First, an apology for being silent on Life; It's been a busy time for our growing agency. But it's time you heard from us again and, wow, do I have a topic for you. REVIEWS.
As someone that does post and blog, it is great to get positive reviews/comments. However, the internet, while offering relative anonymity, it is a playground for people to say anything, anywhere, about anyone. And more than that, it is a place where misinformation carries as much, if not more weight and impact than the truth.
We work with new people coming into our business regularly, as well as clients looking for help. We spend a lot of time talking through the wrong information they pick up along the billions of bytes of data. According to MarketingProfs, more than 2 million articles are published every day on the web. That is inconceivable when each page averages 300 words x 2 million x 365 days that is 219,000,000,000-ish words! It makes my head hurt, and here I am, adding words to the count!
There is a good (longer than 300-word, though) article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on this topic. Why You Can't Really Trust Negative Online Reviews. I'm not going to get into the psychology of why we love bad boys, celebrity gossip, and believe tabloids as fact. But, it is "a thing" so reader beware because, in the WSJ article, they site several valid research studies that say if it's too good a review, it's likely fake. If it's too negative, it's expectedly based on emotion and not fact, or it is also a fabrication.
The best advice is to watch for balanced comments and learning about the comment-makers for their credibility. What is the legacy of the company? What kind of impact do they have? Longevity, repeating success, and character. In the insurance business, there are many types of distribution models, which include Carriers, Employees, Marketing Organizations, Independent Agents, and Brokers, etc. And, much like my Radio business start selling "Air," agents are required, for a long and successful career, to be committed to their "craft" and education, process, and people. It's not for everyone, but I can't imagine a career more rewarding or a company culture more inspiring. But, I'll stop there since I don't want you to dismiss my comments as "too positive."
P.S . Without this line, 392 words. Nice!
How to Own Your OWN Life
The American Dream is alive and well; the traditional path to it may not be.
Start-up costs, investment, insurance, employees, products, distribution - where to start and how to fund it are usually the biggest questions.
There is an alternative path, see what you think.
1. Start with a proven process. Just you and your mentor/team.
2. Add people and create your own team.
3. Progress and grow.
That's it. In between, there's hard work and dedication. Like any business owner, there's good, bad, better, best but you don't have payroll, you don't have to forge ahead on your own.
Hard to believe, but true. Check us out (you can start on "Career Advanced" tab) for yourself and we'll have a conversation.
If we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with, consider the value of the four humans and the technology you hold in your hand. How well do they encourage, teach, and support? Let's consider the relationship you likely spend more time in than any other - your phone partnership.
There is an over-abundance of all things technology in the marketplace making it challenging to focus. As a fan of the Steven Covey 4-quadrant system for priority and importance analysis. I believe daily we have to step back and assess what we plan to do with our time. It seems that just going to the Apple App Store or Google Play can take the easily distracted among us down paths that we can't afford to engage. So, the following are five tools for your consideration and my recommendation to make your most intimate and omnipresent partner work harder for you.
1. If knowledge is power, then we start with what you do with your time. RescueTime is power. Knowing how you are spending time gives you the ability to mold it into the best use possible, and still be able to let your "wild child" look at the latest Kardashian tidbits. Free option for computer and Android. iPhone app check for current availability. Paid version - cheaper than a pizza monthly by far ($9 or $72/yr) Here's a story you might like.
2. Because if you own your finances, you also own your destiny we bring you the app for how you spend your money, ClarityMoney. This app will help you organize, keep you on track, help you simplify and save. It's a winner and available for ios, android, web for free.
3. How are you talking to yourself? Even the most gritty, gifted with high EQ, and successful need to focus on a positive message. For ios, it's PepTalk to find those winning reminders. For Android, there is a Pep Talk app but suggest looking closely at the options.
4. Where do you keep random thoughts and inspirations? The practice of making mindmaps has been personally helpful and gratifying. Taking a random question, idea, comment, thought and then being able to expand it logically and share it is powerful. No sticky notes, napkins, or memory needed. Mind Meister is available for web, ios, and android.
5. Now to taming your email, I love Newton. For ios, android, and desktop has some great features to pull it all together. I have spent far too much time wading through my seven or more email addresses to find out where someone has sent something. According to the company, "Works with Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, iCloud, Google Apps, Office 365 and all IMAP accounts. *Sign Up Once, Use Everywhere* Your Newton account keeps your email accounts, preferences, read receipts, snooze info, scheduled emails and subscription status synced across all your devices. No need to set up your email all over again on a new device. there is a cost after a 14-day free trial.
