Join Paul Deloughery as he discusses how it is possible to achieve a goal but you have to set it in stone for yourself and stick to it.
I’ve always wanted to find one thing that I could become the best in the world at. But finding such a thing has eluded me until fairly recently. My choice as a lawyer to focus on cases involving disputes over life insurance is a deeply meaningful one, as I’ll explain below.
My greatest personal challenge up to now has been to pick one thing to focus on. As much as I love and miss my late mother, she did me a disservice in this respect. When I was a child, she pressured me to pursue music, without ever asking me what I wanted. I didn’t just play one instrument as a child, but a handful – piano, bagpipes, saxophone, bassoon, tin whistle (an Irish instrument), plus Irish dance (like what Michael Flatley from River Dance does). In the process, I never learned how to choose something for myself. Learning how to sense what I want deep down inside myself has taken years. The result was that I’ve gone through much of my life disconnected from myself. I would make decisions without regard to how I felt, simply because they made sense intellectually.
My inability to choose one thing continued to college, where I got two majors. I went to Indiana University—Bloomington for the purpose of getting a music degree. But I never enjoyed the music program. A friend of mine switched to a business degree when I was a freshman, and I wanted to do the same thing. But my mom made such a fuss about how she had personally sacrificed so that I could get a music degree at that specific university. As a result, she and I agreed that I would stick it out in music and get a double major in music and history. I still to this day don’t understand why a parent would discourage a grown child from pursuing a degree with a high likelihood of employment, in favor of a road of financial challenges.
In 2007, when I opened my own law firm, I focused on estate planning and probate litigation. As much as this may sound like a focus, it really isn’t. Estate planning requires constant study of taxation and other legal issues, and keeping up on trends in document preparation. In terms of running a law firm, it requires that certain systems be created. On the other hand, probate litigation requires completely different office systems, to avoid missing deadlines and ensure that motions, petitions and responses get filed and sent to the right people on time.
I recently read the book entitled The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. It inspired me to finally take a stand and pick a small niche in the area of law – namely, life insurance disputes. I feel a combined sense of peace and excitement. Peace because I no longer need to handle the myriad types of cases that I did in the past. Excitement because I feel that I can personally make a huge difference in an industry more focused on corporate profits than actually providing the service that they advertise.
My personal hope and dream for the future is to be in a position to not only help life insurance beneficiaries get the money that their loved ones wanted them to have, but to also be able to start holding insurance companies accountable. To date, life insurance companies have been able to avoid liability for their complete lack of attention to detail when it comes to how beneficiaries get named. Insurance companies, and the agents who sell insurance policies, are solely focused on selling policies and making a profit. But as a former estate planning and probate attorney, I can tell you that mistakes in terms of naming beneficiaries get made all the time. The result is money going to unintended persons. That will be a topic for future blogs, however.
In the meanwhile, I’d like to hear from you. Have you ever struggled to figure out what you wanted to do with your own life? Have you struggled with issues from your childhood that continue to affect you as an adult? I’d love to hear your own personal story.
Paul Deloughery is an estate and probate litigation, and law insurance dispute consultant in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information about his advice to maintain a family’s wealth, visit his website or check out his Twitter!