TOP FIVE LESSONS MY PARENTS TAUGHT ME
THAT I’VE APPLIED TO MY INSURANCE CAREER
Many of the things we learn as we grow up help to make us better and move us forward
By Michael Wayne
Treasure those around you while you have them.
Make sure you learn so much from the ones that you love that they live on in you.
Recently, I lost a parent. By recently, I mean within the last two weeks. Even though everyone in my family expected it, that hasn’t made it any easier of an experience. In fact, it’s still pretty damn surreal to think that someone who nurtured me from the time I was born until the moment they passed away is never going to call me again on my birthday or just because, will never send me a random text to check up on me, or will never be there for another holiday.
For most, parents are our first teachers. Some of us are blessed with great ones, some get good ones. Others, unfortunately, are bestowed great teachings without the benefit of them being simultaneously wonderful parents. Still, one way or another, we learn. We take the lessons, especially when they are painful, and we use them. Hopefully, they make us better and move us forward. With that in mind, here are the Top 5 lessons my parents taught me that I have applied to my insurance career.
Not all fights are worth fighting. Throughout my insurance career, there have been numerous times when it was obvious that colleagues, clients, prospects, and even competitors were simply looking for a confrontation. There are people who genuinely like to fight. I’m not one of them. While my nature is quite the opposite, that doesn’t mean I simply stand down because someone else wants their way. It took some time, but I finally came to the realization that no one gets to decide which battles I want to be a part of other than me.
You only live twice only applies to James Bond. I wasn’t around to see them in theaters during their initial run, but my parents introduced me to Sean Connery’s 007 when they felt I was old enough. Not to get extremely spiritual here, but even though my parents set the example for me to live an eternal life, they also made no bones about the fact that I’m only going to get one opportunity to live one worldly life and that I need to make changes when I’m not happy. That advice included everything from my career choices to romantic relationships and friendships. Time, they told me, will continue to speed up as I get older. I never imagined how exponentially.
Be generous in every way. Generosity is about more than money. Your time and your knowledge are priceless commodities. In an industry like ours where there is a dearth of employees, we have a tremendous opportunity, if not a duty, to ensure that those who do make the decision to come after us are properly equipped to be successful in their endeavors. This includes their responsibility to be mentors to those who come after them.
Most of the time, you are only competing against yourself. Remain focused on your goals and how to achieve them. People are going to be running alongside you, behind you, and even in front of you, but the key to winning more races instead of losing them is to keep looking forward and not get distracted. As an agent, I have sales goals. I know that there are specific levels that I need to surpass annually, and I know that there are other agents out there who are trying to steal my clients daily. The challenge, however, isn’t to outwork them. The challenge is to outwork myself and to exceed what my clients think my ultimate service level for them is. Continuously commit to being better.
Being happy with what you have doesn’t mean you are settling. There may be times, perhaps plenty, when you feel tired, frustrated, or maybe even wonder if what you are doing is worth it. If that’s the case, you may need to refer back to the James Bond lesson. If you do that and decide you don’t need to make drastic changes, you could be close to understanding that if you really consider everything, if you really are content with the work that you are doing and what you have built around you, you can be happy where you are. That’s not a bad thing. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the drive to keep climbing the ladder to get ahead. It’s okay to be happy. Really, it is.
Michael Wayne is an insurance freelance writer.