Well before I entered my professional role in the insurance industry, I learned a few important principles early on that have shaped my professional journey. These principles have served to keep me grounded and focused even through some of my most complex business challenges.
I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the oldest child of four children. I was a tomboy who enjoyed hanging out with the boys in the neighborhood. One summer, at the age of 12, my friends and I decided it was time to make better use of our time. We also wanted to find a way to earn some money, which we could use for buying summer treats. Putting our energy to good use, we decided to start paper routes. I really had no idea what I was signing up for except that I knew I wanted to find a way to earn money just like the rest of the boys in my “pack.”
In the beginning, I reveled in the joy of being a 12-year-old, independent business person. It was great fun. I was able to ride my bike, be outdoors, deliver papers and make money all at the same time. That was, of course, until the cold autumn days of Minnesota rolled in and rain, sleet and freezing snow descended.
During the dead of winter and those dark, cold mornings (as a matter of fact, very cold mornings), I learned three basic lessons that have served me well throughout my career. Deliver on what you promise regardless of how circumstances may change. Ask for help. Identify people who will support you and push you through the rough spots. (In my case, my father, mother, sister and brothers in our heated family car all became a part of my first business team.) Success requires persistence and putting in the time to get the job done.
These three principles continue to guide how I work. In my current role, for example, it may not always be easy, but my group and I are fully vested in pulling together a best-in-class team to meet our clients’ needs. To this day, when I wake up early in the morning to begin my day, I often reflect on these wonderful early lessons learned.