Motivation is something I believe everyone struggles with at some point during their careers and lives in general. Motivation by definition is the reason, or reasons, one has for acting or behaving in a certain way.
The insurance gig isn’t for the fainthearted. It comes with more rejection in a day than a lot of people will ever experience in a lifetime. It’s long hours in and out of the office. It’s cutthroat. Ultimately, it’s mercilessly ruthless, and now that I think about it, that’s one of the reasons I love it so much.
These factors are solidly verified by the industry turnover rate. They say only about 11% last more than 3 years, a percentage that I would say is pretty generous. I’ve been to a few Producer schools through my agency and I am surrounded by agents that are good, some are very good, and some are even great. But, this is an industry where even greatness, for most of us sitting in the classroom, will not suffice. Of the 40 of us attending the class, 36 of us will be into new industries in 36 months.
Reading what I’ve written so far makes for grim contemplation. So surely there must be a reason, or reasons, that I am motivated to be in this job. It is strange, however, how other people outside of the industry think the job works. Some phrases I hear all the time:
“I should get into insurance, all you guys do is drink beer and play golf with clients all day!”
“It must be nice to have so much free time.”
“You guys make a ton of money by doing very little.”
I tend to greet most of these statements with a laugh, depending how I’m feeling when someone says them to me, of course. One of my bosses always hits me with the reminder: “If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.” I’ve adopted this as my main verbal response to the aforementioned fallacies, in place of something much more rude.
Opportunity – this career is full of it, that much is true. This is as close to being your own boss as one could ever be without being one (which, by the way, to me is very appealing in its own right). In terms of earning potential, the sky’s the limit, providing you’re willing to sacrifice a lot of things along the way, at least for certain periods of time. Once you have a solid book of business built, for example, if you ever want a pay raise, just write a new account. But it’s the big picture that is the real deal – I have the power to choose the life I want to live through how much work I put in and in turn how much money I make. And not just for me, but for my wife and future kids. Talk about motivation.
The perks – playing golf and drinking beer are two of my very favorite things to do at this point in my life. And it just so happens, other professionals around me love those things as well. It’s an age-old saying that a lot of business gets done on the golf course, and given the chance, who wouldn’t swap the office for the golf course or their favorite watering hole? This is part and parcel of the job; the same goes for realtors, financial advisers, really anyone who is truly in control of their own career. Take it as you wish.
Being ‘The Man’ – I tend to be a little bit of a show-off and never shy away from being the center of attention; again, take that as you wish. But in an industry with such a high failure rate, you have to set yourself apart. I love to hit people with the ol’ razzle dazzle. I love showing people how good I am. This cannot be achieved without the proof, however. As someone who has this personality, there is nothing more confusing to me than someone who acts in this way and has zero right to do so. It’s embarrassing. Rockstars are rockstars because they actually are rockstars, not because they behave that way.
People – being out and about all the time, I have the privilege of meeting all kinds of people. This is the basis of my business; I operate on a referral basis. That being said, without people, I don’t exist. The friends I have made in my short time pounding the pavement are friends I know I will likely have forever, in some form or another. I get to see how other professionals operate, learn from them, unlearn from them, what makes them so successful and what they do that hinders their success. There are some pretty sharp people out there, I’ll tell you that for free.
Genuinely helping others – this is the biggest one by far. Not many jobs allow one to truly help people. As an insurance agent, providing I’m doing my job well, I get to be there throughout a client’s life; the good, the bad, the ugly. I get to see their excitement when they buy a new house and want some info on Homeowners insurance, the same with a new vehicle. I get to talk to clients about Life insurance for their newborn baby. I get to be the one to who goes to a client’s house after a storm has ripped their property to pieces, and tell them it’s going to be alright. I get to fight for them, advocate for them, protect them. I get to sit-down with new business owners and explain the ins and out of the insurance side of their business, and how it can help make them more profitable. I get to take on the weight of protecting their investment so they can focus on what they do best, which is running the business. I get to say that I’m not the right guy for you in this instance, but this guy is, give him a call and tell him I sent you.
It depends what you want out of a career. Some people enjoy the solid 9-5 with the steady income, which is by no means a bad thing. My parents raised a family on this basis and couldn’t have done a better job; I still aspire to have the success that they have had. This is simply my two cents as to why I’m motivated to be an insurance agent.
Doing what you love is of the utmost importance, as we all know life is too short to do otherwise. We all fail at our jobs. I fail every day at mine and this is why motivation is paramount. We strive to be better. One of the guys I was in class with at one of the schools said a line that his agency principal, a real veteran of the game, says to young producers when they mess up and start apologizing frantically that I thought was great; he says, “Don’t be sorry, just be better.”
Talk about motivation.