14th May 2020
HOW I CONVINCED MYSELF TO JOIN A SEEMINGLY UNSTABLE CAREER IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY WITH PRUDENTIAL
I am exactly one day away from my first year anniversary with Prudential. It has been a tremendously rewarding and memorable year, and I felt the need to journal it down to look back upon. This, hopefully, serves those who are in the midst of a career transition, have considered this path, and yet, experienced fears on the general conception of the nature of the industry.
Turn back time a little, I graduated from National University of Singapore (NUS) in the year 2014; unemployed, and incurred myself a debt of $20000 worth of tuition loan. At that time, I had very minimal savings and gave tuition classes while holding a full-time job for two to three years. I targeted to finish paying the loan in the fastest possible and was elated when I eventually completed that within six months after graduation. I WAS FINALLY ABLE TO START SAVING SOME MONEY FOR FUTURE NEEDS.
My priorities soon shifted. I started attending numerous complimentary investment seminars and courses after regular office hours, over the weekends, learning to analyze market trends, explored investment platforms as well as self-development. The most recent Neuro-Linguistic Programme (NLP) course by Cayden Chang, was one of the most memorable and groundbreaking.
For those who have been part of this journey with me thus far, you may have thought I was crazy, for making my largest purchase in my life, an executive condo, after I have just tendered my resignation from my full-time career, to join the insurance industry. SO WHY?AND HOW? Here in this article, I set out to share my WHYS and HOWS, and I hope it can inspire those out there!
KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT, AND WHY YOU WANT IT. THIS WILL EVENTUALLY BE WHAT DRIVES YOU
It started out with a very simple objective, I wanted to settle down, but was worried about the cost of doing so in Singapore. My fiancé and I were in the midst of calculating our finances, we did a rough timeline, and found ourselves struggling to work out the numbers. Both of us were not finance or accounting trained then, and we soon found ourselves seeking to know more in the area of financial knowledge and financial risk assessment, for us to do concrete planning and foundation for our future.
During the course of these numerous financial and investment-related courses, it also brought out the need to look into sustainable retirement for our parents, the cost of upbringing of our children, in Singapore, affording the daily necessities and monthly bills, and the eventual goal to financial freedom and sustainability.
As I did my sums, it also made me value the full process and knowledge I had. I thought to myself, how many lives I could financially protect and impact, if I could impart this knowledge to those around me, my loved ones, so that we can all start planning, comparatively earlier.
At the same time, my fiancé and I were convinced to kick off our first apartment in an attractively valued executive condo. These factors became my main drivers in my career.
Know what you want, your end goal and why you want it. They must be worthwhile enough, for they will be what drive you, on a daily basis.
IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?
For me, I was at a stage where I had just commenced my first career and been there for less than 3 years. It was a point in life where if you had the intention to settle down, the thought of the upcoming milestones and big purchases would be pretty stressful. I was also lucky to not have committed to any of these yet. I thought to myself, it was potentially the best time for me to take that leap of faith, to explore, and give this career my best shot. Because, if not now, then when?
Each of us has our journey, and each of us has a different story to tell. What’s your story? If not now, then when?
PAIN OR PLEASURE?
This question was one of the most memorable ones for me at the NLP course I attended, that helped me to understand myself a lot better and what drives me. Do you feel more motivated when you know that doing that particular task will bring pleasure and joy to your loved ones (pleasure) or do you feel more motivated when you know that not completing a task will deprive you of something that matters a lot to you (pain)? For me, I was motivated more so by pain, and thus, the purchase of my new apartment brings a huge liability, but at the same time, a greater drive for me to strive in this industry, and make my move count.
The above sets up a strong foundation for my mindset; There was no turning back, and I was determined to make this work. Some of you may then ask, but How?
Allow me to share my personal experiences during this short year.
IT HAS NOT BEEN A SMOOTH SAILING JOURNEY, LIKE YOU MAY IMAGINE IT TO BE
You should have heard from many of those ahead of you regarding their first few challenging years in the career, learning curve is particularly steep, and you just have to survive that duration for you to eventually do well in the industry. But how many of us truly understood what that meant?
I had a taste of the rough tides within the first three months when I had close to zero sales production. It was a period when I invested the hours, days and nights, reflecting on each step, fine-tuning each aspect of my business, seeking advice and wisdom from my seniors, and also listen attentively as they graciously share with me my blind spots along the way. I knew that, if I kept doing what I used to do, I cannot expect a different result. Though it was a period of time when I could not see tangible results, it was a time where I grew immensely, under the guidance of seniors of my agency, Assets Prestige Alliance (APA). These three consecutive months eventually became a journey I look back upon, and smile to myself, for it’s all timely and worthy.
“When you can’t adjust the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.” H. Jackson Brown Jr
Some of the key takeaways for me throughout this one year, and for my future self:
BE OPEN. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. LEARN CONTINUOUSLY. ACCEPT GENUINE FEEDBACK. BE ADAPTABLE. BE OPEN TO CHANGE. MOVE FAST. AND MOVE STRATEGICALLY.
