Season 1 Episode 9
Season 1 Episode 9
[00:00:00] Intro/Outro: Welcome to the insurance leadership podcast. The podcast designed to bring new perspectives and principles from leaders in the life and health insurance industry. We trust you will enjoy today's episode.
[00:00:25] Ryan: Welcome to another episode of the insurance leadership podcast. I am Ryan Eaton, your host for today and honored to have you listening in. If this is your first time listening in, let me provide you with a little overview about what we're doing here. Our goal is to give you quality leadership and business advice from leaders in the life and health insurance industry.
[00:00:43] We release a new episode the first Thursday of every month, and also publish a leadership guide each month that we post on our website at www. Insurance leadership podcast.com. If you are listing this with a team or reviewing something on a monthly basis, the leadership guide will help you follow along in a group setting.
[00:00:59] And we would ask that if you're enjoying this or your team's enjoying this, that we would love you to write a review or rate it on whatever platform you're listening on. If you subscribe, you'll get it directly to your phone the first Thursday of every month. So with that, let's go ahead and jump into our content for this month.
[00:01:15] Everyone listening right now is hoping that 2022 will be an amazing year. You probably want to see your business grow while maintaining efficiency, your finances to go in the right direction, your family to be healthy and COVID to somehow disappear or die down. But what will you do personally in 2022 that will help increase these odds?
[00:01:34] So today we'll spend some time covering two topics that will help us be the leader that we're called to be. And that starts with self-leadership. Our potential to lead others is a direct result of how we lead ourselves. So why does self-leadership matter? It's because people aren't watching just what we say, but how we live.
[00:01:53] If you live with intentionality, if you live a discipline, integrity, purpose, as a leader, you will be much easier to follow and earn respect from the people that you lead. However on the flip side of the coin, if you don't live with these characteristics, it's hard for people to want to follow you and to be able to respect you.
[00:02:11] So let me ask you this. When is the last time you wanted to accomplish something in your life and you went looking for advice from someone whose life was falling apart? When was the last time you asked someone for business advice that couldn't pay their bills or couldn't hang on to a team member to save their life?
[00:02:25] When was the last time you went to someone 150 pounds overweight and asked for fitness advice? We don't do that in life. No one seeks advice from someone who is unsuccessful. We seek advice from people who are successful. People we admire. People who have qualities that we want to follow, or to be like. We read a book from someone who has knowledge on a subject.
[00:02:43] We'd go to concerts of artists that we think are good. So as a leader, if we don't have the discipline in our own life that produces success, it makes it very hard for our team to want to follow us. This shows that building self-leadership is not only important in our personal lives, but it also shows our team that we are a disciplined leader, putting our priorities first.
[00:03:03] And we have to know that our lives are being evaluated for success clues. With that, let's dive into the first topic that sets the stage for self leadership, and that is our priority. So a crucial step in self-leadership is knowing what your priorities are. What is taking precedence in your life? What are you passionate about?
[00:03:21] What are you driving towards? What are you putting first when it comes to family or business? We have to know these things so that we can keep distractions from coming in and robbing us of what is most important. Most of us have heard the story about the professor. He comes into the class with several items, puts them on the table.
[00:03:37] One of the items was a large empty glass vase and he started to fill it with these large, massive stones. Right. And he asked the class is this full, the class looked at the vase, the glass vase, and it was full. So they replied, yes. Then he proceeded to pour pebbles into the glass and he repeated his question.
[00:03:52] And I'm going to asking if it was full again, the class said, yes, it's full. Now, the professor then takes a bucket of sand and pours it into the jar, which filled up every last inch. He repeated the question and this time the class was right. The jar was completely full. The point here, what the professor made was he said, this glass jar is like our lives.
[00:04:13] He said the stones are the most important things. The main values, the health, the morality, family. The pebbles are the other things like our job or house and other things that are important, but the sand represents the small stuff. He explained that if you put the sand in first that the larger rocks and the pebbles would not have been able to fit in, therefore we got to pay attention to the things that are most important in our life.
[00:04:36] You know, from a marriage standpoint, take it a little bit personal. Most people want a good marriage, but they don't do but maybe one date night. Most people want to be healthy, but they work out on thing on average once a week and eat fast food two to three times a week. Whatever's important to you has to become intentional or distractions will creep in and keep us from reaching our potential.
[00:04:56] Not only for this year, but the following years to come. First thing we have to do in our self leadership is we have to know our purpose. We have to know our mission. We have to know our goals for the year or whatever desired outcome we are looking for. Right? You don't go house shopping without an idea of what you're looking for.
[00:05:12] You don't go furniture shopping in the outdoor section if you're looking for a bed. And you probably don't need eight internal meetings a day if you were an outside sales. If you do, it will probably be a very bad quarter for you, but we have to know what we want to accomplish, what our numbers are, what states we're looking to expand and what territories we're looking to impact what our income needs to be and multiple variables of this type nature and layout where we want to go.
