I flew to Minneapolis, MN two weeks ago, to attend AssistU’s yearly Community Recognition Awards Ceremony, and to connect and re-connect with my VA pals. Although nominated for three awards, I never expected to be among the winners.
Can you imagine my surprise when I heard my name called as a winner? Was is really my name that I heard? “It can not be ME; there are others who deserve this much more than I do.” The thoughts raced through my mind. Yet, my heart jumped with joy and I almost danced to the front of the room to receive my certificate.
I am thrilled to have received this award, not for the first, but for the second time. And having been chosen as the most supportive member of the year, to me represents a big responsibility; therefore, I choose to commit here and now to continue to nurture this wonderful community, to help it grow and prosper even more. I have been involved with AssistU for three years now; our unique community of Virtual Assistants helps each other freely, with lively interactions on its membership site, and instant support.
What I so deeply cherish is that my engagement with the community is so welcomed. This, by itself, makes my heart sing! By voting for me my pals express their appreciation of me, my actions, my personality, my style. I am dancing!
Have you won a community award? What were your thoughts that raced through your mind? Did you experience similar feelings, and what, if any, actions did you take because of the award? I’d love to hear from you.
Our visitors have gone and all that’s left are the wonderful memories. I am filled with love for our families who came to celebrate with us, my husband’s and my milestones, but also my nephew’s Wedding a week later.
The memories will live with me and in my heart forever; three of us four siblings being together; it does not happen very often; sad that our youngest brother could not be there.
Saying Good-Bye was the toughest ever; does it always get more difficult the older we get? Tears flowed freely, and I felt as if part of me was being ripped away. It’s not that they are unreachable; an eight-hour plane ride gets me over to Europe quickly. But, when I think about the “old” days when such Good-Bye was “never again” … I don’t know how people did it.
It’s been over two weeks since my sister left, and I am readjusting. Papers have been piling up and I am busy reducing the ToDo list. Emotionally, I am not there yet, too many events and a lot of visitors in such a short time need digesting.
I feel blessed to have had these weeks, to have created such strong memories, and to have been able to deepen the connection with my family members. I wonder, where would I be without them?
How do you deal with emotional times, such as this? What do you do to get yourself “back on track” after such happy times; how do you deal with the missing and yearning?
You are excited, exhilarated! You have found yourself THE best Virtual Assistant!
You have done your due diligence; you and your new VA talked in length about your requirements and how you both are going to design your partnership. You read and responded to her Welcome Packet and started sharing your workload with your VA.
Then, all of a sudden, panic sets in. You now not only have to organize your own work, it’s also your VA’s work, for this week, this month. You experience a sense of overwhelm. “How do I decide what work to give her?” Or “Will she be able to do this? What if it doesn’t work out?”
We all know and dislike the “What if’s.”
The little devil on your shoulder is laughing; he is winning again as he has managed to instill doubts in you.
I call this the Quicksand Syndrome. This is the phase where, as quickly as sand runs through the hourglass, you experience another fear.
This a crucial time in the client relationship; open and honest communication on both sides is most important. It’s here that your VA can gently coach you through the rising feeling of panic. You are a team, and as team mates you talk about your feelings, your concerns, your fears. Being able to voice your anxiety helps you sort through it; it helps you build trust, and it helps your VA understand you better; she is able to show you that she is there for you and can ease your pain. It’s a win-win situation when done properly.
This happened recently, again, with one of my clients. When I realized the Quicksand Syndrome, I encouraged her to talk about her thoughts, and listened with an open mind. At the end of our conversation, she was at ease, her questions had been answered, and we had worked out how to proceed in our working relationship without her feeling overwhelmed.
When a VA is committed to great client relationships, it’s not only the physical work that she does for the client that is important; it’s very much about caring, about being compassionate, loyal, and honest. It shows in little things, such as an email to say “I am thinking of you” when she hands over her children to her ex-husband for the week and feels lost; or it’s the unexpected snail mail card reading “Just saying Hi” that pops up in her mailbox.
Great, long-lasting client relationships are created by having the clients’ best well-being in mind at all times, and through working from the heart!
Are you working with a VA? How did she help you through the Quicksand Syndrome and what makes your relationship with her special?
We were on the boat, we laughed, we were totally relaxed, happy, and content. We had met with a few friends on this trip; our friendship tanks were topped up.
Now it was time to go home. I looked over the water and felt freedom and joy: the weather was fairytale-like; we saw blue sky and not a single cloud, and the lake looked like a mirror; we were gliding along purposefully, like a proud swan.
Then, we were catapulted into frantic action; a loud grinding, crunching noise came from one engine. I felt sick in my stomach, and my heart stopped for what seemed to be forever … both of us knew at that moment that the boat was very, very sick.
What had happened? Which engine was making the horrible noise? Had we hit something in the water? We had questions over questions.
This event reflects the health of a client relationship that seemed to be great on the surface.
When I started working with Caroline, all seemed to be great, and as it should. Yet, after just a few months she ended the relationship.
What had happened? What had gone wrong? Should I have foreseen this? I had questions over questions.
I felt hurt and was upset. Then, I had to admit to myself that our communication had not been as solid as I had thought. What had I missed? Had I been insensitive, or had I not asked enough questions? Had the quality of my work been lacking? But then, she would have told me that. She had never said a word that she was thinking of ending the relationship.
I dismissed my hurt ego. Open and honest communication is the foundation of all of my client relationships, a “must” for it to flourish. This is how we both, client and I, nurture and fertilize the connection, the trust, like we nurture and fertilize a small plant with its fragile stem and soft leaves that grows into a beautiful bush. That had not happened here, and I had not really seen it.
There had been some evasiveness, unresponsiveness that I had ignored as both of us were preparing to go away. Whatever the reason was, steering the ship of my working relationships is a delicate thing; it needs to be done carefully, and sensitively by adjusting the compass by one degree here or one degree there; it is done by anticipating, by being compassionate and guiding ever so lightly.
We continued our boating trip on one engine. Steering was much more difficult and docking required my husband’s best skills. But, we made it home without further incidents; we still enjoyed a wonderful time, and didn’t let our last few days get spoiled by the broken engine. At our last night, we were docked at a beautiful Yacht Club; right across sat a very inviting-looking restaurant. Spontaneously we decided to have dinner there, and enjoyed a table from which we could see our boat; looking at her, her solidity, my chest swelled with pride. Yes, she is hurt now as she has lost an important part, but she is beautiful; she is a safe companion and will be as good as new, if not better, in no time.
The ship that is my business had also lost an important part; yet it floated, sturdy, dependable, and gained speed, solidly; looking forward to adding a new, exciting partnership; and enjoying, and nurturing, the present, wonderful, empowering client relationships.
When something unexpected happens in your business, how do you navigate the storm? How do you deal with them, and what experience and insights have you gained through them?