In 2007 I was working as a financial advisor at an investment firm. It was really hard and stressful, 14-hour days six days a week, most of it spent building a network of leads that I could prospect and turn into clients. By the spring of 2008 I was starting to see results: my clients trusted me, I was getting a few referrals and I was exceeding company sales targets. I was invited to every corporate workshop and even got to get up on the stage in front of other advisors and share what was working in my business model. I participated in team-building exercises and I also got some fresh ideas from other advisors on how they grew their businesses.
During theses multi-day seminars there was always a glossy brochure passed around that showed rewards we could aspire to attain if we reached certain sales targets for each quarter. Most of the vacations on offer were all-inclusive trips to Hawaii, Dominican Republic, Puerto Vallarta etc. Champion salespeople could qualify for the vacation of their dreams- two weeks in the outback of Australia.
As much I was wanted to travel, most of requirements to qualify for theses trips were out of reach for a junior financial advisor at my stage, but it was a pretty good incentive for those needing a challenge. My mentor at the time used to say to me, “Reach for the moon, you may land in the stars.” I was already giving everything I had as far as time and energy went and these packages always came with a catch – a full-day business conference on building your brand or a seminar on no-fail sales pitches that would eat up one or two days of the five-day vacation. Who wants that? Not me, I wanted a real vacation. One that didn’t feel like a competition to see who can get the most clients while on holiday. And I didn’t want to go to some all-inclusive Caribbean resort – I wanted to go to Iceland.
The feature image on this post is the cover of the 2008 Frommers Iceland travel guide I bought back then to plan my dream trip. I was going to go in September of 2008. Do you remember what happened in September of 2008? Lehman’s filed for bankruptcy, causing one of the biggest financial crises since the crash of 1929. My phone started ringing off the hook, clients were screaming “I want to sell everything…” “I want to see you immediately!” Some wanted to know why their bonds were only worth half what they paid for them… Many accepted what they couldn’t change “…am I going to lose all my money?” Others accused me, asking, “How could you do this to me?” I had no answer for any of them. The panicking was real – for me too. There was rumbling of other big lending companies on the brink of filing for bankruptcy protection. I had a lot of work to do to reassure my clients. My vacation got put on hold – for 14 years. This year I finally got to go. Please join me at the first stop -Iceland’s #1 tourist attraction the Blue Lagoon,
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