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3 Unspoken Lessons Gifted Through Experience

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As a young child, I was fascinated with stocks. The idea of being able to make calculated decisions that could potentially yield an increase in my initial investment became a thrilling game for me. Granted, my investments were as big as I was in my youthful years. However, my passion grew with every investment, and I knew I wanted to be in the financial world when I grew up. Eventually, I decided to become a wealth advisor. In doing so, I realized I was stepping into a highly male-dominated industry. Naturally, I immersed myself in learning to gain a competitive edge among my peers and colleagues.

“Experience is the teacher of all things.” Julius Caesar

As the years passed and my experience as a wealth advisor grew, so did my awareness of what unspoken lessons were vital in propelling my career trajectory. While I may have studied a wide range of industry best practices, and read various books on human behavior, none of my studies provided me with the three most distinct keys I needed in order to level up as an entrepreneur. These lessons were gained through experience – which is something that money can’t buy. Time had to run its course with me as one of the players in my career chess game.

Here are three unspoken lessons I gained through experience:

  1. Practice the art of a thank you. We live in a world that requires us to be efficient with our time – so for many people, a thank you comes in the form of an email or a social media comment. However, both mediums lack warmth and a true investment of time. There are two things that money can’t buy – time and youth. In this case, the impact is far greater when someone chooses to invest time in a handwritten thank you note. This gesture says, “I value you, and I wanted to invest my time in making sure you knew that,” versus, “This is a formality, so I wanted to check it off my list.” Remember that your actions speak for you too. Make sure you like what your actions say.
  2. Rethink the power of a tribe. Life – and business – are team sports. Having the right people on your team and a part of your tribe is imperative to your growth. These people should not just be cheerleaders – they should be people who can provide you with support and constructive feedback so that you can grow. Valued are those who dare to share key perspective – especially if it challenges the popular perspective. Therein often lies the exact guidance you need to thrive.
  3. Implement “Off” Time. Building a brand and developing a career is demanding and requires a time investment above and beyond. Add to that the fact that we live in a world that is 24 / 7 where the expectation is often for business professionals to be available any day and any time. However, guidance can often come across as ill-advised when it comes from trusted counsel that is burnt out. All things – including our trusted devices like smartphones and computers – need time to recharge. Don’t be afraid to observe off-hours to serve your clients better.

Implementing these three best practices has been a game-changer for me. Through investing time in proper “thank yous,” I’ve connected on a much more personal level with clients and colleagues. By being selective with whom I allow into my tribe, I’ve fostered a network of support around me who often say the unpopular thing in order to serve my best interest. The constructive support I have received has allowed me to grow, which has been a gift. While implementing off time is more challenging than it appears to be, I have seen how my guidance has been more in-tune as I lead with a sharper perspective. However, the greatest lesson of all lies in the choice to share what you know so you can invest in others… it’s a lesson that gives back in priceless ways.

Letitia Berbaum is paving the way for future generations of female financial advisors. With over a decade of experience, Letitia has established a proven track record, helping her clientele become financially fit so that they can thrive through life’s ebbs and flows. As COO and partner at The Zandbergen Group, Letitia specializes in wealth management, asset transfer strategies for high net worth individuals and multi-generational families, and full-service strategic planning for business owners – from those seeking an entrepreneurial framework to those exploring an exit plan. She has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation and holds both Series 7 and 66 securities registrations as well as Long Term Care Insurance, Life & Health, and Insurance licenses.

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