What’s your adversity quotient?
From the moment your alarm clock goes off in the morning until you drift off to sleep at night, you will face dozens of adversities, ranging from petty annoyances to major setbacks. According to Paul Stoltz, president and CEO of PEAK Learning, Inc., and author of Adversity Quotient, “the realities of today’s entrepreneurial, high-velocity economy demand greater speed, capacity, and capabilities. And everyone faces adversity. The difference is how people handle it.”
Before you mention the features and benefits of your offerings, passionately share your purpose and beliefs.
Stoltz, an avid mountain climber and expert on human resilience, divides the workplace into three groups of people:
Quitters: The Quitters are often bitter and resentful and the loudest whiners. They retired 20 years ago but never told anyone.
Campers: The Campers have worked hard to find a safe plateau in life. They would say that they have been aiming for this spot all their lives and now they can finally camp. The good news is that inside every camper is a climber!
Climbers: Climbers never stop learning and growing. Climbers are relentless in their pursuit of their lifetime goals. They inspire others to see their full potential. They have purpose and passion in what they do regardless of their job or spot in life.
Stoltz’s research shows that 90% of today’s workers are campers—those who have settled into a safe, shady spot on their career path. Unlike the quitter, the camper still has a flame burning inside. And with a meaningful cause supported by a future vision of success, the camper will climb once again.
No matter how high your IQ (your brain) or how strong your EQ (capacity to manage your emotions), it is your AQ that affects your drive and motivation. What is AQ, and why is it so meaningful to you? AQ stands for “adversity quotient”: your ability to endure setbacks and keep believing that you can improve challenging situations. To thrive in the business of insurance and risk management, you must have a high AQ and be a climber. You must demonstrate relentlessness in your life. You must have a cause: a purpose and passion that drives you. And you must have a vision to take you to the next level of success.
Discoveries needed to climb
In today’s fast-paced business environment, you will continue to be confronted with adversities through which you lose control over potential outcomes. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. That being said, I would like to suggest three discoveries that will enable you to climb past these challenges:
Discover your natural strengths and focus on your Unique Ability. Are you aware of your natural strengths? Your Unique Ability? If so, are you harnessing this talent in synergistic ways to maximize your performance?
Every person who has ever lived has a Unique Ability, although most people are not conscious of it. Because of this lack of awareness, you may not have experienced the infinite rewards that come from being able to harness and develop your natural talents and pursue your passions wholeheartedly. The more you are able to recognize your Unique Ability and shape your life around it, the more freedom, success, and happiness you will experience. Your Unique Ability has four characteristics:
- It’s a superior ability that other people notice and value
- You love doing it and want to do it as much as possible
- It is energizing for you and others around you
- You keep getting better, never running out of possibilities for further improvement.
Most individuals are not able to identify their Unique Ability, let alone concentrate on it, because they are trapped by childhood training. We learn at a young age that the secret to success in life is working on our weaknesses. Unfortunately, it is the focus on weaknesses that results in a sense of deficiency, failure, and guilt. As a result, our lives are filled with frustration, wasted potential, and missed opportunity. Letting go of this “lack of abilities” to focus on the things you love is a secret to maximizing your performance.
Here is a three-step process to help you discover your Unique Ability:
- Unique Ability Question. Begin by asking yourself what activities give you energy, purpose, and passion. You also may wish to consider asking people who know you the same question.
- Unique Ability Habits. These are the things that you do automatically to produce your best results. You develop these habits over the course of your lifetime. Begin by listing the habits. Pick the ones that reflect your core values.
- Unique Ability Statement. Consider expressing your Unique Ability in one sentence. Begin with words such as “My Unique Ability is characterized by my superior ability to … .”
Discover Your WHY … Your Cause, Purpose, and Beliefs. As mentioned in my November 2017 article, “Start with WHY—Your Purpose for Existence,” today’s consumers need to know WHY. WHY you? WHY your organization? WHY do you do what you do?
People do not buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it. If you can’t convey WHY, you lose the opportunity to connect with your audience on an emotional level, where 90% of decisions take place. Before you mention the features and benefits of your offerings, passionately share your purpose and beliefs.
- What is my cause in the business of insurance and risk management?
- What gives me meaning in my work?
- What inspires me to act?
- What is the reason I get out of bed each morning and keep climbing?
Once you discover and begin communicating your WHY, it will separate you from the pack and prepare you to climb higher.
Discover Your Future Visions and Goals. Your ability to create visions and set goals is essential to your personal and professional lives. Visions allow you to see yourself at some point in the future, whereas goals offer a road map to reach these visions. There is nothing more rewarding than having visions, setting goals to reach these visions, and focusing in as the visions become reality.
Goal setting is a powerful process of becoming clear about your ideal future, designing an action plan to get you there, launching into action, and persisting until you reach your destination. The key to goal setting is your ability to turn your vision into reality.
The art of goal setting is understood and appreciated by top athletes, entertainers, and successful people in all walks of life. A person who learns how to set goals lives each day with a sense of clarity, confidence, purpose, and passion.
The art of goal setting will enable you to:
- Decide what is important in your life
- Determine what you want to achieve
- Separate what is important from what is irrelevant
- Be motivated
- Facilitate your ability to benchmark progress
- Gain self-confidence as your goals become reality.
Think of goal setting as your navigation system. Goal setting allows you to identify what is important in your life and turn your thoughts and ideas into specific, actionable, and measurable goals. Your goals will protect you from becoming distracted by other people’s agendas and expectations. In designing your goal-setting navigation system and charting your own course, you will gain control over your destination.
A common acronym for setting goals is SMART. The S stands for specific. M is for measurable. A stands for achievable. R is for realistic. T stands for time-bound. Think of a goal as a dream with a timeline. Every goal needs a target date for completion.
If you do design SMART goals, do not lose sight of your “big picture” goals—your future vision. SMART goals can help you climb the ladder of success step by step, only to find that it may be leaning on the wrong wall.
You may want to take this quote from Harold V. Melchert with you on your climb:
Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey.”
Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, CBWA, is the CEO of Beyond Insurance and is recognized as an industry leader, having been named a Philadelphia finalist for Inc. Magazine ’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award as well as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America.” Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership training, cultural transformation, and talent and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level. Since 2007 the proven and repeatable processes of Beyond Insurance have transformed individuals and organizations as measured by enhanced organic growth, productivity, profitability, and value in the marketplace.