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The Ready.Set.Retire! Blog


The Retirement Success in Maine Podcast Ep 027: Mastering Communication to Get What We Want in Retirement with AmyK Hutchens

Benjamin Smith, CFA

Executive Summary

Episode 27

Communication is hard. We were all born with a voice box, but it didn’t come with instructions on how best to use it. We see this in our financial planning sessions with clients ~ there are just some things they don't know HOW to say. We could be EMBARRASSED by feeling something or maybe we don't know how to navigate tough conversations without saying something we'll regret, giving our power away, or damaging relationships. Enter AmyK Hutchens - Master Communicator! She has consulted with The Home Depot, Starbucks Canada, Comerica Bank, Expedia, Lockheed Martin, Securian Financial, Walmart, John Paul Mitchell Systems, and hundreds more. She travels the globe sharing with executives, influencers, and go-getters on how to navigate their toughest conversations. With that, we wanted to have a REAL conversation with AmyK around Mastering Communication to Get What We Want in Retirement in Episode #27. Check it out and see why life happens one conversation at a time!

What You'll Learn In This Podcast Episode:

On this episode of the Retirement Success in Maine Podcast, Abby, Ben, and Curtis gather to have a discussion about communication. Daily, we all take place in many conversations. Whether those conversations are with coworkers, family members, spouses, or complete strangers, it is important to communicate effectively. For this episode, the team is thrilled to be joined by AmyK Hutchens, an award-winning speaker, Amazon bestselling author, and business consultant.

AmyK helps the team answer questions like, “How can people overcome the fears and anxieties of difficult conversations?” “Why is it important to communicate your goals and aspirations within relationships?” and many more! Also, be sure to tune in to hear AmyK share some of the key takeaways from her best-selling book, Get It: Five Steps to the Sex, Salary and Success You Want!


Welcome, AmyK! [2:03]

What’s the biggest tip that AmyK can offer to us to approach life conversations? [22:13]

What has the thought that “Life happens one conversation at a time” meant to AmyK throughout her life? [30:15]

What advice can AmyK give people to overcome fears and anxieties about stressful conversations? [33:26]

How would AmyK counsel someone to share their goals and aspirations throughout their life/relationships? [37:42]

How can someone start a conversation to help repair a relationship that over time, has degraded? [45:18]

What are some key takeaways from AmyK’s book, Get It: Five Steps to the Sex, Salary and Success You Want? [51:04]

How is Retirement Success defined for AmyK? [54:36]

Ben, Abby, and Curtis wrap-up the episode. [56:31]


AmyK's Website

AmyK's Book



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Ben Smith:                    Welcome, everybody, to the Retirement Success in Maine podcast. My name is Ben Smith. I'm joined by my co-hosts, Abby Doody and Curtis Worcester, the blueberry and raspberry to my strawberry. How are you guys doing today?

Curtis Worcester:          Hey.

Abby Doody:                 Good. How are you, Ben?

Ben Smith:                    I'm great, I'm great. We're tackling a little bit of a different topic today. As I know we've tackled a lot of where in retirement and why in retirement and how, but none of those things really happen unless we can express ourselves. Unless we can actually bring something to light.

Ben Smith:                    We had that conversation with Bodhi Simpson the other day, the grief counselor. She was talking about opening up around grief and until you get it outside of you, it's never real. I thought that was a really great segue to our show here today because it's not just around grief, it's around everything in our life. That really life happens one conversation at a time and if you never really bring those things out, it's hard to live life.

Ben Smith:                    So really everything we do want is on the other side of a tough conversation. Maybe the problem here, which we see with our clients in financial planning, is sometimes we just don't know how to say something. Is maybe we're embarrassed by feeling something. Maybe we don't know how to navigate a tough conversation with a loved one. Maybe we're afraid we're going to say something we're going to regret. Maybe we'll give our power away.

Ben Smith:                    Maybe we'll damage a relationship and again, where retirees especially or pre-retirees. That's a big thing. They're trying to connect more, especially as we age, connection is a big deal.

Ben Smith:                    So we were looking for someone that could really speak to this idea about communication and have us all get better, even the three of us get better here. So really our next guest I want to introduce here is an international award-winning speaker. She's an Amazon best-selling author and she has 19 years of experience in training consulting with clients such as these Fortune 500 companies, Home Depot, Starbucks Canada, Comerica Bank, Lockheed Martin, Walmart, and more.

Ben Smith:                    She travels the world, she really does a lot of big coaching with executives, but also with influences and go getters around navigating these tough conversations. She has her masters in science from Johns Hopkins University, but she's also been on lots of different media. You might see her from Bloomberg, NBC, Fox, ABC, others. She's in California. We got a good theme of California going, a lot of great experts in that state there.

Ben Smith:                    We are going to welcome to the show right now AmyK Hutchens. Appreciate you coming on, AmyK.

AmyK Hutchens:           Well, thank you for inviting me. Normally I say to your sandbox, but now I want to be in the fruit basket. I want to be on there.

Ben Smith:                    Well, that theme came up because Abby was just bragging how she just picked six quarts of blueberries, which are, as you know-

Abby Doody:                 I did.

Ben Smith:                    Maine blueberries are the thing and they're in season right now.

AmyK Hutchens:           They are the best. Oh, Abby, I'm jealous.

Abby Doody:                 Yes, it was great picking, I know. My husband loves them so he was like, "Get as many as you can."

Ben Smith:                    So now we got to lobby Abby for blueberry pie.

Abby Doody:                 Yes.

Ben Smith:                    I was like, well, it was just strawberry season, we just had a few raspberry tarts going. I was like, let's get in the blueberry area. Well, AmyK, I appreciate you coming on today. One of the things when we bring any guest on our show, we always want to introduce to our listeners really this idea about you. You as a person, you and your expertise and your vantage point. So I'd love to just have you open up just to start, just in terms of where did you grow up? What was that experience like?

AmyK Hutchens:           I grew up right outside of Washington DC in an area called Bethesda. I was raised in this really metropolitan, diverse, super educated, incredible conversation environment. But I have to tell you, I have to share this, because I think this is really important with our listeners.

AmyK Hutchens:           For years, we drove up and we would drive to Bass Harbor and take the ferry over to Swan's Island and we would stay on Swan's Island. Unbelievable soft ice cream, lobster this, lobster that. So I have to tell you, I'm thrilled to be on your podcast because I have such fond memories of Maine.

Ben Smith:                    Well, thanks for sharing that because I know that's kind of this universal from us too for our listeners. Is only a third of our listeners are actually in the State of Maine and when we hear from people outside of the state, that's what they say is "I have such fond memories of being there in nature and seeing the ocean. Seeing the mountains, experiencing the outdoors."

Ben Smith:                    What a great story you got there, that connection, because a lot of people have this really fond experience. That's awesome.

AmyK Hutchens:           Well, it's such a beautiful place in the world, as you all know. It's a beautiful place to retire, as you all know. So it's really great. It's interesting because the thread that comes through all of that is the conversations that I grew up with in my family. So my parents were very curious, they were intellectually curious, they were very progressive in their thinking. It wasn't a debate environment, so much as it was just we were talking about things.

