Clients want to know you have absolute certainty when it comes to your plan designs and insurance solutions for them. … [A]n incredible way to boost your competence is humility. How so?
HOW TO BE HUMBLER
And how that ultimately will make you a better version of you
By Michael Wayne
You may have heard the saying, “Doctors make the worst patients.” A similar adage may very well apply to risk managers. Or agents. Or brokers.
Earlier this summer, a friend of mine’s son was leaving for a three-week trip—his first solo driving journey after just having turned 18. The night before, my buddy made certain to go over his son’s packing list to ensure that he had everything ready for an early Saturday morning start.
Everything was set. Well, everything was set until my friend got a call at 8 a.m. the following day.
The young adult was two hours into his trip when he realized that his wallet was still at home on his desk. Two hours later, my friend was meeting his son at a gas station, and a brand-new checklist was instituted. This one included his son making sure to call the hotel where his reservation was to make certain his room wasn’t going to be given away.
The notion that someone could have taken the time to prepare their child for such a massive trip and forget to include something so basic as packing their wallet took me back a bit. I couldn’t understand how that was possible; at least, not until it happened to me a week later.
To be fair, the circumstances weren’t exactly the same. I was at work late one night and had my wallet and keys on my desk. While on the phone with my wife, I got up to go to the restroom and walked out of my office into the lobby. As the card-secured door to the suite closed behind me, I instantly realized that I was locked out. Making matters worse, I couldn’t just leave and come back the next morning when someone would be there to let me in because my car fob is attached to my keys.
Develop the capacity to remove the focus from yourself and understand what is going on around you. … Figure out how you are affecting others and also what else is affecting them.
Luckily, it only took a few phone calls to have someone in the area come to the office to let me in, but the entire process took about an hour to resolve. At that point, I was ready to just pack up and go home.
Regardless of what line of coverage you work on, you may be great at keeping your clients in-check and up to date regarding necessary changes to their coverage. You may never miss a beat when it comes to presenting your clients with reports that show how much you saved them in premiums or how much they now need for replacement costs and not just coverage. What if you are missing something, though, and neither they nor you realize it?
Hubris and ego are not lacking in our industry. To a degree, I understand. Timidity and hesitation in insurance are not looked upon as fine qualities.
Clients want to know you have absolute certainty when it comes to your plan designs and insurance solutions for them. As off the wall as it sounds, however, an incredible way to boost your competence is humility. Stick with me because here are the five ideas to help you be humbler and ultimately make yourself better at whatever it is you are doing:
A win for you is not a loss for me. A colleague experiencing success is not a defeat for you. Instead of feeling defeated when someone else closes a deal, understand that it is not a door closing for you. Keep putting in the work, keep yourself open for opportunities to work with others and to see how you can be a collaborator, and prospects will ultimately present themselves.
Learn how to see what’s going on around you. If you only focus on what’s going on with you, you’ll never be as successful as you possibly could be. Develop the capacity to remove the focus from yourself and understand what is going on around you. This applies to every aspect of your world—home, agency, and the lives of your clients and prospects. Figure out how you are affecting others and also what else is affecting them.
Own up to your role. Control what you can control and work to influence or change the things you can’t. Defeatists and complainers seldom have success stories or tales about how they revolutionized a service or resource. Understand what you are responsible for and take charge of that responsibility.
“I” before “You” is the wrong thing to do. Long ago, someone insisted to me that using “I statements” was necessary when speaking because it put the onus on the speaker in an argument. That has validity and relates to the previous tip in this article. There are certainly times, however, when “you statements” are important, if not downright vital, to being humble. Certainly, you deserve to be recognized for your achievements, but don’t let that get in the way of selflessly crowing about the accomplishments of others.
Islands rarely sustain themselves. Seeking the advice of others when you are unsure of something or when you think that they may improve your presentation is not a failure. The failure comes in not trusting that you have something just as valuable to give them in return now or down the road. Be willing to become better.
Michael Wayne is an insurance freelancer writer.