In conversation with my daughter — we were texting, I am told that counts as a conversation, “It is 2016, Dad!” — she sent me a copy of a book she downloaded. Working on a personal development project, she found this amazing resource. I took a quick peek at the e-book and asked, "Was this free?" It was. It should be noted, the resource that sent the free e-book also sends free newsletters, business plans, blogs and advice.
It was then that I asked (texted) the silly question: How does this guy monetize this service? Thanks to my 23-year-old daughter, I was reminded that giving is a privilege. I know that I am not the only one who loves the feeling when you help others advance, improve, get out of the hole, grow, become successful, protect their income, their lives and provide security for their families. The ability for us to transfer our knowledge, expertise and experience is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person. It actually keeps us alive forever. It is legacy.
Also see: “10 worst states for student loan debt.”
I am entering my 30th year in the benefits world. Like many, I was not running around as a little kid hoping to become a group underwriter or benefits consultant. However, my insurance career has provided me the opportunity to impact so many people, in so many ways. My clients, individual and group, helping them protect incomes, lives and families. Students, startups and so many non-clients helping them get their lives started, re-directed or fix a mess that another industry "expert" helped them get into.
I am not sure what is going on, this year alone I have had a handful of individuals come to me to help them clean up their benefit messes, pro bono. Why pro-bono? The individual companies do not pay to help clean up a mess that was created 20+ years ago. I think that is literally being a trusted adviser.
A true test of character
The great basketball coach, John Wooden, once said, "The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching."
When we make the decision to give our time, our intellectual capital, our expertise and, most of all, of ourselves, it is a true test of character. When we make the decision to become a mentor, that is the pinnacle of giving back, that is when you should realize how privileged and lucky you are. Better yet, my daughter reminded me, "Dad, everything isn't about money, people love you for all that you give; you are a very rich man."
Our industry is challenged with average age. We do not have enough young talent coming into the insurance business. I believe that most talented young people do not understand our business and most of all do not see it as an opportunity for a great career.
What I do not want to do is get into a rant about how the health business is different and it will continue to change. What I would like to say is that the insurance business will be here for a very long time.
I believe now is the opportunity to bring in a new generation of talent. When I came in to the business it was very transactional. Those firms that remain transactional are going in one of two directions, out of business or purchased by a larger organization. Today, we all have an opportunity to become a mentor, to give back. Our industry continues to change and the opportunity for our firms to grow is looking us right in the face.
Also see: “Has the single-payer era arrived?”
As an industry veteran, I realize that the client of the future is one that I do not relate to, at least in the way a 28 year old can relate to them. This is a generation that buys very differentially, they do more independent research, they are more connected on social media and they have different needs, based on lifestyle. But I realize that the generation entering the workforce still needs life insurance, disability insurance, dental and medical insurance and voluntary benefits.
Once again, I digress. We as industry veterans now have an opportunity to help the new generation coming into the workforce. I believe we have an opportunity to leave a positive mark on the industry. If you are not already mentoring find a way to impact the young folks in college or recent college grads, talk up our industry on campus, at networking events for young professionals. Find a way to give back to the new generation, the generation that will not only keep out business alive, but also help it thrive.
I never found out whether or not that free resource my daughter found did monetize his services, but I came to the conclusion that he is impacting so many people by sharing. He is a very rich man. What I hope for all of us, our mentoring wealth exceeds our bank account wealth.
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