FAIRMONT - It was almost a Zen-like atmosphere.
The lights were dim; soft, relaxing music played over the sound system; inspiring quotes about dreams rolled across a large screen, on which beautiful natural scenes were pictured.
"Why is your financial adviser standing up here talking about dreams?" asked Bryan Sweet, who owns and operates Sweet Financial Services in Fairmont.
It was The Dream Architect Premiere, with about 100 people showing up at Fairmont Opera House for the event.
The Dream Architect is a different approach to financial advising, putting a positive spin on what has become a scary aspect of many people's lives.
"We can't let the markets dictate our world. ... We need to be the captains of our own ship," Sweet said.
The realization of a dream to hike to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu inspired the financial adviser to help others bridge the gap between their present reality and their dreams.
"I believe your present circumstances don't determine where you go, but where you start," he said.
According to Sweet, the Dream Architect is a tool to help people on their way by changing the way they think and eliminating mental barriers.
The program has four steps, starting with a dream workshop that encourages participants to dig deeper to find out what's truly important to them, to prioritize their dreams and help them build a pathway to those dreams.
The next step is a financial insight interview, followed by a financial freedom blueprint, with the final step being the dream builder alignment.
"I've been doing this a long time," said Sweet, " and the financial industry does tend to talk mostly about numbers and how to get rates of return. What I've found is people are really concerned about more things - what's truly important to them, and how do I use my money to do these important things?"
And if people know what's really important to them, financial planning isn't just about numbers; it has a real purpose.
"People can easily get discouraged and not really go after things that are important to them. I wanted to be a resource to say, 'You can do that,'" Sweet said.