Our decisions that spring from inspiration or motivation are what build a strong foundation for success, especially in self-driven work such as financial services. When we are ultimately responsible for so much of our own professional progress, it’s important to be anchored by a day-to-day sense of purpose.
For some people, those anchors might remain constant over time. But for many — myself included — they shift as careers and life change. If there’s anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that those shifts are not only OK — they’re normal. And just as we must be ready for our life circumstances to change, we also must be ready to change the way we use them to propel our professional success.
Adapting To Involuntary Change
When COVID-19 cases first arrived, we had three days’ warning before a national lockdown took effect in the Philippines. Needless to say, 72 hours to prepare for such an indefinite, drastic shift did not offer much time for many Filipino businesses to adjust. Like many people, I began the lockdown by temporarily not working.
I also faced another dilemma: Before the lockdown, I thrived in an environment where I could be physically present with my employees and meet with my clients in person. Those direct interactions gave me my purpose. So with that environment no longer possible, I was forced to find new reasons to go back to work and keep my practice going.
In considering my broader professional purpose, I realized that what I wanted more than anything was not only for my clients to know their policies and protections were still in force, but for them and my employees to know that I was personally still there as well. Not only would
I still be available, but I would also seek better ways to serve my clients and grow my practice. As an advisor, I was committed to adapting to the world around me, even through a change as sudden and severe as a global pandemic.
As I first started back to work, I drew on this new motivation to help my team and clients get through the pandemic together. To offer a more responsive experience for clients, we placed each person into their own end-to-end encrypted group chat with me and my staff. I also decided to go bold and expand my client base. I hired a freelancer to find prospects online. After his contract with me ended, I hired him back as a scheduler to proactively coordinate with clients and ensure all clients regularly heard from me.
Changing Your Own Direction
These changes were well received and improved the communication between my office and my clients. But they also resulted in burnout after months of virtual communication, changes to both my personal and professional lives, and constantly trying to think of new ways to grow my practice. Even the tools I had been so inspired to deliver did not provide enough inspiration of their own to keep me going. With work from home likely to be the norm for some time to come,
I needed to find another source of purpose.
My children have always been my inspiration to work hard. But with all my children soon to be overseas for work or school, I will have much more time on my hands and nobody to take care of. As someone who went from being a daughter in a traditional Chinese-Filipino household to a wife and then to a parent, this will be a huge shift for me. Although I have always been a woman who charted her own path against some traditional norms, this change will give me a level of personal freedom I have not had in a long time.
In recent months, I have drawn motivation from this expanded ability to choose my direction in life. And unlike the changes COVID-19 forced on me, these are ones I’m actively seeking out.
I recently decided to start a book club for the alumni of a Philippines-based wealth management learning and accreditation center. This addition to my career has allowed me to deliver top-quality service to my clients, while also helping other financial advisors do the same. I have also been offered a position on the Life Happens Global Committee, giving me even more space to help my fellow advisors grow in their careers. Former MDRT President Regina Bedoya has, in turn, been a huge source of encouragement and support for me these last few months, helping me push through a lack of self-confidence.
Whether change comes for us or from us, our lives and careers are always evolving. By being ready for momentous shifts, we as advisors can take the first, most important step to identifying new sources of inspiration that can take our careers in directions we had never before imagined.