We expect it from our clients but we fear it in ourselves.
As advisors (especially if you’ve come from a big firm), we’re taught that success is about how smart we are, not how human we are.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I was treated to a humbling reminder of this last week, when I visited a client’s office for the first time. I arrived in typical consultant fashion, agenda in hand, ready to rock ‘n roll. The client however, had decided he’d like to treat me like HIS client so he could show me how his process worked from the inside out.
After a brief explanation, he handed me two worksheets to complete. They required me to think deeply on a highly personal subject and write down my reactions (pretty much EXACTLY what I ask my own clients to do).
My snap reaction was that I didn’t want to go where the questions would take me. I wanted to focus on results! Thankfully, the irony was not lost on me and I knew I had to do this. In I dove, determined to surrender to the moment.
And he gave me the very human experience of being heard, seen and understood. We bonded.
Being vulnerable as a “client” was a visceral reminder that we routinely ask clients to share their pain points, their secrets and their dreams. We expect them to be vulnerable. We expect them to trust us.
We ask a lot. Which is why we are honor-bound to create the conditions for both client and consultant to tell the truth with courage.
The vulnerability table turned: the perfect lesson, delivered by a master.
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