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In teaching the Clients for Life® client retention process to operators and account managers, it’s important for us to acknowledge that their responsibilities can be difficult and their jobs stressful.  Of course, they already know that.

One of the ways that we define stress for them is when they find themselves in that situation with clients where their gut says “no way” and their mouth says “no problem”. Embracing the key principles of Clients for Life should contribute to making their work less stressful.  Executing effective Transition Meetings and Expectations Sessions entails effectively managing client expectations and committing only to those results that are properly resourced by the client.  Still, they live and work in that awkward space between their client and their company doing the best they can to serve multiple masters.  It’s hard – not as hard as golf, but hard nonetheless.

We have some thoughts on dealing with this and other stressors that may be useful:

First, recognize that the truth is we really only serve one Master, who is represented by that “still small voice” within each of us placed there to self-define whether we’ve done our best work.

Second, recognize and believe that we only have control of effort and process, not of outcomes.

Despite these truths, it is inevitable that we will find ourselves in difficult situations, perhaps even a moral dilemma or two.  Maybe it’s maintaining trust with a client by telling them something they need to know – even when we know it’s not what they want to hear.  Stress like that has physical manifestations, usually centered in the gut.  When stress evolves into fear, it often presents differently, i.e. in the extremities.

Here’s what happens.  The fear reaction is sometimes referred to as “fight or flight.”  Whichever the body chooses, blood is immediately and involuntarily demanded by the large muscles, the heart, thighs, back and shoulders.  It comes from the extremities, the hands and feet. Thus when you hear the term “cold feet” as a descriptor for fear, that is actually what happens, the feet are reacting to the loss of blood.  There is less to circulate and to keep them warm.  Concurrently, respiration, galvanic skin response and heart rate all increase.  Positively channeled, it sometimes helps us to perform better.  Uncontrolled, it usually gets in the way of being at our best.

So, our third thought involves overcoming stress and fear by understanding how to utilize our vision – specifically our peripheral vision.  We’ll explain why it works and how it fits next week.