THE FRENCH MILITARY POLICE tell Scott Alfred Grant they have heard on the street that there is a price on his head.
It’s 2006, and for the last five years, his ex-wife — after losing custody in Canadian court and abducting Grant’s children to her native country — has fed a local reporter false stories about the 19-year MDRT member from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, being dangerous.
A lengthy, complex, international legal proceeding at last resolved in the French Supreme Court that Grant could take back his children. But Grant encountered a mayor so afraid of him that he trembled while handing Grant train tickets to Paris.
Believe it or not, the ordeal reminds him of the principles behind insurance.
“I never thought I would go through that circumstance. I never thought there’d be a contract on my life. I never thought my name would be publicized,” Grant said. “That’s the whole thing about planning or doing insurance: There are things in life that are going to happen to you that you can’t anticipate, so you need to always prepare for the worst and expect the best.”
The best is what Grant was experiencing the summer of 2001. He attended his first-ever MDRT Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He connected with other members and learned more about disability insurance. He felt energized and optimistic about emerging on the other side of a pending divorce.
Five months later, his wife called from France, telling him she was going to harm their 5- and 6-year-old children, suggesting he would never see them again.
“That’s when I knew I had to go to France and start a case to get them back,” he said.
Aside from periodically traveling back and forth abroad, Grant also had to work up to two hours each day on the case.
Meanwhile, because of the still-pending divorce, his assets were frozen, and he was paying tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, travel costs and more. He had to make MDRT-level production not because of his connection to the organization but because he needed that amount of money to survive.
After the case went public in Canada in 2006, Grant also found himself propelled by local support. People who read about his situation wanted to work with him. In one case, Grant asked a successful realtor going through a protracted divorce how she was managing the loss. She said that she hadn’t been able to see her son for two weeks.
Grant, who only shares his own story if it is relevant and can advance his goal of making clients feel better, eventually told her about going 2 1/2 years without seeing his kids after they were abducted.
Not only did the prospect become a client, but her whole family, including eight brothers and sisters and their parents, did as well.
“When someone says they’re going through something, I understand it,” Grant said. “I’ve had significant growth in the practice of people going through loss or a difficult time.”
How could anyone possibly keep their business afloat under these circumstances? Grant credits his success accordingly:
Adjusting his schedule. This included doing the hours of work on his own case first thing in the morning, rather than saving it for nighttime when he was emotionally and physically drained.
Rethinking client meetings. He started only seeing clients on Wednesdays. Clients assumed the limited option was because he was really busy and successful. On those packed meeting days, Grant found himself distracted from his trouble and driven by newfound momentum and connection with clients. “That year, my business exploded,” he said.
Training through Toastmasters. “It really helped me with all the times I had to speak to reporters and gave me the confidence to stay more succinct under pressure,” he said. “I think all advisors should go to Toastmasters to be better communicators.”
Positivity. “My mentor said, ‘You’ll see your kids one day; will you be a well-adjusted, successful advisor or a disgruntled, angry, broke guy who no one wants to spend time with?’” Grant said. “That was a tough question, but that kept me going.”
Faith. “I had never been a churchgoer before. Learning about the MDRT Whole Person concept where spiritual life is important, I felt like God had a reason for this, and maybe that would become apparent later.”
Strength from MDRT members. “Many of us see each other each year at the Annual Meeting, and to come up to me and say, ‘How you doin’ there, partner?’ meant a lot and still does,” he said. “The support was incredible.”