Obviously, there are more apps than either of us could assess regardless of the time we have. I have found it works well to introduce one or two well-recommended apps and delete the ones that have outlived their usefulness. Too many apps and you will do more to slow your speed than help, so be an "app snob."
Meaningful quotes about the positives of technology here.
Media use - "Always On..."
The Hiring Paradox
My father is featured here in a picture leading a presentation, and I have kept this photo for the irony; every year is and isn't the year of change. Sitting in the family room with my grandfather, father, and brother during a discussion of their business experience I gained a wealth of knowledge on many topics including what is new may be old and what I learned. Now what I see happening concerning business and loss of the two-way street of generational respect while it has always been, it is also new .
I am an Experient. I wear many hats. From running a business to recruiting/hiring to training to working directly with clients, each requires different information, skill sets, and training. My skills have evolved through diverse work experience and education. The absurdity is that if I took my experience on the road to a job interview, it is not likely I would be hired. While not an issue for me, it is a failing of our society.
My friend's son is a Tiro. Just graduated from a highly recognized university his parents paid part of his tuition, but he owes a significant amount. He has a specific degree which should lead him to the first step in his career. However, it seems he lacks the experience to get more than an internship. To pay his current debt, he is working as an hourly laborer but, that's not the experience he needs. Again, we fail.
The paradox is created by the fact the Experient, with too much knowledge, and the Tiro, with too little, are at the mercy of the perceptions of others. Neither can change their plight - it is all in the opinions of those who hire and the technology programmed to weed out - by keyword and profile.
In the movie, The Intern, the Experient is played by Robert De Niro. It's on my list of films I can watch anytime, and I like it for many reasons including the evolution of Anne Hathaway's character from "Old-a-phob" to "Experience-valuer." To boil it down, it is all attitude and perception. So in looking for a company, whether tiro or experient or anything in between, check for the attitude. Are they assessing what you bring to the table or are they "profiling?"
Every day, I'm thankful to work as I do, with people who challenge me to grow daily, regardless of what I think I know. Being categorized by someone before even knowing your name is too limited. Instead, I continue to expand my value, impact, and opportunities and the judgment is in the success I find, monetary and other. If you would like that opportunity - let me know.
It's Time to Examine Your Crate
Developing my plan for 2019 means taking a look at the year past - the controllable, uncontrollable, repeatable, and improvable. Working with the incredible people of Symmetry Financial Group, it's easy to look at our system and repeat, but there is also the absolute necessity to make the first focus on growing ourselves, regardless of the level of leadership.
I get concerned with the beginning of the year, and the fatigue, depression, malaise which many people experience. Let's face it. The lack of football games is enough to throw the best of us into a tizzy. (Um, not me). But, also this is the time of the year people mourn - their decorations, their spent bonuses, and unfortunately, their nearest and dearest. January and the winter months, in general, are when the most people are lost to natural causes. I am not alone in my year review also impacted by remembrances.
In my nerdy way of going down rabbit holes looking for what's relevant, I find some fantastic information. This time, it was about the topic of adding value and the CMO of Legacy.com, Kim Evenson. She has taken the mission of her company and made it her own, "Working at Legacy.com, a company dedicated to memorials and obituaries, I’m touched by death in some small way each day. It’s not what I expected. Rather than making me feel sad, the work has made me more grateful for each passing day. I hug my kids a little tighter, am a little better at making time for friends, and understand the need to value wisdom in a different way.
In that spirit, I set out to better understand the meaning of life — and to build our collective wisdom — by conducting one "Meaning of Life" interview each day. I focused the interviews around life's big questions: What advice would you give to a baby? What would you do differently if you could go back? And most importantly, what is the meaning of life?"
She shared the thoughts of Umberto Colangelo, and it has had great impact and value for me, Kim says, "…in his own words, here is what Bert wants you to know:"
“You have often heard people say that they are 'waiting for their ship to come in.’ I believe that everyone’s ship comes in at exactly the same time… and that is the moment we are born. Our ship arrives with a cargo area that holds a large, empty crate and from our very first cry, everything goes into that crate — everything. The first and last words we will speak; every breath we will ever take; every heart we will ever break. Every thought, every word, every deed… all our sunshine, rain, suffering, and pain. Every opportunity, experience, success, and failure. Every relationship we will ever share. We spend our entire life filling that crate until one day our ship arrives for us again. Hopefully, our final journey will be over calm seas helped along by a slight breeze… and then we set sail, never to be seen or heard from again. But there is one thing we leave behind. The crate. The crate filled with everything we ever did, said, or felt in our lives. This is the priceless treasure that we leave on the shore for others to find and by which to remember us or judge us. As you read this, my ship has set sail for my final journey… so I bid you this: As you live your life and make your choices, remember to fill your crate well, my friends. Fill it well.”
