Many people have been asking me how I am holding up after the elections. It is like they expect that I am in a fit of depression because the election didn’t go the way they think I wanted it to. Of course, they are right in I had hopes in other candidates, but I am not going to give up and climb into a hole for the next four years. To be honest, I am more optimistic about my future than I have ever been. My question to you is, are you optimistic about your future? What I have found over the years is that with every setback comes some type of opportunity. Back in 1988, I worked for a business here in Omaha and one fine summer day, the owner of the business walked into my office and told me I no longer had a job effective that same day. I wasn’t downsized, laid off, or administratively adjusted (all great acronyms for being fired), I was unceremoniously fired! This was a month after signing a new mortgage, with three kids in parochial school, and absolutely no savings. Want to talk about a change in direction. With nowhere to go, I applied with a couple of other companies but having been fired, not a lot of interest out there. Why do I tell you this when I am talking about having optimism? Because simply put, without getting fired I would never have found my true calling. Without someone forcing me to look at new opportunities, I would probably still be working in the same industry and maybe with the same company.

The changes coming to our industry will be tremendous and each of us will react in different ways. Some will abandon ship, some will merge, and some will grow in new ways. But there will be a few of us that will seize new opportunities in ways we can’t see today. Over the last 6 months, I have seen more creativity, more ingenuity, and have developed new alliances that weren’t even thought of in the past. New products and services are finding their way to the marketplace and OCI finds itself in the thick of things. Our brokers (the ones willing to think and work outside the box) are going to thrive in this new environment. With the technology and back room support that we provide, these brokers will replace the broker of yester year who brought the same old ideas to their clients once a year. Tomorrow’s broker will provide more services, more responsive ideas, and a coordinated solution to their clients. Every day brings us closer to this reality and now that the rules have been established, those who want to win will start moving their practices toward this new reality.

Exchanges will not destroy the relationship of a good broker. New products or services will become available. Clients will be re-evaluating current situations and now is the time to position yourself as the best solution. Those who have relied in the past on finding the lowest price will compete with exchanges. Those who find solutions will have nothing to worry about and will actually find themselves alone in the marketplace with more business than they can handle. Are you optimistic, or are you on your way out?