Study groups can come from anywhere, but I first learned about them at a Focus Session at the 2013 MDRT Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The idea resonated with me because I live and work in Vermilion, Alberta, Canada, a community of 4,500. I qualified for MDRT my first year after opening my practice, but I wasn’t always sure how I was going to keep my practice sustainable and growing. It was scary. I am close with my mentor, MDRT member Brad Brain, CFP, CLU, but also wanted someone who was going through the same challenges as me. Spouses and staff are fine to talk to, but they don’t really understand the pressures or challenges. A study group seemed to be the little family I was searching for.
A short while later, I attended an MDRT-hosted webinar, which turned out to be the perfect catalyst. During the webinar, one of the participants asked in the chatbox if anyone was interested in being in a study group. We all were. We became a group of six active members and two on the peripheral. Since then, study groups have become one of the primary driving forces in my career.
I’ve noticed three main benefits of study groups. For me, these have been
1) Achieving goals more quickly. Everyone is always willing to volunteer their guidance, resources and support. From forming a client advisory board to hosting web-based client meetings to running a 10K race, they give me the courage to keep taking that next step.
2) Becoming more accountable. Our study group keeps our goals written in a shared Whole Person workbook, and throughout the year, we report our progress to the group. Being accountable to my study group has given me more focus, resulting in both less stress and increased production.
3) Growing as a person. As my friends conquer their challenges and share their successes, I’m inspired to raise the bar on what I can do and who I can become. They’re becoming legends, and I’m starting to realize that it might be possible for me to become one too.
My study group has become my friends, peers, pupils and teachers. I couldn’t have anticipated the impact my study group has had on me — and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Meagan S. Balaneski, CFP, RFP, of Vermilion, Alberta, Canada, has been an MDRT member since 2013, owns Advantage Insurance & Investment Advisor.