Jim McGuire arranged for his wealth management firm, Robert W. Baird & Co., to cover the cost of his CAPP experience as a professional development opportunity. After coming across Martin Seligman’s TED talk about a year prior and dabbling in positive psychology reading ever since, he was looking forward to earning his Certificate and sharing knowledge with his wife, Tracy, along the way.
That’s not exactly how it went. On the first day of CAPP.6 Philadelphia, Jim called Tracy during the morning break. “You’ve got to come here,” he said. Tracy, feeling a bit bummed due to some canceled plans that day, got her things together, hopped on a train, and arrived at the Impact Hub by 2pm. And so began their unexpectedly joint six-month journey in CAPP.
Jim and Tracy, both radiant and abundant with smiles, still speak about that day quite fondly. As Jim put it, “Having her there was going to be the right way to this.” Tracy, in turn, noted that it just wouldn’t have been the same if she was receiving the knowledge second-hand. “We could not have experienced the magic — the intangibles — without being there together,” she said. “CAPP is more about what happens in between the presentations. You can download a PowerPoint and read it. But what happened during the exercises or lunch… you can’t share that later.”
Plus, CAPP turned out to provide more language and framing to support their Christian faith. In separate interviews, both Jim and Tracy emphasized how powerful it was to learn about the science behind gratitude, a hugely important aspect of their Christian identity and practice. With this heightened awareness about the importance of gratitude, Jim now works to incorporate gratitude into his day-to-day, often taking a walk simply to run through in his head what he’s grateful for. As he joyously explained, “It’s fascinating how something so simple can reorient you… and it’s free!”
CAPP also gave Jim and Tracy a common set of tools to use in their marriage. They identify mindset — the notion that we all can choose to adopt a fixed or growth mindset — as a useful tool in supporting one another to remain open and flexible, especially during moments of conflict or stress. Tracy noted that they also try to throw a “What went well?” into their vocabulary to ensure a strong emphasis on positive experience and emotion.
So what’s next for these two? As for Jim, he’s working on a six-part newsletter series for his firm on combating scarcity. In his eyes, there’s no reason we all can’t be rich; it’s fear and greed that get in the way. He’s incorporating positive psychology principles into messages on how we can all shift away from a mentality of scarcity and toward a more grateful and giving financial future.
And Tracy? Well, she finished a counseling degree in 2013, but realized that the program held a perspective of illness rather than one of wellness, and it just “wasn’t in her gut” to move forward on that path. Instead, she’s adapting some CAPP content into an 8-week course called “Be Healthy” that she’ll be teaching through an adult education program in Chester County next year. “I’m going to launch myself in January 2016,” she said.
On behalf of the whole CAPP.6 Philadelphia family: We can’t wait to be there for the take-off.
<Student Spotlight contributed by Emily Wyner, CAPP>