Last weekend I was busy with a project and in the middle of it we ran into some questions that required me calling my general agent, Stan Harlan, on a weekend. As I was immersed in the project I had my wife give Stan a call on his cell to ask him for some of the information I needed.
Unfortunately I didn't realize that the last two times Stan got a call on his cell phone from one of his agents wives on the weekend it was to tell him the tragic news that their husbands had died. So, after Stan got up off the floor from the shock of my wife calling him, he was obviously delighted to find out that Mark Wahlstrom " was not dead yet."
Obviously I loved this story and the mental image of Stan seeing the caller ID and hearing my wife's voice and thinking that once again he had lost an agent in a tragic fashion. However as the days went on and I thought about what I wanted to write for my annual Thanksgiving post I realized that this was one of those years that will be remembered in much the same way as the years in the great depression. Lets be honest, it was a horrible year financially and we all know wonderful people and businessmen and women who saw their business fail, their homes foreclosed and careers ended due to lay offs and business closings. These aren't the Bernie Madoff's and Scott Rothsteins, but quality people who work hard long hours and through little fault of their own have faced incredible pressure, adversity and experienced failure for the first times in their professional lives.
However, much like the fellow in one of my favorite Monty Python skits, " I am not dead yet" most of us are still standing despite the best efforts of the economy and outside forces to hasten our collective professional demise. While there is a lot that went wrong this year, and so many of us are working harder and longer for less results since any time in our professional lives, the fact remains that we still work in an honorable and important profession that uses conservative financial products to protect the lives, finances and families of injured people who desperately need our assistance and advice.While the volume and timing of cases goes up and down, the fundamental need for what we do will not go away and in fact will be needed more then ever given the financial turmoil our society has faced through out this entire decade.
So, take a few minutes to reflect on what you do have and not obsess over what you don't have this year. Even trials and difficulty can be a blessing as they reshape our vision and priorities and allow us to focus on what is really important in our lives. American's are tough, resourceful and dynamic people and we should all be thankful that until they "toss us in the cart", we aren't dead yet and the prospect for better days and prosperity are still a part of our dreams and goals as citizens of the greatest country in the world.