I’m very lucky in that I get to learn so much from Caroline on our walks. Because Caroline has been on the road for the last week, however, we haven’t had our Beach Walk for a while. 🙁
Strangely, I had a dream while she was traveling that sort of gave me a Caroline-type-message anyway. Like the dream world looking out for me while she was gone. Anyway, in this dream, I was in a Miami Beach rec center (reminded me of Flamingo park around 40 years ago) and no one was playing. Everyone was sitting around doing nothing. So I asked this old woman with white hair if she wanted to play foosball. Somehow, I knew she was really good.
Happy 2019! Our big decision in 2018 to relocate to Miami was all about family. Grace (Noah’s sister) & her husband Jason gave us a great Christmas gift by flying cross country so we could all be together. This meant that we were able to invite them to join us on our weekly business meeting/beach walk!
We typically start the walk reaffirming our mission, talking about how we can be of service and what core values we want The Clements Firm to have. We usually plan a topic to talk about on our walks, and we originally had the topic of flexibility picked out. We have implemented time blocking as a way to work smart and for the first few months it really helped to balance the tasks of business, client engagement and client meetings.
As our business is evolving there are more client meetings which require setting specific times, the winter holiday events were all happening at set times, plus the family commitments increased as our college kids returned home – the combination of these three left us with the question of “when do we hold firm to the time blocking and when do we allow a more flexible schedule?” I wanted to make sure we were not being too rigid, that we were allowing for unplanned opportunities but at the same time having enough of a schedule that work was still happening.
Today as we walked on the beach reaffirming our goal of being available to help others, we began a discussion of “how do you know if you are being helpful”? At first we talked about all of the ways we like to be helpful and skills we have that make us feel useful. But as we thought about where we have been the most helpful, where people have affirmed that we have helped them, we realized it has been in the listening. Learning to listen to understand and not to respond takes practice. Noah and I have been practicing this for several years. At first we had to “check it out”, we used the repeat back technique of “So what I am hearing you say is…. “. I regularly had to ask for clarification on words and meanings, I have gotten better about not interrupting his explanations. Noah asks a lot of questions and has gotten better about leaving space for the answers. It is amazing how often where we are the most helpful is in the listening and in the validating of what is being said. Everyone likes to be heard, so we will continue to practice listening.
Today as we walked and talked reaffirming our goals and what our purpose and vision are (yes, we are taking the suggestion of stating our purpose and vision daily) I brought up a recent coaching podcast where the topic was focus. The coach’s message was: “you will not be successful if you have competing goals, you can not lose weight, train for a half marathon, start a business and grow relationships all at the same time”.
Needless to say I felt like I was being stalked, that the podcaster had inside information to my life as I am currently focused on those exact four things. Noah and I moved to Miami to show up for our family; it became clear to us that to have the type of relationship we wanted, we needed to be closer so that regular interaction would be possible. We have been here for 16 weeks and already the relationship with our niece and nephew has blossomed.
In addition, it is important to us to continue to show up for our teenagers and so when Elise asked me to train for a half marathon – I said yes. The long runs on Sunday morning are very special time for us. I am sure it helps that she gets to do all the talking as I really need to focus on the running part, but it is an amazing time for connection and for me to be present for her.
Noah pointed out that we do have one focus, to #showup, and we are seeing that by showing up and being open to what is in front of us, relationships are blossoming, our business is growing, I am logging miles and eating healthier. We show up; it is truly amazing how such a simple thing is providing so much depth.
Mondays are business development days for The Clements Firm pllc and as Noah mentioned in his last blog we are having these staff meetings as walks on the beach. One of the many pleasures of having moved to south Florida is the access to the beach , and walking on the beach offers us an unbelievable space to talk and share ideas. It is amazing how much more interested I am in listening to Noah’s thoughts; if you can believe it I even interrupt less, I let him share his whole idea without feeling the need to paraphrase for him before he has finished talking, amazing.
This week was walk and talk #7, and the topic of the meeting was “how to get our first 5 clients”. Our business coach and multiple marketing experts all had the same suggestion, connect with people. To do this you need to have contact with them on a regular consistent basis. How amazing is it that here Noah and I are with concrete experience that after only 7 walk and talks on the beach we are experiencing connection with one another in a whole new way – we are sharing ideas, expressing gratitude and nurturing a positive outlook for our work and our lives. #Connect
One of the best things about starting this estate planning practice with my wife Caroline in Miami is that we decided to have our staff meetings at the beach before going into the office. It takes away much of the stress.
This morning, as we were talking about my endless list of things we need to do, Caroline said something that just hit me in the gut: “Sometimes we disguise our fear as overwhelm and indecision. As we act, the fear goes away. We can just start where we are and adjust as we go.” Ouch!
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