A recent conversation with a client was ostensibly about the strategy for her NYC investment properties, but in my world it’s never just about the mechanics. The first part of any strategy is self-care.
She is eight months pregnant; I could hear the fatigue in her voice and how stress is weighing on her. By the time we finished our conversation, she felt better — more clear on the path forward, able to trust the process.
That always makes me feel great. And I wanted to help her maintain that feeling of calm.
In La Jolla, where I was staying, there’s an integrative pharmacy that carries organic hand creams and body lotions. I immediately had an idea to send her a self-care package.
I took my time smelling the hand creams, lotions, and candles. I savored the scents. Then I took my time to select a card.
I strolled down to the beach, found a bench facing the ocean and closed my eyes, feeling into what I wanted to say. I spent about 20 minutes writing the card, filling the entire inside of the card with whatever came through me.
Then I walked to a locally-owned shipping store and mailed the package to her at her home in Miami.
Here’s what I sent her:
This Was The Vision
As I left the mailing center, I paused for a moment to reflect.
When I left my career as a corporate lawyer to start in business as a real estate agent, this was part of my vision. I wanted to bring all parts of myself to my business, and to offer nurturing to my clients in a way that addressed all of who they are. Not just a resource for people who need to buy or sell homes, but a truly holistic agent of change focused on the people.
Somewhere early on, I got caught up in the trance of fear that the real estate industry perpetuates. That fear compels agents to ignore their needs because if you don’t respond quickly enough you might lose the client.
Many times I had felt an impulse to do something like this for a client or a friend, but I didn’t follow through.
There were other pressing things to do. Too much work. Appointments. Not enough time. The impulse would become another item on my “to-do” list. I was too busy trying to get business to actually attend to my clients in the way I had envisioned.
When I was in recovery from my brain injury, I decided to rewrite the script for my business. I would do the parts I do best from anywhere in the world, while colleagues covered the local work.
As a result of that vision, and decisions I’ve made since then, this time was different.
My Core Principles in Action
What helped me follow through was a series of beliefs and values I’ve implemented in my life.
I gave up the fear-based values of the real estate industry to create my own set of values.
Those principles include the following:
(1) Create space for your best work
My best work is myself. Bringing all of myself to my business and to my clients. Because I create and hold space for myself, I can hold space for others with more strength and presence.
I hold space for them to fully express themselves. And I work with the whole client, not just one specific area of their lives. I help them create space for their best work.
(2) Be. Feel. Do.
This wasn’t an idea that went on a to-do list or a strategic plan. I did not feel pressure to “check it off” or “get it done.” I did not need to block time for it on my schedule.
It was an action that emerged, that flowed, from a deeper place: a place of being at peace, feeling love and a deep connection, a desire to nourish and nurture a person who I hold close in my heart.
Giving myself the spaciousness of living on the West coast for a while has been a gift that I’ve been able to pass along to my clients.
Deciding how I wanted to be with my clients informed the action I took.
(3) Self-Care is the first step to service
Self-care doesn’t come at the expense of service to others. It is the first step of that service.
The process of selecting and sending the gift was not an action item on my list. It was an act of self-care for myself. I nourished and nurtured myself as I smelled candles and body lotions. Sitting by the beach and writing the card was relaxing, a form of meditation.
None of this took away anything from my client.
(4) Take intentional, aligned action
This is the beauty of intentional, aligned action.
Instead of creating another to-do list for someday in the future, I used the spaciousness I had already created to nourish myself and another person at the same time.
Process aligned with outcome.
(5) Don’t just solve the problem. Serve the person.
By engaging in activities that fueled me and restored my energy, I had more to give. I could see the entirety of the people I serve and serve the person as a whole, not just the surface problem.
When we focus on serving the person instead of solving the problem, we create openings for transformation.
And that was my vision.
You may be wondering how it was received.
Here’s a crucial point: we can’t control how someone receives what we give.
Technically, this part of story ends here.
We take intentional, aligned action and release the rest.