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Mitch Anthony's Intuitive Advisor

The Practice Doctor is IN

Putting Things Into Perspective

by Al Depman, CLU, ChFC, CMFC, BH
Practice Management Consultant

Al Depman photoSometimes the best messages come to us from our clients. The following account is adapted from an email I received from my good client and friend, Brian Blodgett. Brian runs a technology practice in Buffalo Center, Iowa. He has a growing organization of 20 people and is migrating from being a hands-on entrepreneur to a true CEO. In that journey, Brian is restructuring his business model and is having a number of "aha!" moments. This is one that he recently shared with his employees.

I don't like to get up early, as it tends to make me crabby. I don't like to be crabby, but I don't like to get up early either.

As I was sitting in the gate area in the Des Moines airport at 5:30 am today with about 30 minutes of time waiting to board, I grabbed my computer to do some emails and instead got distracted. I found that I was observing a young couple (mid-20s) a few rows over. They both were holding their phones strangely. They both had earbuds in but were carrying on a witty banter with each other; there were smiles and chuckles. The man had his phone faced down but obviously 'typing' on it (though upside down). The woman had her phone perhaps one inch from her eye.

At that moment I realized I had missed all the other clues. They each had a white cane beside them; the woman had one eye that was almost closed. The man had been facing away from me and as he stood up, I saw that both of his eyes were closed. The couple worked their way in my direction, canes in hand fanning the ground before them. As they worked their way to the gate counter to ask a question, they came around the chairs and I saw they also had a guide dog. The dog led them to the gate counter and I overheard the woman ask, "Is this gate for the flight to Detroit?" They had a problem with their seats, but it was fixed by the counter attendant. The attendant offered to help them back to their seats, but the couple politely and nonchalantly declined—and as they returned to their seat, I overheard them happily arguing about who was going to sit in the window seat. I heard the man exclaim, "But I want to look out the window," and then laugh. "Ok, maybe the dog wants to look out instead."

At 5:45 am this morning, I watched them navigate to the gate door, down the jet way, board, find their seat, all the while toting two carry-on suitcases, sweeping with a cane, and handling a dog. They then managed to stow their luggage on their own in the overhead bin, and all the while seemed to have a peace and contentment regarding their experience.

Anyway, I wanted to share something that put my day into perspective.

In the face of a challenge we can react three ways:

  1. We can get angry and lash out.
  2. We can internalize and get bitter.
  3. We can accept the challenge and become better.

I observed a couple who in the face of obstacles I can only try to image, chose the third path.

All I had to do this morning was wake up early. I'm having a pretty good day already!

An inspiring morning for me.

May we all have inspiring mornings—and an inspiring 2016! Thanks, Brian.

The Doctor is OUT

© 2016 Al Depman

Al Depman, CLU, ChFC, CMFC, BH, a.k.a. "The Practice Doctor", is's Business Practice Consultant, and contributor to "The Wall Street Journal." He is the creator of "The Practice Management Assessment" tool, the key component of The Business Practice Check-Up™, has authored numerous articles in professional publications on practice management, and is the author of the book, How to Build Your Financial Advisory Business and Sell It at a Profit, available from McGraw Hill. Al combined his Liberal Arts studies with 10 years of management experience with McDonald's Corporation to enter the financial services world 25 years ago. Since then, Al has evolved from an MDRT-level sales rep into a full-time consultant specializing in helping others engineer their business practices to the next level. Contact him at

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