"My Career is My Mission to Help People Prepare for Their Future": Changing the World with Mjane Matel

This is a case study of a World Changer: someone who is living the life he or she wants while making a difference at the same time. Are you a World Changer? Share your story with us here.

World Changer: Mjane Matel

Organization: The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. (Phils.), Inc. (Manulife Philippines)

Email: mjane_matel@manulife.com.ph

Mjane is a personal friend of mine and is one of the people with the biggest hearts I know. She volunteers, helps people in need, serves in her church, and is always ready to be there for her family. Even when she started her new career, she started it for service first and foremost. A hiker during her free time, she's also one of the most adventurous people I know.

Tell us about what you do

I'm a full-time financial advisor. I give financial planning, insurance, and investment advice to my clients. I help them create wealth, manage their money more effectively, and achieve financial wellness. I also meet with people, find out their financial goals, and offer solutions  insurance and investment products that suit their goals and needs. Most importantly, I keep in touch with them to address their financial concerns.

How do you make money or achieve freedom doing this?

I earn professional fees for the service I render. I also receive monthly bonuses whenever I meet the incentive requirements.

I have achieved freedom because I have the flexibility in terms of time. I control my work schedule and I don't have to file a “leave” if I want to do something else. I also have the freedom to make as much or as little money as I want by the amount of effort I put in. 

How do you change the world doing this?

There's a need for Filipinos to start changing our culture of 'poor saving habits' and 'living beyond our means'. It’s one of the factors why we are not enjoying the quality of life. And I strongly believe that I can do something to improve the Filipino’s financial situation. This career is both an advocacy and an opportunity for me to empower people and show them that they can take control of their personal and financial circumstances, not the other way around.

My career is not just a job. It's also my personal mission to help people prepare for their future by sharing with them my knowledge on financial matters. The decisions they make today can have a significant impact on their lives in the future. It's my vision that every person I know will not slide into poverty when the rainy days come; that money will not be an issue in protecting their dreams, securing their children's education, enjoying a comfortable retirement, and living the life they want. I know I'll also be making an impact in lives of their loved ones, dependents, business and legacy as well. 

Our work is a calling, I have to do my best because I am accountable to God and to other people.

What did you do before this?

I worked as a financial consultant in a “Big Four” auditing firm for three and a half years. 

How did you know about this opportunity? Who was your greatest inspiration or influencer?

At the start of the 2014, I wanted to leave my job at the audit firm and started looking for internal audit job openings. I never really imagined myself getting into sales! It was the last thing I wanted to do in my life! 

But in February 2014, my younger brother invited me to join him in a sales presentation of his friend, a financial advisor from another insurance company. I tagged along because I have an insurance policy from the same company but I didn't quite understand how it worked when I bought it a year ago. 

During the presentation, I noticed that my brother couldn't follow. So, I explained it to him thoroughly. As I discussed with him, I felt excited. I enjoyed it and got interested in becoming an insurance agent myself.

Bumping into this idea was a game changer for me. I got confused about what to do next in my career. I prayed and fasted before God. Then, I was able to connect the dots when I reflected and looked back on my life. 

I remember when I was up for promotion and expecting a salary increase from my previous work, I spent most of my time studying about different investments, tried all of them, and encouraged my friends and officemates to do the same. Going back a little further, we were raised by our parents to be financially savvy. Our mother taught us how to save while our father challenged us with trick questions about money, business and investments when we were in elementary school. He also gave us books by Robert Kiyosaki when we were in high school. 

It became clear to me that I had a passion for investments. It was something I was really curious about and loved sharing to other people. My parents were a huge influence on this aspect of my life and they are my biggest inspiration. 

What made you decide to finally take the leap?

It was God who stirred my heart to finally enjoy the quality of life. I admired those who were making money following their passion. I believed it was time for me to take control of my life as well. 

I could no longer see myself working for 70 hours a week for 52 weeks. I had already missed out on so many family affairs because of work. I wanted to be available whenever my family needs me. 

Also, I wanted to help my parents pay some of our monthly dues. I needed to earn more so I can help more people, donate to charities, church, and WWF projects, and travel the world. 

And so God opened this door of opportunity in Manulife.

It was a big transition in my career. I had a different skills set and didn't have any experience in sales, but God gave me the grace to step out in faith and believe in what He can do for me. True enough, I stand amazed by God's wondrous works in my life.

