Author or Insurance Agent?

The number one question I have been asked over the past two years is, “Why, Daddy?

The second most asked question: “Are you going to be an author or an insurance agent?”

Many of you know that I am an insurance agent with North Carolina Farm Bureau in Wilmington, North Carolina. For nearly seven years, I have been fortunate to work for a great company and I have been blessed with the responsibility of managing the insurance needs of many families.

My assistant and I manage the accounts of more than nine hundred existing customers and my daily responsibilities include selling home, auto, and life insurance to clients in and around my hometown.

However, when I started writing and speaking, an unspoken tension emerged. A tension that still exists to this day.

Which one am I going to choose?

This thought has lingered like an ominous, dark cloud and countless conversations have revolved around the concept of choosing This or That.

It has been an emotional wrestling match that has left me, at times, weary and confused.

In some ways, it feels irresponsible to chase a dream when you have a family that depends on your provision and clients that you have committed to serving. On the other hand, it feels disobedient to not follow what feels like a calling.

All the while, doubt whispers, Maybe you’re just afraid.

This is the place where I have been living for the past twelve months—resting between the responsibilities of today and the dreams of tomorrow.

I’m writing this for all of you who may be in that place as well.

This or That.

The Pressure to Choose

I have two good friends who have just left their jobs to pursue other passions. They’ve written awesome, inspiring articles about it and their words are as encouraging as their actions.

And I am cheering for them.

However, as I watch, I feel the pressure to do the same and I see this same tension within the response of others. Everyone begrudgingly says, “Congratulations.” All the while they’re thinking, “But what about me?”

Have you been there?

Here’s what I have learned the most over the past twelve months as I have been actively living in the midst of this dichotomy:

The biggest problem we face is our eagerness to polarize our life and our dreams. When we encounter something new, we always trend toward a This or That mentality. It’s inherently damaging because we constantly focus on what we don’t have and we dilute our effectiveness is both areas. In the end, it leads to stagnation and complacency.

Instead of picking This or That, we dabble in mediocrity.

The great business and thought leader, Jim Collins, co-authored a book called Built to Last where he addresses this issue in businesses. It is a concept he calls “the genius of the AND.”

“A truly visionary company embraces both ends of a continuum: continuity and change, conservatism and progressiveness, stability and revolution, predictability and chaos, heritage and renewal, fundamentals and craziness. And, and, and.” – Jim Collins

Instead of polarizing the issue–forcing an or mentality–a lasting company will embrace an and mentality. I think the same is true for us as individuals. I want to encourage you today, there’s great power in the and.

You can start a business from home and still be a good mother.

You can start a ministry and run a small business.

You can be an author and an insurance agent.

Rather than waiting on someday, embrace today. Instead of living with when, learn to live with while.

When you wait for when, you miss the while. There is great opportunity in today—a great opportunity in the while. It is in that place where we develop and become. It is in that place where we learn. Not to mention, it is in that place where we serve others rather than squabble over ourselves.

So in 2015, I’m an author and an insurance agent. What about you?

QUESTION: What is the and in your life? Are you enjoying the while?

Check out my friend, Ronne Rock, and her awesome writing here

Check out my friend, Paul Sohn, and his awesome writing here

MH

For more information on my book, Redefine Rich

Redefine Rich

Redefine Rich

For more information on insurance services, email: matt@mattham.com

About the Author

headshot-footerMatt Ham is dedicated to guiding others toward rich living. His own experiences have led him to the understanding and freedom of a rich life, and through his RICH Principles he helps folks uncover true richness, identifying real treasure and discovering true joy and contentment.

His first book, Redefine Rich, is a journey of uncovering a deeper, more fulfilling life by shifting your perspective. It is available in both Kindle and paperback on Amazon: here

You can order a limited hardback version of the book at www.redefinerich.com

To contact Matt, visit www.mattham.com/speaking

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  • “Instead of picking This or That, we dabble in mediocrity.”

    You’ve been reading my mind again haven’t you.

    • Really convicted about the mediocrity. It’s time to stop waiting and start living!

  • Becky Noffsinger

    Yes! I recently took a job that will help my husband and I reach financial goals while doing something I love, but I felt like it was a betrayal to my purpose in writing. I finally realized that the two feed each other. I am free to create without pressure to monetize, and the two inform each other. And, and, and.

    • That’s awesome, Becky! You’re absolutely right that one can fuel the other, but only when we’re grateful!

    • Tom Morris

      That’s a great story, Becky. We want to focus when what we need is to learn. We want to be alone with our words, when we need to be out there with people. Only then do we get the right words. And with finances well in hand, we don’t face undue pressures that might distract us from the ability to write well.

  • As long as we don’t get caught up in the *or* mentality, there can be some powerful opportunity for refining the dream and the vision God planted in our heart through consistent steps, even if they’re small ones right now.

    • Yes, Judith. Just like I said to Becky. One does refine the other with the correct perspective. Thanks for reading and taking the time to share!

  • As a bi-vocational Pastor I am torn. I eat and sleep being a pastor. However the church that God has called me too is not large enough to pay me full time. (not even really part time either). So I get up each Monday through Friday and drive into the heart of downtown Atlanta. For too long this has frustrated me. Just recently my mind and heart are beginning to change. I am embracing the spiritual side of work. I also make it a point to be a positive voice in my day job. Sure “i” want to be full time pastor but I am now praying and seeking what God has for me to do at my day job.

    • Jon, It’s awesome to see that development and maturity, isn’t it? Hard, but awesome. Onward and Upward!

    • Tom Morris

      There’s the alchemy, Jon. The job doesn’t make us. We make the job.

      • You are right Tom, I just wish I figured that out earlier in life. – I am a bit slow but I get there eventually.

        • Tom Morris

          Yeah, you’ve just described most of us, Jon! You’re in good company! I’m so slow that I’ll eventually have it all figured out if I can live to be at least 250.

  • Matt,

    This is beautiful, and brilliant. I get a lot of this, “You’re a busy brain surgeon. Why are you trying to write?”

    I love your words: “Rather than waiting on someday, embrace today. Instead of living with when, learn to live with while. When you wait for when, you miss the while.”

    Brilliant. Great post! Thank you.

    • Tom Morris

      The best scientists I’ve known were also lovers of the humanities and the written word. A man at Yale Medical School long ago, who was once described to me as the smartest guy there in medicine in 50 years, was all about philosophy and theology and literature. Another Yalie, Richard Seltzer, was a surgeon and great essayist. And the list goes on. Good for you, W. Lee!

    • Lee, I know you share in this challenge as well and, for the record, I think you do an amazing job!

  • Brad hov

    great post – too often, I fall into the trap of either/or and forget most of life can be both/and so you don’t miss the “while”

    • I think there’s a healthy balance there, Brad. Still searching for it 🙂

  • Tom Morris

    Great reflection. Some people feel forced to choose between having a career and having a family. You have both. Some think they have to choose between being nice and being successful. You’re both. Some believe they need to pick between thinking and feeling. You do both. When done right, both can be about balance and a fulness of life not otherwise available. Thanks for reminding us all.

  • I think this is a wrestling match many of us in the blog community endure. For me, I wrestle with being and engineer/operations manager versus a writer versus a missionary. For me, it’s not an either or thing right now. These things go together with who I am for the time being. Maybe I’ll move away from one to focus on another at some point. But not yet.

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