People of Vision

Article excerpt

I'll start off this morning with a story. No, it's not about a dog ... It's not about a chainsaw ... You've heard all those before. This story is about the last conversation I had with one of my best friends from high school.

Russ and I were both about 20 at the time. I was in college ... and he was just back from a stint in Viet Nam. I had just given him a ride in my brand new car ... a 1965 Chevy Super Sport ... and we were sitting in front of his house ... talking about our futures ... philosophizing ... and arguing.

I was pushing him to go to college.

You see ... I always admired his abilities. In my mind, Russ was smarter and more talented than I was. And ... as I later found out ... he felt the same about me. He had great abilities ... and I wanted him to take advantage of his gifts. I thought he should use his talents ... make a plan ... study something he loved ... get a degree.

Russ fought the idea.

He said, "Ed, college might be right for you ... but it's just not right for me." Instead, he told me he'd rather just go out and get as good a job as he could. But I knew he'd probably just drift.

It was sad ... because that was the last time I ever talked with my friend in a meaningful way. We weren't angry with each other ... But from the moment that conversation ended, our friendship was never the same. We had less and less in common ... And just parted ways.

I'm not sure I understood it then ... but over the years, I've thought a lot about that conversation ... and now it's clear. Russ just couldn't see his potential ... He couldn't see what his life might become ... He didn't see where he could go if he put some thought and work into it ... He didn't know what he wanted out of life ... And he didn't have a vision or a plan for himself.

Maybe I was fortunate ... but I always had that kind of vision. I could see how I could get to a better place in life. And I always felt I understood the path I needed to follow to get there. I found out early in life that things don't just happen:

      I had to make things happen for myself ...

      I needed to understand what I was good at ... and
   what I wasn't good at (Which by the way, is a
   long list) ...

      I needed to visualize where my talents could
   take me ...

      I needed to create a plan to get there ...

      And then ... I needed to work hard ... and never
   stop believing in myself ... to make that vision

I'm sharing this memory, because in many ways, this could just as well be a story about your sense of vision ... and the vision that "defines the difference" you make in people's lives.

Think about it--When your clients and policyowners seem to be drifting ... you give them direction:

      When they can't see their potential or even their
   need for financial security ... you help them discover
   what they can achieve ...

      When they don't have a plan ... you help them
   create it ...

      And when they can't find the path ... you help
   them carve one out ...

      Then, you stand by them ... and you never let
   them stop believing in what they can accomplish.

      Along the way, you counsel them ... you prod
   them ...

      And I'll bet you even argue a bit ...

But that's okay ... Because in the end, you protect your clients ... make them think ... and help them create a vision for their businesses, their families and their futures.

You show your clients that financial security won't just happen ... It has to be planned for ... and nurtured ... And you show them that they have to make it happen.

Not long ago, a few of our board members asked me an interesting question.

"Ed, just what do you worry about?"

I told them I don't spend a lot of time worrying. (It's not real productive.) As you might have noticed, I'm confident . …