Each of us will be dealt with a different set of cards, which will determine your business strategy. It is your own unique journey and definitely been a fulfilling one for me.
AGENCY CULTURE AND LEADERS
In the financial industry, the market economy and financial needs are constantly evolving. To stay in line with the latest news, corporate updates, product knowledge and its competitors, financial consultants spend hours analyzing the implications to the economy, and our clients. As a self-employed, the demands are high as we meet clients, attend roadshows and reach out to people inappropriate financial planning. While business hours are flexible, it also means that time management is critical, and it takes conscious efforts in strategising our business, optimizing the time that we have, to complete the numerous tasks at hand.
I am blessed with an agency I can call my family, APA; where the team is young, driven and the agency culture empowers. Leaders and seniors are more than willing to take precious time off to guide and share their experiences with you, giving us opportunities to pay it forward by guiding the new ones who join us, in a dynamic culture where we learn hard, play hard, and work hard together.
RUNNING BUDDIES AND PEERS
Through this one year, I also learnt that this industry is not a sprint but a marathon. Having running buddies with you not only keeps you accountable to one another, to achieve the various milestones together, and enjoy the fruits of our labour together, but also to pick one another along as the going gets tough. I’m thankful to have found this two, Alex and Benjamin, who are running strongly as we finish this year.
BEGIN WITH AN END IN MIND
The decision to take this leap of faith was not an easy one, I had to be accountable to my loved ones, and take into consideration their perspectives and concerns. I am thankful that I received unconditional support from my fiancé, Jonathan. With that, it meant a great deal to not let him down, and with a motto, I learnt from Jonathan, “BEGIN WITH AN END IN MIND”, I knew there was no turning back. I kept it close to me since the day I joined Prudential as a financial consultant. Though I commenced my career August last year with a weak start, together with a brand new huge liability; my new upcoming apartment, I was determined to work my way up, slowly but surely.
Before the year 2018 started, I reflected upon 2017 and told myself I needed to buck up, “Aim for the stars. If you fall, you will land on the moon.” With that, I dived in. At eachjuncture, I reflect upon my goals and alter them accordingly. At each juncture, I continue to seek advice on my blind spots and learning new perspectives and ways to address each clients’ unique financial needs and concerns. Today, as I approach my first year anniversary, I am proud to share that I’ve achieved Quality Club Elite, and Star Club, which also signifies that I have made the mark to be within the top 15% throughout Prudential, one of the most prestigious recognition.
Before the year comes to an end, I am working hard towards Premier Financial Consultant, and looking forward very much to my incentive trips to Sydney and Moscow next year, and sharing these fruits of our labour with Jonathan.
DETERMINE THE STEEPNESS OF MY OWN LEARNING CURVE
As a self-employed, it comes with great flexibility. With this flexibility, it requires great discipline, determination, perseverance and commitment. With that, I made a conscious choice on the steepness of my own learning curve, and gives me greater drive; simply because of the endless possibilities, within the same duration.
THIS CAREER HAS NO LIMITS. BREAKAWAY FROM YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS.
Last but not least, it has not been an easy journey. As Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” I recall from the NLP course by Cayden Chang; “Live each day as if it was your last”. How will you choose to spend the last day of your life? Would it have been how you chose to spend your time today?
It takes a lot of grit; biting the bullet and go. But as I look back, I’m heartened to see how all the dots connected since my days in NLP. It’s been a year now, and within 6 months into my career, I was on to my first incentive trip to Bangkok.
As I look back, there are so many people to be thankful for. My agency leader and boss, Jaden Wang, who joined me in my first few appointments, guiding me in roadshows, and answers to my endless questions, regardless of the time of the day. Louis, who, in the midst of our calls, gave me a crash course on roadshows, a day before my first roadshow, and guided me along when I struggled in the early stages of my career. Daytona buddies established during our first incentive trip together at Bangkok, Alex and Benjamin, who supported and pushed me to have faith in achieving greater heights each time, and motivating one another along the way. Jaslyn, whose journey inspires in more ways than one, and there is so much to learn. Ryan, who took his precious time off to tell me my blind spots, whenever I felt at a loss, telling me that I’m more than what I believe myself to be, giving me the renewed confidence to push on. Jareth, who offered valuable feedback and advice along the way that helped me question my limiting beliefs. Thank you to my mummy, who constantly made sure I have sufficient rest and have my meals on time. My fiance, Jonathan, who sticks by me through thick and thin, chauffeuring me from appointments to appointments, and accommodating my ever-changing schedule.
Last but not least, for all my clients who placed their trust in me, and gave me the opportunity to walk alongside you and your loved ones, as you face the various upcoming milestones in life.
Looking back, this decision is potentially one of the best in my life. To all out there, Chase your dreams!
14th May 2020