George calls the life planning process that he teaches "EVOKE," each letter standing for a part of the process-"exploration," "vision," "obstacles," "knowledge" and then "execution."

The workshop itself covers the first three of these letters, the first meeting being exploration. To demonstrate the process, George worked with Rajesh Modha, one of the participants, using Rajesh's answers to the three questions as well as his current and ideal days. If you are going through this with a client, at this point you should also have a rough idea of the client's budget and balance sheet.

In his book, Lighting the Torch: The Kinder Method of Life Planning, Kinder explains that the purpose of this first meeting is to build a bond of trust with the client by talking little and listening much. He asks the client first if there is anything urgent to deal with and second what he would like to accomplish in the planning process. He listens without interrupting, pausing after the client says something and then asking, "Anything else?" The keys are to be quiet, listen carefully and ask open-ended questions if you ask anything at all.

The partners work together, two at a time, in front of the "audience." The idea for this client meeting is to explore what the client wants to do in her life, looking at her ideal days, weeks and years. The planner is enthusiastic and tries to get a feeling of what exactly would make the client light up.

The second meeting is the vision meeting. The planner mostly listens, but then after giving the client a pause, asks again, "Anything else?"
Sometimes in this meeting the client comes up with something new. For example, Rajesh began reflecting on how his father wanted to be a doctor and was about to begin college in Uganda when the government was overthrown and his father had to leave on the next plane to London. He was wearing shorts and sandals and had five pounds in his pocket. Rajesh is the first generation of his family in England. He wants to make up for his father's lost dreams and also to make a successful, thriving business that will make his father proud. He became a financial planner just weeks before he came to the workshop when he split his business off from his father's mortgage business.

The third client meeting is the "obstacle meeting." Once the client has explored his interests and accepted a vision for his new life, he typically goes home and gets depressed, which is just what happened to me. He begins to think of all the obstacles that prevent him from achieving these dreams: kids in college, a lack of money, a lack of education, or a lack of time, courage or motivation.

When the client comes in for the obstacle meeting, the planner asks him if anything in his life circumstances has changed and then addresses the obstacles in a positive, upbeat way. Kinder tells planners to restate the client's vision within the first two minutes of that meeting. For example, he might say: "If we could get you the extra time to take acting classes and a reduced work week so that you could begin to audition for plays, how would that make you feel?"

If the client says only "OK," Kinder says he's not yet motivated enough. The advisor should continue to ask about possible obstacles and respond to them and perhaps bring up an obstacle or two of his own, responding to each one in a way that dissolves it. Then Kinder ups the ante. "What if we could make time for you to take acting lessons and start auditioning within three months? Or next week? How would that make you feel?"

Most people waste time because they are not living their heart's dream, Kinder says. A planner can routinely find extra hours in the day or even an extra day in the week for whatever it is the client wants to pursue-a law degree, rabbinical studies, saxophone lessons, more time with family and friends or the creation of a new business that so far has only been a fantasy. "The more the client feels your energy, the more excited he feels," Kinder says.

Once you have taken care all of the obstacles-gotten them out of the way and made light of them-you end the session with plans of action: When you go home, you will enroll for Hebrew classes, begin putting money aside for your trip to New Zealand, leave work at noon every Wednesday so you can go to the museum or library, find out how many credits you need to complete your master's degree in business. Invite the client to name additional action steps that he will take when he gets home.