If you have been fortunate to attend a MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) meeting, you will understand what I mean when I say that it is a life-changing event from a professional standpoint and in many ways from a personal one as well. I have been fortunate to attend and speak at two MDRT meetings over the last two years and have realized a professional dream of mine because of them.
Last year, I stood in front of more than 500 audience members in Vancouver and presented a focus session and this year I had the distinct honor of presenting a Main Platform speech in Pattaya, Thailand in front of 2,000 members of the financial services industry. The attendees come to these meetings enthusiastic to be there, ready to learn and eager to network with like-minded, successful individuals.
The Manulife MDRT PEAK Convention provided an educational platform for elite sales professionals in the financial services industry focusing on Passion, Ethics, Action Orientation and Knowledge. However, you do not have to be a member of the financial services industry for these to resonate with you for they are applicable in most professions. In my article below, I am going to share with you my top take aways in each of these areas.
- Passion and professionalism – it is all about the way we show up and hold ourselves out in the world. We are our walking brand and everyone knows how much time it takes to make a positive or not so positive impression.
I have spoken on numerous stages but this was the first time on one that was close to six feet high, with nine 50-inch monitors stretching across the front of the stage, four huge video screens and close to 2,000 people in the audience. When I took to the stage at the rehearsal, I must admit for a few minutes I thought to myself ‘what I have gotten myself into? The lights are bright, it is very hot and I have to stand up here tomorrow and give an eighteen-minute keynote speech!’.
Once the initial jitters subsided, it did not take long to register with me that I had nothing to worry about because I was passionate about the topic I was presenting on, prepared and I knew I was ready. For months before, I had practiced, practiced and then practiced even more which is exactly what brain scientists recommend. I knew my speech inside and out (as did my husband, daughter and even the dog) and therefore, I made the decision that I was going to lean in the next day, own the stage, savor every second of that eighteen minutes, rock the house and you know what? I did!
Key takeaway – when you are passionate about the subject you are speaking about, you have practiced your craft and you are ready, your passion and professionalism will shine through every time. All of the speakers on that stage were ready, passionate about their topic and it showed!
- Ethics and integrity are the lifeblood of any business – one of the speakers was a past MDRT president and lifelong advisor. He shared a story about a highlight in his life as part of a client’s regatta crew and although he did not know much about sailing, he was pleased to be a part of it with his client. Just as the race began, his client suddenly slumped over and nearly fell out of the boat. He managed to grab him by the lifejacket and saved him from going over but quickly realized his client was having a stroke. With people shouting instructions from the shore, he managed to get the boat turned around and by the time he got there, the ambulance was waiting.
On the way to the hospital, he called his client’s wife, told her the news and asked her to get the kids and meet them at the hospital. He had been the advisor in their home for a number of years and the next words he said to her were “don’t worry, everything will be alright financially” but he still was not sure how things were going to turn out medically. His client recovered and never worked again for the next 20 years but the family never had to worry about finances and when he passed away, his life insurance came through the door and has allowed his wife to stay in her home to enjoy every moment with her children and grandchildren.
Key takeaway – when you believe in what you do, follow your ethics, morals and never compromise your integrity you are able to give others assurance that what you have recommend or sold to them will face the test of time.
- Action Orientation– you can attend all the meetings, read all the books, listen to all the audios you want but if you never put anything into action, why bother? Many of the speakers touched upon this during their talk and I talk about this all the time when I am coaching my clients. Why bother spending your hard-earned money and your precious time if you are never motivated to get out of your comfort zone to put the tips, strategies and ah-ha moments into action and make some changes as a result?
Make a commitment to yourself when you leave the meeting or finish the book that you will implement one to three things you have learned within 24 to 48 hours. After that, most people will do nothing.
Key takeaway – Do not bother spending your time and money on something if you never take action. If you never do anything with it, all it becomes is another round of ‘shelf help’ to add to all of the other stuff you have in your office.
- Information and ideas lead to Knowledge – we have an obligation to ourselves and our clients to continuously up-level our game so that we are seen as experts in their eyes and become their trusted advisors. We live and work in a fast-paced environment and no matter what profession we are in, if we do not keep up with changes that apply to us and the work we do we run the risk of becoming outdated and out of touch.
Key takeaway – The day you stop learning is the day you should turn off the lights, call it quits and go home.
True professionals know how important these four areas are and practice to integrate them into their day-to-day lives. They continuously strive for excellence and push themselves to higher and greater levels. If you are already there, congratulations! Keep doing what you are doing and for those of you who are new to your profession, have no fear for all of us started somewhere. Pay attention to your learnings, take away what you need in order to improve but remember this; there is a reason why windshields are so big and rear-view mirrors are so small.
To Your Success!