Her story began with a silver spoon for a milk bottle, and in it her spoilt-bratty princess demands. At 17, on an all-expenses-paid holiday to Sydney by herself, she fell so head over heels in love with the city that she decided to extend her stay indefinitely, simply by picking up cheques sent to her every month.
At 21 and in college, Annie fell madly in love again. This time, with a tall, dashing, charming prince who she married in secret. Shortly after, her magical, royal carriage ride in Fairytaleland became the roller-coaster of life which plummeted into the dark abyss from its peak.
She fell into depression when her husband left her when she was four months pregnant. Her whole world collapsed before her and she felt she has failed miserably. Feeling helpless with no friends to turn to, and too ashamed to let her parents know, she later attempted to take her own life. She failed at that, too.
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Just when she thought things could not get worse, the reunion with her family in Hong Kong proved short-lived - Annie's loving father succumbed to cancer after five years of pain and terrible suffering, leaving behind his wife to care for Annie, her younger brother and Annie’s baby daughter; and a peak of debts from the medical expenses.
The family sold their 'castle' and moved into a rented room with a toilet shared by several families on the same floor. It was your proverbial riches to rags story.
Turning Her Back on the Past
All the relatives and family friends to whom Annie's parents played fairy godfather and fairy godmother and treated with kindness and generosity vanished.
To ease the heavy burden on her mum's shoulders, Annie took up various jobs and even ventured into business, which failed, again.
It was during this time of struggle that a friend suggested that she try insurance sales. Annie's mother was strongly against her going into insurance, having heard of how tough the industry is and how unstable the income is.
However, seeing it as a way out and a ticket to a fresh start, Annie decided to put her past mistakes behind her and give it her best shot. She vowed to her mum that she was "going to get their life back!"
Turning Adversity into Advantage
Annie delved into her thick archives of personal experience - she reached deep within herself to draw out the intense familiarity and first-hand knowledge of life's uncertainties, hardships and anguish.
She may be poor tangibly, but she was wealthy worldly-wisely. She could tell it like no other, she could paint it like no other. This was undoubtedly her disadvantage, and also her advantage.
Turning Weakness into Strengths
Annie did not let the spoilt-brat in her trip her up either. Instead, she turned her obstinacy into doggedness and resolve, her indulgence into diligence and perfectionism, her willfulness into gutsiness, spunk and courage.
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Motivated by the need to provide a better life for her family, and driven by the burning desire to prove her doubters wrong, she embarked on a mission to become a one-woman cold-calling machine. She was determined to channel her stubborn nature in bursts of new energy and power.
Turning Stones into Gems
Annie became laser-focused on achieving her MDRT target. It sharpened her eyes and claws into eagle vision and piercing talons. She saw potential where others could not and seized on every opportunity that others did not.
When everyone else jostled in the day crowd and fought over scraps, she made her killings as a night predator - hunting down the hundreds of security guards whose sedate and monotonous jobs made them perfect sitting ducks.
She probably collected thousands of business name cards (this was the time before LinkedIn), even to the extent of picking them up from the road. She left no stone unturned in her quest to find raw diamonds and jewels, and she crafted countless masterpieces from them with her polished pitch.
Turning Rejection into Positivity
A wise man once said that if you could get a dollar for every rejection you faced, you could be a millionaire. As it turns out, this is absolutely true.
If not for the millions of rejections she received along the way that helped her mould her craft, Annie would never have the well-honed skills and capabilities to attain the success that she has now. She looks upon each and every rejection as an opportunity to learn, and strives to do better the next time.
Turning Her Life Around
Annie went all out to get her life back and she was justly rewarded for endeavour. Her stoic determination paid off more handsomely than she ever expected, yielding far more returns than she had ever dared to imagine from her squalid squatter quarters of a room.
There was no holding her back, as she went from strength to strength, milestone after milestone, record after record. Now, she enjoys living comfortably and spending quality time with her mother in their own house, and she has also managed to send her daughter to a good college.
Turning to God
All along the way, throughout her arduous and ultimately fruitful journey in life, Annie credits those who did not trust her, and all those who did not believe in her, for pushing her to succeed.
But most of all, she said she was blessed by God. It was a gradual realisation that, she was not merely getting her life back, but helping others get a good life; she was not only changing her life, but giving others a great life to live. She intends to continue paying it forward by doing as much volunteer work as she possibly can, and to keep on LEARNING, GIVING, SERVING.
Turning into a Beautiful Butterfly
Happiness, as Annie can well and truly testify, is not denominated by how much money that is going into your pocket, but by how much love comes from your heart.
Anyone can morph into a beautiful butterfly, if you are willing to learn, give and serve, sincerely, unconditionally, and unwaveringly.
This write-up is based on Annie Leung’s “It’s My Life!” sharing at this year’s MDRT Experience meeting.
(Picture of Annie Leung: MDRT)
Find more MDRT-related articles here:
Strategies to build a team of 100% MDRT qualifiers
It took me 7 years to achieve MDRT
Anyone can achieve MDRT
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