At the start of the month, I had the privilege of speaking on the main stage of a Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Convention in Bangkok, sponsored by Manulife. The MDRT is an organization that recognizes the best financial planners in the world who hit sales targets far and beyond the average.
It was an inspirational few days, and as well as giving my own talk (in which I talked about cycling through Siberia and Papua New Guinea, and focused on the importance of self-care in good performance, overcoming fears by facing them, and making oneself referable in networking), I also learnt a tremendous amount from listening to and spending time with the other speakers – who included some of the best financial planners in the world. It was fascinating how the lessons they shared were also relevant for my own work too.
My top five takeaways were:
1. Goals without discipline are just goals. The successful outcome of the convention would come not from what the speakers said, but from our own individual responses – which is entirely up to us.
2. It is essential that we believe in what we do – we need genuine passion. For example, in the life insurance industry, it is vital to believe in the importance of the product – making sure a family will be okay if the main wage-earner passes away. In the same way, whatever we do, we need to believe in why we are doing it.
3. People will not buy something because they understand you, but because they believe you understand them. Be a good listener.
“It takes great courage to stand up and speak, it also takes great courage to sit down and listen” – Winston Churchill
You will get everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want – Zig Zigglar
4. Find a mentor early in life. I am a huge believer in the need to have a number of good, wise mentors in life – something my wife and I have proactively sought out in recent years, and for whom I am very grateful.
5. Focus on controlling the controllables, not the results, in what you do. Some things we cannot control (e.g. who buys), but others we can (how many people we contact).
The convention also reminded me of the incredible training I received when I was a door-to-door salesman in California during my university summer holidays. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of the best things I have ever done. The lessons I learnt then – persevering, being teachable, being positive – have stood me in good stead for almost everything I have done since – whether it be on expeditions, writing books, running a charity office, or running a speaking business.