How I Got Here by Andy PikeI’m often asked how I ended up becoming a financial advisor. While it would easy to say that I planned for my career, after the Air Force, to be an advisor, that’s not what happened. Below is my story.I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1959…oh wait, it might take too long to give you the entire story. Enthralling as it might be, I’ll spare you the details and give you the condensed version!I joined the U.S. Air Force in 1977 with the hope that I’d figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. My original plan was to serve out my four-year enlistment and then move on to whatever came next.My first assignment was in the middle of corn fields and pig farms in Kokomo, Indiana. I had no idea that pigs got as big as they do!!! My First Sergeant was the first person I can remember who really took a genuine interest in me. Suffice it to say, I was somewhat of a smart aleck (surprising as it may be…it is true!!) and was headed in the wrong direction. He pulled me aside and told me I had a choice: either do things his way, or he’d put me out of his Air Force in a hurry. It didn’t take me long to realize that I really didn’t have any other options, so I chose his way, and it worked!As I progressed through the ranks and moved to different military assignments across the globe, I could always look back at each assignment and pinpoint one person who impacted my life in a positive way. The people God put in my life shaped me and taught me all that I know about relationships, leadership, honesty (I was a terrible liar as a kid!), and integrity.To be perfectly honest, I “grew up” in the Air Force. 26 “short” years after I enlisted, I was standing at a podium, reviewing my life in the Air Force and having to leave all that I knew behind. Facing my Air Force retirement was both exciting and scary. It was exciting in that I love challenges. A lot of my Air Force jobs involved taking over seriously dysfunctional offices or huge leadership challenges and straightening them out. The scary part was that, with anything new, there’s always uncertainty.About a year before my retirement, I was recruited by a financial planning firm. I took all the prerequisite tests and was told I had the potential to be a great financial advisor (anyone surprised by that? Not me!!!). The most nerve-wracking part of being an advisor, in my mind, was that I would become a salesman. I had experienced the high-pressure tactics and hard-sell methodology and swore, right then, that I would never use those methods with clients…sink or swim, I refused to put others through what I disliked so much.For me, becoming a financial advisor in 2003 was much like my jobs in the Air Force. As a Chief Master Sergeant (the highest enlisted rank), my main role was to take care of my people. I was really good at taking care of them and reasoned that, as an advisor, my role would not be much different. My “job” would still be taking care of people, albeit in a much different area of their lives.Early on, I realized I really loved being an advisor and was pretty good at it to boot! I love building relationships and helping people understand the complexities of their financial lives. In 2007, two events took place that really changed my life. The first was a leadership course where I found that I was most passionate about teaching and mentoring. Back then, I took that to mean I would end up teaching other financial advisors (something I’d done before and really loved) in some capacity.The second event brought even more clarity. I attended a 26-week Bible study for men. Part of the 26-week curriculum was to log onto a website and take a skills test, of sorts. About two hours and another week later, I got a report. The report showed much the same outcome as the leadership course; I was gifted as a leader, mentor, and teacher. I thought it was interesting, but didn’t give it much more thought.Time passed, and as I was doing my daily devotions one morning, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me that I was doing exactly what God put me on the Earth to do, added that I must start teaching His people His financial principles, and to start quickly! That was the genesis of the Financial Ministry at my church. Since then, I’ve taught hundreds of people classes on basic financial principles as well as stewardship principles and what God teaches us about finances throughout the Bible. The events of 2007 changed my outlook as a financial advisor forever. No longer was my job a “job,” it became my passion and calling and is to this day.Early in 2010, I heard from God again. At this time in my life, things were not good. I wasn’t happy about a lot of things going on around me and didn’t really think there was anything I could do about it…I felt trapped. This time, He told me to leave the company I was working for and to start my own company. Talk about scary! I had no idea about starting a company, leaving the current “comfort” of my position with the old company, or anything else for that matter. I only knew that I had instructions and that I had to follow them.Once I decided to follow God’s “call,” things changed pretty quickly and dramatically. Things at work actually got worse, but I truly believe that was all part of God’s master plan.In November of 2010, I left everything at the old company behind. Being at Quo Vadis is a dream come true. In all honesty, it’s actually better than that. I’m excited and privileged, every day, to wake up and do the exact things I’m most passionate about. I have been blessed with the most awesome clients and my team members are totally unbelievable!Just as I mentioned with my Air Force career and being able to look back and pinpoint those people who most influenced me while I was growing up, I can now look back at everything that’s happened in my life, good and bad, and have the confident belief that everything happened for a reason and makes me the person I’ve become.