The Biggest Factor That Shaped My Beliefs

The younger representatives who I mentor often ask how I became motivated so quickly. A big factor in my development was my environment and, I’ll be honest with you, I got lucky.

I came up in one of the best environments an advisor could ask for in the early years of my career. Most of my colleagues were 15 to 25 years my senior – the salt of the earth, people who lead by example, people I trusted, who cared about others, and people you would love to have in your community.

Because of all this, I trusted them completely when they told me about the importance of life insurance, and disability insurance, and saving money. And when they shared stories of what they accomplished with their clients, I soon felt as if I had embarked on a lifelong mission.

Another important aspect of the culture I came up in was high expectations. If you did not qualify for the Million Dollar Round Table by the end of your third year where I worked, you were terminated. I wasn’t going to wait until my third year.

I bought a poster board to cover my bedroom door. From the board’s lower left corner to the upper right corner, on a diagonal line, I wrote the letters “MDRT”; from the left upper corner to the lower right corner I drew another diagonal line, and I wrote “Rookie of the Year, 1990.”

I focused on both of those things. I looked at them every single day. There were many days I felt defeated and many days I worked long hours, but I never went to bed without walking past that chart.

By the end of 1990, I qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table, and I won the prestigious rookie of the year award. I qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table each year since entering the business, and even achieved “Court of the Table” on three separate occasions. All of this was achieved in my 20s.

A Foundation For Success

I can’t stress enough how I owe my early success to so many people. I simply followed the instructions offered by my superiors. When I had questions, I went to my mentor who always helped me. When dealing with cases that I couldn’t quite get my head around, I worked jointly with colleagues, who were always there for me.

I remember at the end of my first quarter hearing the importance of learning via joint work. From then on, I made a point to participate in a minimum of one joint-work appointment each week. I participated in as many as four in some weeks.

During my first calendar year, I completed 84 joint-work appointments. After the 30th meeting, I felt I could sell better than some of the people that I collaborated with, which often frustrated me, but I always managed to learn one or two things from every meeting, which ultimately benefitted me down the road.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not smart enough to invent original sales concepts. Every single thing I know about sales was absorbed from others through my dedication to learning and my ability to soak up information like a human sponge in the first decade of my career.

Most of my material comes not from my victories, but from multiple defeats, the challenges and rejection I faced daily. While there were many tough days, I have such fond memories, and the experience molded and shaped my entire future.

How You Can Shape Your Beliefs

Much of who you are today is the product of your environment. Your environment is more than just other people, but people play a big part of it. Think about the people in your life. What expectations do they set for you? How would you describe the culture they create? Are they available and able to provide you with support?

Take control and make a conscious effort to be with people who inspire, guide, mentor and challenge you to become the best you can become. Don’t limit yourself just to the people in your office. Seek others across the country or form a study group. With technology, most geographic limitations have been removed.

As you are building this environment, remember that it takes time. You can’t just snap your fingers and have all the right people in your life. But in the meantime, you can always learn from others through books, blogs, audio programs and more. Find the people who have achieved the most success in your field. Dive deep into their content and figure out what makes them tick. Commit to continually seeking these individuals out and it will have a dramatic impact on your life!


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