[00:05:39] If we don't do this first step though, again, I'll repeat it. Our priorities and our distractions can start to look alike. So what you need to do is you need to think about what you want your life to look like 12 months from now, what you want, your business, your family, your spiritual walk, your financial life.
[00:05:55] All that laid out, and this is the first step to figuring out what it should be. You need to write it down. Everyone's different. I'm personally a bullet point guy. I'm not a paragraph format, but you can lay it out whatever you need to and write down the specifics they say to put them in a smart format, which is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
[00:06:14] But lay it out. So you have clear priorities for 2022. That's going to help you be able to know what you need to do to focus on where you need to go and what you're driving forward. The second thing once, you know your purpose, once you've written out the things that will help you get there, you need to ask yourself, what are the activities?
[00:06:31] What are the actions that will help develop the outcome I'm looking for? If your goal is to grow sales, You are looking for activities that generate more opportunities, right? So meetings that bring out proposals, marketing on social media, maybe email blasts, exploring new products or strategies in your market, SEO, IP targeting, prospecting more asking yourself what territories are low on penetration.
[00:06:53] And so you can go after those. These are the type things that you have to do and lay out to be able to fulfill your purpose. Right? You got to know the activities that generate that, but at the same time, You have to look at it from another standpoint. And this is the third point when you're talking about setting priorities, you have to learn to kill the suckers and kill the distractions in your plan.
[00:07:14] A few months ago one of our speakers said that performance equals potential minus distractions. Dead on. And he was so right. And when it comes to priorities, the distractions, knowing what your distractions are, can be just as important as setting the priorities and the habits that will fix those priorities.
[00:07:31] So think about this: heard story years ago, about a fruit tree down in Florida, and they were talking about how these trees will develop suckers on them. It's a little branches that kind of grow off from around the tree. And what they do is they will actually suck the life out of the tree. Make it so the fruit goes bad and make it so the tree won't grow as good.
[00:07:49] And it will end up killing the fruit tree and you have to actually cut those things off winter, spring, summer, fall, you knock them out, you get it out. And that's what distractions are. We have to make sure that we don't allow them to be suckers in our life, keeping them from the things that matter most.
[00:08:04] But if you don't know what your priorities are, It's easy to let those kind of coincide with other habits that are good habits. So with that said, this is probably the hardest part of setting your priorities is making sure, you know, what are the suckers? What are the distractions? What are the things that will pull you away?
[00:08:20] So we're not unique in the insurance industry and these distractions and suckers can pop up in every industry everyone's personal lives and our families. And as leaders, we have the obligation to make the right choices to get them out. And I said it already. In all fairness, this is one of the hardest things to do, but just like we made a list of the things that will help us get where we want to go.
[00:08:42] We got to make a list of the things that will keep us from where we want to go as well. And that's where kind of, we pull in the next part of this topic, which is habits. A lot of, you probably have seen the YouTube video of Admiral William McRaven when he is providing commencement speech at the university of Texas Longhorns.
[00:08:59] Welcome to the sec, Texas. If you have not seen this, I recommend you listening to it. In the speech, he tells the graduating seniors that if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. To most of us, that's not life altering advice, but daily habits yield compound interest over time. And Admiral McRaven was a Navy seal officer.
[00:09:17] He was a best-selling author and in his book that he had published and went to the top sellers list of the New York times, he kind of went through Navy seal training and what it taught him about life. And what he said was start your day with a completed task. And as leaders, we need to remember that the key to sustained growth in any area of our lives is routine habits and rituals.
[00:09:39] They eliminate the excuses of opting out. And if you're trying to decide if you should go work out when it's raining outside, when the alarm's going off at 5:00 AM, you probably will not end up going to the gym. I know I won't. So we have to set up habits in our life that we do rain or shine. And remember that doing the same thing every morning makes it easier to do and reduces the chances of skipping it going forward.
[00:10:00] So 0.1. Is, we also have to evaluate our existing habits. Your habits need to align with your priorities. They need align with your goals and where you're trying to take your life. Habits that are not aligned aren't necessarily bad, but they can be time-wasters and dream preventers as kind of we mentioned earlier when we're talking about suckers. And each of us has a variety of habits that we do every day.
[00:10:22] And we don't even realize it. Statistics show that 40 to 45% of all of our daily behaviors are automatic and this can be a good or bad thing. We should make it a priority to evaluate our life each year at a minimum to see what habits have snuck into our life. I know a lot of mentors I've heard speak and books I've read.
[00:10:39] They said to look at it each quarter, this past year I started taking off the last day of each quarter, just to kind of take a look back and see kind of what goals we hit, what goals we didn't hit. You know, kind of what things are looking like from a personal or family life, you know, maybe we got, as Jude Thompson on the show a few months back said, you know, maybe I need to look at my tires and evaluate kind of what tires get a little flat.
