Look out, lessons are all about

Look out, lessons are all about

To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”. And as business owners, we can be so consumed by being busy that we forget to take time to reflect.

By Annick Donat, National Offer Manager, Securitor & Licensee Select

A colleague often says to me that there are lessons in every interaction or story you hear; you just have to listen. So, when I started thinking about this column, I reflected on my contact with business owners over the past few weeks to seek out the lessons learned.

Monday: Dinner with Anne. An impromptu evening in which the conversation turned to ‘How do I want to be remembered in this industry?’ It prompted a fascinating discussion. It was important to Anne that she left a legacy of being known for giving her all in every relationship that mattered (family, friends, peers and clients). She shared the depth of relationships the business has with her clients and how she doesn’t have a client whom she doesn’t like.

Interestingly, Anne’s clients were recently surveyed and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. What struck me throughout this conversation was her passion and enthusiasm for everything she does – just like it was a brand new experience. It made me realise that if you really want sustainable, mutually respectful and genuine relationships, your desire for them must never wane.

Tuesday: Coffee with Richard. I’d never met Richard before, but I could have spoken to him for hours. We discussed and debated the changes in our industry over the years. His insights were fascinating, but the one that resonated most with me concerned the power of creating a community for your clients. Richard’s business is successful because it is a niche community and the entire proposition is centred on ensuring they understand the nuances of that community. To me, this sets a business up for success, especially one that has a niche model.


Wednesday: Coffee with Olivia. Olivia is infectious! Her passion, drive, energy and belief in what she does are contagious. We were talking about her evolution over the past year and the opportunities she has been presented with – and grasped with both hands, with astounding success. Often she has found herself in uncharted waters where the next horizon can’t be seen. Every time, however, she backs herself. She is a great adviser with a good story to tell and is happy to learn from others, to ask for guidance and to share that story and the lessons learned. Often we are so busy that opportunities pass us by.

Thursday: A walk down the street with Ray, followed by dinner. As we walked, we talked about how Ray got into the advice industry and, in particular, his insurance business. He and his team have gone to great lengths to ensure clients have the right insurance advice. One story involved his helping a person understand the consequences of just relying on the insurance in their default super fund and providing comprehensive insurance advice on the ‘gap’. Ray reminded me that knowing the right thing to do isn’t always easy, but facing into it and persisting to get the outcome you know to be right can change lives.

Friday: Breakfast with Laura. This was a mentor/aspirant conversation, though at times it was hard to tell who was who! Laura is an enthusiastic, passionate colleague who never ceases to amaze me with her energy and desire to make things better. We talked about her career, recent experiences and challenges – as we often do – but the lesson that really stuck with me was her desire and commitment to make today better than yesterday for everyone she comes in contact with.

As our year draws to a close, I would ask that you look out for those ‘aha!’ moments and then share them with others. As I said earlier, there is a lesson to be learned in every experience, and the stories that go with those experiences can be shared for years to come.

Five take-outs

  • What do you want to be remembered for?
  • Respect the power of your community and there will be great rewards for all
  • Look for opportunities and challenges, and when they turn up, back yourself to succeed
  • The power of great advice is that it changes lives
  • Be better today than you were yesterday

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