I recently spent a day in the Midwest with the advisors of one of the nation’s oldest and best life insurance companies. It was my very favorite kind of professional day: a major address to all the advisors in the morning, a lunchtime talk with their clients, and an afternoon Q&A with a select few leading producers as well as rising stars.
At some point in that last session, we got to talking about the great – indeed limitless – capacity we have to do good for people, and I naturally referenced Joe Jordan’s classic book Living a Life of Significance. And was astonished to learn that not only hadn’t they read it, but they professed never to have heard of it. I would not have thought that – at the higher echelons of the book’s primary audience – such a thing was possible. Permit me, therefore, to put up a flare.
First, by way of background: Joe, like me, is an outer-borough NYC Irish Catholic, whose attorney father was killed in an auto accident when Joe was still an infant. It was then that the widow discovered that her husband had lapsed his life insurance policy only weeks earlier. This became the defining event in the life of the family. Scant wonder, then, that after graduating from Fordham (where he is, along with one Vincent T. Lombardi, a member of their Football Hall of Fame), Joe went straight into the life insurance field – and was a star right out of the gate.
But it took thirty more years, until he was preparing a main-platform talk to MDRT, for Joe to connect all the dots: to see clearly the extent to which he had devoted his whole career – and could attribute his great success – to trying to prevent his own family’s tragedy from befalling other families. That was (and happily still is) the meaning of his professional life, indeed of his calling. And in that moment, his great book Living a Life of Significance was born.
Yet this is a book which goes far beyond the narrow confines of life insurance. It applies in critical ways to all of us advisors, and it should be a particular beacon to the younger people whom our industry is struggling to recruit – who seem, as no generation before, to be in search of meaningful, and not just lucrative, work.
And if the spine of my The Game of Numbers is that prospecting reluctance is irrational, the animating perception of Life of Significance is that such avoidance is borderline immoral: think of all the people whom we might save from financial disaster of every kind, but whom we shy away from prospecting.
Promise yourself this summer to read Living a Life of Significance. You’ll find it balm for your career, and even for your soul.
© 2015 Nick Murray. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. Nick reviews current books, articles and research findings in the “Resources” feature of his monthly newsletter, Nick Murray Interactive. To download the most recent sample issue, visit www.nickmurray.com and click on “Newsletter.”