AmyK Hutchens:           So that led me into a world of teaching and then from teaching, I became a teacher trainer, then I became a corporate trainer, then I started my own training and consulting company. At the end of the day, it all seemed to come down to communication. But that's just at the end of the day, I am still a teacher. It is just in my core, heart of hearts, DNA.

Ben Smith:                    I love it because again, seeing people transform through education is a really impactful and powerful thing too. It's one thing just to practice it and do it, but also see the change. Again, from our perspective, that's what we like too is that we're able to say this is why things are happening and why is the most important question that we feel we ask. Is getting to the heart of what's being done, but why is it being done? Then challenging assumptions to get there. So I like that as a thread with you, is again, the communication end.

Ben Smith:                    Regards to again your expertise around master communicator as your role here, what do you love about it? Obviously you had the family thing and you could always go as your family is, but what made you fall in love with that as the thread for something that I want to do this full-time and that's my purpose and that's where I want to be?

AmyK Hutchens:           I think that I'm from a generation where sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Except that they did, Ben, they hurt. So I was like wait a minute, that's not true. Then I was told a myth, and this is going back almost two decades ago, but somebody's like, "Never go to bed angry." Marital advice. "Never go to bed angry."

AmyK Hutchens:           The worst advice ever because you often say terrible things at 11:30 at night when you're exhausted and you have no patience and you don't know what to do because you don't have the skills. So that's usually when you say something that hurts a relationship or that you regret.

AmyK Hutchens:           So one of the things that became very obvious to me in my coaching and consulting through the years was that we were given a voice box and it didn't come with instruction. You can be an extraordinary event planner, architect, veterinarian. You can be an incredible asset wealth management provider, but it doesn't mean that you necessarily know how to communicate.

AmyK Hutchens:           I've always said and, Ben, you said this is your introduction, it was so kind, life happens one conversation at a time. The life that we want is on the other side of a tough conversation. I just continue to prove that with all of my clients. That when they can successfully navigate a really tough conversation and turn it into a highly profitable one, it's such a win/win. I mean it's a win for them as an individual, but it's a win for all their relationships and creating what it is that they so desperately want.

AmyK Hutchens:           Life is really short. I mean I really believe that too. I think life is short so we got to maximize our time here for both our own journey and then to serve others.

Curtis Worcester:          Sure.

Ben Smith:                    AmyK, one thing I really like about what you've done, and I'll give you a plug for your book right here, is your book, and I'll put this on screen for those that are seeing this on YouTube. Is Get It: Five Steps to the Sex, Salary and Success You Want. One thing I really like about what you've really done there is because again, I've had coaching myself or I've experienced through corporate training, here's communication skills. Sometimes they can seem very preplanned and robotic.

Ben Smith:                    It's this, in this situation, you say this and in this situation, you do that. Your response to thank you is never no problem, it's my pleasure because that's a positive spin and not a negative spin and we need to be more positive. Those are tricks. Those are mindset things to get you there.

Ben Smith:                    But one of the things I really liked about your book in this case was I think there's this, instead of doing this, here's where we can all go wrong. Then you go try this instead, here's some magic tricks. But also, here's where this whole conversation can go off the rails. So you can plan three and four and five steps ahead. It's not, I did step one, but they didn't respond the way I thought they were going to respond. Now I don't know the next play in this playbook and now it's way off the rails.

Ben Smith:                    That's what I like about what you've done here in terms of your structure with your book because I think it's done a really great job of planning these things out. I think the point that I've gotten out of this is, it's not trickery, it's more just being thoughtful around the communication. It's more of before I enter this and say this to you, again, realize the importance of what I'm going to say to you.

Ben Smith:                    You have this idea with a coach and a basketball player. The basketball player was very frustrated, she was benched, but she scored all the points, and she helped win the game. But the coach was benching her for somebody else and the dad was trying to, "Well, how do I help navigate my daughter?" You made the point of well, when we signed up for basketball, I didn't realize we were signing up for chess.

AmyK Hutchens:           Yeah.

Ben Smith:                    I love that. Yes, yes. In some of these things, you get yourself into something and it's like, I didn't realize I had to look the second move, third move, fourth move, fifth move ahead in order to say, "Hey, I need to think about this because of how important this is to me, and I want a good outcome." In the statement that good outcomes mean I need to plan for it.

Ben Smith:                    Again, I just want to make sure that that's kind of in here about I think that was a really good outcome of your book as what you were describing there.

AmyK Hutchens:           Oh, thank you, Ben, that actually means a lot. I think that one of the things that's been really helpful as a part of my practice is that we don't script and that we don't want to sound robotic. Whether that's a sales script on a sales team. I've done sales training for years and I don't believe in scripting. But I do believe in preparation and I do believe in a back pocket, brilliant one-liner to keep a conversation on track.

AmyK Hutchens:           I think that it's actually a form of respect when you say to somebody, "This conversation matters enough to me that I actually prepared for it." Again, not trying to control everything and certainly not trying to control you, but trying to make sure that I communicate clearly. That I articulate without stepping on your toes or offending you. Or the inverse, that I speak up for myself and I honor the worth of my own voice.

Ben Smith:                    Also, within that is I think a lot of the phrases you've positioned there is really about giving the ability back to the other person you have in the relationship or conversation with. You have the ability now to listen to that true and honest opinion without influence it with some maybe negativity or bad emotion or anger or judgment, or those sorts of things that you talk about, ego hooks there.

Ben Smith:                    About things that spring the hook and all the sudden now the other person that you just addressed is now upset, they're angry, they're defensive, they're going to push back, and we are now off to the races.

AmyK Hutchens:           It's such a lovely race too. Here's a great example, if I come to you, Ben, and I say, "Oh, Curtis is terrible. Curtis isn't doing this job." I think I'm having a conversation with you about Curtis, but inside your own head, you're thinking but I hired Curtis, I think Curtis is great. So are you telling me that I'm an idiot?

AmyK Hutchens:           When I don't think it through ahead of time, I don't take the time to think, wow, how is Ben going to possibly react to this? How might Ben misinterpret my comment? How do I put guard rails around that? That's not about manipulating anybody, that's about being thoughtful enough to say that this conversation matters to me, my relationship with you matters to me. I'm going to put a little time and effort into making sure I choose my words wisely.

Ben Smith:                    Then with that is getting on the same side, right?

AmyK Hutchens:           Yes.

Ben Smith:                    It doesn't become Ben versus Abby talking about Curtis. It's well, Ben, Abby, and then eventually Curtis getting all on the same team. On hey, here's something that we want to bring to light. How do we all fix this so we all have a good result? All have good outcomes? Again, in our case, maybe clients get a better result because of it. I think that's where I've really enjoyed your book and that's on my first read, so I will definitely give it a second read because I'm sure there's things I can pick up even more.

Ben Smith:                    We'll put links in our show notes for this as well so people can go and check out and see the link on Amazon to go purchase it. I can also see where, in our practice with our client, this is something we can insert with them and say, "Hey, you got to read this book because I think these are things that we can all do better. Let's start on a positive note instead of a negative note as well." I think that's really great.

