American Funds Investors
Dwight Edwards, a successful corporate trainer, has built his life around nurturing relationships. Through his relationship with his financial advisor, he’s learned to find the balance between preparing for the future while pursuing his passion to become a motivational speaker.
RECORDED JANUARY 8, 2014
Dwight Edwards: When I got my MBA, it was just an incredible feeling, but there was also a lot of pressure leading up to it, so it was a feeling of relief as well. The pressure — probably self-inflicted — was just the fact that my family, my neighborhood, my community, everybody was rooting for me. I was one of the few to get even that far as far as education. It was just an incredible feeling to complete that and get through those challenges. So I was extremely excited, but I was relieved as well.
I’ve had many roles at my company, but the current role that I’m in, I’m responsible for training both our re-sellers — these are folks who sell our products — as well as our salespeople, our internal salespeople. There’s multiple ways of training, and going about training, whether it’s live and doing instructor-led, or it might be via the Internet — Web-based, webinar, webcast.
So in both venues I get an opportunity to speak in front of people. It’s just kind of linking into all the things I want to do as a motivational or a public speaker. I’ve hired a speaking coach. We get together twice a month over the phone — teleconference — to develop a keynote that I’m working on, and be able to touch people with that keynote.
Part of that plan is, first of all, just the retirement piece, just making sure that that’s not something I have to think about while I’m transitioning or while I’m in the other career, because the other career is more self-employed, right?
Just working with my financial planner to ensure that I have the right plan for retirement and I’m doing all the necessary things. You maximize your retirement 401(k) within these steps, invest more aggressively. Especially at my age, I can be a little bit more aggressive now.
But my advisor is just … he’s more than an advisor, he’s really a special person to me. He’s a friend. He’s the first one that really encouraged me to get a home and said, “Hey, you are positioned to get a home now, whether you think you can or not.” Even though his goal for me is to use any additional funding — bonuses, things of that nature — to put into my investments in retirement, you can just see that he’s a very balanced person because he wants me to enjoy life as it is today as well as prepare for the future.
As I was growing up, I’ve had many opportunities to speak and everything just sort of evolved with my skills and my passion around it. When you start having your friends ask you to do the speech at their wedding — and I’m not even the best man — then you kind of get a hint that, okay, you’re probably doing this pretty good.
Just my personal relationships with people, what they look to me for — whether it’s inspiration, consultation, a shoulder to cry on, advice, someone to have fun with — that all kind of proliferates into a really good public speaking career.
Nothing beats being passionate about something and following that, and it is something that I’m passionate about. And now that I see that people appreciate it and enjoy it, I just feel that I can do that on a bigger scale now and I’m really excited about the opportunity.
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