To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
Shakespeare’s words and sonnets resonate within my heart. They ignite a creative fire within and have fueled my lifelong passion for performance and acting. My love and desire to perform on the stage and move audiences through the experience of a theatrical performance started when I was very young, and has now become a constant in my adult life. Through this journey I have learned essential life skills which have opened multiple professional doors and given me the opportunity to build a magnificent career.
Now you might be asking, “What could acting and insurance possibly have in common? How could an eccentric young woman find herself building a career in the marketing and risk management industry?” In my story, my background in acting has played a crucial role in fostering relationships and furthering my professional path. Whether I’m actively listening to an agent’s story about their hunting trip last week or giving a presentation to a room full of producers, my theater skills are called upon daily in my interactions with insurance agents and account managers of many demographics. I’ve compiled a short list of theatrical parallels that benefit me in my daily agency meetings and allow for more productive interactions.
- Confidence: There have been moments when I have been so terrified to step into an agency owner’s office. Times when I’ve had to take slow deep breaths and count to ten; appointments that I would have rather been on a stage by myself in front of thousands of people versus meeting a producer for the first time. But I have learned how to channel that nervous energy. How to take the butterflies within my stomach and transform them into a smile on my face. Over the years I have performed in a multitude of plays ranging from 1950’s musicals to dark Shakespearean melodramas, and those experiences have given me the extra self-esteem boost that I need when meeting with agents for the first time.
- Public Speaking: An actor’s voice and posture are two of their most powerful tools. When speaking, an actor must speak clearly, eloquently, and steadily for their audience to understand and not lose interest. Being able to speak distinctly and intelligible when discussing Work Comp carriers or Personal Lines products and markets is a huge part of my job. Now when I get the left field questions that you might not have an answer to right away, I can effectively guide that conversation to a place of contentment and confidence.
- Understanding Viewpoints: In case you weren’t aware, people aren’t the same. Shocker, right? People are born in different cities, grow up with different parents, experience different milestones, and ultimately form different opinions. And there’s nothing more uncomfortable in a meeting than close-mindedness or a lack of empathy. When an actor is taking on a new role, they must truly connect and embrace the nature and opinions of their character. They must respect and understand the eyes from which they see the world. Having the ability to put myself in the shoes of those I meet with has provided the opportunity for me to relate, respect and value the opinions of others.
- Passion and Fun: Actors are often silly and fun (or at least we try to be!), and taking bits of that world into a professional office can often create a quintessential balance. We know our agents see tons of marketing reps each quarter, we know that we all promise to be more competitive and fast, and we know that unfortunately sometimes we get forgotten. But what if that could be changed? What if a fun and unique personality wanted to build a relationship with your staff and team? What if that first impression of a marketing rep stood out and you wanted to know more about the company they worked for? I can only hope that my passion for relationships and people will intrigue an agent to learn more about the company I represent. And then they can further learn of the impeccable standards and products offered by my company.
As Shakespeare so beautifully said, to thine own self be true, I know that I will forever love acting. I am proud of the characteristics I have learned from this craft, and I hope that they have made me more effective and successful in my career. In a world that can sometimes be mundane and repetitive, I hope to inspire creativity, comfort, and joy.
By: Emily Earp, Territory Manager – NW GA & Central TN