AmyK Hutchens:           Thank you.

Ben Smith:                    AmyK, I want to ask you another question really about your bio. One of the things that just anecdotally, I know a lot of I think in society right now is there's a fight for making sure that we have equal rights and we have representation. I can just see in lots of different industries there's a lot of tradition and there's a lot of male dominated positions in lots of things.

Ben Smith:                    I'm looking at your bio and going jeez, Home Depot and Lockheed. Talk about the guys-guys industries of this stuff. Here's AmyK getting into it and not only just that you're consulting with leadership there, earning their respect, receiving respect. But can you talk about your journey about how you get noticed as an expert in communications? But also then getting valued in terms of your role that you're carving out in the industry as well? Because I think that's a fascinating part because it's always a struggle.

AmyK Hutchens:           I learned the hard way, Ben. We've all said things that don't come out quite right or that we regret, but one of the things that I found very quickly was that some of the trite things that we've heard, like mirroring back to somebody, is very effective. I found that when I really focused, listened in, and became a witness to that person. It was not becoming a power play, it was becoming a connection play. Everybody wants to feel accepted, respected, understood. Everybody wants a witness.

AmyK Hutchens:           If you said to me, "I was really frustrated by this project." Then I say, "Hey, Ben, it sounds like you were frustrated because of ... Am I right? Did I get that right?" They'd be like, "Oh, my god, you got it right. You just nailed it." So what very quickly people found was that I listened and I also spoke with brevity. It was something that I noticed very quickly and I can get away with this because I'm a woman.

AmyK Hutchens:           I noticed that the more succinct I was, the more the men in the room listened to me because when I spoke, I didn't go birds, flowers, trees, plant. I was really like, "Hey, here's my message, let me get to what I'm talking about. Put it on a bumper sticker." I even got complimented on that one time by my CEO boss who just said one day, "I just like that you speak very little." I was like, I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing but I'm going to let that one go.

AmyK Hutchens:           But the idea was that if you can really show up and be a witness to somebody else and mirror what they're saying, validate what they're saying, empathize with them, it is a brilliant technique. Especially as we talk to our customers. Especially as they go through transitions. They've got their own fears, their own concerns.

AmyK Hutchens:           When we say, "Oh you shouldn't feel that way. Or oh I'll take care of that. Or don't worry about that." What we've really done is we've dismissed the dignity of their experience. When we honor the dignity of their experience by empathizing with them, previously validating, and first and foremost, mirroring, we show them that we're actually paying attention.

Ben Smith:                    I think those are very key and key lessons and those are the things I want to explore more with you here today. Because I think a lot of what we'll get into with our question today, it's really focusing on here's somebody in retirement as a couple.

Ben Smith:                    Or here's my relationship with them and I think a lot of this is experiential to I've never really retired before and all of the sudden, now all that time I was away and we were working, we were doing our things, we would reconnect. Maybe we wouldn't reconnect. Maybe we were just kind of in our zone rhythm and all that.

Ben Smith:                    But you know what? Now we do have a big change in our life. We're now home with each other. Especially I know we're recording still in the COVID-19 era here. We're home a lot more and we're forced to be in each other's space more. With that, there's more potential for communication to go awry. If we're not being thoughtful and really practicing again, as you said, empathy, mirroring, even verbalizing some of your distress, and putting things out there but in a way that is productive instead of not productive, man, you're going to see lots of things.

Ben Smith:                    We had a divorce attorney on and she's saying, "Hey, by the way, silver or gray divorce is a big trend now." It was something like less than 10% 10 years ago, and now it's over 20% of people that are entering retirement are getting divorced. Well why?

AmyK Hutchens:           That's really sad.

Ben Smith:                    It's sad.

Abby Doody:                 It is sad.

AmyK Hutchens:           It's a sad statistic.

Ben Smith:                    But why? I think it's right to what we're trying to address today is well, communication has broken down and it goes down a bad road. There's hard feelings that continue to happen and it feels like we can't repair it. I think that's were trying to avoid. If we go down a negative road, let's try to get this back on track. Or this is a great inflection point for you both. Let's focus there.

AmyK Hutchens:           It's really a practice and I think anything is. Whether you show up as a loving practice, whether you show up as a leadership practice, whether you show up as a fitness practice, it's all a practice. What we practice doesn't become perfect. What we practice becomes this permanent habit and that's a big distinction. Especially around communication skills.

AmyK Hutchens:           If, Abby, let's just role play. Abby, you and I are sisters and we've gone through all this, we're now getting older, and we've been kind of just sort of biting at each other over the years. Then we tend to go there very quickly because it's a default role that we both play.

Abby Doody:                 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

AmyK Hutchens:           When couples get together or siblings get together at family time, we pick up those roles again and we fall into those patterns. What we want to do is we want to break the pattern with a new practice and somebody has to be mature enough to go first. That's always the case. Whether you're talking to a therapist, you're talking to a family planner, you're talking about a marriage counselor. Somebody has to be mature enough to say, "I want to hit the reset button."

AmyK Hutchens:           That's by the way, a great way to even verbalize. So if I came to you, Abby, and I said, "Hey, sister, I love you dearly, but this is not fun anymore. You deserve to feel good, I deserve to feel good. So what are we going to do to both feel good? Let's break this pattern."

AmyK Hutchens:           Then the first phase is you're aware of it. So you're aware of your sniping and then you have to actually start to realize, okay, then I need to respond differently. I'm not my reaction, I'm bigger than my reaction, I have control over my reaction. So let me take a deep breath and say something different.

AmyK Hutchens:           That's really important for couples especially, is to realize that they're not bad people, they're caught in habits that are no longer helpful.

Ben Smith:                    Gotcha. I want to maybe kind of shift a little bit on you, AmyK, in terms of this. I had a well scripted question and I'm trying to figure out how to get this here. Kind of a backstory, my wife and I really love the band Train. It's a pretty unabashedly very neutral band and whatever. But that's just kind of one that we like.

Ben Smith:                    Of course, they're based in San Francisco so I wanted to bring them up too in terms of California connection with you. But we've seen them in concert a bunch and we actually in Bangor, we actually have a really nice waterfront concert, it's righto and the river and it's a really great experience. Kind of the open air and the Maine and you year all these bands come in. So it's really a lovely place.

Ben Smith:                    But always at one of their shows is the song Marry Me. What's really kind of interesting about that song is if you really listen to the lyrics, it's all about the idea of here's a coffee shop, this person's sitting in it. He witnesses basically love at first sight. This person's walked in to the coffee shop. Now he's gone forward 50 years of here's the life we're going to lead together, I'm going to love you, we're going to have all these really great experiences in life.

Ben Smith:                    But the key word of the key phrase of the song is, if I ever get the nerve to say hello in this café. Okay, life would be great but I don't even say hello to this person that I visually am in love with right now. I think that's the point about communication, is some things are big stakes, some things are maybe just monotonous.

