Friday The 13th

Welcoming the weekend on a slightly sombre note (and unable to sleep) after a pretty shitty day (Thursday) as the following unfolded:

Missed my morning alarm again – set it for 0815 hrs, snoozed it until I finally woke up at 0855 hrs. (At this point, not so s**t yet)

By the time I had my quickie breakfast (black coffee + bread with peanut butter), packed, changed and left my house, it was already 0935 hrs. Product kickoff that I signed up for starts at 0930 hrs!!!! Already running late but still thought I could reach at 1000 hrs if I managed to get a taxi/Grabcar. So skipped my usual morning mediation and left the house.

Decided that it wasn’t worth it to spend $20 on a ra-ra kind of waste time launch/kickoff event …… and so MRT-ed in to Tanjong Pagar. Reached Tanjong Pagar around 1020-ish. Decided to pop by Duxton to pick up a premium cheque (+ forms) so that I need not walk out from office again post lunch. On my way back, popped by lululemon to look at yoga mats again (still agnonizing over lululemon vs Manuka Prolite).

Got to office around 11, and started to get ready client paperwork (that was prepared yesterday) to submit.

1st major disturbance came about when U**le A called and started complaining about why the insurer was so slow to settle his claims (mis-matched expectation as said person interprets 14 working days as 14 calendar days despite the fact that there were 2 public holidays in lieu, and not forgetting weekends). Rather than listening to my instruction proper on getting the ‘correct full settlement’ receipt that insurer insists they need (but somehow they did not have the courtesy to inform the client), said person started rambling/complaining about forking out $$ for follow up consultations/tests/scans for post cancer follow-up treatment. This is despite me already laying down the marker that these post follow-up costs are NOT CLAIMABLE if there was no stated major outpatient procedure/related hospitalisation involved – as per Integrated Shield Plan T&C. I’m neither a doctor nor a claims officer who can make decision on this matter, but as far as I’m concerned, this T&C has been highlighted to him loud and clear (and in the presence of spouse and children too). In the end I ended off the conversation abruptly by saying I’m not a doctor who can advise on what treatment he needs, and I need to clear some documents before my 1215 lunch appointment. Hate it when people try their luck to manipulate situations to their advantage (Between D thinks said person just needs help and I shouldn’t be so sensitive).

Then around 12, client called and asked me to hold on to the paperwork and not submit it because he/she is concerned about market volatility now in view of some Trump remarks again (and this is after insisting that analysts have said US Market will rally in Q1). If you do not know how to market time, do not be a smart-aleck. And if you cannot take risk, just don’t invest. Don’t be so selfish, fickle-minded and inconsiderate to others – especially after spending 2 hours of my life on Wed doing unproductive paperwork for your fund switching (not 100% client’s fault, 50% is because my company makes the processes more tedious and cumbersome).

And finally, the next bomb! Over lunch with S, S asked me about clients who talk crudely (esp. over whatsapp) and I mentioned this fella who has a tendency to behave like this over whatsapp. And true enough after lunch, said person claimed that why insurer did not mail out the documents direct (Note: The documents will reach me 1st, I will scan and e-file before mailing/delivering them to client). And gave me an angry emoticon when I said I have yet to receive it on my end. What’s up with this crude passive-aggressive behaviour? 1st I never said the documents will be mailed to you direct, I just said will inform and advice on payment details on my end once I receive the documents. I haven’t receive anything – what’s there to advice. However its true that insurer has already send them out since last Friday 6 Jan 2016, and I should have received them already. Of course my company insists they did not receive (although the mailroom has a record of losing mails etc.)  – and because of the carry-over effect from client, I really took it out on the mailroom peeps!

Despite starting my day early, it turned up to be more infuriating rather than productive.And having very tight calves and tense shoulders – which sort of undid the tension release after Wed evening’s Hatha Yoga. And so I ended up ranting on my blog!

