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My Journey to the “Green Jacket”

Our company has a longstanding tradition that once we achieve a certain sales milestone, we receive our own “Green Jacket”. Yes, if you’re thinking this sounds like a “tradition unlike any other” (from the Master’s), you’re not wrong.

Fortunately for this reflection, I have a father, brother, and husband who are passionate about golf; therefore, I’m inspired to draw parallels between the strategies in golf and the world of sales. I’ll be the first to admit that sports analogies aren’t my strong suit, but here it goes!

My professional adventure started over 15 years ago, right after graduating from the University of Iowa with a Health Promotion degree. Eager to contribute to fostering healthier communities, I dove into the workforce, albeit without a clear understanding of the insurance sector. Did someone say deductible?

Initially, I joined as a versatile Employee Benefits account manager, tackling various tasks. This phase of my career took a pivotal turn when a leading sales professional recognized my potential, brought me onto their team. After dedicating seven years to service roles, I transitioned to Sales at Innovative Captive Strategies (ICS), where my first years were spent absorbing the intricacies of our operations and building relationships with our agency partners.

Lessons Learned to Propel Your Career

Looking back, I can pinpoint seven crucial lessons that not only propelled my career but according to Google, also resonate with the core principles of succeeding in golf.

The first two are learn the fundamentals and find good coaches. These two components are essential, and I was lucky enough to be surrounded by experts in the field but that alone will not set you apart.

What WILL set you apart?

In my case, “knowing the course” translated to identifying impactful opportunities within the company. Initially, this meant stepping in to address service gaps as they appeared. In Sales, it involved scouting untapped markets and aligning them with my strengths. Recognizing “low-hanging fruit” became crucial in laying the foundation for a robust business portfolio, grounded in knowledge, trust, and a growing network of referrals.

“Paying attention to details,” analogous to refining one’s swing in golf, in the business context meant understanding what strategies work, fostering credibility, and nurturing strong relationships. It’s the amalgamation of many small, consistent efforts—like being responsive, genuine, and personable—that collectively drive success.

To continue to sustain a solid book of business (or golf career), you must be able to rely on your team (or in golf, caddies) and be persistent through challenges and accept the bad shots and misses, learning from every setback.

Personally, persistence is in my nature, allowing me to bounce back and derive lessons from every missed opportunity. Yet, actively seeking, and valuing team support has been a deliberate effort, crucial for maintaining focus and momentum in my career.

Lastly, the principle of embracing your unique identity holds true both in golf and in our professional endeavors at ICS. The importance of staying true to oneself, avoiding comparisons, and striving to be the best version of oneself cannot be overstated. This authenticity is key to achieving lasting success.

By sharing these insights, drawn from both the fairways and the corporate world, I hope to inspire and guide others on their own path to professional fulfillment and success. Want to join ICS? Check out our career opportunities.