Because learning through trial and error is part of the profession, Jinlin sees it as part of the character building and personal growth process.
How I started
During my undergraduate years, I had vague ideas about what I want to do and who I wanted to be in the future, so I chose psychology as my major in school out of my own interest. However, what kind of job I would be able to find with this degree was the least of my concerns. I was passive in job hunting as I knew very clearly that all the top-notch jobs were probably taken by people who had better grades than me, or those who happened to be in a “practical” field of study. In the last year of my studies, I received a phone call from a telemarketer. After that, I found myself sitting in front of a Financial Planning Profession leader, being asked the following question:
“If in ten years, one of your family members were to undergo surgery, who do you think will pay for that?”
In that scenario, in ten years’ time, my parents would have retired. I, being the only child in the family, of course, would have to take over this financial burden. This was because I knew that my parents were never believers of insurance. They do not have any insurance coverage at all. That was the first time insurance started to make sense to me. It was about having independence, choices, dignity, and love for those you cared about.
In 2011, I passed the necessary examinations and joined my leader, even before I completed my final school exams. I consider myself the lucky one, as not everyone will be able to find their perfect job, working environment, leader and colleagues right out of school. I quickly learnt and picked up the essential skills and knowledge required to give my clients the best advice possible. My career then started as a Financial Advisor.
Believe it or not, I do not recall any real challenges. Although there were trials and errors along the way, I took, and still take, them as part of this wonderful character building and personal growth process. If you really enjoy doing something, you wouldn’t find the trial and error process burdensome.
The turning point
I was very comfortable being a Financial Advisor, focussing on my own job scope and improving my own performance. When I got wind of the idea that I could be promoted to Senior Manager and lead a team, I was not so excited initially. I was worried about whether I could handle the new responsibilities that would follow.
Being in a leadership role is not just about my own performance as it would involve more people. I was also doubtful as to whether I could pull them together as a team, and whether I would be able to maximise their potential and help them achieve their own personal goals.
But after much consideration, I took up the role. As I consider myself a beneficiary of the financial planning profession and good mentorship, I thought it was important for new Financial Advisors to experience that, and have a much higher chance to succeed rather than learning the hard way.
My biggest achievements
I was the top rookie financial planner and the top financial planner of my company every year during my tenure as a financial planner. I also qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table membership the past seven years. In 2018, my team managed to become one of the top three new units in Manulife as well, and I am proud of them.
Important skills for a leader
Different leaders have different leadership styles. For me, I have always believed in leading by example. Practicing what you preach gives people confidence about your credibility.
Advice for graduates
Be bold and keep an open mind to learn. Don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone if you need any help.