Realised a pattern – when I skipped my morning meditation on Tuesday, the day turned out quite horrid. Took Wed out of office, and did an early evening yoga class instead that lifted up my mood tremendously. Today I decided to prioritize early start over essential meditation and once again the day turned out pretty shitty. So immediate action is to resume my usual morning meditation and get my yoga practice back on track on Friday the 13th, clear my mind and start serious work on my major Q2 goals! And before all of that, some quality sleep (was very bothered by the heatwave this entire week)!!

Ending 2016 ……

Its only now – with 1 more day to go before 2016 comes to an official close that I finally have the time to wipe some dust off this blog as I’m working from home today.

December has been a busy and relatively productive month. I hesitated to say ‘productive’ or ‘very productive’ as I felt I could have managed my focus and energy levels much better …… before I can confidently say I’ve been productive. More important is the self-awareness to realize that …… and this will be something I have to keep working on in year 2017.

Sometimes plans, how well laid-out it can be, will not always go swimmingly / within our expectation.

One thing I have set out to do is to do more yoga over the festive season (christmas eve right till the new year) – as versus to just 1 class per week. My original plan today was to take the day off, go for lunchtime Stretch @ Yoga Lab …… followed by a relaxing lunch and some shopping in town. However a last minute quotation request from client came in last night. And so in the end, I sacrificed my home practice last night and sleep (eyes were already closing at 11+) to send out the quotation requests so that I could get some indicative responses by noon (as some insurers may be on half-day).

In the end, no indicative quote was forthcoming (as this is a specialized risk). Thankfully, I managed to seek client’s understanding that the time frame is too rushed, and we can only see some outcome in the new year.

And so I’ll do home practice today instead and go for a Stretch Class tomorrow morning. Interestingly, my original intention/workout plan for this week is to do a Stretch Class either on Friday or Saturday after attending a Hot Yoga 101 Class earlier on Tuesday evening. Flip-flopped a bit last night by putting myself on the wait-list for Yoga 101 at 1745 Hrs later, only to eventually cancel it (after getting a mat) and reverting back to my original plan of doing Stretch Class.

Which brings me to another point – setting and managing expectations.

When dealing with clients, clients will always want their needs to be attended first and on asap basis (even though it may neither be urgent nor important). Looking back now, although I wasn’t able to get an indicative quote today (which was the ideal scenario I had in my mind) – most important thing is that I got my client’s understanding that it may be difficult to firm things right now since its festive season. And he/she was pretty cool with it. So after some rough hiccups in the business relationship along the way, it is a sign of progress that I’m able to handle fickle natures a lot better now – by managing expectations accordingly.

And that brings me to the next point(s) – patience and intention.

Ideally, if the quote could come in today, I will be able to close off my work and have the afternoon off. Or from another perspective, simply tell the client that its not possible and let’s wait till the new year – and have the entire day off to do what I want to do. It was good that I kept going at it – despite the less than positive outcome for now …… and eventually we should be able to come to a more reasonable timeline to firm up something soon once everyone is back in normal working mode (and also when client manages to firm their equipment leasing details on their end too).

When this deal (and the deals/cases that I have been working on pre and post Christmas) eventually comes through – the rewards/fruits of labour will be that much sweeter and more precious. And so a little waiting here for now after having put in my best efforts!

And having the above clarity meant that I was able to go back to my original intention of closing year 2016 with a yoga class …… after starting my Christmas holidays with Hatha Yoga Class on Christmas Eve (where I completely blocked out work) and to end 2016 with another yoga class (with no distractions). As I have learnt in mediation and from yoga – setting your intention is important, as that will serve as our original purpose to why we set out to do that particular activity.

What was meant to be a random musings entry turned out to be a longer reflection piece (unplanned). It definitely feels good to be able to crystallize my thoughts and blog/write once again.

Difficult Clients

Having some problem dealing with a difficult client …… and this problem resurfaced again mid-week, after a good 5 months of complete silence (on the client’s part).

Not picking up calls, not confirming/keeping to appointments is another. What is even WORSE than the already mentioned 2 points is giving excuses along the lines of ‘sorry I didn’t reply due to many changes in my job’ …… and even WORSE feigning ignorance on what you DID NOT DO!

