Facing Forward

Several years ago, I was in conversation with an older clergyman who had served the same church for over 25 years. In the course of that conversation, I asked my friend, “How have you sustained a ministry at one church for those many years?”  Without hesitation, he answered: “I’ve always had some project, some new ministry venture, some personal goal that I was looking forward to accomplishing. Looking forward to new challenges brings energy to …

Asking Tough Questions

Following a recent talk, someone posed a question about discovery you may have asked. “Is asking questions about a client’s life, family, family-of-origin issues, work, money, health, and fears going too far?” In other words, are we asking questions that are “too personal.” Is there a line we can cross when doing deep discovery? I’ve heard the “too personal” question many times. It is not only a great question but reveals an insecurity that is …

Feeling Vulnerable

I have come to learn in the last two weeks what feeling vulnerable is all about. But I will get to that later. Brene Brown, both in her writing and speaking, has revealed how powerful vulnerability can be in bonding our lives to others. Her TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability” is a must watch for anyone who values meaningful relationships at both the personal and professional levels. This state of existence can be threatening; …

First Time Last Time

When one thinks of great orchestral conductors, the names of Toscanini, Bernstein, Ormandy, Levine, and Szell only begin the list. We all have our favorites. A name on my top 10 would include the late Robert Shaw. His ascendancy to the podium as music director and conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra changed that institution forever. He was without peer, celebrated as much for his prowess as a choral conductor as for his command of …

Acceptance

I write today on a personal note reflecting on the powerful word “acceptance.”  Like many if not most of you know, I am a polio survivor who was 13 months of age when that virus invaded my body. I was one of the lucky ones; only my left leg bears witness to the after effects of its assault. But, in the aftermath of polio, I became a pianist, a husband, father, minister, and now advisor. …

Acknowledging Noise

The agenda set for a client meeting is predictable: Anything changed since we last met? Is there anything that keeps you up at night? Review the account. Re-visit past and current recommendations? Is there anything else? “Good to visit with you. See you next week at the symphony gala,” etc., etc. I deeply believe that no matter the client, the day of the week, or the statement numbers, people are hearing more voices outside a …

Being in Role

Actors make their living taking on the personality, mannerisms, attitudes, and voice of the character they portray at the time. In one movie, Leonardo DiCaprio is a doomed hand on the Titanic and in another, Howard Hughes. Helen Mirren is the Queen on film in one year and Cleopatra on stage in another. Being in role is how actors make their living. In much the same way, our role as professionals is vital to being …

Choose Happy!

Golfing legend Gary Player often tells an audience his secret to positive, purposeful living. Says Player: “Every morning when I get up, I look in the mirror and say to myself, ‘Gary, today you can be happy, or you can be miserable.’ I choose happy!” What about you? What if your whole day—maybe your life—depends on the choice we make and which choice the client in front us made earlier in the day. What are …

Client Loneliness

My guess is that your practice may include single, widowed, and divorced individuals. The numbers are telling: single adults in the United States now comprise slightly more than half the adult population. That number is growing.  For younger adults, being single poses unique challenges. My under-40 single friends and family members tell me that finding a social, spiritual, or leisure affinity with peers is anything but easy. Social media promises instant community. Finding that community …

Adult Children Challenges

Far more than any advisor is comfortable admitting, we serve senior clients who have challenges with their adult children. Just imagine; the adult children I’m talking about are Baby Boomers with kids of their own!  When one of these senior clients calls with a problem concerning their “children,” I listen. I say, “Let me think about that and get back to you in the next couple of days.” I call back, gather more information, and …