Fifteen Things I Have Learned in Fifteen Years

Rogers, Tom-014With any new year or milestone, I am always energized by the psychological impact of starting fresh.  “What do I want to accomplish next?”  That’s a list that never seems to end.  “What would I like to repeat?”  There are some of these.  “What do I want to make sure I never do again?”  There are a few of these, too.  I also find it is a great time to reflect.  As each year passes I have more to reflect on, more to learn from, and the perspective that only being knocked around the block a few times can give you.

2016 brings my fifteenth year in this business.  I am still a puppy in this industry, but a puppy that has at least been able to learn a few tricks.  Having spent most of my younger life planning to be an attorney, a stock broker, an investment banker, and a dot com mega millionnaire I only wish I were celebrating a few more years in this industry.  Why?  Like so many, I never intended to work in the insurance industry.  In fact, I was pretty dead set against it.  Typical post-college bravado and lack of understanding.   Besides, Dad was in the insurance business and wasn’t I supposed to do something else?

My father, Steve Rogers, dedicated his life to insurance, but he always encouraged us to find our own way.  Figure out what you are passionate about.  It turns out, he was onto something!  While Dad was away on vacation, his partner caught me at a vulnerable moment and the next thing I knew I was going to work for an insurance agency.  I will always be thankful for that.  This is a better industry than I ever could have imagined.  Those few years spent chasing other dreams only make my appreciation for where I am today even stronger.

So with that, I would like to share a few thoughts, reflections, and lessons I have learned along the way.

  1. I have so much more to Learn.
  2. There is so much Opportunity in this business!  Everywhere, at every level in this industry we have a challenge with a workforce that is retiring or preparing for retirement.  It is a great time for every generation to get in the game, young, “experienced”, and everyone in between.   If you are looking for an industry that will provide you with a rewarding career full of Opportunity, take a look at this one!
  3. The Value of a Team. I have been blessed to be surrounded by the best team in the business.  We have Core Values here at FBinsure, and we always list Client Focus ahead of Employee Commitment.  We share our Core Values publicly.  We want our clients to know they come first.  But in my heart, I know that our Commitment to each other in this organization is what makes our Client Focus the best in the business.
  4. Thank You.  I don’t say Thank You
  5. When I first started in this business I was taught the phrase “insurance buyers are liars”.  It was funny and unfortunately, sometimes I have found it to be true.  BUT, there are so many Appreciative and innovative insurance buyers that value relationships, knowledge, and the ability to get things done.  I like those buyers more.  I have learned to greatly Appreciate them.
  6. Attorney Rogers. I am not an Attorney, but my clients think I play one on TV…too often.
  7. I was introduced to the “World Wide Web” in 1996. I was a sophomore in college.  I carried a pager.  It was cool.  Nobody I knew at that time had a cell phone.  I think my dad had just upgraded from a bag phone.  I had sent a few emails in my first couple years of college because it was a requirement in our computer classes.  It was not a normal method of communication at the time. Text wasn’t even remotely a thing.  Boy, do I wish I knew then what I know now.  Could you imagine a life without email, mobile phones, text, social media, etc.?  Technology has had a more profound impact on my life than I give it credit for.  For better…or for worse.
  8. Speed of Change.  Technology has fueled a Speed of Change that is nothing short of ___________, pick an adjective.  I ‘m not sure there is one that approaches the appropriate description.  Since the day I was introduced to Netscape and Yahoo, I am in awe of how far we have come.  With that evolution, we have an avalanche of information and misinformation, instant access to products and expertise, and expectations of high levels of service at lightning speeds.  Those who embrace Change, intelligently evolve, and manage expectations will win.  “If you don’t like Change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less!”
  9. He/She who takes the most Shortcuts loses.
  10. Respect Your Elders. I have had the distinct pleasure through the years to see our industry through the eyes of successful entrepreneurs of the past and present.  I have listened to the stories of professionals that scraped together their life savings to start Agencies out of their garage or their bedrooms.  I have so much Respect for leaders who have paved the way for brokers of today.   I just can’t get enough of the stories of yesteryear.  It puts today in greater perspective.
  11. I love my job.  I really do.  I have conversations with very successful friends who don’t wake up every day looking forward to what’s ahead.  I am abundantly thankful for the energy, motivation, and Passion I wake up with….almost every day.
  12. Don’t waste an epiphany…ever! Share it with others.  If it’s worth implementing they will tell you.  If you don’t share your Idea it will be doomed to the file of good Ideas you once had…or even worse, the ones you can’t remember.
  13. Read The Form. No matter how many times you have answered a question, Read The Form.  You just got back from CIC and you know the answer…I don’t care.  Read The Form.  You know this just happened last week with another client.  Read The Form.  You just read the form…Read The Form
  14. A couple good friends have educated me on the meaning and importance of personal brand.  You know who you are.  Although you can manage it, your personal brand will be defined by others.  When others characterize me and my career, I hope the word Integrity is shared.  Sustainable success is rooted in Integrity.
  15. Sales Is Hard.  I started in this business with a really harmful thought in my head.  How hard could this be? My gosh, was that a bad way to get started!  There is not enough time to get into all the reason why Sales, especially in this business is Hard.  It comes easier for some than others, but I have met so many successful producers in this industry and not one has ever shared how easy it was with me.  Sales is Hard, but it is very rewarding.

I would be remiss if I did not reflect on the opportunity the insurance industry has afforded my family.  Financial benefits are always wonderful, but you cannot quantify the value of time.  I have dedicated a great deal of my time to my job.  I have worked nights.  I have worked weekends.  The time I have gotten back has been infinitely more valuable.  The time I have spent coaching a midweek practice, or running out of the office in time to get to a child’s game makes breaking out the laptop at 9PM seem insignificant.  The ability to work from home while comforting a sick child lying on the couch makes having to do a little work over the weekend worth it.  To Tina, Lily, Charlie, and Mollie…thank you for being so awesome….and letting daddy work sometimes even when you don’t want me to!

According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to become and expert at anything.  Fifteen years roughly translates to about 30,000 hours off toiling in the fields of insurance.  Although I have developed expertise in many areas, I know there is so much more to learn.  I still enjoy the process of development and learning.  When I don’t, I think I’ll be writing another kind of blog.  So, here’s to another fifteen (+) years of learning, developing relationships, being thankful, and enjoying the benefits of an insurance career.