Full Disclosure

Many years ago, I sat with a man whose cagey demeanor told me there was something “back there” that haunted him. In all candor, all of us have moments in our past which we have put in a lock box because they are too painful, too raw to take out and revisit. With gentle nudging, I let him know I was safe. He could tell me anything in confidence, and I would, without judgment, listen …

Overwhelming Choices

A good friend who is also Dean of School of Business at Henderson State University recommended I read Sheena Iyengar’s fascinating book, The Art of Choosing. In the book, Dr. Iyengar, S.T. Lee Professor in the Management Division of Columbia University’s Business School explores how choosing and choice function both in our lives and various cultures both domestically and globally. Not surprising, her research casts compelling light on our advisory work and the choices we …

Totality

At the last minute, three of our five grandchildren made us an offer we could not refuse. Visiting from Atlanta, as did all our children and grandchildren, they and their parents (our son and daughter-in-law) stayed over Sunday evening to chase the eclipse into South Carolina Monday. So we joined them, drove north to the Botanical Gardens at Clemson, and made a memory with our family. No photograph has yet captured the palpable, overwhelming eye …

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 …