy way. It just becomes part of how you walk through life. And when you’re doing that, you instantly feel other people and how they are toward you. But I don’t think everybody feels that, though, in the same way, so it becomes really obvious. There’s, like, this big spotlight or there’s, like, speakers around how they’re behaving to you. And that’s the superpower, is you sense yourself and you sense others in a really kind of heightened way. So your openness and your receptivity and your sensing of, uh, your own nervous system and others is heightened. Is that what you were to say? What would you say?
Jonathan DeYoe: And the only way you would have. So those speakers are on regardless of whether or not you’re aware.
Dr. Mary Martin: Right.
Jonathan DeYoe: The only way you know that you’re projecting. And again, it has to be authentic, but you’re projecting, right.
Dr. Mary Martin: No matter what you’re doing it, you.
Jonathan DeYoe: Know, yourself helps you manage what you’re projecting better.
Dr. Mary Martin: Yeah. So it’s like said once recently on a podcast was, you have a way of being, no matter what right now.
Jonathan DeYoe: Right.
Dr. Mary Martin: So whenever you walk into a room, you have a way of being. So what is it? Do you even know? Do you have a way of exploring that with yourself in a compassionate way? And do you have a way of working, being with and working with, as Rickansa would say, your own moment to moment experience so that you can regulate yourself and that what you are sending through those speakers is love and is acceptance and is openness, no matter who the other person is. Do you have the ability to do that? Do you have the ability to let the guard down, to table the biases and the expectations and even your own memories? Because this is where your brain gets in the way. Your brain has somebody walks in the room who always pushes your buttons, and your brain is like, oh, it’s that person again, who pushes the buttons. So let’s get fully armed immediately. You have got to instead say, it’s that person and not do that. And instead just shower that person with compassion and lovingkindness and open up your expectations and just say, like, welcome whoever you want to show up as today, because we will see people as who we want them to be, even when they’re not that person. Because we’re, like, so dedicated to what we’ve seen in the past.
Jonathan DeYoe: Our mental grooves are firm.
Dr. Mary Martin: Yes. So we have these past colored glasses, and we walk through life with past colored glasses, and it’s not serving us.
Jonathan DeYoe: I’m wondering, just as a corollary, what are some of the. And it’s not Roi, but if I’m a client and I’m looking at advisors, what are some of the benefits of working with a, uh, more mindful advisor?
Dr. Mary Martin: I don’t know. A lot of people who talk about that, their practice, mindfulness. In fact, in my classes, I have people who ask me to come to their industry groups or whatever, or, uh, universities, and every time I get, oh, this is next level. The industry isn’t ready for this. And what they mean is the industry isn’t ready to pay for it, and the industry isn’t ready to give credit for it. I believe, mean, because I see it all the time. I see it all day long. And somebody will show up, some marketing genius, and it won’t be me, clearly will show up. And Julie and I, Julie Fort and I always like, we’re not going to do it. We’re not going to hire some genius to phrase this in a way that everybody’s going to want to do it, and we want to tell the story as it’s genuinely, uh, told by us, which is, this makes you a better parent, it makes you a better friend, it makes you a better human being for yourself, it makes you a better caretaker and caregiver of yourself and the people around you, which includes your clients and your kids and your family.
Jonathan DeYoe: How could it not affect the client relationship? How could it not?
Dr. Mary Martin: I mean, really. And one thing that affects that I’ve actually heard people spin in a negative way, is it will affect you. Values are not something you have for your whole life. You can absolutely change your values. And when you have a practice like this, it is absolutely possible. And it happened to me, and I know that because it happened to me, that your values change and that you’re not as interested in. I had all the trappings. My interests were far more external. What I really want to do is spend ten days in silence in a monastery. Like, that’s the thing I look forward to spending a bunch of money not looking at anybody or talking to anybody for ten days or looking at my phone or reading a book or listening to music like that, to me, is just heaven, and I can’t wait to do it again. So your values do change. What you want to spend your money on could absolutely change. But in my book, you might want to spend more time doing service, volunteering. You might want to give more money away than you used to. So your lens can definitely shift. You see pain more. It’s true. I’m not going to lie. But that just means you’re human and you’re awake to being human, and you are open to the human condition in all of its forms and not avoiding it.
Jonathan DeYoe: I’m wondering, this just came out of something you just said. I’m wondering if some of the pushback that we get from the industry is we are taught to accumulate, accumulate, accumulate. It’s stuff. It’s portfolio value. It’s grow it, it’s grow it, it’s grow it. That’s the ultimate. That’s how you get your aum, that’s how you get your compensation. It’s all based on that. That’s how you’re judged against your peers, your quality of work, whatever, right? You’re a vice president because you manage more money. You’re a senior vice president because you manage even more money. Right? Everything is based on accumulation. And if you are aware and you wake up and your values change and you start giving it away and supporting and being more community member, and it’s not that important anymore, I’m wondering if the industry is worried about we’re going to lose our growth metric, then I wonder if they’re partially worried about that.
