Mar 08 2022
Invest in your mental health for personal growth
The ability to protect lives and dreams makes a career in insurance fulfilling. As achieving targets becomes more challenging, the stress increases, leading to anxiety, depression, and related conditions.
Three MDRT members from the Philippines spotlight how they care for their mental health in a highly-competitive sales industry.
Leah Mariel Quimson: Healing by helping others
Six-year MDRT member from Pasig City, Philippines
A little over a year ago, I lost my 37-year-old best friend to COVID-19. We’d been friends since we were ten. Mourning her death was too much for me that I experienced anxiety over the possibility of losing another person to COVID-19. I develop panic attacks whenever I hear someone pass away. It was difficult for me, but I had to act. Being my best friend’s financial advisor, I was responsible for processing her death claim, which helped fund her husband’s business and secure their son’s college education. It was my final act of service to my dearest friend.
The experience made me more intentional in my work during the pandemic. Nowadays, the demand is there since people are more open to getting insurance for health protection than savings and investments. Preparation for prospective client meetings has become more tedious due to the detailed background research that needs to be done to better understand our prospects’ motivations. I usually gather information from the person who referred me. Clients appreciate that you did your homework, as it is the first step in building trust in relationships.
The process may seem easy, but it’s challenging as I’ve had to recall painful personal memories to better empathize with clients. For instance, I was referred to a 45-year-old father of two, who already had good work and personal coverage, but still required more. By probing, I discovered that his Dad’s death due to COVID-19 complications traumatized him, and he wanted his sons to be taken care of when he passed away. Knowing the background helped me craft relevant questions for our first meeting and establish my credibility. Sometimes, it can be emotionally exhausting, but a part of me heals every time I help secure someone’s life. It’s like earning good karma by saving one person at a time.
Kate Sangco Lopena, CWP, CEPP: Evolving from being emotionally spent to emotionally smart
2-year MDRT member from Quezon City, Philippines
After the lockdowns happened in mid-March 2020, my clients asked me if the pandemic would affect the market. I had to be honest with them. “Yes, the pandemic will have an impact.” Maybe the only positive development at the time was that the stocks were low, so I inquired if they wanted to take advantage or maintain the status quo. However, the situation took a turn for the worst when the lockdowns extended for months, which, in effect, pushed businesses to the brink of bankruptcy, with many professionals getting laid off. Unfortunately, my clients were among them.
In 2021, I lost my grandfather, whom I dearly loved and a big part of my life, to COVID-19. Requests for policy withdrawals and amendments came in droves. It’s been a year of listening to my clients’ painful experiences, a year of tears with my colleagues, and a year of my own business hanging by a thread. Imagine receiving calls asking for policies to be withdrawn because the family breadwinners lost their jobs. I’ve come up with flexible solutions to help my clients make payments but some of my cases still ended up either surrendered or lapsed. I stopped everything and realized that I was physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. I couldn’t go on without fixing myself first.
Losing my grandfather was a wake-up call. I was working like a machine. Seeing my fellow advisors in the same boat, we needed to do something. As a senior agent, I took the initiative and suggested to our leaders that we revamp how we worked. Our meetings now focus on sales, recruitment, and overall health. Taking breaks and having life coaching sessions for physical, mental, and spiritual health are encouraged. I used to rely on yoga to destress whenever I felt overwhelmed. The most significant learning I can share is to take a holistic approach to work. Don’t just focus on the targets. Invest in yourself, starting with your personal needs to be grounded with colleagues and serve clients positively.
Ginelle Patricia Sequitin: Overcoming post-COVID-19 with meditation
3-year MDRT member from Quezon City, Philippines
I had COVID-19 last year, which affected my work. It was embarrassing because I couldn’t recall what I would say next during virtual events with my colleagues. Public speaking, which came naturally to me before, suddenly made me anxious. It didn’t help that in late 2021, I had a personal problem that sapped my energy and gave me panic attacks.
I didn’t want to go to a doctor, but I knew I had to do something. I contacted a trusted life coach who introduced me to 4 a.m. group meditation. We focus on our fears, disappointments, and personal questions in life, then we share our thoughts with other members, achieving clarity and bliss in the process. It has greatly helped in keeping me grounded throughout the day.
Besides meditation, doing holy devotion guides me spiritually. After being apart for so long, my colleagues and I go to different remote locations to work and rekindle our professional relationships. I suggest clearing out spaces in our lives to protect our mental health—first, clear unread messages and silence notifications in your digital space, which may be daunting at first. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize it’s manageable. Next, get your physical space in order by getting rid of any clutter. Attend to your emotions afterward. Typically, people come with baggage. Seek resolution. If there’s been a misunderstanding with someone, reach out to that person. During my silent meditation, I practice forgiveness, which can be as simple as forgiving someone in my mind. In the process, I ended up forgiving myself. Lastly, get your finances in order. A financial advisor needs to lead by example. If you have debts, pay them off as soon as possible. Integrity is priceless.