What was the most difficult challenge you faced when you were starting out?

When I entered the world of entrepreneurship, it became apparent to me that developing self discipline would be my most difficult challenge. According to Hal Urban, discipline is getting yourself to do something, even when you don't feel like it. For me, it is not easy. My worst enemy is myself. 

As an entrepreneur, I am my own boss. I'm in control of my own life and I set high goals for myself. Sometimes I fail not because my goals are too high, but because I lack the discipline to stick to my goals, my daily routines and work structure. I know the right thing to do but I'm not doing it. Since I use social media to do my work, I easily get distracted. And when rough times, hurdles, and rejections come my way, I get off track and rationalize things. I felt like I was only accountable only to myself. I also have this tendency to be complacent after a major success. 

How do you cope up with your challenges?

I follow my mentor's advice to develop a daily work routine and schedule. Whenever I don't have any appointments, I come to the office at 9AM and leave by 6PM (as if I'm employed). I write down my specific goals for the month. Whenever I am not able to achieve my monthly goals, we analyze the cause and identify the areas I need to improve on. 

I also observe how my colleagues are doing the business, consult with them, and listen to their success stories. I also educate myself by reading motivational books and attending various training and learning sessions provided by Manulife and other professional organizations. Learning from the experiences and testimonies of successful businessmen around the world is key to my development.

I pray to God to bless me with wisdom, skills, discipline, and enthusiasm so I could my fulfill my mission effectively and to help me grow in this career. 

What was the biggest lesson you learned from doing this?

We are not born for ourselves alone. We are to live a life of significance: that's being accountable to God and making a significant impact in other people's lives.  

Has the journey been worth it?

Yes! It's hard, but it's worth it. I have flexible working hours, an opportunity to earn unlimited income, and travel to different places. But these are just secondary. 

Meeting people from all walks of life, sharing with their stories and aspirations, and making an impact in their lives are the most rewarding part. I love my job because I get to help a lot of people. I grow with my clients and get to pray for them also. Last September, I felt most fulfilled when I was able to help my client, a motorized messenger, own his very first life insurance policy and build up an education fund for his daughter. I know his family really needs it. His job involves high health risks and he's making a little over minimum wage per month. I felt good knowing that someday I will also have an impact in his family and his daughter's education. 

Spirituality wise, this career stretches out my faith and character. This is where I've personally witnessed God's grace in my life and for me, it is really priceless.

What's next for you?

I'll be doing the same job as I do now for the rest of my life. I aspire to become a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) next year to increase my knowledge in financial planning and give more value to my clients. I am also considering to pursue law next year because I want to specialize in estate planning. 

Your advice to aspiring World Changers

Know your purpose and your passion. Don't stop exploring until you find it. Don't live a life full of regrets. You always have a choice.

God called you for greatness. Step out of your comfort zone and maximize your potential. Do not be afraid to take a risk and fail. It's okay to fail, there's a lesson behind it.

When I was just starting, some people discouraged me to pursue this career full-time, but I ignored them. I didn't have the necessary skills and personality of a salesperson and I never had any sales experience. And yet, I pursued this career because I believed that my God is BIG and that He will sustain me. Believe in your dreams, in yourself and most importantly, in what God can do for you. Just keep the faith. He is greater than your fears and failures. By God's grace, you will surely overcome. 

Everything is going to be challenging at first, stay focused. Troubles, hurdles and failures will come along the way, but you can manage them. You need discipline and hard work to get there. The rewards are well worth the sacrifice!

Have a mentor and surround yourself with positive and supportive people, those who are already living your dreams. 

Focus on one thing at a time. As Robin Sharma said, "There is no need in having a plan B since it distracts from plan A.” There was a time when I got interested in doing another business at the same time but God made me realize it was not a good idea. In order for me to be successful, I need to focus on one career at a time.

Lastly, recognize that there are different seasons in life, seasons of planting and reaping. There will always be ups and downs. ENJOY the process and LEARN from it. Be happy and live your life to the fullest!

How can they reach you or how can they join your revolution?

If you have concerns, you can reach me via email: mjane_matel@manulife.com.ph. 

Completely Optional: How much do you earn monthly or annually doing this? 

In just my first five months with Manulife, I already experienced a six-figure income in a month. I also qualified for an all-expense-paid trip and conference in Bangkok, Thailand. It is so rewarding considering that I've just started in this career.