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Life Interrupted – Advisors Leading Through Traumatic Times

“A time of crisis is not just a time of anxiety and worry. It gives a chance, an opportunity to choose well or choose badly.” –Desmond Tutu

By: Laurie Martin, April 1, 2020 – Advisors provide support during world-altering crises. It’s an emotional time, and clients have lots of emotions. In a time of uncertainty, discomfort, or fear, it is the right time to focus your attention and energies on being responsive to all of the unpredictable situations that lie ahead. It’s a wide-spread crisis; however, when you rise to the occasion, you will realize just how effective and resilient a leader you are.

Athletes tell us that muscles get stronger from working against resistance. The same is true for your mind, body and spirit. Treat this unprecedented challenge as a time to make your greatest progress – as a leader and as a human being.

Clients, colleagues, friends and families – even you – may be frightened. Fear can distance people. You can help your clients by letting them know you care, while taking care of yourself. During a time when emotions are high, your mind can become overwhelmed and your body tired which can reduce focus and control.

Here are some things to consider during these stressful days:

Be a focused and thoughtful leader

  • Step back and objectively access the overall situation.
  • Make sure you consider how your clients might be affected, physically or emotionally. Try to see the situation from their perspective.
  • Work collaboratively by asking your clients what their needs are at this time, and what information would be helpful.
  • Use all available resources, including tools, systems, and personnel.
  • Focus and prioritize on what is most important today and what can be done at a later date.
  • Acknowledge negativity your client may be expressing, and ask what else is possible here.
  • Make changes to the things that are within your control.

Communicate clearly, calmly and regularly to your clients

  • Let your clients know you are available by staying in touch.
  • Provide regular updates, resources, and tell them what you’re doing to help.
  • Rather than using words like in the foreseeable future, or we will just have to wait and see, let them know when you will provide the next update.
  • Provide daily or weekly reassuring touchpoints and offer good news along with more challenging news (include links to news and government sources).
  • Provide daily or weekly reassuring touchpoints.
  • Listen without judgement, and never minimize anyone’s thoughts and feelings.

Take a break from the news

  • It has become critical that we stay at home and do our part to help with COVID-19. Keep your mind healthy by watching movies, listening to music, reading, pursuing your professional development, exercising, catching up on home projects, becoming creative with family, etc.
  • Watch the news in moderation. As each day brings new changes, there are maps and 24-hour COVID-19 updates online, on television and on apps. It’s really all there is in the news these days. Yes, knowledge is power and we have to be vigilant to mitigate the spread, but once-a-day updates will give you all the information you need.
  • Fear and anxiety is prevalent; choose mindful thinking in terms of staying strong to get through each day.
  • Focus on creating value for your client that helps eliminate their concerns at this time.

Reflection Exercise

Let’s take a moment for yourself

Reflect on previous situations that were challenging in your career. Draw a line on a piece of paper. On the left side of the start line, write down the year you were born. Then as you go along the line to the right, write the year you had something good that happened to you and when something frightening happened to you. You may have three to five situations, or more to record.

  • Who was your support?
  • What was said that helped?
  • What was said that didn’t help?
  • What steps did you take to help you through this time?
  • How did you take control and got through your situation?
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Plan of Action

Life has been interrupted with the impact of COVID-19 and facing this crisis is traumatic. Emotions are running high and you may feel like you’re losing control. What once was is no longer. Yes, life is different, but we can still maintain structure. We are all working together, albeit virtually, practicing self-distancing, and dealing with new routines. The good news is: you do have control over how you choose to think.

Your future is your today, as you look for new ways to connect to your clients, families and friends. Learn how to stay focused, resilient, and take control of your daily situation. You are being a mindful financial advisor by including your team when planning new actions and protocols. Your verbal and written communications and actions will demonstrate true strength and provide a sense of purposeful leadership during these trying times.

This is a time to reframe how you think, restructure your work/life balance plans, communicate, and stay connected to your clients. Critical thinkers are going to see problems to be solved. Create the habit of acknowledging negative thoughts and then ask: “What else is possible today?” This can help you create a positive mindset more quickly.

Laurie Martin, ctts, epc, is founder of Life Interrupted Inc. She is an innovator with an ability to change the way leaders think, both professionally and personally, to enhance their lives. Laurie has over 25 years of experience as a trauma treatment specialist, elder planning counselor, educator, author, crisis/risk deterrence advisor, and mentor. Laurie’s strong dedication is to empower leaders in all areas of life’s interruptions through her successful education and mentorship programs. She connects people which helps to grow the success of leaders and their teams in both business and personal lives.

To learn more, contact Laurie at laurie@lifeinterrupted.ca or, visit lifeinterrupted.ca

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