In the early 1990s, I found myself as a single mom with two amazing children, I had just lost my mom and was recently divorced. It was a lot to handle and I had to figure out my next steps. I answered an ad in the newspaper…yes, a real newspaper with a classified section. I found an ad that caught my eye. It said “Wake Up And Smell The Coffee” …I had no idea what it meant so I kept on reading. Something about helping others feel protected. I didn’t understand what that had to do with coffee but since I wasn’t and still have never had a sip of coffee, I thought it might reveal itself somehow. So, I called…yes that’s what we did back then…and I got an appointment. When I arrived, the person I was supposed to meet with was busy, so they were going to shift me over to someone else. I reminded them my appointment was with the Agency Manager and I would wait. I do believe that’s where I started seeing rolling of the eyes towards me. He was finally finished with his call and ushered me in. I was EXACTLY what he was looking for…I didn’t know it then, but I was the only female that had applied and the only one, other than the receptionist in the office.
Fast forward I was offered a position to be a producer in Insurance…still didn’t see the connection to the ad and didn’t know anything about insurance including that I had to get licensed. There were no on-line classes and the in-person classes had already started. I would have to wait 4 weeks. Did I say I was a single mom? So, I decided to study myself and finally realized that in order to read this very boring book, I would probably need to drink coffee to stay awake…that must be the connection. No coffee for me, but I studied hard and went to take the test and…I failed by one point. I went directly to the office and started to cry. I wasn’t smart enough or ready for this kind of position. The receptionist said “Put on your big girl panties and get over yourself. You can do this. Reschedule your exam and pass it.” So, I did, and I passed.
Now I have this position that was 100% commission and even though I passed my exam, it still took weeks to get my license. I started making calls and getting appointments and going with a licensed agent who would do the presentation and write the application. Even though I felt like the appointment setter, I learned so much and knew what I would do and what I definitely would not do when I was ready to go.
My license finally came through and I was ready. What I wasn’t ready for was my attitude. Every morning I would take my children to school and then complain about how far I had to drive or wonder if I would even write this family and when I would start earning commission. I wanted to quit every day, sometimes multiple times a day, mostly all day. Once I got to someone’s home or office, I was absolutely fine. I loved being able to serve my clients and walked in as if they were already my clients. I asked lots of questions and I listened well. I wrote a good amount of the business…but it was like ground-hog day. Same thing almost every day for the first few weeks.
One morning, I was getting everybody ready and I looked at my kids and smiled at how amazing they are and how important they are to me…and it hit me. My one and only job in this entire world was to protect my family. If I could do that for them, why couldn’t I do that for other families? And it was as if that lightbulb that you see in cartoons appeared above my head. I dropped my children off and instead of complaining, I reminded myself that I had the privilege of protecting families today and everything was different. My mindset shifted, and I created a different path for myself and my business took off.
That was the day I discovered the relationship between smelling the coffee and my career. It was the day that I knew I had to be Intentional about everything I would do. It was the day I decided that I was excited about insurance and that in itself is an oxymoron…and it’s true.
Judy Hoberman http://www.sellinginaskirt.com