How Success Can Be Your Greatest Enemy
Inevitably in the life of any person — insurance agent or otherwise — there will be high highs and low lows. While the low lows can be difficult to deal with, we often mistakenly think that the high highs are easy. With the proper perspective, that’s true. But far too many in the sales profession fail to have that perspective in time to save their careers. If you’ve ever been to that point in your career as an insurance agent and survived, then you know that success can be as destructive as failure. It just depends on how you deal with it. If you’re not yet at that point, be on guard. There are hidden pitfalls that come with success, and these pitfalls can have you doing a 180-degree turn into some pretty dark places. Here are five ways success can be your greatest enemy.
Success takes your eye off the ball.
Any baseball hitting coach will tell you that you have to keep your eye on the ball if you want to have any kind of a positive batting average. Allowing distractions to invade your field of vision will have you swinging at air time and time again. When you are successful as an insurance agent or as any other type of sales professional, you can lose sight of the things that got you there and allow some great opportunities to pass you by. You start to assume that success will be automatic. But just remember: you can’t expect your past home runs to hit the next pitch.
Success amps up the pressure.
Some people work well when there are low expectations. But when you have a success in sales, your expectations are forever elevated. (Or at least elevated until your next failure.) If you’re the type of insurance agent, who thrives flying under the radar, then success will put you in the dubious position of having to recreate success while more people are watching. That can be incredibly intimidating.
Success can cause you to believe your own hype.
Some people stop trying as hard when they’re successful because they expect that it will be automatic moving forward. They underestimate the amount of luck and effort that went into their accomplishments and get lazier. Don’t be fooled by your ability to perform. If you are fooled, it can cause you to be less hungry when it comes to selling those next policies.
Success places you into a state of comfort.
We live in a very results-oriented society. Gone are the days when someone could just sit around and collect a paycheck for 30 years before retiring with a gold watch. Businesses often want to know what you’ve done for them lately. While an independent agent may not have this problem, they do face the dilemma of getting too comfortable with their earnings levels. They fail to cultivate insurance leads, and then when they have some cancelations, it’s back to square one. You never want to wake up one morning and feel like you have to start over from scratch. Unfortunately, this is the exact situation that many agents find themselves in after a couple of good years.
Success can double your frustration when you fail.
When you are happy with your successes and you allow failure to sneak up on you, it can create a vicious circle of failure that causes you to forget what made you successful in the first place. In other words, the fact that you were successful can compound your frustration and confusion when things start taking a turn for the worst.
The point of this article was not to turn you into an eternal pessimist. We don’t want you to be the type of agent, who can never celebrate his successes because he’s too busy waiting for the other shoe to drop. No, our goal is to show you the other side of success. The dark side that can sneak up on you if you’re not ready for it. By being aware of the possibilities, it becomes easier to plan contingencies and workarounds that can put your business back on the right path no matter what surprises are in store for it.