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Developing resilience

Resilience is the capacity to bounce back after tough times. As a financial adviser and business owner, you’re in a unique position to help others make it through this trying time – but remember to start with yourself.

Building your emotional and mental stamina

You’ve all heard the inflight safety demonstration instruction: “Secure your own mask before helping others.” It also applies in times of stress because if your own needs are met, you’ll be in a better position to help others. Putting self-care at the top of your list is not selfish – it’s imperative to keeping yourself mentally healthy and building resilience so you can then take care of your family, friends and employees.

 

Self-care can mean different things to different people. For you, it might mean going for a daily walk, scheduling virtual coffee catch-ups or Friday afternoon drinks with your peers or team, or setting yourself a list of daily goals. Most importantly, be wary of checking the news too often or getting swept up in social media chatter.

 

The Australian Psychological Society explains that we’re hardwired to be afraid of the unknown – especially when it appears to be random and uncontrollable – so it’s reasonable to feel concerned about the Coronavirus. However, poring over news and social media with the constant exposure to negative information can take a significant psychological toll on your mental health.1

 

Relationships are critical for emotional resilience. Even if you’re physically distanced from friends and family, you should still stay connected to them through telephone or video conference calls and online chats. Research studies have conclusively proven that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer.

 

As a financial adviser, your clients may need to rely on their relationship with you more than ever before. That’s why you need to develop resilience so you can offer them the support they need, without sacrificing your own wellbeing.

Leading your employees

Once you’ve taken care of your own needs, you can then turn to those of your team. Like all communities, they’re going through rapid change. Such change comes with high levels of stress. The Yerkes-Dodson stress curve is a measurement of performance productivity that explains the impact of ongoing stress.2 After a certain point, too much stress causes fatigue and exhaustion, which then tips into anxiety, panic and anger, followed by break-down.

It’s useful for both you and your team members to be able to identify where they are on the curve and what triggers could push them over the edge – like isolating from friends, doing too many hours at work or stopping exercise. You can help your team by regularly checking in with them and offering empathy, care and support. Here are some daily questions you could ask them:

  • Are you okay?
  • Are there any technical, logistical or personal obstacles to you meeting your goals today/this week?
  • Is there anything I can do to help?

Calming your clients

Many of your clients will be experiencing stress as volatile markets threaten their investments and super balances. They may have also seen work dry up or have had to close their business – along with experiencing family stresses and health worries.

 

You can help alleviate your clients’ stress by communicating clearly and regularly. If possible, use technology to meet virtually with your client – or set up a phone meeting if they’re uncomfortable with meeting online. If you’re using virtual meetings, remember to spend some time practicing with the technology before inviting your clients to join you so the meeting runs smoothly. Keep your messaging positive and solution-focused, responding to their concerns with empathy and understanding.

Where to turn if you need help

The most important thing you can do for your resilience is to recognise when you need support. Here are some resources you can turn to – or recommend to your family, friends, employees or clients – for guidance and useful strategies:

1 Australian Psychological Society, Coronavirus: psychologists offer advice for maintaining positive mental health, 31 January 2020.
2 AT Welford, Stress and Performance Ergonomics, 2007, pp. 567–580.

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