Do you remember the line, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” from the movie Casablanca? It wasn’t in the original script. Nor was the line, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!” from the movie Jaws. Or the iconic “You can’t handle the truth,” in the screenplay for A Few Good Men, or the most popular line from the film Titanic, “I’m the king of the world!”

In fact, some of the most popular and well-known movie lines were made up on the fly by actors speaking in character. (This happens quite often, according to movie lore sites, and there are dozens of examples.) Even though they spilled out spontaneously, these lines have turned into catchphrases that resonate in our culture and are sometimes the most memorable things about their movies. When actors are asked about the improvisations, they often say that it was just the right thing to say in the moment.

Now consider everyday life, where we can sometimes feel as if we are also following a script, reading and playing our roles, taking direction from others. And we likely even review our performance each night in our minds.

Depending on your age and stage of life, your script may feel well written and beautifully designed. But you may also know people who feel instead as if they’re acting in the wrong genre, starring in a drama or sci-fi show when they’d rather be in a romantic comedy or action thriller. The script they’re following doesn’t feel fulfilling or impactful anymore. That leaves them in a void.

Clients facing retirement might especially feel that way, and if they feel there’s in fact something missing, then you, the financial professional, might have to help them fill that void.

That’s why I like to ask clients three questions:

1. Whose rules (or script) are you following?
2. Why are you following them?
3. What would happen if you changed—and went off script?

Usually the response is, “I don’t know,” or “I haven’t thought about it like that,” and, again, that’s because many people have been on autopilot for so long they haven’t stopped to question why or what’s next. Their fear of regretting decisions also plays a role.

In my book Naked Retirement I talked about an exercise I use to help people think about what would happen if they go off script. It’s called “No Regrets Retirement” and it helps people identify what’s truly important to them and figure out how they really want to spend their time and resources.

It’s an eye-opening exercise, and it helped me understand how people’s regrets signal what their values are. Regret often gets a bad rap for being a negative emotion. People would usually rather not talk about things they wished they’d done. But when this emotion is used in the correct way, it can get clients (and the professionals who help them) dialed in on what’s really important to them.

For example, if I asked you to think about one or two things that you didn’t want to regret three years from now, what would they be? One response might be, “I don’t want to regret not spending more time with an aging parent.” Another could be, “I don’t want a health concern to spiral out of control.” And yet another might be, “I don’t want to miss out on visiting a place I always wanted to go.”

From such responses, you can easily make out what someone treasures—whether it’s their family, wisdom, health, longevity, self-care or adventure.

The next step is even more important: When you turn the fear of regret around and come up with an action plan. It’s empowering to turn fear into specific and written goals, things you can accomplish in a certain time frame.

This can make a big impact in your own life as well as your clients’—because it means you’ve turned off autopilot. This exercise disrupts your normal thought patterns, fosters doubt about your current activity and allows you to begin to move from doing to being. Writing down a goal, rather than just contemplating it, is key to this approach. Not only does it improve your chances of achieving it, but you begin to think of solving problems and overcoming challenges holding you back.

Think about the ads on social media. Have you ever noticed that when you begin to search for something like a tent or garden statue that the ads for those things pop up in all your feeds? The concept is called “remarketing,” and sites like Facebook use the cookies from other pages you’ve visited to decide which ads to display. Your brain works the same way. It wants to find and display what you’re thinking about and focusing on.

Remember, this is all about getting clients to see from a fresh perspective. You might not even approach it as a pressing problem you need for them to solve. It’s just a matter of giving clients a “nudge,” as they might say in behavioral economics. But it’s the kind of innovation every financial firm will have to consider eventually, because clients are looking for professionals who can talk about more than money.

I am regularly asked what retirement coaching is or what a retirement coach does. In its simplest form, it’s all about normalization, context and permission—in other words, letting people know they aren’t alone if they feel they’re in a void and letting them know it’s OK if they want to go off script. They might be where they are because they haven’t stopped to question where they’re at, how they got there or where they go now. Retirement coaches can help them understand that and then let them know it’s time to consider some new direction, even if it goes against what others may think or say.

We recently conducted research on these issues at the Retirement Coaches Association. More than 90% of retirees in a survey we conducted said that financial advisors should be helping clients prepare for the non-financial aspects of retirement. (Consider that slightly fewer, 85%, said it’s their company HR departments that should be helping in this area.)

Another important discovery we made was about pre-retirees: Just over 50% of this group said advisors should be helping them with non-financial issues. Compare that with 90% of retirees, and we’ve found a huge gap—40% of the respondents who have no idea about the freight train of retirement that’s about to hit them. Eventually, they’ll be left wondering why retirement doesn’t feel like they thought it would.

To deal with so many unprepared people, advisors will need to go off script too—by committing to additional training, using new tools, hiring trained staff or finding other professionals who will refer clients to them. But the beauty of going off script is that you also enjoy flexibility and options, because you’re not bound to the current game plan. There aren’t a lot of rules, so you can let the new ideas evolve and take shape over time.

Remember, your financial ad-libs don’t have to be big, bold, extreme or overanalyzed. Smaller gestures can do the trick. (The famous movie lines we talked about earlier usually amounted to a couple of unscripted moments per 90-minute movie.) If your clients prefer structure and consistency in their lives, these ideas won’t necessarily take them out of their comfort zone, at least not for too long.

One of my favorite unscripted cinema moments was Bill Murray improvising his character’s response to getting slimed in Ghostbusters, when he said, “I feel so funky.” Which is exactly how I hope you feel after reading this: I hope it prompts you to look for ways to improvise in your business and dealings with clients.

Robert Laura is a best-selling author, nationally syndicated columnist and the president of Wealth & Wellness Group. He is a seasoned conference speaker and corporate trainer and the founder of the Retirement Intelligence Assessment, which focuses on the non-financial aspects of life after work. He can be reached at [email protected].