Many people live as though they are asleep, drifting through life unaware of their purpose, their reason for being and thus missing their true impact to society and to those around them. Daily activities and obligations are done as if on autopilot and they spend all day in an office with their thoughts constantly leaving the present moment. Being present is to be mindful of one’s actions and impact and if we’re not present to realize our true potential then we are selling ourselves short and not truly sharing our gifts.
“Stop and look at what you are thinking,” said Lawrence Ford, AIF, known as the “Shaman of Wall Street.” “Our minds are obsessively thinking about the past or the future – so we are literally not here,” he explained.
Ford, the founder, CEO and Whole AdvisorTM of Conscious Capital Wealth Management, awakens clients to the power of money and how to use money to make the world a better place. To Ford, money is just a tool. It helps people achieve “true wealth.” He added that, beyond meeting basic needs, money is “useless.” “Money is there to power our dreams and passions; to fuel us, but not rule us,” he said.
Conscious Capital works with clients to build more than just money, it is about understanding and developing dreams, wellness and a person’s whole life. The firm is revolutionizing the industry with their whole approach to investing, which focuses not only on building wealth, but also supporting all aspects of a person’s life and wellbeing.
“Our philosophy is based on “Souls First,” states Larry, we work with clients through our Live WholeTM process to better understand how they align their doing with their being and their being with their purpose.” Ford noted that the Glastonbury, Connecticut based firm is poised to grow across the country and, uses a “Connect - Dream - Empower” model to help determine what clients truly want and they train their advisors through the same process thus insuring the culture is strong and relational to those they service. Ford's unique proprietary methodology represents a bridge between the intellectual, emotional, relational and spiritual worlds. It’s a coming together of “Wall Street” and an individual’s awakening and renewal into their purpose and direction.
Ford has stood with a foot in both worlds for some time, having spent a career in financial advising before discovering within himself a gift for healing. He studied shamanism in Nepal, only to return later to the world of finance. He explained on NPR in 2008 that there’s no contradiction in this. Quoting Lao-Tzu, he said, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” This concept may be best explained through a story of an old monk who was sweeping a floor in the hot sun and a student saw the master and asked “why after 87 years and all that you have mastered are you still sweeping a floor in the hot sun?” The monk smiled and responded, “because the floor is dirty and the sun is here.”
“Many of us get caught up in the end results of what we're working toward or the way things will be when we finally achieve something. But the truth is it’s the journey, not the destination that brings happiness,” says Ford. And remaining true to your soul’s longings along the way, is the way.”
There's a Zen philosophy that says the way a person does one thing is the way they do everything.
As the 2008 financial meltdown tore through the financial markets, investment portfolios and lives, Ford lent his shamanistic power for healing to Wall Street. Pictured in the Washington Post blowing a conch shell to help awaken the New York Stock Exchange of its addiction to “fear and greed,” Ford attracted numerous media mentions and some derision from former industry colleagues.
Ford gave his detractors little credence, however.
“What is cuckoo, you tell me … Helping people as a shaman?” Ford told The Post. “Or creating intricate financial vehicles to perpetuate greed and corruption … They’re caught up in their own paradigm.”
From between these two worlds, Ford insists that he can help guide clients to both live in the present, and build their future, while they live in the now. Conscious Capital maintains no firm minimum to invest, since Ford believes the “high-touch, high-tech” firm has a model scalable enough to accommodate a wide variety of clients and that is not in his nature to turn away people in need.
Typical clients include those in transition like - empty nesters, recently divorced, aging couples, widows, newly found money due to a death, personal injury settlement or lottery winnings. In addition people come who are tired of lacking a “full life” and those wanting to align investments with their own values. “Being naturally different has attracted attention as Conscious Capital has clients nationwide,” Ford said.
In addition to his shamanic training, Ford holds numerous licenses and registrations including FINRA Series 63, 66, 7 and 24, Variable Annuity, Life and Health, Investment Advisor Representative and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF).
After graduating college, Ford took the unusual step of striking out on his own instead of signing on with a major Wall Street firm.
“I decided when I got out of college that money controlled people and it should be the other way around,” Ford said.
Mr. Ford has had a long estimable career as an entrepreneur, financial advisor, and consultant, helping both large organizations and individuals through transition and crisis. In 1998, Ford was named one of six people to form the Citigroup Advisors Committee, which was tasked with overseeing the marketing and cross-selling challenges resulting from the $70 billion merger of Travelers and Citibank. He also served as an executive of Direct Advice, one of the nations first “robo-advising” models created in the early 2000s. At the same time, he built his advisory practice to nearly five thousand clients, he enjoyed working with the esteemed Dr. Harry Markowitz, the Noble Prize winning Laureate for Modern Portfolio Theory, and served as the Co-Chair Membership Committee and consultant to the Governance Board for the Retirement Income Industry Association.
“All at the same time as I was flying in to do this kind of work, I was doing an exploration of my own longings and what I wanted in life,” Ford said. With that, he “surrendered” and moved with his family to St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The move was one of the most “difficult and exhilarating” decisions he ever made, Ford recalled.
In St. John he began to embrace his calling as a shaman, serving clients at the Rockefeller Resort. Later, he traveled to Nepal. But after finding enlightenment, it was back to chopping wood.
“It was the last thing I ever thought I’d do,” Ford said.
Over the past four years, Ford has managed Conscious Capital, an RIA that is redefining the investment experience, in fact the life experience. The firm’s philosophy of live a life of passion and purpose and that each of us are ‘Here for a Reason’ stands at the core of their service model. Through the Live Whole process individuals understand how to connect to their true self and find they can talk about money, meet with wellness coaches, therapists and receive massages all provided at each center as well as virtually when possible. “One cannot have true wealth without overall health,” stresses Ford.
“Clients often feel deeply moved and thrilled by Conscious Capital’s approach,” Ford said, “people often say that they had no idea that someone like Conscious Capital even existed.”
This new paradigm earned Ford the 2016 Business Person of the Year award from The Peace Island Institute. He also received a commendation from Connecticut Senator Christopher Murphy for his work at Conscious Capital. Murphy called Ford’s work, "Remarkable, both for the financial prosperity it has helped so many people achieve and for the unique spiritual vision that he has brought into this field.”
But it’s not about accolades for Ford, who believes this mission is much bigger than him and that his firm’s biggest success is yet to come. “We are a movement, not just a business, we exist to help make the world a better place by using the power of money, explains Ford. It’s about awakening people to the reality around them and moving them into their own power. It’s about pursuing life’s works and realizing the totality of who we are.”
Transitions, “wake ups”, or “initiations”, stir us from our slumber and give us a gentle tap, or not so gentle slap, to remind us that there is more to life than the mindless march from work to home. “When we are gifted with a life event that wakes us up, we often see ourselves in the world for the first time and it can be a shock; hence, our reason for creating a model to support individuals through this journey,” states Ford.
For more information about Conscious Capital see: www.consciouscapitalwm.com
Advisory Services offered through Conscious Capital Wealth Management, LLC (CCWM). Securities offered through J.W. Cole Financial, Inc. (JWC) Member FINRA/SIPC. JWC/JWCA and CCWM are unaffiliated.
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