How do I discover the cadence of care in my practice?
Introducing a client-care practice culture starts with one gesture, one conversation, one thoughtful question at a time. My pastoral training and years of experience do not give me a pass when it comes to being intentionally thoughtful with clients. Yes, it may be second nature to me because I have honed these skills for more than three decades. Each encounter is unique, calling from us focused listening and a commitment to learning more about ourselves and others. In many ways, the cadence of care with each client will manifest itself as you spend more time understanding that client’s story, needs, and dreams.
Remember these seven factors:
1. Being fully present to another person is more important than any “trick of the trade” or clever conversational tool.
2. We bond with another person over time. How we begin that journey shapes everything that follows. Begin with focused listening, tuning in to that person’s story.
3. Pay attention to the non-business aspects of the conversation.
4. Learn to read emotions. Facial communicators like eye contact and whether or not the person naturally smiles offer clues to client feelings.
5. Clients feel authenticity.
6. Being intentional about scheduling the next visit says “let’s stay connected.”
7. Follow up in a call, text, or e-mail with a reflection on something in the previous conversation that needs your care. It could be a child’s struggle in school, a job challenge, a health issue, or a fear about the future. Read more
Why am I afraid of being vulnerable to others?
To be transparent with another human being requires being vulnerable. For many, it’s risky, even scary to the point of being immobilized by fear. There is a sense in all of us that others will know something about us that reveals a level of shame, failure, weakness, or incompetence.
Being open to your clients requires first being open with yourself. Get in touch with your story. Name one or two times in your past—perhaps as far back as childhood—when you failed at something important. Did others exploit that moment or was there one or more people who gave you support. Can you tell yourself you failed at a task but that you are not a failure?
Recommended reading: Rising Strong by Dr. Brene Brown. Watch her TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.”
Why does focused listening take so much energy?
In a word, focused listening is work and work requires energy and the release of energy drains us physically and emotionally. When you give yourself fully to another person’s narrative, mindful of your own, a collision of sorts takes place between two lives. If you are integrating the cadence of care into your practice, I recommend you do not schedule back-to-back visits with clients without having some downtime. Make notes on the last conversation. As you do, imagine releasing the tension and emotion from the visit onto the page. Then take a few minutes to get up and walk around the office, grab a beverage, maybe even look out the window savoring the gifts you and the other person exchanged with each other.
How do you set up your first visit with a prospect?
Whether you make cold calls or benefit from introductions from others to prospective clients, set up that first meeting in a way that may reframe expectations. I have been asked many times, “What do I need to bring to the meeting?” I have come to the place where I say, “Just bring yourself. There will be a time when I will need to review your investment statements, but not now. Our initial visits will be focused on getting to know each other.” If you build the relationship on story, listening, presence, and care, the relationship will grow built on that foundation. If, on the other hand, you lead with the hot idea, the unique investment approach, or some other transitory topic, you will always have to find that new thing to keep the relationship going. The key to a strong practice is relationships.
How do you reconcile helping clients grow their wealth and your faith?
I am asked this question more than any other. My Christian faith has taught me that wealth and meaning are not opposites. Jesus never condemned wealth or wealthy people. He did, however, call into question the grip wealth, possessions, power, and recognition have on us. My goal in every client relationship is to teach and model the stewardship every person has over the gifts of life, wealth, health, and relationships. Being a steward transcends the money conversation to embrace all of life in its demand, wonder, and ambiguity. I cannot imagine attempting life’s journey without the resources I find in my faith and the strength those resources give me to live the one life God has given me.
In what ways has polio shaped your understanding of life?
Life is a gift that, at times, is mangled by threats both real and imaginary. What happened to me at 13 months of age is not the issue. Rather, am I continuing to respond to that reality with courage and optimism? In my best moments, I choose hope, joy, wonder, beauty, and love. We all have something that has left us with a limp. How are you facing those memories and scars in the past while making the choice to live your life to the maximum level possible?
What does the word “professional” mean to you?
Thoughtful, inquisitive, polite, well-read, kind, creative, compassionate, grateful . . . all wrapped in clothes that need not be costly but rather convey the high standards we and our industry have set for men and women in the advisory role.
How do you work through rejection?
Life is full of temporary setbacks, disappointments, failures, and frustrations. See those moments as catalysts for growth, maturity, and wisdom. Never waste your low moments. Instead, use them as capital for the next advance in your professional journey.
What are the most important lessons parents can teach their children?
To love and be loved. To respect all life. To find meaning and joy in learning and personal accomplishment. To know they are of the sod, but there is sky in them. To believe the greatest strength they have is in being fully, authentically, beautifully the person God created them to be.
Are there two or three principles that have helped you and Kathie navigate more than 40 years of marriage?
Never give up on each other. Remember your shared past—warts and all—is the foundation for the future. Love is a verb, not a noun. Memorize these nine words: “I am sorry.” “I forgive you.” “I love you!”
What does work-life balance mean to you?
Be fully present to the people you serve and the work you choose to do. Never apologize for taking time to renew yourself physically, emotionally, relationally. If you find yourself doing work that is more drudgery than joy, quit and find another job! No one ever put on their tombstone “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” Embrace every day knowing one day the days will run out.
A clarion call to lead with purpose, Cadence of Care offers a wise and practical guide to deepening and enriching client relationships.