You have all seen the commercials and laughed with the duck, but do you really know what AFLAC does? I didn’t! Not until I had a God ordained moment at a job fair and fell in love with the door that God was opening for my life. The job sounded perfect, but hard! I have officially served as an independent AFLAC agent for 12 months and below are the top five life impacting lessons I have learned from being an AFLAC Rookie.
- How to take rejection
This may seem like a weird lesson! I am not talking about rejection from being dumped, losing friends or even getting fired from a job. I’m talking about waking up every day getting pumped about work knowing that it will take AT LEAST 19 people to say NO to my face for ONE person to even give me a chance. Cold calls are not easy. There were days, even weeks and months that were filled with constant rejection. It felt like the life was being sucked out of me. As if I had walked through the wrong career door. All these no’s lead to the yes’s that were worth it!
- On the job learning every day
It is crazy to think that I went to college for 4.5 years to get a piece of paper that says Bachelor of Fine Arts: Communication but in three classroom days I was a graduate of AFLAC ‘Flight School’ and ready to put on my heels and go to work. And let me be super clear. My knowledge of all thing’s insurance was pretty much 0% before signing my 1099 form. Lucky for me the Aflac trainers know that most learning is best done by doing it. This was the scariest part for me. I traditionally need to know what I am doing before I go out and do it. They were right! No one day as an agent is ever the same. I have run into new learning opportunities every day on the job whether it is sharing my faith, communicating styles, how businesses operate, and so many things about the inside and outside of insurance.
- Unlimited opportunity
My dreams as a kid were to have a fun life and help people. I guess having a college degree was a good goal, so I went for that. But sadly enough I never dreamed about how I specifically could help people. I never dreamed about having my own team of employees or even how much money I could make and give to charities I supported. This may be one of the biggest things that I have learned with my year of AFLAC. I have heard countless stories of how AFLAC agents were able to help so many people but also have their life dreams come true. When I started my goal was literally to pay my bills. After a few months of feeling lost with no long-term direction I got my butt to dreaming bigger, praying harder and working harder to start making these dreams come true. Now I am dreaming bigger for my life and career than I ever have before. I am so thankful and confident in all the many talents and opportunities the Lord has given me to dream and do so that I can make a difference in all areas of my life and those around me. Aflac has shown me in as little as 12 months that anything is possible with hard work and a big heart for serving people! I am very much starting at the bottom, but I can’t wait to look back at this blog post in six years (when I am 30) to see how far I have grown and the opportunities I have been given.
I am so proud to say that since graduating college I have not had to clock into my career job NOT EVEN ONCE! I am my own: boss, secretary, accountant, and hype man! It is a lot on one plate, but I would NEVER trade in this opportunity just to secure a pay check. I honestly get to do what I want and work when I want to. (And let me just throw in that by Saturday night I am normally ready for it to be Monday morning again.) I love working hard, helping people and hearing people’s stories but if I have been busting my butt for weeks and want a total Sabbath day on a Tuesday then I allow myself to take a day off without needing to ask permission from anyone. With this freedom of my own work schedule also comes A LOT of time management! I have to make sure I am working hard to hit my goals and showing up for my own career. I have so many people cheering me on but at the end of the day IT IS ALL ON ME.
Let’s just be real. Comparison is a lesson that is hard to learn in any career field or life. I got off to a slow start in this career. I started right after graduating college and in the middle of getting married. I am not proud of how hard I worked my first year with AFLAC but I constantly have to remind myself that everyone starts their own AFLAC journey at so many different stages of life. I was so quick to compare my turtle race start to someone who seemed like a hare just kicking butt and taking names. In this job I am CONSTANTLY reminded that every agent has their very own story for how and why they are with AFLAC and comparing is just a waste of energy. I spent my first year with AFLAC always feeling behind the ball. Then at the state convention I was awarded the #2 Rookie Agent of the year in New Accounts Opened and #4 Rookie Agent of the year in Gross Production. I am so thankful that my support team and husband believed in me and encouraged me by reminding me that this career is not about comparison!
I am so unbelievably thankful for this incredible opportunity to work for such an awesome company and to connect with outstanding businesses and policy holders. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would work as an insurance agent, but it is so clear the Lord has prepared me so well for such a time and career as this. The lessons I have learned in the past twelve months have made me stronger and given me such a fun life to live.
Thanks for letting me break out of the marriage or medical school post and share a bit about what I do!
Keep your head up high and your words filled with love.
Your AFLAC agent and friend, Colleen Howard.
And some times you just got to be a little crazy!