Ben Smith:                    But there's always these big things. I'm going to put Curtis on the spotlight here. He just got engaged a few months ago.

AmyK Hutchens:           Congratulations, Curtis.

Curtis Worcester:          Thank you. Thank you.

Ben Smith:                    Of course, his now fiancé was just waiting for the life to begin, waiting for him to ask of course. But that's a big question, lots of pressure and where do I start? I don't want to offend her by doing it this way versus that way. The point of me bringing up obviously Curtis's experience and I don't want to out too much of their private life of how he proposed, but there's so much big stakes with that one question, with that one conversation, and we approach it that way.

Ben Smith:                    But one of the things we don't do is approach maybe other conversations that way. But every one of them, every conversation we have, really dictates who we are and how people view us because of how we conduct ourselves.

Ben Smith:                    So I'm going to ask you just to kick things off really in terms of our audience. What's the biggest tip that you can offer to help us improve, us as retirees? Then how we approach these life conversations?

AmyK Hutchens:           I have several things that I would say. First, is that we are all more in common that we have differences. So to realize that your desires might actually manifest in a different ... like, hey, I want to retire with a boat. Or I want to retire with a house on the lake. Or I want to retire and travel the world. All of those things might be different in their manifestation, but we're all common in saying that there are things that we desire for how we want to retire, or how we want to live, or how we want to be. Or how we want to be treated. Those things are more in common than they are different.

AmyK Hutchens:           When it comes to these really tough conversations, one of the things that I think that's always important to remember is that your happiness is your choice. You are not responsible for waiting for people to make you happy. Nor are you responsible for making other people happy. This is a really hard thing for couples to grasp because it's a little existential.

AmyK Hutchens:           But one of the things that I think that's really important is that when you get married, and, Curtis, again, congratulations, you cannot want happiness for your wife more than she wants it for herself. I think that that's so profound, that we're responsible for how we go about it. Whether Curtis is asking somebody to marry him or they're deciding to have a baby, these conversations about does this bring me joy? Does this energize and fuel me?

AmyK Hutchens:           I lived in China for three years, Ben, and they have something called double happiness at their weddings. Double happiness is that if Curtis shows up as a happy individual and his bride shows up as a happy individual, they will have double happiness. But they can't make the other person happy, it's an individual responsibility.

AmyK Hutchens:           Where the connection in that is communication, is that we have to realize that it's okay to ask for what it is that we want. It's okay to say, "I need to be physically fueled. I need to be emotionally connected. I want to be mentally focused. I want to be spiritually aligned because that makes me a high performing, energetic person."

AmyK Hutchens:           So if these are things that in your core values allow you to be physically fueled and emotionally connected and mentally focused and spiritually aligned, then these are things that you want to ask for. One of the things that I find, especially with people who are entering retirement is they don't really know what they want.

AmyK Hutchens:           So even in the book I talk about the fact that you say on the surface that you want to be financially secure. Well what does that really mean? How does that make you feel? It's like, well, that makes me feel safe. I'm like, well then how do you start feeling safe right now? What are some decisions that we can put into place right now.

AmyK Hutchens:           So with all of these big conversations, I think that it's about getting really clear on what it is that you want and then taking action that allows you to ask and get what you want.

Ben Smith:                    I love what you just said there because we have one couple that's a client of ours and when we ask about their money experience, what was the earliest relationship you've had with money? Both of them kind of talked about a similar experience about how their parents really squandered all of their money. They remember somebody coming and taking their car away when they were eight years old. That was their only family car, that was the one way they could get to work, and they had somebody repossess their car.

Ben Smith:                    They talked about how money and not being careful with money, led to a lot of negative life experiences for the parents. They can remember being cold in Maine especially. They can remember being hungry. They go, "That has carried with me my whole life and what scares me in retirement is if I start seeing my bank account go down, I worked so hard to save all these resources." It doesn't matter if it's $2 in your bank or a million or whatever it is. What it represents to them is going backwards, meant insecurity, more risk of being to that place where I never want to be again.

Ben Smith:                    Again, asking the question, getting them to verbalize, getting them to project that out, was a really big deal. It's more about the what. It's that, well why are we feeling this way? We're communicating it. Until they put it out in the air, we never knew that. Now we're going to fight as a relationship of I'm trying to get you to spend your money to live a better life in retirement, and you're fighting me saying, "No, I can never spend this because if I ever spend it, then here's where I go." That would be a not productive relationship. Again, communication skills, it's huge.

AmyK Hutchens:           I think in financial planning, and this is going to sound like a very weird connect but stay with me for a second.

Ben Smith:                    Sure.

AmyK Hutchens:           With a financial planning conversation, or in a marriage, one of the best conversations that you can have is what is your relationship with money? I don't mean as in, oh, I have plenty or I don't. I mean actually what is your relationship with money?

AmyK Hutchens:           When I'm coaching CEOs, and I'm just starting in my relationship with them as a coach or consultant, I will literally say to the CEO, "If money's a person, describe the person. Either as a type of person or a celebrity. Then give me two sentences to describe that person. If it's a place, a geographic place or a type of place, give me a place where money hangs out or how you see money."

AmyK Hutchens:           Then we do it with an inanimate object. So person, place, or thing. Then what you get very quickly is what's actually their relationship with money? I'll give you a real example. I'm talking to a CEO one day and I said, "Well, if money were a person, what would it be?" He's like, "It's a magician." I said, "Well, give me a little bit of information on the magician." He's like, "Yeah, they have this trick but you never really know how it works." I'm like, oh, isn't this interesting? Right?

Curtis Worcester:          Yeah.

AmyK Hutchens:           So I said, "Well, if it's a place, what kind of place would it be?" He's like, "Well, a far off place that's very exotic." I'm like, okay, so he doesn't feel that money one, he understands it, or that he can access it. So what you start to realize is that, that relationship with money has such a deep effect on all the decisions that they're going to make about it going forward.

AmyK Hutchens:           Here's what, it's a magical phrase, I put this in the book and I'm going to share it here because it's so powerful. I have this story in my head. It's a beautiful phrase to change your story and not accuse somebody else of being good, bad, wrong, or having judgment. So when you're talking to your client, you can say, "Oh, well, I have this story in my head that you think money is really hard to figure out and it's really hard to get and keep." They'd be like, "Oh, my gosh, you're a mind reader." Or they'll correct the story because it's just a story in your head.

AmyK Hutchens:           So you're not saying, "You don't believe in money. You don't know how to control money. You think it's ..." You're not accusing them of anything, you're saying, "Hey, I have this story in my head." It's a fantastic way for a financial planner to start a very personal conversation without a cheesy, what keeps you up at night about your retirement?

Ben Smith:                    But also not being judgy. I think that's the other part, because you go, you know what? You are not looking at this right. Or we need to educate you about thinking of it this way. It's not that. It's not saying well, I'm right, you're wrong. It's this, well, here's what I hear you saying and here's where I think the story's going. I completely agree with that. That's awesome.

