Providing that kind of service is even more taxing in the context of widespread illness and death.

“Now add to that clients who are calling in and looking to advisors to be a source of strength and guidance to them,” said Tarsney. “Keep in mind that for many of these advisors, clients are like part of their family. There’s serious emotional involvement there, you feel bad, it’s sad when you have to experience sadness with clients. I think people are emotionally exhausted, and that absolutely speeds up the burnout.”

As a result, advisors may feel like they’re not able to help everyone they’re supposed to help in a given day, or that they’re not able to provide comprehensive or holistic services, she said. The danger is that clients can tell when an advisor becomes distant, avoidant or withdrawn.

Symptoms Of Burnout
Does any of this sound familiar? Two of the most easily recognizable symptoms of burnout, according to Tarsney, are difficulty focusing and a short fuse. Advisors may lose the vision they use to plan for clients, their business, their family, even their day.

“Another sign is that decisions that should take 10 seconds might be debated for 10 minutes, or longer,” said Tarsney. “That’s a sign that you’ve overwhelmed your brain.”

Emotional fatigue can manifest in inappropriate responses to emotional topics, said Tarsney, like crying or laughing at things that do not merit tears or laughter. Weight gain can also be a sign of stress and burnout, as some people cope by eating.

Or, advisors will sometimes pour every bit of themselves into their clients, she said, and ignore what’s best for themselves and their businesses altogether.

“We also see advisors so focused on client goals that they maybe fail to focus on their own goals, which can also lead to feelings of burnout and being overwhelmed because advisors aren’t getting to their personal to-do lists,” said Tarsney. “Only 42% of advisors write down their goals, according to our own research, but as advisors should know writing goals is a critical part of keeping focused.”

What To Do About Burnout
Tarsney offered a few tips to avoid or mitigate advisor burnout

• Create a plan that focuses on your goals.
• Start every day by writing down two to three things that you absolutely need to get done that day to move the needle, and accomplish those things before focusing on anyone else’s goals.
• Be aggressive about blocking out some time for yourself. Turn off your phone and turn off your email to make sure you complete tasks.
• Trust your training and knowledge and make recommendations to clients with conviction. If a client declines a recommendation, be prepared to respond with education over time.
• Coach your team to be resilient and follow your example, especially in goal-setting.

“Ultimately, for burnout, you have to be your own personal coach,” said Tarsney. “Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself in positive ways—we all talk to ourselves.If you really feel like you’re at a breaking point, sit down and take a deep breath and have a catch phrase you use with yourself to hit the reset button Teach yourself to take a timeout and hit that reset button.”

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