[00:10:59] Right. So it's a perfect time to be able to look at that, but it will help you. And to kind of hit on that point, years ago the salesperson on my team that was telling me they could never reach their prospects on the phone. They were calling. I've just, you know, when they're telling me that I started thinking that they were not probably calling enough.
[00:11:17] I was thinking that their voicemail pitch wasn't great, you know, many different things that kind of run through as a sales manager, run through your head of what may be the problem. But I listened to him the next day. And when I was listening to them, everything sounded good. Their voicemail sounded good.
[00:11:30] Kinda went through the process. We had some minor tweaks, but it was nothing major. I thought about it more that night. And I went back the next day. I was coming back to be able to explain kind of what I thought she might be able to do. And it was about nine or 10 in the morning. And I asked she was working on something that was completely irrelevant.
[00:11:46] It was something that was just really just busy work at the end of the day. And I said is there a reason why you're not making calls now and, and pushing that to later, she said, oh no, no, the problem is she said, I don't do my calls until four o'clock in the afternoon. So I do my busy work right now.
[00:11:59] So instantly in my mind, the problem is solved, right? Making calls on Friday at four o'clock in the afternoon is probably a very bad idea. For most organizations is probably very hard for most people to get people on the phone. It's not that our habits are bad it's that we might just need to tweak them or evaluate them.
[00:12:16] And that's what looking at it from a quarterly or an annual basis can really help you do. So next thing is creating habits. So keep in mind with the general set, start your day with a completed task. Something to remember when you were building a routine and trying to create a habit is to realize that it starts the night before.
[00:12:35] If I have it, I want to start is working out in the mornings. I can get my blood flowing body pumping. There are so much better odds. If I put my clothes out the night before set my alarm before I get in the bed and know what I'm going to do for the workout. So I can plan my time accordingly. What is that?
[00:12:52] It helps me be prepared. It helps me put positive pressure on myself to get up so I don't waste time the night before it also lowers my decision-making ability first thing in the morning where I may not be thinking the clearest. Now, not being able to find your keys or your workout shoes will eliminate a work out very quickly.
[00:13:10] So now, while this was a workout example, it may be best for you to knock out spreadsheets first thing in the morning where the distractions aren't coming in and calls aren't popping up. Maybe it's getting some sit down time with your spouse before the day gets rolling and you're both headed in opposite directions.
[00:13:24] It could be just adjusting your detailed meetings to the morning so that your mental bandwidth is not deteriorated before a four o'clock meeting in the afternoon. Each of us have different adjustments that we need to implement, but this is part of what it takes to win the day. I read a book called win the day by mark Batterson earlier this year, phenomenal book, but he talks about that.
[00:13:45] Really preparing yourself, setting yourself up for success the night before and building these habits in your life. One thing that's kind of talking about pre-gaming here and setting up the strategies to be able to help the night before. If you implemented a department meeting for Monday morning at 10:00 AM, that's great. Right.
[00:14:02] We all know though that Monday, those first things in the morning usually is pretty hectic from eight to 10 o'clock is usually a pretty busy time. People may be walking around, wanting to tell you about what happened to their kids over the weekend, how the bulldogs won this game or that game.
[00:14:16] And you know, you never know what it may be, but it's stuff always seems to suck time. So you may want to realize that, Hey, I don't have time to put together my meeting minutes before 10 o'clock. Maybe I should do this on Friday so that my energy is more built towards reviewing versus creating at that time.
[00:14:34] And that's what this is really all about is evaluating, kind of have what habits, what things you're doing to help reach those priorities, how you can give them a little bit more success and be able to help them reach their full potential. And the last thing I'll say with habits kind of before we wrap it up is that if you are having problems building habits, right.
[00:14:53] If you're having problems, getting things done, making something routine, there's a article that talked about what's called habit stacking. And it talks about pairing things that you like with things that you're a little bit harder for you. So maybe it's getting a cup of coffee while you're studying in the morning or trying to get your morning read in.
[00:15:11] Maybe it's putting an exercise drink together with your workout. Doing different things, pairing things that are hard with things that are easier for you, so that it makes a better chance of making that habit stick in your life. And I'll end with saying this. Some of you right now, probably think of Ryan is setting priorities, setting habits.
[00:15:28] These are kind of such basic things. These are small tasks. They're really not life-changing, but I will challenge you. And I will argue with you that if you can build the right habits around your priorities, You're going to reap huge dividends and excellence requires doing small ordinary things consistently, right.
[00:15:46] If you can do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And as a mentor once told me focus, consistency, beats intensity, seven days a week. So with that, thank you so much for joining us in on the insurance leadership podcast today. Hoping 2022 will be your best year yet. And remember a good plan today is better than a great plan months from now.
[00:16:07] Thank you so much.
[00:16:12] Intro/Outro: Thanks for listening to today's episode of the insurance leadership podcast. Make sure you subscribe on your favorite podcast app so you'll be notified of future episodes or stream online at insuranceleadershippodcast.com. .