Author Archive

Bill Sheridan Biography

Shredding to Success »

Okay, okay…so I’m not exactly Dr. Phil. However, for a few brief paragraphs I’m going to anoint myself as Dr. Bill. As Lucy might say to Linus, “The Doctor is In!” No degree. No fancy television show. No groupies. But a boat load of common sense in what I’m about to suggest. Recently I attended […]

Don’t Ask—Don’t Sell »

There is an ongoing political debate in our country about whether gays should serve in the military; and an even bigger debate as to whether they should profess said sexual orientation to their superiors. Frankly, I have no strong feelings one way or another about the issue. However, I am fascinated by Bill Clinton’s second […]

The Crumbly Biscuit »

Although the incident occurred twenty-five years ago, I remember it as if it was yesterday. My business mentor, Jim, and I were meeting for breakfast at a nationally-known franchise in a central Iowa town. It was his turn to order for both of us as we each had our usual—a bacon & egg biscuit with […]

That Crucial Recovery Shot »

Even though I enjoy (?) playing the game and one of my three sons was a golf professional before accepting a position with the Nationwide PGA Tour, by no stretch of the imagination am I an expert on the sport of golf.   To illustrate that point, at one time I assumed that great golfers hit […]

No Failure in Falling »

Falling isn’t the issue. The problem occurs when you don’t get back up and try one more time! We are in a business climate that requires getting back up—sometimes again and again and again. It works for me, when in a bind and on the pity pot, to bring to mind people who have inspired […]

Your Greatest Power »

The Serenity Prayer God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.   One of the most valuable lessons I have learned as the years have gone by is the futility of being concerned about things over which I […]

Shuttle to Success »

Approximately 80% of the time I make a two-block walk between the Park ‘N Ride and my downtown Des Moines office each morning and evening. Sometimes, however, either because it’s cold, icy or I’m just plain lazy; I hop on the shuttle bus known as The Link.   In doing so recently it gave me […]

Paul, George, John, Ringo–and You »

Recently I attended an event at the Des Moines Civic Center simply called Rain. The title comes from the name of a group that performs a two-hour tribute to the Beatles.  By all accounts, it was a huge success. The music was live and their sound authentic. The visuals—complete with costumes, wigs, lights, a fog […]

Fear & Pride: Enemies of Personal Growth »

Besides being a ton of fun hanging out with my two grandcritters, Ben (8) and Luke (4); it’s been a terrific reminder of how we develop and grow as human beings.   You’ve been around little kids and tried to reach in to help them with a puzzle or draw a picture. The result is […]

My Sales Epihany »

I contend that all of us are in sales regardless of our chosen vocation or profession.  As a small-business owner—your livelihood depends on your ability to sell and yet many entrepreneurs are not truly effective at it. For twenty years I made a living selling life insurance. The early years were truly a struggle until […]

Call Coaching from Home »

Like millions of our fellow Americans, Renee and I placed ourselves on the Do Not Call list.   We did so reluctantly because of my many years as a life insurance agent. The telephone was crucial to our livelihood so I felt a little guilty about not taking the unsolicited calls.   Unfortunately, however, because […]

Shifting the Risk »

Note from author: The following article, written by me, was published in the June 2000 issue of ‘Life Insurance Selling Magazine.’ I feel that it is very appropriate for this venue because it has been my experience that most small-business people do not carry adequate life and disability insurance.     I have worked for […]

Lessons from Losing »

If you asked one hundred college or pro coaches and athletes, fifty would say that you learn nothing from losing and fifty would tell you that it’s where they gained their deepest insights.   I tend to agree with the ‘learning from losing’ camp and will back it up with some good examples. Here are […]

Show Your Best First »

My friend and colleague, Tom Myers, discovered the secret quite by accident. He sold lots of life insurance but also happened to be the ‘King of Annuity Sales’ in his agency.   “Whenever I went on a call,” Tom explained to me, “I made a calculated guess on what my prospect could afford and prepared […]

Fishing for Marlins »

  It was in May, 1977 and I was attending an athletic banquet at the Starlight Motel & Restaurant in Fort Dodge, Iowa. I had already resigned from my teaching position at St. Edmond High School. A month later, at age thirty-three and the  father of three sons, I would become a full-time life insurance […]

Think Seven »

Recently I attended an excellent seminar with peak performers from around the country, many in the financial services industry. Although annual incomes were never discussed, there is no doubt in my mind that most were earning in the mid-to-high six figure range and at least one in seven figures. These were exceptionally bright entrepreneurs from […]

Repetition–Mother of Memory »

I love the phrase, “Practice doesn’t make perfect—it just makes permanent.” Any golfer will verify that hitting a driver a thousand times at a driving range won’t improve your score by one stroke if you’re holding the club wrong or not lining up properly. Indeed, if not done correctly, it will pretty much ensure lousy […]

A Final Thank You to My Friend Bob »

I’ve had the privilege of sharing about people and events that have influenced my life in these messages. You may recognize the name Bob Jamieson who was my mentor when I entered the life insurance business in 1977. I frequently referred to him in this space and as recently as a couple of weeks ago wrote about him ‘Transferring Trust’ to […]

To Shine or Not to Shine?–That is the Question. »

It’s a sign of the times. Driving to work recently, I noticed a ‘For Sale’ sign on a white SUV that sat on a lawn next to the road. Obviously, someone who doesn’t appreciate low gas mileage is attempting to sell the vehicle to a person who can afford to fill it up at $4.00 per […]

Transferring Trust »

Shortly after going full-time into the life insurance business (following ten years as a part-timer) in 1977 at the age of thirty-three, I was invited into a partnership with a senior agent. Bob Jamieson had built up a tremendous estate planning clientele working with farmers living near Fort Dodge, Iowa. Twenty years older than me, he had two goals: […]

Taking the Time to Make It Short »

I don’t remember when or where I read or heard this quote, but it has stuck with me because of its irony. The person in question was defending either his rambling speech or verbose piece of writing which had been criticized, “It would have been much better but I just didn’t have time to make […]

Watch for the Smiling Watches »

How are you perceived by the people with whom you do business on a daily basis? Do they welcome your calls and are they glad to see you in person? I strongly urge you to consider this and always be thinking about how to create a positive image with them. We’re really talking about marketing in […]

Is Anyone Really Listening? »

Today’s piece is somewhat ironic coming from a person who wears hearing aids. However, the issue is not really about hearing—the issue is about listening. It is such a simple request but seldom garners the results that I’ve asked for. Like most of you, my wife and I are not at home during normal working hours. That, however, […]

That Crucial Recovery Shot »

Even though I enjoy playing and one of my sons works for the Nationwide PGA Tour, by no stretch of the imagination am I an expert on the game of golf. At one time I assumed that great golfers hit each shot perfectly every time. Wrong, Tee-Box Breath. Sometimes they hit it too far to the right […]


By now you know that I like to write about my hometown of Lawler, Iowa.  Normally,  the piece concerns a nostalgia-laden incident that happened years ago. Today, however, you are going to hear about an event that I witnessed within the past month in the village of my youth. My wonderful nieces arranged a terrific family reunion that was held several weeks ago composed of […]