Energy for Performance: Care for Clients by First Caring for Yourself

Are your clients and staff seeing your best self? 

I’ve been reflecting on what it takes to get to the starting line of an Ironman Distance Race. The answer involves
discipline, structure and a willingness to commit to the required 12 to 16 hours per week of training. It’s a goal I set
a year before the race, but there are thousands of other goals I pursue on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. All of
them require me to be my best self, which is the only self that can effectively serve my clients. Keeping my vitality
reservoir topped off is what drives my professional success, a practice honed through Janus Henderson Labs’
Energy for Performance program.

Put Yourself First

As I write, I am getting ready to pack for Ironman Mont Tremblant Canada 140.6. I’m supercharged heading into
the race, feeling the energy and confidence that come from keeping the promises I made to myself a year ago.
Along the way I accepted the fact that one missed workout meant letting down my future self, and I decided that
wasn’t going to happen.

It’s all worth it, because putting myself first is what allows me to fully engage and present my best self to my
clients. Prioritizing my own needs isn’t a natural instinct. Like many women, I tend to accept the role of caregiver,
whether I have the energy for it or not. This tendency extends into my financial advising practice, where my initial
impulse is to give all of myself to every client, every minute of the day.

This is something I’ve worked hard to overcome during my career. I also coach my clients to stifle that urge to leap
into action, without thought, every time someone makes a demand on their time. The best advisors care about
their clients, but constant empathy drains energy. Putting yourself first empowers you to stay active, fueled and
focused. It’s the only way you’ll be able to devote your time and talent to important matters, rather than doling it
out in small percentages to the detriment of all and benefit of none. Remember: your clients are valuable, but so
are you.

The Oxygen Mask Dilemma

Women frequently approach retirement with a smaller financial cushion than their male counterparts, for reasons
familiar to most practitioners. Female retirees have fewer resources in the first place due to time out of the
workforce and pay inequity while working. These underlying issues are compounded by the desire to help and
support the important people in their lives.

When I coach women on what they need to do in order to enjoy their life goals, I remind them what every flight
attendant says before the plane takes off: “If the cabin should lose pressure, place your oxygen mask on first
before assisting others.” This seems simple, but many of us still don’t understand that fulfilling our own needs
better equips us to help others.

During that long year of Ironman training, the client feedback I’ve been most surprised by has been, “I can’t
believe you’re willing to email me at 5:00 a.m.” The implication is that I’m making a personal sacrifice in order to
be atop their inbox. The truth is, I get into my email while having breakfast because that’s how I clear my slate in
preparation for my morning workout. It’s not selfishness, but rather a way to balance my caretaking instinct with
the very real need for “me time.”

As I’m suiting up and clipping in for a ride, I can give training my full attention because I know my staff and clients
have what they need. I arrive at the office post-workout calm, refreshed and filled with energy and purpose for my
day. In other words: oxygen for everyone. We can all breathe easy.

For more tips on how to take your performance above, beyond and further, learn more about our Energy for Performance program.

Janus Henderson LabsTM programs are for information purposes only. There is no guarantee that the information supplied is accurate, complete or timely, nor is there any warranty with regards to the results obtained from its use.
Janus Henderson and Janus Henderson Labs are trademarks of Janus Henderson Investors. © Janus Henderson Investors. The name Janus Henderson Investors includes HGI Group Limited, Henderson Global Investors (Brand Management) Sarl and Janus International Holding LLC.
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About the author, Kathleen

Kathleen Thomas, who often goes by KT, has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and understands the need for women to take control of their financial lives.

A Certified Investment Management Analyst, Chartered Life Underwriter, and Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, Thomas earned her degrees in Finance and Political Science from Salem College.

Prior to founding NewDay Solutions, an independent Registered Advisor Firm, Thomas spent 20 years as a private wealth advisor for Ameriprise Financial Services. Many of her earliest clients continue to work with her.

Thomas is an avid long-distance runner and triathlon participant. She has completed the Boston Marathon seven times and the Ironman Distance Triathlon three times. She has volunteered as coach and mentor for Girls on the Run New Hampshire and Team in Training.

Raised in Newton, Massachusetts, Thomas now lives in Seabrook, New Hampshire, with her husband, John. They have one daughter.

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