We all have an inner hero.
The dictionary defines “hero” as “a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities.
Heroes come in many forms in life, ranging from one’s family and friends to athletes to movie stars.
(Related: Leadership Is Not a Birthright… and It Shows)
The reality hit me I was not one.
On the map I used Crossville, Tennessee, was about two hours away from Knoxville and the time difference was 1 hour from Knoxville.
The lead I received was for a life conversion on a male turning 55.
After calling and scheduling an appointment I drove the two hours and found both the husband and wife at home, thankfully.
Sometimes these calls end up being a “one legger,” one spouse shows up and not the other spouse.
They welcomed me into their single-level farm home. As we settled at the kitchen table, they shared how their parents had been farmers, they had been together since high school and they had two kids in high school now who would be attending college in a couple of years.
This was 2001, the economy had just taken a hit and they were concerned about the near future.
We reviewed their current options, discussed what they saw as their future and we completed an in-depth estate analysis on my laptop.
I printed this off with my mini-portable printer (about six pages) so they could make notes as we talked.
It was clear estate taxes were a potential concern for them, they owned about half of their farm free and clear while another 100 acres had a second on it from an equipment expansion they did a few years earlier, their home had a mortgage and while they had started a small college fund a couple of years earlier for their kids they pulled back contributions because of the economy.
We broke the numbers down, looked at a $1 million second to die whole life policy with a term rider so either one of them would have the funds to keep the farm running, keep the kids in college and ensure the farm remained in the family.
After completing the application, they wanted me to discuss the plans with their attorney and CPA first.
Despite my suggestion that they start the process to get the physical done while we had these talks, to protect their insurability; they didn’t want to go that way at the time.
We agreed to set up the meeting in about a month and I would come back with a printout illustration for everyone.
Two weeks later I called to set up the appointment without success.
Another two weeks I again contacted them, the wife agreed to a range of dates but wanted to confirm with her attorney.
We agreed I would check back at the end of the week.
When I checked back the husband told me things had been crazy, they had some personal things going on and their CPA wanted to get some numbers together for them first, so let’s look at the following month.
The following month I left two voice messages, no reply.
After three more attempts at contacting them I became resigned that I was getting stalled and moved on to other prospects.
Four Months Later
I had them on my back burner because it felt like they had lost interest in meeting with me, I had replaced my urgency to meet with them by other, more “active” prospects.
About four months down the road, as I was reviewing past leads and illustrations as part of my activity planning, I came across their paperwork again.
It was a Sunday night, when I usually planned my week that I reluctantly called.
The husband answered, I greeted him, acknowledged that they had been tied up during our last call and suggested we meet again to update the plan and bring their attorney and CPA into the conversation.
Tony took a breath, which gave me pause, and told me things had changed.