How not to get infuriated with such problematic clients!!

Anyway am doing some ‘prepping’ online to get some tips on how to deal with this errant persone before I return the call (as per said person’s request, it can only be weekend …. what a prima donna!).

Good luck to me!!

This one is particularly good

http://www.sportsfinancial.org/how-to-deal-with-difficult-clients-3-keys-to-success-for-financial-advisers/

Key points summarised from the above article

1. Tell the truth.Tell the client, in a business-like and professional way, with a little humor blended in, that they are a pain in your sits-bones (to be kind). You may think this is offensive, but it’s not. The reason it’s not is because difficult people know they are difficult. It will come as no surprise to your client that you find them difficult; I guarantee that you’re not the only one they’re difficult with. They’re probably difficult at home with their family members too, and with co-workers. The client may be testing you to see how far you’ll let them go. Don’t let them get away with difficult behavior. Call them on it, from the start, by telling the truth.

2. Tell them you want to do a good job for them, but you’ll not be pushed around.Insist that they be respectful or let them know they can go elsewhere. After all, you don’t need difficulty in your life, you’ve already got enough challenges as a financial adviser, you don’t need to add pain-in-the-sits-bones clients to the list.

3. Be commanding & well documented.Talk louder than you have to with difficult clients. Be clear cut and to the point in all your communications with them. Put everything you say to them in writing and send them a note, letter or email that outlines the nature of every discussion you have with them, including steps that each party will take. Document, document, document. Difficult clients try to make trouble, but don’t get very far when you’ve got everything well documented. (Plus, compliance will love you for it, because difficult clients are just lawsuits waiting to happen.)

Remember, you don’t need difficult clients. You’re better off without them. If they continue to be difficult, fire them.

One last note, perhaps some people need to learn how to be a human being first before expecting their advisers to give the ‘best advice’ according to their inflated egos and standards.

Complacency – The Root Of All Procrastination

Someone more serious to blog about today ….

This has been in my draft folder since July 2015 *gasp* …… and an issue which I have many serious thoughts on. So long weekend is the perfect opportunity to get this out of ‘draft h*ll* so as to speak 🙂

This topic/issue first came about due to my personal frustration from dealing with a client who has had multiple underwriting issues with a shield plan upgrade. In the end, he/she wasn’t able to successfully upgrade the plan due to a hoist of medical issues (suddenly developed) – and as a result, insurer rejected the upgrade application.

There is definitely an issue of complacency there as he/she have not bothered to review his/her insurance coverage all these years (original with limits hospital plan was purchased back in 1994), and had also assume that group insurance coverage should be sufficient to cover any day surgery/hospitalization (which is far from true). Definitely an element of complacency, and to add ignorance and laziness there as well. It didn’t help also that the original adviser/agent who incepted the plans left and they have been ‘orphaned’ ever since.

In fact the insured’s spouse can even tell me that they have heard a lot about the recent Medishield / Medishield Life changes, plus the developments with integrated shield plans and came to their conclusion that integrated shield add ons are expensive, and a duplicate of medishield life, so no need to review/do anything. Until my client (who referred them to me) made a claim on his plan, then they found out what they have assumed might not be so. Well ……

And given that they were so ignorant in their thinking, and so complacent in their thinking, ended up one half is unable to upgrade his/her plan due to a rash of medical conditions suddenly developed. A good 9 months later, as of today, said person is still undergoing various medical appointments/follow-ups as the doctors were unable to pinpoint the root cause of his/her original medical condition.

It is in times like this that make me realise that we planners HAVE a role to play to ensure our existing clients are up to date with their financial plans, and being a good adviser comes from ourselves first. There will also be cases where some may not be so reciprocal to our approach/re-approach …. and of course some who comfortably think the minimum they have is sufficient (until shit hits the fan).

Update: Did some googling and found this great write-up that takes about procrastination, complacency and indecisiveness – https://prosperityprofessor.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/subconscious-mind-%E2%80%93-is-complacency-procrastination-or-indecisiveness-ruling-your-life/

Ending Off February ….

