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The Living Fully Series for Advisors Part 1: Taking Care of Yourself So You Can Take Care of Your Clients

Professional advisors fulfill a critical role for clients that requires performing at peak levels. During this crisis, we must tap dependable reservoirs of energy and focus to bring our best stuff. Have you been taking care of your self during this time?

It can be challenging to live fully when you are navigating a crisis. What do I mean by “living fully”? I believe we all are meant to live life to the fullest, with a sense of purpose, legacy, contribution, and connection. Do we just put that on the back burner at a time like this? Are we only able to live fully when the markets are good and moving higher? It sure can feel that way sometimes. 

As a wealth advisor for over 35 years, I’ve seen my share of world crises and market drops. What we are experiencing now is extreme, but many of the principles I’ve learned over the years when it comes to helping clients weather the storm apply just as much in the current climate of uncertainty and fear. I believe there are tangible things we can do as advisors to fight back fear and help those who rely on us to steward their wealth to stay on a path of fulfillment, instead of abandoning it because times are tough.

However, advisors are also human, not Superman or Superwoman. I’ve been through many bear markets in my career, and each took its toll on me as an advisor as I gave my best effort to my clients: advising under pressure, staying calm and unemotional, helping clients endure market volatility when they are triggered and unsure what actions they should take, and offering hope and confidence in the future. While we may try to pretend that these challenges aren’t having an effect on us, extreme stress will eventually manifest itself in unhealthy ways, often negatively for those closest to us. 

What practical steps can you take right now to be the best advisor possible, charging your batteries to go the distance, while still leaving something in the tank for yourself and your family? Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a series of actionable ideas to help advisors maximize their performance, which is what our clients deserve from us, especially now. Here’s one simple thing you can do today:

Engage in some form of self-care daily to center yourself.

For me, this means getting some kind of exercise every day, whether it’s biking, running, hiking, rowing or simply taking a walk. Doing something physical produces endorphins that improve your mental wellbeing. I also recommend taking some time to be quiet each morning before diving into an intense day; this may include prayer, meditation, or simply taking a few deep breaths to clear your mind and focus on your intentions for the day. 

I recognize that when things get challenging, I tend to let self-care slide in favor of helping other people. I’m willing to forgo my workout and justify it by saying “I’m just too busy.” But when I start my day with exercise and a moment of quiet, I think more clearly and creatively, I have more energy, and I’m less emotionally triggered. 

I recommend that you carve out a minimum of 30 minutes each day to do something for yourself. Put it in your calendar. Decide the night before and lay out your workout clothes. For further motivation, join an online community that creates accountability like Peloton, or explore other training apps. Emotional wellbeing is just as important as your physical health at this time, so don’t neglect self-care routines. Just like we’re advised on every flight: put the oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting others.

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