Prospective clients often tell me that that they feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to share their personal circumstances with me, for fear that they will be judged. It’s likely been the thing keeping them from seeking help when they need it the most.
I try to explain that they are not alone, and most people feel this way at one point or another, but I think sharing a personal experience may better get the point across…
Recently, I was invited to participate in a video shoot for a new MassMutual product in part because I’m one of a small percentage of female advisors.
At first glance, this was to be a straight forward commitment. I had to learn some lines to recite on camera. Easy, right? Let me clarify that I’ve never participated in a video shoot and I’m not a “You-Tuber.” So, I didn’t know what to expect.
Here’s what happened: I arrived at the Manhattan office in time to catch two other advisors film before me. A while later, a very nice make-up artist sits me down to polish up my face and hair, all while I prep my lines. Then a “sound guy” shows up to get me “MIC’ed.” Next, I’m ushered into a room filled with cameras and lights and people telling me how to say my lines. 90 minutes later…it’s a wrap.
Now, all of this went great! The whole camera crew was phenomenal. They were polite, patient and great at giving me direction.
But here’s the thing… when we first got started, I was nervous and uncomfortable, because I felt so out of place. I was keenly aware that I was the only female advisor there who was being filmed. I was paying too much attention to the fact that I was so different from the others who had been in the “hot seat” before me. While they looked traditional and confident in their baby blue shirts and navy blazers, I was rocking a bold red blouse and a look of bewilderment!
Everyone kept reassuring me that I was doing great, and I knew that everyone else took the same amount of time to get their lines just right, but I still felt like I was baring my soul for the world to see.
Looking back on the pictures taken during the video-shoot, I caught myself picking out every imperfection. And at first, I was completely unwilling to share them with anyone, aside for the 1 or 2 that I deemed to be “the best it’s going to get.”
But after careful consideration, I decided that I wasn’t just going to share the photos I found to be the best... I would share all of them (you can find those on my Facebook account). Because if I ask my clients and prospects to trust me and be vulnerable with me, human to human, friend to friend, then I must be willing to do the same.
The reality is, I’m an imperfect person like everyone else. I sincerely don’t expect anyone to have all their “ducks in a row” when the seek out my help. (Because otherwise they likely don’t need my help!) My hope is that folks will come as they are and commit to giving it their best effort, that’s it.
(Please note that this information is provided by me, Karen Melo Ticas, CFP®, strictly as general advice based solely on my personal education and years of experience in the financial services industry, unless otherwise noted.)