What Keeps Them Going - Keys to Motivation

Helene: With any startup there's a certain amount of risk. And you've invested your time, your money, how do you stay motivated on those down days? You know we all have them, don't we?

Keith: Before I talk about that I want to say real quickly I guess I never saw this as a risk. I always saw this as an opportunity and I guess that's maybe the positive kind of people person that I am and as an agent, I am a people pleaser. I want to, you know always kind of please people and unfortunately there's some of those days as we know customers may not show up for appointments. You spend an hour prepping or getting things together, they come in and want to talk about something completely different. And you're like ahh, wasted all that time. So I mean it was really hard for me in the very beginning because I did want to please everyone and take care of all of their needs.

And sometimes you can't do it. So I learned to build thick skin. But I had my circle of support, you know different agents in the area I could call. Agents I actually trained with because I knew they were going through the same things I was and there was also another layer of support within State Farm. Mindy is her name, she is an agency field consultant for myself and other agents in my area. And I would call her often and just talk to her about things.

She was very realistic with me. Very honest, very straightforward, which is nice. Something I needed very much. One of the great things about State Farm too is just the different layers of support, I never felt like I was alone or I cannot find an answer to a question. Whatever it is whether it's a technical question, a product question, underwriting, whatever it is, I can always find the right person to talk to.

Helene: Sometimes just honest feedback, right? Someone who will really listen to you does all the difference, right?

Keith: Exactly, that's a big part of it just listening. Just having someone on the other side to listen to, they don't even need to answer me, just listen to my complaints or whatever it may be that day. It's great and good to have those people.

Tamika: For me, I read a lot so that's always been a good motivator. Right now I'm reading a book called "Mentor Leadership" which is a phenomenal book and it kind of keeps me on track and going. But the other thing is basically having someone to call or talk to like you said. I think we've all had those days, and we'll probably have more of them that you basically are just like, "uhhh". And you need somebody to vent to and somebody to talk to.

And the most important thing is having somebody that understands. I can call my parents all day long but that's just like talking, I'm just talking. Sometimes they don't really get it, but I have a lot of other agents that are new agents and agents that have been here, been with the company for a while that are good support systems and I can vent and they keep me back, get me back focused, back motivated to just keep chugging along.

Maggie: And likewise I have my own group. I call them my board of directors, I might give them a call if I need to discuss something. They've been, they've either been where I am at as agent or like you said we started at about the same time so it's great to have resources like that, that we can call at anytime. And I also take my one-year-old daughter Julie for walks every now and then, if it's been one of those days and I just need to kind of talk with someone like you said maybe they just won't even answer. They'll just kind of listen to us, and she's a great listener so we go for walks and I just process information a lot better when I kind of hear myself and my process as opposed to just thinking.

Whether she knows it or not, she helps me out a lot with some pretty big decisions as I just kind of talk with her on our walks.

Helene: I also heard about a letter that you wrote when you started out and opened the doors of your agency and could you read a little bit of it?

Maggie: Certainly. Just any?

Helene: Yeah choose something.

Maggie: Yeah I just wrote this right before I opened to remind myself of where I was coming from, why I was doing this to keep me motivated and just like what we're talking about some of those challenging days. So I'll read a portion of the letter. "This is so awesome I'm going to be a State Farm agent. The top dog where the rubber meets the road. Where clients will hug me and challenge me all in the same day but where I will be helping people everyday. I'll be the person in the community that they know, trust, and look up to. Focusing on needs-based sales and relationship building will drive my success.

So I'll make goals and I'll make challenging goals. To market and prospect more than the next guy. Moreover, I'll reach these goals. Never, never, never give up. You are what many people hope to be, want to be, and dream to be; an agent, a helper, a giver, a person with drive and passion and motivation. But most people don't make it this far in their lives, let alone at age 28 so keep persevering, keep passions alive, and kick some you know."

Keith: That's great.

Helene: Thank you.