Intended to write this last night but ended up making up for the lack of sleep the night before (i.e Sunday) by going to bed at 2320 hrs (my earliest in a long long while) ……

Thus an entry to mark a much awaited start to a new month after a pretty tumultuous Febrauary ……

Began Febrauary right smack with food poisoning, which left me drained & tired …… and may I add at a very bad timing too as it was right smack at the week before Chinese New Year! Wasn’t in the mood to enjoy the festivity of ‘monkey year’ in the air as a result.

And of course, with more nasty and unpleasant happenings to come post CNY (namely branch issues which affected my mood rather badly) ….. more struggles in clearing my underwriting backlog. As a result, all the accumulated stress and unhappiness (plus being caught in light rain) led to me spending the last week of Febraruary down with flu and cough!

And having my laptop battery completely drained (down to 45 min usage from the original 2 Hr 45 min) with the laptop being only 1 year 3 months old!!

As much as there are more downs than ups where February is concerned, there has still been a few good ‘shining lights’ that I can be grateful for, such as ……

Finally getting started on a e-learning program (30DLBL) that I have been wanting to do since last year (2015) over the CNY hols ……

With the structure and framework provided by 30DLBL, I have finally managed to put in a regular calling schedule that will help me increase my work activities more consistently and on a longer term scale ……

Coming to a personal realisation that the setbacks/obstacles that I have experienced are God’s way to help me grow and be a stronger and better Wendy ……

2 good discussions/appointments made as a result of consistent calling schedule put in place. Whilst still working towards closure on the things discussed, this is important to me in view of the continued frustration on my underwriting backlog ……

Gotten a haircut which is pyschologically important for myself as a new haircut symbolises cutting away all the bad and having fresh start ……

To add on to the above, ended Feb (Monday Feb 29 to be precise) with a 0900 Hrs morning appointment (one of the 2 discussions as above) and a small case closed (otherwise a big fat duck for February as well) ……

A Peranakan buffet lunch treat from DY …..

Being able to end February with a deep good 9 to 10 hour sleep (as described above) ……

Always remember

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

~~ Alexander Graham Bell

One Door Closes Another Opens

 

Towards A Better & Improved Work Environment

Have been feeling rather uneasy about my work environment lately ….. Or rather more specifically my office work space!

The ‘pantang’ in me says the fengshui is off. While the table orientation and layout is fixed and NOT within my control …… the common sense approach will be to clear it of CLUTTER to enhable more qi and positive energy to flow through.

And so it became a personal project of mine to clear up the table to make it more conducive for working. Saturday’s will be the best time to do it, with minimal disruptions and distractions ….. and so made it a point to go back office for the past 2 weekends to do so. And MORE IMPORTANTLY, wanted to get this done before my upcoming 2 week holiday trip!

Before Clearing. Too many papers taking up too much space, barely leaving any room for my laptop!

image

Minor clear up on the left. Did it 2 Sundays ago after lunch with L & Z in town.

image

A bigger clear up just last Saturday.

image

Major thing is that I removed the papers originally on the right side, and re-organized it all one pile on the left side :P. At least the right side is clutter free (for now) ….. and I have a tiny space to lay out my papers to do some writing (if need be).

There’s still a lot of stuff on the left side.. Realized on Saturday also that I will probably need to re-scan some stuff (the files in the pedestal and locker), bring home/throw some more stuff in order to make more space …… and eventually making the desk CLUTTER FREE (the ultimate end goal!). This will have to wait till December post-trip.

Need To Do This Better

Its 1st of July today and this also marks the start of 2nd half of year 2015!

Came across this quote the day before from the MDRT facebook page (they do a daily quote of the day) and decided this would be more than apt to start off July with ……

2015-06-30 22.19.43

Putting in place proper work processes and system (and making it stick) has been 1 major work/business goal of mine for year 2015. As we go into the 2nd half of 2015 …… by my own standards/expectations, still quite a fair way before it reaches the level of refinement that I will ideally like it to be. Definitely a timely reminder for me to ramp up my efforts on this area of my work/business!!