Robin Roberts, Co-Anchor of Good Morning America, in her MasterClass, teaches letting our “mess” be our “message.” I watched her MasterClass while recovering from a bad flu, the symptoms of which caused me to think I had COVID-19. Fortunately, the test results came back negative. My time at home was fortunate as it gave me the opportunity to reflect on stress, the messiness of life and the work we do as Collaborative Professionals.
Our clients come to us with the messiest of messages. It is our job to ferret through the mess and help find a message of hope and inspiration to guide our clients to a path forward. Everything running through my head about the possibility of having COVID—the work left on my desk, calls not returned, clients’ needs not being met, appointments canceled, is just the tip of the iceberg for what our clients feel when they realize the life they envisioned for themselves is over. We recognize the fears they face: Financial, child-related, managing futures, emotional upheaval, lack of control and fear of what lies around the corner. It is up to our teams to turn that mess into a palatable message, digestible for now and with footsteps into their futures.
Sometimes we forget the mess and want to focus on the fixing. It is easier for us to rhythmically go about our business and take the steps we need to put a “case” together, get the Collaborative Participation Agreement signed, gather the requisite financial disclosure, and begin building options. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves about the mess and the need to step into the mud for a time before we can begin to turn the message around. Our clients need and deserve the time with us in the mess—at least for a few hours.
I read the list of COVID symptoms a dozen times, checked my temperature repeatedly and tried to figure out what was happening to my body. This behavior runs parallel to what our clients are doing—or not doing when they should be—to get themselves to a better place. Reading the internet, trying to collect their thoughts, finding their footing. I know. I have been there. Fifteen years ago, with three young children, I separated from my former husband. The Collaborative Process was unknown to me. We litigated for 10 years after signing the Marital Settlement Agreement. I understand the mess. I know the message. Time. Time to get better, time to heal, and time to get to a place where our clients can hear our message.