Curtis Worcester:          AmyK, I want to take a second. We kind of talked about this in the intro a little bit, but I want to focus in on that insight idea that you have that life happens one conversation at a time. We just talked about a big decision in my life that happened through a conversation. So can you just dive into that? How you came up with that thought and insight? Then what it's meant to you throughout your life?

AmyK Hutchens:           I think that there are conversations that are worth having and there are some that are not. I think that every time I was in a coaching situation, whether it be a CEO of a company or a personal scenario, it always came back to what somebody was saying or not saying. It was a lack of connection or it was a power play.

AmyK Hutchens:           I work a lot with CEOs and so I'll often say, "Do you want to really lean in and understand this person? Do you want to be more understood? Or do you need to draw a line in the sand?" Is this connection or is this a power play?

AmyK Hutchens:           I'll give you a great example because, Curtis, I'm not a family therapist. I am not, I'm not, I'm not, and I say this all the time. I do not do social therapy, I'm not a counselor. Yet every single time that I'm into a coaching relationship, the CEO will end up, after we've had all these professional business related conversations, at some point they'll be like, "Hey, AmyK, do you have five minutes?" I'm like, oh, marriage or kids, marriage or kids, here we go.

AmyK Hutchens:           I'm talking to Marty, names have been changed, I'm talking to Marty and Marty says, "Hey, AmyK, do you have five minutes?" I was like, oh, marriage or kids, marriage or kids. I was like I'm going to go with marriage. He says and I quote, Curtis, "I've been married for 30 years." I was like, yes, I just won my bet. Then he says, "29 pretty miserably." Your heart just hurts. This is just life is too short for this.

Abby Doody:                 Yes.

AmyK Hutchens:           Then he says, "Can you fix her?" I was like, "Okay, first of all, I am not coaching her. First of all, I'm coaching you. And no, she does not need to be fixed." But I asked him a great question and I said, "Who do you need to be? Who do you need to become to be worthy of a 30 year marriage with a best friend? Who do you need to become that you're the person that somebody wants to chase around the globe for another 30 years? Who do you want to be that somebody wants to chase around the bedroom, the back lake, to have a great relationship with?"

AmyK Hutchens:           You could've heard a pin drop. What's so fascinating and what I love about this story is that it comes down to communication. The conversations that you have internally with yourself, the conversations that you're having in that marriage, that you're having with your adult children at that point. So over the course of the next three coaching calls, we didn't worry about his business, we focused on who he was as a person and how he was playing, and who he needed to become.

AmyK Hutchens:           In other words, who did he have the potential to live up to be? Who did he have that potential to be? Here's the fun thing, after about three, I don't want to exaggerate, so after three and a half, maybe four weeks max, he calls me and he says, "AmyK, I'm having the best relationship of my life." It was so great because it showed you that he wasn't wrong, his wife wasn't wrong. What he needed to do was change his behaviors. How he could only do that was to start with the conversation he was having with himself.

Abby Doody:                 That's great. Kind of shifting gears again, a lot of us, we feel a lot of fear and anxiety. We turn that into barriers and obstacles that don't really allow us to do things that maybe we want to do. So often we hear, "I can't tell that person how I feel. I can't feel like I can express myself. Or I don't even know how to really get where I want to go."

Abby Doody:                 What advice would you give somebody to overcome those fears and anxieties in stressful conversations?

AmyK Hutchens:           I think you have to own it. I think that one of the things that I encourage people to do, Abby, is to actually say that at the beginning of a conversation. "This is hard for me. Or this is awkward for me. This is a difficult topic for me and I care about it. Or and it matters to me. Or our relationship is important to me." Then you say, "So I want to see it through."

AmyK Hutchens:           A lot of times people, especially older generations, because their throats might get tight or their chest might get stiff, or they'll get a little red in the face, they get embarrassed. What I encourage people to take away is that that's just your body telling you that this matters. So a lot of people, especially men, feel like they have to apologize for it. Like, "I don't want to talk about this because if I get a little teary eyed, I don't want to go there."

AmyK Hutchens:           What I really encourage men to do is say, "That's just a visible effect that you care." Never apologize for your throat getting tight, you're getting verklempt, maybe your eyes tear up. When you're able to communicate, when you can get your voice back, just say, "Clearly this matters to me. Or clearly I care."

AmyK Hutchens:           One of the things that I'll do in the flip is that people are only going to be vulnerable if it's safe. So if you've got a relationship where people have been vulnerable in the past and it hasn't been safe, you can't expect them to be vulnerable until you make it safe. So you do that in small ways, by affirming the person, by being a safe space on the innocuous stuff, so that we can start to reset and start talking about the more important stuff.

AmyK Hutchens:           But nobody's going to share their deep, dark, "I've always wanted to do this but I think it would be silly or judged," if you've been judging them for the last 20 years. So the very first thing that I tell people who've maybe come from that background is that start with the innocuous stuff and make it safe for somebody to share.

AmyK Hutchens:           Literally, let's just model it on something really silly because I think this is important. Abby, what's one of your favorite things to have for dinner?

Abby Doody:                 Homemade pasta.

AmyK Hutchens:           Oh my god, homemade pasta? That's going to make you so fat. Oh my god, I can't believe you even said that. See, I didn't make it safe for you. Right?

Abby Doody:                 Right.

AmyK Hutchens:           So the next time I ask you a question like what's your favorite game to play? You're going to be like, I know your game, AmyK, and I don't want to play, right?

Abby Doody:                 Right.

AmyK Hutchens:           But if I lean in and I say, "Oh my god, pasta, that sounds amazing. Are you a pesto girl? Or are you a red sauce girl?"

Abby Doody:                 Oh, actually, yes, I'm a pesto girl.

AmyK Hutchens:           See? Now I'm like oh my god. So I just bought fresh basil yesterday because I'm making pesto today, true story. So now I've made it safe. You're not going to be judged and that sound so trite, except that it's not. It's not. This is how safety's built by mirroring back to that you are accepted, respected, and understood. Now I'm going to validate you by saying, wow it sounds like you might even be a really good cook, Abby, is that true?

Abby Doody:                 Yeah.

AmyK Hutchens:           Yeah. Okay. Then when I empathize with you, it's like, wow I can just imagine that you and your husband are going to have a great Italian meal in the future, right?

Abby Doody:                 Yes.

AmyK Hutchens:           Or blueberries for dessert and some leftover for us in the office, right?

Abby Doody:                 Exactly.

Curtis Worcester:          That's true.

Abby Doody:                 Yes.

AmyK Hutchens:           But I think that this is really important. So even though we're using kind of a silly example, it's a relatable example to the listeners right now that it's important to say, "This is difficult for me. This is awkward for me and it matters to me. I want to see this through." In order for somebody to do that, we have to be accepting that they're having their own experience, we're going to validate and honor their own experience.

AmyK Hutchens:           One of the worst things that I see people do is hold up the hand and be like, "That's not my experience. Or I don't like pasta." Then you're like, we didn't connect. It's all about connection.

Curtis Worcester:          I want to share a story with you, AmyK, that I think we've shared this story a few times throughout the life of our podcast series. We have a retired couple, husband was in the Air Force, always wanted to fly a plane or be a pilot. Never worked out in the Air Force, he just never got stationed to be a pilot. Chose various places that he could be near the airfield still throughout his time serving.

