This past October, Gladys and I celebrated a milestone with family and a few friends. The occasion marked the 65th anniversary of our first date. We met in October 1943 by sheer accident while I was stationed at Luke Field near Phoenix. Eighteen months later, at the tail end of World War II we were married. As I reflected upon the years we have spent together, two things dominated my thoughts.
I marveled at how quickly the time has passed and how much water has gone under the bridge these past 65 years. It seems only yesterday that the war was over and I was making my way back to civilian life. It is also hard to realize that in a few months I will have spent 53 years in the insurance business in one capacity or another. Time does indeed fly, so it is important to make every day count.
The second thought dealt with the whole idea of commitment and how important it is. Not just in marriage, but in most aspects of one’s life–beliefs, religion and organizations, both business and social. The same is true of one’s business or profession and the clientele you serve.
But before commitment there must be conviction. My conviction that Gladys was the right person for me is what has led to a lifelong commitment. My belief in the work of life insurance people and the products they sell has instilled in me a similar commitment. In a way, I am married to this great business that we serve and by which we are also served.
One of my mentors in the early days of my insurance career was Rulon Rasmussen, past president of the Million Dollar Round Table. Rulon told me that the best advice he had received when he was new was to develop a strong conviction about the business. His mentor was Reed Brinton, another leading New York Life agent. It is important, I believe, that such advice be passed on to future generations of life insurance people.
People have to believe in what they are doing in order to remain faithful to the cause year after year. A person cannot sell a lie for very long. True conviction and commitment mean you feel good about what you are doing, or, as some of the clinical psychologists speaking at our meetings put it–you are a “congruent person.” You are what you believe.
Conviction grows with experience. As we witness how our products solve complex financial and personal problems, conviction becomes easier to achieve. Over the years I had many opportunities to observe our products in action. One such incident comes to mind as I write this.