Blog

Aug 09

Can ONE Superwoman Have TWO Superpowers? Meet Lisa Stone.

Stating it simply, to meet my good friend and colleague Lisa Stone is to be instantly energized. In life and in her career as a financial advisor, Lisa has that rare ability to make those around her feel comfortable and appreciated, just by being who she is. At the same time she maintains a substantial, diverse and in some cases highly sophisticated roster of clients. These individuals and families range from CEOs of publicly traded companies, to partners at investment banks, hedge funds and law firms, to widows and divorcees who are responsible for managing their own money for the first time in their lives. Part of her innate formula for success is that she’s a remarkable listener who knows how to be empathetic and put others at ease. In fact, if you study the definition of EQ, it aptly describes Lisa! So, how does such a superwoman make her superpower work for her? The trick, as you soon will learn, is that Lisa actually has two superpowers, which brilliantly play off each other.

Service With A Smile

Here is one of DRIVEN’s favorite references: “Technical skills account for less than 15% of one’s value in obtaining, keeping, or advancing in a job. More than 85% of job success is based on personal conduct and the ability to put others at ease.” This is according to research done by Harvard University, The Carnegie Foundation and the Stanford Research Institute. It is also a direct reference to Corporate Emotional Intelligence, which is part of the foundation of DRIVEN’s workshops. Finally, it describes why Lisa Stone has been so successful in her career (although not accurately, since her technical skills are world-class as well).

Lisa happens to have been blessed with a double portion of Emotional Intelligence, which she has refined over the years. For instance, she is mindful to exude a warm and attentive demeanor when answering the phone. She says that it’s gotten to the point where clients often start off their calls by saying “I’m sorry to bother you”, which baffles Lisa, since it’s her job to be there for them. She maintains a serious, yet caring demeanor because she knows that when the stakes are high for her clients, things often become emotional. Money can be a sensitive subject for some, especially when it involves family. It can be a metaphor for how much their parents love them, or represent their value as a person. And for a portion of her clients, money is the core of discontent within the family, which can be emotionally draining. Lisa’s go-to advice in these cases is for folks to have an open discussion about finances and long-term planning with the family, which makes such sense: In a way, she’s suggesting that they use EQ to their advantage in quite the same way she does.

Fitness First

As rare as exceptional EQ is, also rare is a devotion and dedication to exercise that Lisa insists upon. Most people cite a lack of time as their excuse not to exercise. Lisa is well-aware that her success is dictated by her energy, and that physical and mental fitness are non-negotiable. The foundation that momentum builds upon is physical energy (haven’t you noticed that managing emotional, mental and spiritual energy is far more challenging when you’re not feeling physically well?) Lisa makes working out daily a priority, dare I say obsession. She often runs two marathons per year (Boston and New York) and is currently training for her 34th full marathon. And if that’s not enough, I personally know only one other person aside from Lisa who runs extreme races (yes, that’s 50 miles!)

Time Waits For No One

So as you can see, Lisa DOES have two Superpowers: A courageous physical fitness regimen and a sharp EQ. But there’s also an art to leveraging these powers, which Lisa has fine-tuned through being fiercely protective of her time. That’s what allows this single mom to remain active on many boards while maintaining a large and complex client base, training for those ambitious races, and carving out an enriching social life. How does this work? Let’s just say that Lisa is a poster child for scheduling one’s priorities. I chuckled when she mentioned how her calendar is “aggressive”. Clearly an understatement! If she doesn’t prioritize the things that are essential, they simply won’t happen. For instance, if an important event relating to her kids is on the horizon, she blocks out the time. This, my friends, is how it’s done.

Exercising Good Judgement

For Lisa, taking care of oneself means assiduously balancing all of her interests, be they that aforementioned exercise, her career, her family, or travel. When running or competing, she admittedly DOES feel guilty that she might not be allocating enough time and energy to her kids, her career and her friendships. What she’s come to accept is that in reality, the buck stops with her and failing isn’t an option. It’s not like she has a trust fund to fall back on. The best way she can secure the future she wants for herself and her kids is to stay healthy physically and mentally. And to accomplish that, running plays a triple role: While it keeps her body strong, it also serves as a stress release and as a time to think and unplug. Lisa chuckles each time she realizes that as her feet are moving, it’s the only time her brain can be still and she can look inward. It’s her own type of meditation.

Lisa has created a life for herself and her children that is authentic and fulfilling, due in part to her profound ability to understand and meet her own needs. This is acted out in the form of empathy with her family, friends, clients and colleagues. Many people know the analogy of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before helping your child with theirs. Lisa is a glowing example of how this advice can be successfully applied to life and it’s why I salute her as this month’s example of a living, breathing Superwoman!

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