Curtis Worcester:          It came up in a conversation with us actually in a meeting just kind of out of the blue talking about what he always wanted to do, and that dream was to fly a plane. Kid you not, the wife goes, "You've never told me that." Right there. Here they are retired.

Curtis Worcester:          So I guess what I'm asking you is how would you counsel someone like that if you could, to share those goals or that aspiration throughout that relationship? Throughout his entire life and had never shared, or throughout their marriage. I think we mentioned earlier knowing the worth of your own voice. So can you just share how you would approach that?

AmyK Hutchens:           I think that there's a myriad of reasons why people don't share. It can be childhood trauma like we talked about earlier. Something that's horrific that happens that then creates this story or this belief system. It might be that he didn't feel safe with her. He might've felt like it was embarrassing. Or he might've felt shame that he could never do something that he wanted to do for his own volition. Or his own barriers.

AmyK Hutchens:           Sometimes I've known men and women who've had dreams to do things, but then they didn't have either enough of the correct eyesight or they had a heart murmur that kept them from doing something in the service. So there can be shame. Shame is a very complex emotion, but it can limit us in so many ways.

AmyK Hutchens:           So one of the things that is really important for couples as they get older is to not react when something is finally shared. It's very understandable that she's like, "Oh my god, you never told me that."

Curtis Worcester:          Sure.

AmyK Hutchens:           Then to move right into, "How might we make this possible for you?" To show that you're aligned. So how might we is a magical phrase and it means that we're going to co-create a better future together. When somebody says something like, "Hey, I've always wanted to do X." And we're like, "Oh my god, you've never shared that." Moving right into, well that makes sense. Well of course, you love planes and you always like to stop at airports. So of course I understand this. How might we make that happen now?

AmyK Hutchens:           What often happens, to the detriment of the couple, is that the person who wasn't told now feels left out and shut out and goes in a backward focused conversation. So it would be like, "Curtis, we've been married for 40 years, why didn't you tell me? What kind of person does that? How close are we, Curtis? This is ridiculous."

AmyK Hutchens:           So what happens is we compound the shame and the judgment. What we need to do is step back and say, "Well, there's clearly a reason why this person hasn't done this or shared this." There's a technical term called a competing commitment. A competing commitment is the reason why we don't share something. There's a payoff to not sharing it. So the payoff, the competing commitment is I don't have to be embarrassed. I don't have to say that I feel less than or that I wasn't courageous enough to speak up before.

AmyK Hutchens:           So when we can as listeners step back and realize, especially when we're talking to somebody about their own financial planning, you've got to realize that there's reasons behind the choices. There's reasons behind the actions of where they are today. Again, I'm going to sound like a broken record, but it's so important. Instead of judging them, when we connect with them and say, "How might we make this happen?" Now you're an ally to them.

Curtis Worcester:          Right.

Abby Doody:                 Right.

Ben Smith:                    AmyK, I want to point out too is there's one page of the book that just really spoke to me. Why I'm saying that is a lot of our client base, it feels like a majority of them are first time wealth. Is they've never actually experienced having a certain amount of money before and they have a really hard time translating that into then what does it mean to me? What does it mean we can do now?

Ben Smith:                    In that page of the book, one of the things you're talking about was self-limiting beliefs and thoughts, which a lot of people have. I think the group that we work with a lot have those feelings a lot. Just to give a few of them, that I'm not worthy of my wants. I'm not good enough to ask for this. I'm not smart enough to make that happen. I'm not meant for more. I'm not allowed to ask.

Ben Smith:                    Those sorts of things, I think those are what Abby and Curtis just explained with the last two questions, those are the thoughts I think we're seeing a lot and we're hearing a lot of. To peel back that onion on them and to say, "Let's explore it." Again, we're not therapists and we're not trained to be therapists, but we're trying to figure out the money to the life thing and how to make it work. So I thought that was a really great page, just the follow-up to what those two last questions were because I think that was applicable right to that group.

AmyK Hutchens:           One of the things that I've noticed with my coaching clients is that almost all of their limiting beliefs, it can be about anything, Ben, it literally rolls down to I'm not good enough, I don't have enough, fill in the blank. I'm not good enough to make this financial goal. I'm not smart enough to run this business. I'm not good enough. I don't have the resources or the creativity or the time.

AmyK Hutchens:           One of the things that I think that's fascinating to me, is I always talk to my CEOs about it's time to leave the hood. That's an expression that I use, it's time to leave the hood. What I mean by that is some of us are lucky enough to be raised by an adult, a parent, an aunt, an uncle, the community, church, synagogue, where somebody says, "Abby, you're amazing. Curtis, you are brilliant. Ben, you're going to be rockstar at whatever you choose to do." They're very affirming in our ability to grow and do whatever we want to do.

AmyK Hutchens:           There are other children who I say, "Abby, you're not very good at math. I really think you should give math up, it's just not your forte. Curtis, you're just not as kind as other people, so maybe you should grow mushrooms in a lab." Or I'll say to Ben, "Ben, who do you think you are? Why are you trying to achieve all that? You just need to go do your ... Don't rock the boat."

AmyK Hutchens:           What we don't realize as children is that those messages have nothing to do with us, they have everything to do with the stories, the background, the baggage, the insecurities of the person saying them. But we're too little to know that. So when we become older and we're still carrying this false, limiting beliefs around, I'm the first person to say, "Well, who told you that? You chose to believe it because why?" Because they're just somebody in your life, not because it had any truth to it.

Ben Smith:                    I love that.

AmyK Hutchens:           So when we're faced with retirement, there's a lot of doubt about money, there is a lot of mixed messages about money in our system. Money doesn't grow on trees. You don't need a college degree to make money. It's like, which is it?

Curtis Worcester:          Right.

AmyK Hutchens:           What we don't get is a sense of security and I think that's one of the greatest gifts. I'm not blowing smoke at you guys, I think it's one of the greatest gifts that you all do, is that you allow people to develop a healthy relationship with money, feel good about how they control, spend, and save their money. Then show them all the possibilities with money because money's just energy. It's just energy, that's all it is. It's energy to do the things that they want to do.

AmyK Hutchens:           If I can go back to it, to being physically fueled, being emotionally connected, being mentally focused, and spiritually aligned. Money's just energy and you guys do a brilliant job of resetting that story.

Abby Doody:                 Getting back to the kid thing, we have a lot of clients who may struggle with their relationship with one of their kids, especially if they're grown.

AmyK Hutchens:           Really?

Abby Doody:                 I know, can you believe it? It's so strange. There's friction between maybe the son-in-law or daughter-in-law and the parents. So over time, this relationship has degraded, there's friction, there's tension. How would you suggest going about starting a conversation to help break down those barriers and maybe help to kind of repair the relationship between all parties?

AmyK Hutchens:           That's a four hour counseling session. I think if I were to share something that I think would be really helpful right now, it's three magical phrases. There are three phrases that I see heal a lot of wounds and heal a lot of broken relationships. The first is, might we agree? Those three words are fabulous.

