The sky is falling. The markets are crashing. The job market stinks. There’s nobody to hire. Netflix raised their prices while dropping content. Last year’s Halloween costume doesn’t fit. I need reading glasses to write this column.

Oh, no! And woe is us. All is awful–or is it?

Recently, Van Mueller, SMA’s 2010 Advisor of the Year, asked for a minute of phone time. An hour later Van was still talking, proselytizing (and I mean this in the most flattering meaning of the word) about life insurance.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity, the pleasure, to hear Van on his pulpit (and, again, I mean this in the sincerest way) then you know that he really–I mean really–believes that quality producers in the life insurance industry are primed for “one of the most amazing years in the history of the world!”

“In the history of the world”
No, that was not a typo. Van said, “in the history of the world.” Forget limiting ourselves to the 21st or even the 20th centuries, Van went all Discovery Channel on me. He even reached back into the Paleozoic Era, which were the formative years of the Appalachians and the mountains of Tasmania.

Van says when he talks to a roomful of advisors he launches into that whole doomsday diatribe of how horrible things are out there in the big, wide, scary world.

And then he gets all rhetorical on them:

“Have any of you been through tough times before!”
A smattering of coughs, a yay or two from the crowd as people shift uncomfortably in their seat, unsure how to take the call-and-response delivery.

“Are there those among you who made it through those tough times?”
“Yes.” A few more call out, beginning to find their voice.

“Of course you did.”
At this point, if you’ve seen Van speak, you know he’s stalking the stage, ready to pounce. If you’re talking to him over the phone, you hold the receiver a foot from your ear or maybe you set it down altogether and stand up and pump your fists in the air, swept up in the gale force winds of Hurricane Van.

“And I know without asking that those who made it through those tough times were those who were prepared, who planned. Am I right?”
“Yes.”
“I said am I right!”
“Yes.”

“Ok then. So we agree that times are tough, but listen to me when I tell you this. Are you listening?”
“Yes.”
“I said are you listening?”
“Yes!”

“Insurance companies were built for times like this.”
And the crowd said, “Amen!”