I will leave you with this thought - what we offer others in value is what we leave in the crate, whether we want to think of it or not - what is the legacy you are piecing together each moment - what is in your crate?
I'm dumbfoundedly in awe of the superb lack of common sense surrounding us. And if you are similar to the people I meet, you have had a head-scratching experience within the last day or so, also.
Well first, common sense may be in jeopardy. Common is defined by Merriam Webster as "universal, ordinary, average, and available to all." Sense, with definition taken from a favorite tool, Visual Thesaurus, is about "understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something. " And both of these, common and sense, have lost their "universal" nature.
Common values seem to have become individual values. It appears that the person I was behind in line at the grocery store is case in point. She wanted the larger size for the sale price of the smaller quantity. It was clearly marked on sale for the lesser amount and "common sense," would say get the smaller size if you want the sale price. It was not acceptable to this person, and from berating the cashiers to the assistant manager and finally the manager, she fought for her individual perception of what she called, loudly, "common sense."
We would like to introduce you to another definition of common sense focused not on an individual, but our most excellent resource, our children. Welcome to Common Sense, "an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a rapidly changing world." The resources and impact this organization is having is phenomenal and addresses huge issues this generation of children are uniquely facing. We can all make a difference in something universal and making the uncommon, common again.
The Groff Life Group is a proud supporter of Common Sense, the organization, and common sense.
Wanted: Health Care Coverage for Our Backbone
Small business has been quoted over an over as the hardest working segment of the U.S. economy. We are the people of the "Gig Economy" the contract, on call, and independent contractors of the U.S. In May 2017, there were 10.6 million independent contractors or 6.9 percent of total employment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (blg.gov). "A new NPR/Marist poll finds that 1 in 5 jobs in America is held by a worker under contract. Within a decade, contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce," according to NPR.
Great news about our "new" twitter-ific label, our others were getting a bit worn. Rather than lumping us all in a single pile, which doesn't sync with what we actually do for the country, how about this, we are the risk-taking entrepreneurs, the self-employed, the lone rangers. We roll with commission only pay, per-project contracts, and if we just "show up" we don't eat. Personally, along with 78% of my compatriot gig-s, I am very happy working this way. Yet for this life of produce or die, our reward is paying all of our cost of doing business, taxes, and my fav - insurance. Well, actually it IS my favorite, but that for another day.
November 1, in most states, is the open enrollment period start for healthcare.gov, which I thought was my family's only option. However, I have news, there are others.
The keys to choosing what's best is carefully looking at the following:
1. How much am I going to spend to get the best coverage for our needs?
We know people across the country who are paying thousands in premium, and that starts the ball rolling. To maximize their coverage, they will need to spend over $20,000 to meet their deductible and pay their premium (by the way, premiums don't count toward deductibles.)
The Key: Looking at what you'll be paying out to actually get the coverage. It's wise to create a couple of scenarios and run the numbers. Keep in mind the list of no cost benefits which all ACA plans must have. And, always consider the car accident, the emergency room visit, and the unexpected. You might want to take a look at your auto insurance and understand what your medical payments are under your policy. For an accident which happened in my driveway, we had to use my auto policy first then my medical coverage.
2. Is my Dr. part of the network?
A highly personal issue, or non-issue, which can profoundly affect your decision/costs.
3. Educate yourself about auxiliary options.
HSA's can be a best friend for the self-employed. They are for high-deductible plans, but beware, the healthcare.gov options I've looked at are not compatible. Gap insurance can help you survive the deductible dilemma.
4. The medication you take or the chronic illnesses of your loved ones.
Take your list and do the comparisons
for other options, look at companies like Agentra who offer a wide variety of plans and use group rates by tying into national associations. This company also adds My HealthPass to their plans providing additional resources.
If you don't mind verbalizing your belief in a higher-power, Aliera is a cost-sharing health ministry which has interesting options. They use verbiage which reflects not being an insurance offering - but you will see it is easy to translate.
Since I have been on this journey,personally, I am more than happy to share my insight. And perhaps why I'd rather work this way. Email me here.
Never stop learning because Life never stops teaching. Anonymous
Welcome to Life Noted.
We are passionate about this business,serving and enabling people to protect what they value most.Our tools maybe insurance, but that's only half of the story. We are a business of People. Focused on developing strong leaders and team members who can become their very best. People who serve their customers and teams like family.
We hope we give you food for thought, maybe a laugh, and a reflection of the life we see.