AmyK Hutchens:           So let's just say you're fighting about politics, you're fighting about something that's gone on in the family. We'll go with your son-in-law example, I would say to the son-in-law, "Might we agree that we both love Abby? Or might we agree that we're doing all of this to have the grandchildren have a better life? Might we agree?" Fill in the blank on something that you know that you're going to agree with.

AmyK Hutchens:           It could even be, might we agree that it would be really good for all of us to go forward with less tension and more grace toward each other? It could even a philosophical how we want to play going forward. Might we agree? But find something that is going to be an instant yes. Even if it's sort of like might we agree that we all love this football team? It could be something like that. But the might we both agree says that we're not caught in total failure. We don't disagree about everything.

AmyK Hutchens:           Then I love the idea of, Abby, let's hit the reset button. A lot of times therapists will use the analogy of a ball of twine and they'll say, "We've got so much history that this is knotted. This is going to be a hard thing to start to pull the threads out and unweave this, but let's do that. So rather than making it even more knotted, let's start working and let's hit the reset button."

AmyK Hutchens:           Again, it takes a mature person to say first, "I want to hit the reset button, might we agree?" Then the third magical phrase that I love, this might be one of my all-time favorites, it's a part of me. This can absolutely change a conversation. So I would say to you with a negative emotion, a part of me is upset, a part of me is disappointed, a part of me is frustrated. Or a part of me is angry. Whatever emotion you're feeling.

AmyK Hutchens:           But you take out the absolute. So if I'm having a difficult time with a family member, son-in-law. Curtis, we're just going to role play this for a second. Curtis is my son-in-law and I'm like, "Curtis, you're a jerk. I'm totally angry with you." I have given Curtis no wiggle room. None. Now he's just going to get defensive.

AmyK Hutchens:           But if I say, "Hey, Curtis, a part of me was really hurt by that and a part of me is angry" then what I'm also telling Curtis is there's room for other positive emotions. There's room for respect, there's room for love, there's room for resetting. This works beautifully with teenagers, by the way.

AmyK Hutchens:           So if a teenager breaks a curfew, instead of being like, "I am so angry with you. I'm so disappointed in you." The teenager's going to get really defensive. But if I say, "Hey, look, a part of me is really disappointed and a part of me was really concerned. I spent this last hour really worrying about your safety and I part of me is like this can't happen again. So tomorrow, when I've calmed down, we're going to talk about what a curfew really looks like." That's a fantastic conversation for resetting.

Abby Doody:                 Yeah.

Ben Smith:                    AmyK, I'll just point out one thing you just did there, which I really like, is not only just what you said, and I know we do an audio and also a video version of this. But for those that are watching the video, is that how you say it too. You lean back when you said part of me, you got more relaxed. Which means you're able to receive and you're able to have the conversation.

Ben Smith:                    Versus being aggressive and leaning forward and really getting aggressive with your body language. You were leaning back a lot more and showing that you're open to conversation, that it wasn't an attack. I really like that you did that too as a nonverbal, which again, I know not everyone can see as part of the audio version of this podcast. But I want to point out that as well. It's also what you're showing.

AmyK Hutchens:           Ben, one of the things that I noticed really quickly, I started off as an elementary school teacher. That was what I did before I went corporate, before I started down my entrepreneurial path of training and education. But as an elementary school teacher, one of the things that I noticed very quickly was that children listen when you talk very quietly.

AmyK Hutchens:           If you're the teacher that yells all the time, they're going to tune you out. Now that doesn't mean that you can't raise your voice when you need to get somebody's attention across the room. But we want to be heard, we want to be respected. It's interesting that in order to lean in, I lean back. That sounds ironic but I pull back.

AmyK Hutchens:           In my toughest conversations in my personal life, we have teenage girls in our life, I pull back and I talk very quietly. The girls know that when I'm talking very, very quietly, I am probably really, really angry. But it's a much more approachable way that, "I'm angry with you." Because then people mirror in their language.

AmyK Hutchens:           For instance, if I'm all volatile, it's likely that that person's volatility's going to raise as well. So when I calm down, either what happens is people calm down with me. Or, and this can happen, their energy can escalate, but I'm able to absorb it because we're both not at that same high level.

Ben Smith:                    I like it, that's great.

Curtis Worcester:          AmyK, I want to take a second here and look at we're using this episode, this conversation as a whole, to use communication to get what you want in retirement. That's our target here. Now I'm going to take the time to plug your book. Your book titled Get It: Five Steps to the Sex, Salary and Success You Want.

Curtis Worcester:          Can you just talk about a few lessons or a couple key takeaways from that book that you think you would want? Or that people, pre-retirees or retirees, could take away from that book?

AmyK Hutchens:           It's never too late to get what you really want. It's never too late. The only thing that makes it too late is if you don't ask. I think that the two tips that I would give right now are really getting clear on what it is that you want without justifying it, without trying to explain it. Just ask yourself what do I really want? Then how do I want to feel when I get that? So that you can start to feel that now. So that you can get closer to it.

AmyK Hutchens:           I'll give you an example. There was a gentleman that I was talking to and he really wanted a house on the water. I said, "How do you feel when you have that house on the water?" He's like, "I feel free." He says, "I feel connected to water, that's really important to me." I said, "Well, then let's get you feeling connected, free and connected now."

AmyK Hutchens:           So it was really interesting. The first thing that he did is he bought a painting of an ocean scene and it brought it into his office. He's like, "Okay, I'm one step closer to getting to the beach house." I really believe in that. I really believe in bringing those things one step closer. So now he's got his house on the water.

AmyK Hutchens:           What's interesting is, and this is the conversation that I had with him, if you don't feel free now, what makes you think you're going to feel it in the beach house? Because it's a choice. The beach house doesn't actually make you feel free, it's the story in your head that I feel free. So just by getting a painting, it's like, oh, yeah, I'm one step closer, I feel more free right now. That's how it works. You've got to choose it here and now and take action on it.

AmyK Hutchens:           The second thing that I would say from the book is Ben started the whole conversation by introducing me as yes, life happens one conversation at a time. I would add to that, the quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of your conversations. The longer that you put off the tough conversation, the longer that you avoid it, the longer you avoid getting what it is that you want, which is the life that you so very much desire.

AmyK Hutchens:           So to set yourself up for success, think about how do I go into the next tough conversation with a how might we question? How do I think about making it the law of reciprocity, so that Curtis and Abby and Ben get what they want and I get what I want? How do I think about the questions that I'm going to ask? Because adults hate to be told, we love to be asked. Then how do I make an offer or a request coming out of that conversation? To keep the action going.

AmyK Hutchens:           If we go full circle on the couple where he had never shared that he wanted to be a pilot, she has an obligation, if she really, truly loves her husband, to keep that conversation going and keep asking, "Then how might we make this happen? Let's have some turtle steps. How can I support you? What can I do for you? Or I have a request of you. Let's get into this. Let's put some money aside. Let's make this happen."

