Live It to Give It: How to Use the Focus of Your Attention to Run a Great Practice

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

Imagine you are sitting in your office meeting with an A+ client who you’ve been working very hard to close. “I hope she can see that I’m smart and have valuable expertise,” you fret, wondering if you chose the right suit to wear. “Once she sees this PPA I know she will be impressed,” you reassure yourself while your heart pounds.

If this feels familiar, you are likely caught in a state of getting attention. Your high level of self consciousness is translating to the client as disconnection and nervousness, even though you are working mightily not to let it show. Let’s take a look.

Imagine this scene is playing out on a stage in front of you: you see yourself sitting behind your desk juggling mentally like a circus monkey to be interesting, sharp and compelling. You have arranged your office just so, made sure to have the file prepped correctly and are playing the part you think the client is expecting. It is exhausting. You are watching this scene now from high above in the balcony with the bright lights illuminating the scene below. What do you see? How are you holding your body? How is the client reacting?

You probably see a financial advisor all-consumed with how s/he looks, acts and comes across. Her/his body is unnaturally animated, leaning forward and eager. You see a client who is a little uneasy and trying to get the advisor’s attention which she can’t have because her advisor is toiling so hard to win her over.

Now let’s shift! Instead of focusing on getting the attention of the client, try giving the client all of your attention! Give her eye contact, feel curious about learning everything you can and listen like your life depends on it. What happens? Notice how the anxiety melts away? How suddenly you are more yourself than ever?

Here’s where you come back into your authenticity, comfort and truth. Take a breath and relax. Turns out you don’t need to get attention at all! It was all just a misunderstanding. Going forward, in every single dial and meeting, just give give give attention. You will find yourself in the present moment, at ease and fully able to connect with the client you were trying to help all along.

Now try it! Before your next meeting, mentally rehearse what it will feel like shifting from getting attention to giving attention. Practice until you feel your body relax and an innate excitement bubble up inside you. While you are in the meeting, really tune in deeply to the client across the desk from you. When your thoughts turn back to yourself, gently coax yourself back to giving attention again. You may need to practice this until it becomes second nature. 

You have been here right along. Just flip it—give instead of get. Now get out there and live it to give it!