Nature’s Influence on Your Practice
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Have you ever noticed that Mother Nature always wins? In addition to being a referral and business coach for financial advisors, I’m also a nature lover, gardener and avid bird watcher. I pay attention to nature all the time. I notice the patterns, struggles and successes that happen throughout the seasons. Nature is always teaching us.
One lesson stood out to me lately that relates to our reactions to COVID19 and its impact on your practice.
Nature wins because of the resilience and persistence of creatures great and small. For the past three years, I’ve had the same mother rabbit succeed in making a nest in my yard. Her persistence is absolutely incredible. I’ve tried everything to keep her out, because I have two dogs that won’t take kindly to intruders and lot of flowers, blueberries and raspberries that I’d prefer to eat myself rather than donate them to a rabbit family. I’ve tried adding an additional layer of chicken wire to the bottom of my fence line. She still found a way into the yard. I tried smelly soap around the perimeter. She didn’t care. I tried dog droppings near her proposed nest site. She didn’t care about that either. I tried human hair. Nope. She was persistent beyond persistent.
Earlier this spring, she found her way in regardless of my efforts and built a nest inside my blueberry patch. She won. She placed four little ones there in no time. Unfortunately, we experienced a very wet spring and all four were drowned in a torrential downpour. Those four were not meant to survive.
Persistence again pays off. She’s back again for a second attempt this year. She moved the nest to a new location, under a tree for additional cover from rain. I suspect the little ones will be placed there tonight. Three weeks from now, I’ll be keeping the dogs on a leash until the young ones find their way out into the larger world.
All of nature continues to push forward in spite of COVID-19. I haven’t noticed any interruption in the cycles and natural patterns. Nature is persistent and resilient. I encourage you to take lessons from nature’s determination and continue to push your practice to thrive. Here’s how.
Find your opportunities
The rabbit always found the opening in the fence to get herself into my yard. No matter what obstacle I put in front of the rabbit, she pushed through it.
The big obstacle for you is COVID-19 and it’s creating a bunch of smaller obstacles. Be persistent. Find your way through the obstacle. My financial advisor clients are thriving because they have chosen to see the opportunities available to them.
One advisor has brought on 57 new clients in the last 12 months because her clients are actively engaged in referring them to people who are not happy with how their advisor responded to the pandemic. Now is the time for you to do things you have never done before, such as leverage your social network or hire a coach or consultant to help guide you through to your new normal. What openings and opportunities do you notice that require your attention or help?
Never give up
The rabbit tried over and over until she got in. She never gave up. And trust me, there’s plenty of easier nesting options around for her to choose. But she wanted inside my fence and nothing was going to stop her. Even after she lost her first brood, she continued living as rabbits do until it was time again to make a new nest.
All too often when it gets too hard, some of us want to give up. I see this a lot with COI relationships. When the relationship gets difficult in some way, the tendency is to move on. I’m sure there are times when it’s warranted. But typically, an honest conversation clears things up. There’s a lot of people who don’t want to or don’t know how to have that conversation, so they ignore it and settle for sub-par relationships.
Relationships are messy. The best COI relationships start with known expectations and a clear understanding of what each party wants and needs from the relationship. Perhaps you have a COI who you need to speak to and establish some new expectations. Will you give up on them or have a conversation?
Adapt to increase your success
Nature is always adapting. The rabbit adapted this time and hopefully placed the nest in a more suitable location to increase her chances of success.
The most successful firms will be the ones who embrace change and adapt. COVID-19 has forced advisory firms to adapt their work schedules, technology, client services, on-boarding, marketing, communication, etc. Some firms are doing it better than others.
One of my clients has a rotating team of staff in the office while another expects to continue allowing its people to work from home post-COVID-19. Another client has also adapted by putting a lot of effort into developing a large group of reciprocal COIs for a collective referral effort. This is intended to help the participants rebound strongly into the second half of 2020. And still another client has shown adaptable behavior by embracing the use of social media, especially LinkedIn, to strategically build her presence, brand, and identity in her niche market.
Nature is unpredictable and for the most part, out of our control. COVID-19 came into our lives uninvited and remains unpredictable. To rebound successfully for the remainder of 2020 and secure the future of your practice, allow nature, our ever-present teacher, to guide your practice. Pay attention to the lessons that you see in nature and apply them to your practice: Find your opportunities, never give up and adapt to increase your success.
Michelle R. Donovan is a referral coach, speaker and partner of Productivity Uncorked LLC, a coaching firm that specializes in helping financial advisors increase their referrals and get more done in their day. Michelle has written a Wall Street Journal Best Selling book, The 29% Solution (published in seven languages) and an Amazon Best Selling book, A Woman’s Way: Empowering Female Financial Advisors to Authentically Lead and Flourish in a Man’s World. To schedule a free 30-minute call with Michelle, reach out to her at [email protected] or connect with her on LinkedIn.