23 - Belly of the Whale - "I am in way over my head!"

Over the course of the next couple of months I gave WFG my all. I invited quests to the corporate overview like a madman. A few people came down to the office, saw the overview, recognized the potential, applied and came on board the team.

I was fired up and moving!

I attended as many trainings as I could, getting to know the other agents, and learn the structure of the local organization. On Wednesdays Joey took charge and it was always a lively time, but still filled with learning. On Saturdays Brian typically took the reins and we learned a LOT, still with plenty of fun and no drudgery. No matter the day, there were plenty of facts and figures presented in equal measure with psychological tools, as well as a lot of personal stories filled with heart and soul. It was so rewarding that I completely forgot about the sometimes hour and a half drive in Long Island traffic (with a manual transmission) required to get there.

In mid-October I took and passed my state exam. I was officially a licensed agent, which meant I could start to make money, and I did! I was cooking with gas! Things were going very well. I was learning a lot and getting some traction, and then reality hit me.

One day in late November, things got real. I attended a morning training class that was usually reserved for (but not limited to) full-timers – that is, people who managed to quit their J.O.B. (Just Over Broke/Jail Operating as Business) and go all-in with the company. I usually had Pilates clients at the time that the class was offered, but since they cancelled their session with enough notice this one day, I woke up early and drove out to the office.

There were only about twenty of us in the room when the meeting started, so we each grabbed a folding chair and circled around the white board and podium. One of the marketing directors started writing the names of everyone present on the board and, one-by-one, people went up and started writing numbers next to their name. One of the other associates explained to me what each number meant in terms of production, and helped me look my stats up on the company website so that I could follow suit, leaving my tiny figures up there with everyone else’s much larger numerals. Then Brian got up to the podium and started asking even more specific questions about which deal was going to hit this week, and which was expected to get held up until next. The associates around me fired back quickly with names, percentages, points, numbers, and dates with such ease that the only thing going through my mind was the singular thought, “I am in WAY over my head!”

Luke Skywalker grew up on Tatooine, so it can be safely assumed that he had definitely heard of Mos Isley Space Port, and would have known its reputation for being a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” before he travelled to it with Obi Wan, yet nothing prepared him for actually going there. He only made that trip because he had no options left, and could not turn back across the first threshold, so when he entered the cantina it became quickly apparent to him that he was, indeed, over his head. Not only was he nearly killed within the first few minutes of being in the place, he watched a man’s arm get lobbed off, and literally no one cared. He faced both extreme violence and extreme apathy unlike anything he had encountered in his small farming town, but thanks to his world-wise travelling companion, he came through it with little trauma. At some level, though, Luke must have also been aware that he was going to need to summon up the will to carry out such violence in the near future, if he were to follow in his father’s footsteps and submit to Obi Wan’s training.

For me, this phase of the hero’s journey was playing out inverted to Luke’s. I had left a world of financial illiteracy and interpersonal apathy, and had stepped into a place where people genuinely cared about each other, AND learned how to stop getting screwed by the institutions that profited from the public’s collective ignorance. As dizzying as it all was, however, I knew that I too had to get to the point where names, facts, and figures rolled off my tongue with ease. I too had to keep track of not only my own production, but also what my team was doing. I knew I would need to learn to sit with people and help them assess their finances, plan for their futures, protect their families, all while handling objections and keeping the people around me motivated to overcome whatever challenges life throws at them.

Oh, and challenges will come, that’s what happens when we walk the Road of Trials.

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