Profiles of Success – Chad Willardson
I had the opportunity to sit down with Chad Willardson, who is the founder and senior wealth advisor for Pacific Capital. As you walk into Chad’s office you are immediately struck with a feeling of comfort. The entry way and hallways include an aquarium, bold pictures of the ocean, and a few pictures of some select golf courses perfectly dispersed on the walls. Upon entering his office you’ll notice that his desk is clean, credentials from major universities including Harvard hang neatly on the wall, and his family in frames arms length away give you the impression that this guy has his act together. When I left his office I knew one thing; Chad Willardson is a profile of success.
I asked Chad if there is anyone that has inspired him to become what he has become. His head sank down a little as if he was in deep though, almost as if it was hard to talk about. After a second or two of silence, the two words that came first were, “My Mom”. He said, “My Mom has always been driven and motivated. She always instilled courage in me.” He went on next to talk about his Dad. “My Dad has always been a ‘likable leader’ with impeccable trustworthiness.” It seemed like Chad was most impressed with one attribute of his Dad that escapes most of us; Humility. Most people don’t know how successful Craig Willardson is because he simply doesn’t tell them. When people ask him what he does, rather than boasting about being the CEO of a large egg corporation, he just says, “I’m in the egg business”.
Books seem to play one of the most important roles in the life of Chad Willardson. He lamented the fact that he never read books in High School or in college. He told a vivid story about his first experience at Merrill Lynch where he was asked a very basic question about observing stocks. He still remembers that day and the feeling that he got from not knowing the answer to that question. It seemed to me as he told this story that this day was one of those turning points in a persons life. From that day he resolved to gather as much information about the career that he was going to pursue so that he wouldn’t have to sit there in the dark while questions were asked. Now, Chad Willardson credits much of his success to diligently reading. From what I’ve heard from some of his peers at that same Merrill Lynch, Chad became that branches top producer within just a few years.
Here are some of the first books to come off his lips;
- Create Your Own Future – Brian Tracy
- The Magic of Thinking Big – David J. Schwartz
- Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Chad Willardson watches the sunrise and starts his day anywhere between 5:45-6:15 every morning, probably a habit formed through serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for two years. The things he learned on his mission is probably where his current company mission statement is derived from. His philosophy in life has carried over into the business that he owns and the clients that he services. From the time he started as an intern at a $10 Billion dollar mutual fund company to the current day, Chad Willardson finds joy first and foremost in serving others. You can tell that he genuinely wants to help others improve their lives by freeing them of the emotion and stress that can be caused by finances. His fee is a small price to pay for bringing clarity to a confusing financial situation.
For those of you trying to start a career as a financial advisor, Chad Willardson received some very important advice early on. He was told to “work very very hard for 5 consecutive years and not give up and not turn back”. He was told that it would be hard, exhausting, confusing, and that he would want to quit but if he persisted through for those 5 years, the result would be rewarding.
If you know Chad Willardson, you know that he is a profile of success, but what you might not know about him is that he loves to dance. Get invited to one of his dance parties and you’ll experience that first hand. You might be left scratching your head wondering how a 6’5” tall guy figures out how to dance, but somehow he does. He’s a lot better at basketball than he is at dancing, and he’s a lot better at reading than he is at basketball which is why he is who he is, and which is why I’m sitting in his office trying to get into his head.
Chad manages the stresses of life by implementing priority management principles. His innate desire is to please everyone, to be accessible, and helpful. However, being only one person, if you allow your accessibility to get out of control you are asking for overwhelming anxiety. Chad has set boundaries and attempts to make sure that his priorities are in order on a day to day basis so that his family doesn’t suffer the consequences of an imbalanced life.
I have heard reputable CPA’s in the region describe him as very “strategic”, but when all is said and done, anyone who knows Chad Willardson will describe him as a leader, and I would agree. According to Chad;
Lifting others to be even better than what they might think they can be is true leadership. Invest in others lives and see potential beyond what others might see in themselves. Leaving someone better than you found them, and ensuring that they will be even stronger when you’re gone…that is true leadership.
I have always believed that the most miserable people in the world are miserable only because they are continually studying other miserable people. They watch to much TV, endure too much negativity, and refuse to serve others. Conversely, the happiest and most successful people have come by way of dedicating their lives to a study of happy and successful people. For those looking for someone to study, I’d suggest Chad Willardson.