AmyK Hutchens:           If he says, "No, no, no, no, I really don't want to, it's an old dream." Then she needs to say, "Is it an old dream? Or it is a dream that you still have that you just feel like people are going to judge you for? Because if it's really an old dream, then we'll get a new dream. How might we create one that you can get excited about? But if it's still a dream, then how might we make it come true?

Ben Smith:                    Love it.

Curtis Worcester:          That's great. I'll lead into this kind of wrap up question for you, AmyK. It's very evident to me, and I think speaking for Abby and Ben and all of our listeners, just how much you help people and the work you do and how impactful it is. But I want to switch it around now and focus on you and not you helping people.

Curtis Worcester:          Retirement Success in Maine is the name of the show. I want you to think about what you want or what you envision your retirement going to be like. How do you think a successful retirement can be for you?

AmyK Hutchens:           For me, I would define success as the ability to have pleasure and purpose simultaneously. That what I'm doing brings me joy and it's significant. I just very much believe that we're here to serve. When you find the gift that you've been given or the talent that you cultivate, that's how you give back.

AmyK Hutchens:           I don't make tequila, but I'm glad there's somebody that does. But we all have our own gifts. My gift is this. So I think in retirement, whatever retirement looks like, it's going to be the same definition of success, that there's pleasure and purpose. I want to sit right at the intersection of both. That I'm really enjoying my day to day and I feel like I am significant in those days.

Ben Smith:                    Love it. Well, AmyK, we really can't thank you enough for coming on today because again, I know we could probably go for another three more hours with you and our listeners would probably be engaged for the whole next round of it. But this is so great because again, from a communication perspective, it's a fundamental foundational tool. But it is the barrier, it is the roadblock to getting to those things that we've been trying to describe for another 24 episodes backwards.

Ben Smith:                    This is a fundamental foundational thing for us and we can't thank you enough for coming on to the show with us.

AmyK Hutchens:           Thank you for inviting me. It's been a true pleasure. Thank you.

Ben Smith:                    All right. Take care, see you next time. Of course, the theme of today's show mastering communication. I think at the surface, you can start rolling your eyes like, oh, okay, we're going to teach me how to discuss things. Really? How old are we?

Curtis Worcester:          Right.

Ben Smith:                    I think look, some of this is just being honest in terms of perspective. I think once you go through it, you go, man, all of us have something to improve here. I think we can all take something away, you don't have to be a retiree a pre-retiree or financial advisor, or whoever. We can all be better in communicating our wants, our goals, our desires. Or you hurt me and to be safe enough in how do I say it in a way that doesn't cause you to go on the defense.

Ben Smith:                    I think AmyK did a really great job in our show today about really addressing all that and really trying to pick apart, as she said, that ball of yarn and the knots that are in there. We all have probably bad experiences on things we shouldn't have said and how it's really burned us. So that was really great.

Ben Smith:                    Of course, we always wrap up our shows with lessons that we've learned. One of the things I want to do is take that yellow highlighter out and just highlight some of the things that we learned from AmyK Hutchens today. Maybe, Abby, could you start us off with something you took away from our conversation on the show today?

Abby Doody:                 Yeah, definitely. I found it very interesting when we were talking about being anxious about having a tough conversation and she said when your body is reacting, your face is getting red, or you're getting choked up, or your throat is getting tight, that's just your body telling you how important the conversation is. The other person in the conversation, it's helpful if they recognize it. So not to be embarrassed about any of those things, it's just you recognizing that it's important.

Abby Doody:                 I think that's a great way of looking at it in our own heads because oftentimes if that's happening to us, we start feeling embarrassed and then the conversation quality goes down quickly. Retraining your thought process to being this is just a body reaction, it's normal, is a great way of looking at it. So I really appreciated that.

Ben Smith:                    Which of course, I would even say personally and maybe privately for us in terms of this show. It's a tough thing to go just start being out there and recording yourself. So I think we all had to go through that even within our profession but then even to something now you're putting out there to be judged. You're exactly right, it's because you care. Right?

Abby Doody:                 Yeah.

Curtis Worcester:          Yeah.

Ben Smith:                    It doesn't matter if you're saying that to the person you love the most or you're buying a sandwich at Subway, it's that sort of thing.

Abby Doody:                 Right.

Ben Smith:                    So, Curtis, in regard to what you took away today, I know I outed you a few times on conversation of importance.

Curtis Worcester:          All good, all good.

Ben Smith:                    Can you highlight a little bit of a lesson you took away?

Curtis Worcester:          Yeah. I really loved when AmyK was talking about her magic words or magic phrases. I believe they're in her book as well, highlights through them. But one that really stuck out to me was the phrase, part of me. Leading the conversation or the negative feedback you're going to have or give to somebody and leading with part of me.

Curtis Worcester:          I think the story or the example, she pretended I was her son-in-law and she opened with, "I'm so disappointed, I'm so hurt, that was terrible." Then using her example of part of me and she said, "Part of me was hurt by what you did." What it really does is it acknowledges for the person receiving that comment, that there is still space to earn back respect or that you didn't destroy everything, maybe just a part of it was bad. So I thought that was really interesting and I'm glad she shared that with us.

Ben Smith:                    I like that too because again, where we sometimes you deal in absolutes and again, the message can be harder in terms of you put it out there in a very hard way. But maybe you didn't mean it that way. Again, the idea of sometimes we say things that we don't mean or we don't mean it to be as harsh as what it came out as.

Ben Smith:                    Or again, the other side is oh, I love your blueberry pie, Abby. Now all of the sudden I get a blueberry pie every day because I love, love, love, love, love it.

Curtis Worcester:          Yeah.

Ben Smith:                    All of those things I think can cause relationship traps. Is being absolutes and I think those are important things of being mindful and as she said about the phrasing. One thing that I'll say is I like what she was saying as just being purposeful to these communications. Is just thinking through it and just that pre-planning.

Ben Smith:                    I'm not saying that every conversation we all have ever, it needs to be preplanned, but there's ones where I could see where this has potential for something to go bad and somebody to get upset about it. So maybe just, as she said, she did a few times role playing it. But playing with a safe person and say, "Well, if I said this, how would you feel about that?"

Ben Smith:                    Just giving a little sense or even if it's just privately, personally, you're out on the porch and 6:00 AM with your coffee out on the porch thinking about things and life. Maybe you're just thinking about that conversation in a way that is approachable. That is sensitive to how somebody else is feeling and give them a chance to respond. I think those are really good, not just communication lessons, those are good life lessons to have.

Curtis Worcester:          Yeah.

Ben Smith:                    Well, of course, we will wrap up today's show on that note. But again, mastering communication to get what we want in retirement. To get more information, we'll have AmyK's book link there with several other tools, tips, and resources there. So if you go to blog.guidancepointllc.com/27, you can find more about our show and get some more resources.

Ben Smith:                    But of course, we always appreciate you tuning in. For more resources or if you have a point you want to make, please reach out to us. We'd love to connect with people and if there's something we can help out with, we're helpers by nature and we want to help. Feel free to reach out, but until next time, be safe and be well. 

Topics: Pre-Retirement, In Retirement, Podcast