Leading Through Uncertainty

“Just make it stop.”

“Sell everything. I can’t take it anymore”

That’s the first two calls my client, the financial advisor, received one morning.

And then more calls came.

“Am I alright? What do I tell my wife?”

“How bad is this going to get?”

“Why is this happening?”

Why, indeed. Market swings reflect real geo-economic concerns and also the
herd mentality. People spook easily. Bad economic news in China translates
instantly to institutional selling in New York.

Key #1 – Purpose. Your bigger “why.” Purpose is your on-board navigator. It
carries you above and through the mid-storm confusion.

When the “What is going to become of me…?” calls come, the client thinks the
sky is falling. The steady financial advisor knows it isn’t. With practice, he
recovers swiftly from the shock and awe of events.

Fear, anger and uncertainty fight for center stage. Volatility is the new normal.
Purpose-driven leaders are a calming presence amidst the noise; they separate
facts from the “end of days” scenarios designed to gain viewers and sell products
the audience now believes are unaffordable.

“I don’t care what I said before. I need certainty. Long term. Brick and mortar
certainty,” cried one frenzied client.

Having seen firsthand what a 7.0 earthquake can do to even the sturdiest of
structures, I have no illusions about life-proof houses, or life-proof plans. The
wise ones remind us, there are no guarantees.

The obligation of leadership is to be a focused – possibly serene – voice of sanity.
The authentic service move inside the market madness is Key #6 – POISE.

Poise is an adjective, a verb, a noun and a practice. It is an attribute that
financial advisors will need.

“Where do I find this?”

We locate Poise by sensing our feet firmly on the ground. We recall our
essential dignity when we can feel our weight – length, width and depth. Within
the tsunami of incoming data, texts and emails, the exhalation of breath is our
very own chill-pill.

This cooling-off allows our peripheral vision to expand. It creates a buffer
between yourself and all that comes at you.

When the advisor slows down her breathing, her nervous system unwinds. It is in
the cushion between the noise that the FA can recover equilibrium. It is from this
centered place that the knee jerk-self recedes. New possibilities emerge for how
to coordinate with the world.

The trusted advisor is true to her Purpose. She has done her homework. Her
clients’ portfolios are personalized, thoughtful, well-planned.

She is confident. She pivots artfully and gracefully with the agitated voices on the
other end of the phone.

Through practice, advisors rise to the covenant of service. The FA becomes the
stabilizing force and safe harbor clients so desperately need.