Saturday, March 4, 2017

I'm Back Episode 56 Dealing With Adversity



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 I really hate that I am having to do an I'm back post. In fact I started not to do one at all. But as I look around I realize a lot of people are or have gone through the same things we have. So I decided I would share what we went though. I hope you get something out of this.
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The last time I posted an episode was last April. At the time I was working nights and still trying to produce content. My heart was in the right place but I couldn't stay consistent. I was making okay money, but my energy level for almost everything else was in the tank.
The Friday before Independence Day I was called into the office after my shift was over and basically told they no longer needed my services and I was being let go. Calling my wife that morning and telling her that I no longer had a job was very difficult.
If you haven't heard me say this before let me state here emphatically that my wife a awesome. She was incredibly supportive and never even appeared to doubt that I would land on my feet. With her encouragement, I looked at this time as an opportunity and that is important.

What I learned

Something that I had always heard, but really didn't believe was that the older you get the more difficult it is to fine employment. When I was dismissed from the company for which I had worked for over 5 years, I hit the ground running. I didn't sit around for a single day without looking for opportunities, submitting resumes, filling out applications. Since I had this sudden freedom I started shooting for the really good jobs that I really wanted. I was qualified, for everything that I applied, but I shot for the moon.
After a couple of weeks with no employment, a buddy of mine asked if I had thought about getting into insurance. I had not, not at all. I have had some bad experiences with insurance agents and just couldn't imagine trying to sell things to people they didn't want. He told me that stigma was really on the life insurance market, he was talking about property insurance. This is the area for automotive and home insurance, but he told me if I really wanted opportunities to open up to study and take the test for Property and Casualty. This covers business insurance, worker's compensation, automotive both private and commercial, as well as several other areas.
I did a little research and decided that maybe, just maybe I could take my outlook on the world and be one of the "good" insurance agents. I signed up for a self study course and passed the course. I scheduled and paid for the state exam and passed it as well. I learned more about the insurance industry than I really ever cared to know, but it was worth wild.
One thing that I learned was that a lot of people, especially in the poorer areas will let their insurance lapse during November and December so they can spend that money on the holidays. That means that the holidays are the time of year that many insurance agents make the least money. When you take that in addition to most insurance agents are paid on a commission based salary, my wife was not happy. There is the opportunity to make incredible money, but there is also the opportunity to make very little.
I want to state something right here. Security is an illusion. I know that, my wife knows that, we have talked about it a good bit, but she believes that somethings are more secure than others. This isn't a lack of faith in me, this is a lack of faith in an industry. After I passed the state exam I talked with a few agents about working with them and they all wanted to wait till after the new year for the reasons mentioned above. We needed me to have employment before that.
Another friend asked if I was still looking for a job and said that there was a department in the company that he worked for that needed help pretty bad. He did warn me that is was a hard job, he was right. But I took it and before long moved into a job that was much better on me physically.
So we made it through without too much difficulty. Why were we able to do that? Were we just lucky? Do we live in an area that is more economically vigorous that other places? Or is there some secret ingredient?  I would be foolish if I said the local economy didn't have some impact, but I believe the "secret ingredient is how we dealt with the challenges we faced.


Tools For Dealing With Adversity

Attitude

You have probably heard the saying that Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude. This is true to a major extent. When some challenge arises, our reaction sets the tempo for our recovery. Some people sit down and cry, others protest or picket, others just pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start off again. You can see all of these responses around you everyday.
Too many people want to say that everything that happens to them is someone else's fault. Something may be, but honestly who cares who is to blame for set backs. No one should expect someone else to rescue them. We are all responsible for our own successes and failures. Personal power is our own.

Inventory

There are some people that have a great attitude while going through difficulties that eventually give up because they really don't know what their assets are. What is the person good at? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? Where are areas they can improve?
Like I said earlier, I saw the sudden job loss as an opportunity. I looked at my education, experience, interpersonal and physical skills, and I decided that it would be a good idea to enhance my education in the area of insurance.  Without an honest inventory of yourself you really don't know where you could use improvement. We should always want to improve so we should always know the areas that need the most improvement.

Outlook

You might think that attitude and outlook are the same thing. They are not. They can be related, but they are not the same. Attitude is the way you respond, think, and to some extent feel about what is going on right now. Outlook is the way you see, think, and plan for/about the future. This is where the word vision can come into play. This is as much a plan as anything. Lewis Carroll in Alice In Wonderland had a line that was said the the Cheshire cat. "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there". This is so true and this is directly related to outlook.

Determination

Determination could be as the grease that keeps a person moving. Without determination a person could simply be going through the motions without any real passion or drive. It is the force that helps a person get up and keep going even when they don't feel like it. Without determination all of the other assets are worth much less. Could you imagine only trying when you feel like it? It wouldn't take long before a person like that never feels like it.

Know You Limitations

This is the one that is most difficult for me. I have always thought I could power through anything. But honestly there are some things I just cannot physically do. This is an evaluation of each of the items in your personal inventory. Sometimes you must change your goals, your process, and yes sometimes you even have to change your direction.

Never Give Up

We as a society have made it too easy to just give up. The unemployment numbers that are reported every single week do not include the people who have stopped actively seeking employment. They have given up and are no longer even counted.
Be willing to start over as many times as necessary. Always evaluate and re-evaluate all of the things I mentioned above. Be constantly improving yourself in some way. But Never Ever give up.
Bringing Rural Back

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