Dr. Mary Martin: That is such a good question. And I see on LinkedIn who named this, and they need to be fired. But degrowth, I will say that I don’t think we all should be growing everything at all costs. Absolutely not. And I didn’t grow up that way. So, although I had a bunch of trappings because I got a bunch of money and I bought, um, some cool stuff, by no means. It was what anything close to it, everybody else was doing. And I didn’t grow up as the materialist, and I’m not now. I have four pairs of shoes. Just so you know. I have the closet that I have.
Jonathan DeYoe: More shoes than you.
Dr. Mary Martin: Yeah. I have the closet that the man is supposed to have in the house. And it’s like a third full. Like, I have no clothing. I don’t have a lot of stuff. So I have demonstrated to myself that you can have just the most rich and rewarding life experience without accumulating stuff. And in fact, I’m like, allergic to shopping. And that’s a value, and that needs to be people who are accumulating. What are you doing? What are you trying to do? I have this pause practice just before you want to buy something, just pause. And it’s like, what am I doing? What am I feeling right now? Because usually there’s like, I’m having a feeling and I’m trying to get rid of the feeling or change the feeling. So I’m buying the thing because I think the thing is going to give me the feeling I really want, which, by the way, never works. Or it works for three minutes. Because guess what? You’ve had this feeling before. This isn’t the first time. And you bought the thing and you had the wonderful euphoria for three and a half minutes, and then, guess what? Here I am again, buying something else because I’m trying to recapture that feeling, and it’s, like, never going to happen. It’s chasing the wrong feelings. So I absolutely am a fan of chasing different feelings and having different metrics and having different roi. And I love my friend James Brewer from Chicago. His metric, he calls it lives under care. Luc lives under care. Go JB at envision wealth planning. And so what I would like to see, I’m not even in the industry, okay? But what I would like to see as an outsider is, like, all of these metrics need to change. Look at this planet. This planet has not sustained these metrics. We are in an unsustainable situation right now, in case you all haven’t heard. And every person on this planet needs to look at that, learn about that, and shift their consumption habits. Like, this is a real thing. So that, to me, is fully embodying. When you have this practice, as you know, you don’t just fully embody your own humanity, but then you have this boundless compassion for all of humanity, and you just want everybody to start doing it right. You want people to realize that they’re a hamster on a wheel. So there has to be this balance between, like, everybody needs to know this now, and what’s my little corner of the world. And for me, it was mindful schools and it was advisors for, like, how am I going to bring this to some people to whom it might matter?
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. So I actually want to ask a specific question about the book. So you start the second chapter with a series of questions designed, uh, to basically pull from the reader the advisor, their definition of what it means to be an advisor. And you leave it open ended. And I was really wanting a list of, these are the different things that advisors do that you should choose from, because I think the industry gets something wrong here. I think many advisors think their role is picking better securities and timing the market to improve enhanced returns. And I think that’s probably 80% of financial media, 90% of the financial advisors think this way, but they’re not going.
Dr. Mary Martin: To, uh, read that book. None of those people are at chapter two of that book. You know what I mean?
Jonathan DeYoe: That’s a good point.
Dr. Mary Martin: They didn’t even see the book. So if you’re at chapter two of that book, it’s because you think there’s a different way to be.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Okay.
Dr. Mary Martin: And so it’s like, what do you think you should be doing? It lives under care. What should your prayer, what kind of person are you, really? When you look at how you are with your clients, how you are with your family, how you spend your days, literally moment to moment, if I were to see your life and what you did for three days, what would I say about you? What kind of person do you want to be? Are you being that? And what kind of advisor, uh, do you want to be? How do you want your clients to feel? And it’s like, I want them to feel love and comfortable and secure and confident. I would say those are, like, the top things. But nobody says love. Kidding me. But I want to get love in there, because guess what comes from love, by the way? Loyalty goes right with love and trust.
Jonathan DeYoe: Well, there’s your roi.
Dr. Mary Martin: Love and trust and connection and loyalty kind of all go together. And you don’t second get, like my husband’s clients say to him, he’ll say, oh, well, let me just run through. And they’re like, don’t worry, Dave, you don’t have to tell me about that. Let’s just go and play some Pickleball or whatever. M so love. My message is love. And my message is also, growth cannot be your metric. Holy Moses. Financial. Now, I won’t say growth. Human growth can be like, personal. Growth can be your metric. Your compassion can be your metric. Connection, well being, happiness, that can be your metric. Lives under care, lives served. Do people feel served? So that can be your metric.
Jonathan DeYoe: I love this. So, um, I’m now just assuming that this is what the future of financial advice is about. Yes, it’s the changing of the metric. We’re not going to manage aum, we’re going to see about love, we’re not going to manage revenue, we’re going to see about clients lives under care. Is that what you’re teaching in the class?
