Do you notice that when clients call they are often worried about you? They understand how challenging the current environment is for everyone, including their advisor. Because you have built relationships of trust and care, they respond in kind and want to make sure you are okay.
Do you ever feel funny responding to their questions because you aren’t sure if you should admit to feeling anxious, scared, or worried? You are supposed to be the professional who has the markets, the economy, and their portfolio totally under control. However, that simple question of care and concern – “How are you doing?” – can be challenging to respond to. At least it has been for me over the years.
How vulnerable can we allow ourselves to be? While you may not want to be entirely open with clients about your emotional state, I believe it’s important to acknowledge, to myself and others, that I feel uncomfortable and fearful too. Our portfolios are just as impacted by the markets as those of our clients. Our own family members are worried and asking questions about what they should do, what is going to happen, and whether they should take more decisive action to protect their assets and their health. And we are working harder than ever, calming the nerves of our clients, and dealing with an exponentially larger volume of activity and communications.
Some days, it may be more than you can take. If we don’t acknowledge our feelings and just try to push through them or ignore them, our worries will manifest in our closest relationships as being short with people, angry or emotionally distant and distracted. Do you have a community, a coach or a counselor who you can openly and honestly share your feelings with? Is there a place to discuss the personal stress you are carrying? We all need an outlet to unpack our worries and emotions.
We recently hosted a virtual happy hour on Zoom with our colleagues at other Seattle-area advisory firms to encourage each other and to create a sense of community that would break the feeling of isolation. It’s important to remember that you aren’t alone: simply knowing that other professionals are experiencing the exact same thing can validate your own feelings. Talking and empathizing with colleagues can lighten your burden and provide clarity and hope. Why not reach out to a friend or acquaintance at another firm and be vulnerable – ask how they are doing, share your concerns, and just maybe you’ll both come up with some new ideas on how to navigate this challenging time. It’s a great feeling to know that someone has your back.