Success means making significant changes in the lives of others

WHICH is harder: becoming successful or sustaining success? For Leonila “Nila” Ponce Ceniza, Insular Life or InLife’s Club of Honors awardee as third place, Agency Head of the Year says, “It’s not a matter of choosing which is harder between the two. Rather, what’s important is to have a long-term mindset for success. Committing to consistent success is the key.”Nila, a BS Airline Management graduate from Sibonga, Cebu never thought of becoming part of the life insurance industry. As she vividly recalls, she took such course because of her compelling dream to travel the world for free. True enough, she got affiliated in a leading airline company. While the ride was smooth sailing, she eventually shifted gears and ventured into sales.Nila’s first sales stint as a team lead in an international publisher of encyclopedias in the 1990s became the pivotal step in igniting her full potential. While she has consistently beaten sales quota one after another and managed a team of close to a hundred members, she did not discount the idea that hardcover books might eventually get outdated with the emergence of CD-ROM or compact discs at that time. “I was already doing well in that company but because of my foresight and fear of obsolescence, I had to step up my game,” she says.With her personal experience of losing her father at 18 years old and having to go through tough times without the family’s rock, she was concerned about her family’s financial situation.Nila then realized that life insurance, in contrast to morbid stereotyping, is actually meant to sustain the family’s needs when the breadwinner is no longer around. This idea attracted her to the financial services industry. Nila joined Insular Life in response to its company executive’s statement: “We are looking for people like you who can help Filipinos secure their families’ future.” Since then, this powerful line became her mission and motivation to reach out to more people who may not be familiar with insurance.In 1997, she bagged the Rookie of The Year Award with the highest sale for new financial advisors nationwide. The recognition inevitably brought with it monetary rewards and her much-awaited free trip incentive. Nila shares that the feeling of being able to enjoy the sights and scenery as a prize for the grind was just surreal.“I can describe myself as the silent, introvert type but when it comes to execution or legwork, I let the results be the noise. I also master my emotions because in sales, attitude is as important as skill,” Nila says.She recalls setting up appointments during wee hours of the night to maximize the precious time of business owners and going home at 1 a.m.In 1998, she decided to form her own team which was recognized as Rookie Unit of the Year during their first year of hustling together. Since then, her team remains among InLife’s top 10 teams nationwide. She has also organically groomed 14 Million Dollar Round Table awardees. Her team, Cebu DSO IX, is currently composed of 141 agents and 11 managers.“I focus on helping my team achieve their personal goals. There are times when some of them get overshadowed with self-doubt, but I always assure them that I believe in them first. I listen to their aspirations as if they were mine and I tell them to work hard first to enjoy the reward. Plus, I adopt a good monitoring system because I believe that you cannot expect what you do not inspect.”Nila admits that while the achievements came consistently, there will always be bumps along the way. During the lockdown period, she devoted her time to online sales calls and joint field works via Zoom. She also ensured that information is properly communicated at different levels despite the lack of face-to-face interaction. She consistently reminded her team to imbibe positive affirmation especially in times of distraught.Last year proved to be the most challenging year for her team due to Super Typhoon Odette which caused destruction and disruption rolled into one. Her team eventually overcame this difficulty by being more proactive rather than reactive. “Make do with what you have while you go out there to survive. This is our mantra,” Nila shares.Now counting 25 years in the life insurance industry, Nila says that while her team aims for success and continued growth, they remain grounded on their roots and values. “Every day when I wake up, I am heartily thankful to the people who trust me. These are my valued clients, my team of financial advisors and leaders, my colleagues and InLife. It’s like a symphony of gratitude when I think of them,” Nila says.“What I realized about this career especially with a Filipino company such as InLife is that if you dare to dream, if you have the zeal to withstand tribulations, and if you are wired with a mission to help others—the level of success goes beyond what money can measure. You create for yourself a life of significance for others,” she adds.Nila points out that as a financial advisor, one can achieve both success and significance.InLife hopes to amplify Nila’s journey to chart success and make significant changes in the lives of others. To become financial advisors, those interested can simply attend InLife’s monthly online Winners Circle Business Opportunity Forum; take the licensure exam and get licensed; and complete the basic training program. One can visit the InLife website for more details. SPONSORED CONTENT