Dr. Mary Martin: Yes. So we said we had to have this conversation. Like, wow, the CFP board only gave us 3.5 credits, and we asked for 16, and we were like, well, but this is our material, and it’s the future of financial advice. So it’s not in there. It’s not in the knowledge topics, because it’s the future. And it is relational neuroscience, and it is futures thinking and creativity and imagination and games. We’re going to play some games and play and all of these things that, uh, have shown to be so good for people, but we don’t value them as grown ups. But look where that has gotten us. Honestly, look where that has gotten us. Look at the planet. Look at wealth inequality. Look at the fact that people who are making 250 grand are living from paycheck to paycheck. What’s happening? Look at credit card debt, suicide rates.
Jonathan DeYoe: Depression rates, anxiety, partisanship. Look at any headline.
Dr. Mary Martin: It’s anything.
Jonathan DeYoe: Why are we here?
Dr. Mary Martin: Anything. And another thing we really tackle when you’re tackling attention and consumptions is sense making and social media. Like, are you addicted to social media, people? And why the heck are you there? What is it that you’re getting? What are you doing when you’re there? What are you getting? Where do you get your news from? What enrages you? Why are you doom scrolling. Look at your behaviors that are really bad for your well being, that keep you up at night, that prevent you from sleeping. People aren’t sleeping. You need to sleep, like, a lot more than you think. So it’s about the latest science of sleep hygiene and exercise hygiene. And we don’t touch diet because I’m not touching anybody’s diet, but danger, danger.
Jonathan DeYoe: The third wire.
Dr. Mary Martin: Yeah, I just feel like, no, we’re not talking about that. We’ll say eat well and kind of walk by that one. Uh, and I don’t drink alcohol, but I’m not going to touch that one. But let me just tell you, no. Research says it’s good for you. So we kind of tread lightly on a couple of topics, but we’re really getting into what is it that we’re here on this planet to do.
Jonathan DeYoe: And that’s what’s scary, right? Because if we’ve done it a certain way for 1000 years or the last 100 years or 40 years of our own lives, and then we have to wake up to a new way of doing it, uh, that’s going to be a lot of work and change and, gosh, do I really want to commit to that?
Dr. Mary Martin: Maybe not. Yeah. So I will tell people, they’re like, oh, what comes next? And I’m like, okay, so when, uh, I first taught it, like, 2019, it was like, oh, what comes next? And I thought, oh, I haven’t made this point well enough if somebody asks me that, because so now I begin with, like, this is for the rest of your natural life, okay? So it’s not like you’re going to take this eight week class and then, like, poof, something magical is going to happen. And then you’re like a different person or the better person or you’re making more money. And none of that, zero of that. You’re learning a different way of being with yourself and with your experience that will enrich your life and elevate your practice and enrich your relationships for the rest of your life. Only if you keep doing it for the rest of your life. And, uh, people say, oh, that’s too much work. And I’m like, I get it. Bye bye. But my door is always open.
Jonathan DeYoe: I want to sort of end with a couple more personal questions. So is there anything that people don’t know about you, or maybe you’ve told them and they forgot about you, that you really want them to know?
Dr. Mary Martin: Thing people don’t know about me, I feel like I’m an open book. People don’t know about me. I sing and dance.
Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, okay.
Dr. Mary Martin: I do. I have a hidden talent. My mom was an opera singer. M my dad was a monk. So I come from serious vocal genetics.
Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, cool.
Dr. Mary Martin: So, yeah, I can sing and dance.
Jonathan DeYoe: That’s great. And the last one is, if you could get a true answer, a single truth that you knew was going to be the truth to a difficult question in your life, what would the question be?
Dr. Mary Martin: What would the question be? So old. But it has to do with consciousness, really. And what the heck is it? Is it an emergent property? Are the panpsychics real? Right. And it’s just. It comes out of matter. I don’t know if the AI people are going to get to it. I have no. So I just don’t know what it, like, how are we here? How are you here, Jonathan, knowing what your experience of Jonathan is like, how do you do that?
Jonathan DeYoe: So your question, the truth you want to know is, what is consciousness? That is probably the heaviest question I’ve ever heard.
Dr. Mary Martin: Don’t you want to know, though?
Jonathan DeYoe: But I’ve never heard somebody state it. That’s awesome.
Dr. Mary Martin: Oh, really? Uh, sorry.
Jonathan DeYoe: I love it. So how do people connect with you? How do they find your course?
Dr. Mary Martin: They can go to marymartinphd.com. And the reason I have to say I use my phd is because Mary Martin, you might not know, was, like, the most famous actress back in the day. She was the first Peter Pan. So to get, like, marymartin.com would have been impossible know of her. So that’s why. Because I don’t like to walk around like, I have a phd. But that’s why it’s marymartinphd.com. That’s me. And I’ve been blogging there for years. And my courses, um, are firstname.lastname@example.org. But you can get there from marymartinphd.com. You can sign up for a newsletter with all kinds of fun finds and, uh, interesting musings for me, like what the heck is consciousness? So, yeah, that’s it.
Jonathan DeYoe: I just want to say thank you for coming on. This has been one of my favorite conversations since I’ve started podcasting. I am so in alignment with everything you say. I hope every advisor takes your course.
Dr. Mary Martin: Oh, thank you, and thank you so much for having me and be well, and thank you for the work that you do. Thank you, thank you.