It’s not uncommon to start the new year by reflecting on your prior year’s successes and disappointments. Doing so can help you fine tune your plan for making things better in the months ahead. To truly succeed, it’s important you embrace a “growth mindset” as compared to a “fixed mindset.”
With a fixed mindset, people look at themselves and their qualities as traits that are fixed; they cannot be changed. You are either good or bad at something, based on genetics. There’s a ceiling in how high you can climb and what you can achieve.
In contrast, with a growth mindset, you believe that everyone makes mistakes, and those mistakes provide you with opportunities to learn. You believe you only truly fail when you stop trying. You also believe it’s possible to change – and you’re always working to improve. You are open to taking on new challenges and you believe you can become more successful.
It does not matter whether you are an independent insurance sales professional, or part of sales team at a corporation, agency, or bank. Developing well-defined goals can help you stay focused. Your goals are like a road map, which can help drive you to success
How to Have a Growth Mindset and Achieve Goals
Be SMART in Developing Goals
As you’re working to craft your 2022 goals, a good strategy is to embrace the acronym, SMART, which relates to establishing goals that are:
- Measurable (or meaningful and motivating)
- Achievable (or attainable)
- Relevant (or reasonable and results-based)
- Time-bound (or time-sensitive)
Be specific by asking yourself these questions:
- Who is involved? You alone? Or, you and others?
- What do you want to accomplish? What are the specific reasons or target benefits of achieving your goal?
- Where will it happen, at what location?
- Which things stand in the way of achieving your goals?
- Why is the goal important? Why are you doing it?
- When will you achieve each of the steps? What’s your timeline for making each of your goals happen?
Make your goals measurable
Whether you’re focused on increasing sales (measured by premium dollars or sold policies), boosting your market share, or increasing revenue by a target percentage, each of your goals needs to be something you can measure. You want to be able to answer questions like “How much? How many?”
Avoid vague or undefinable goals. “Sell more Small Group business this year” is an example. Although admirable, changing it up by adding a percentage increase makes it better – and measurable. “Increase my Small Group production by 25%,” or “increase my commissions by 20%” are specific, measurable goals.
Track your progress: weekly, monthly, and quarterly. Doing so will help keep you on target, and give you a sense of achievement as the weeks progress.
Make your goals achievable
While you may want to push yourself, you need to realistic is setting your goals. They need to attainable. Ask yourself “Can this goal realistically be accomplished?”
Your individual and/or team goals need to be a stretch, but not over the top. Ask yourself what you need to do to achieve each of your goals. Having a growth mindset will help you develop the attitude and skills you need to get there.
It should be obvious, but it’s important you write down each of your goals. Doing so will help you keep your goals list to a manageable number. Five may be a good target; more than seven could be too many.
Focus on relevance and results
Each of your goals must represent something you are able and willing to work toward achieving. Only you (or you and your sales manager) can determine your specific goals. Be certain each represents a substantial step forward from your prior achievements. Make sure each goal fits with your others.
Make your goals time-bound
Each of your goal needs to have its own target date or timeline. Think about when you want to (or believe you can) complete each goal. That will force you to evaluate your goals separately, and consider whether each is a near-term or longer-term objective.
You may find in your weekly or quarterly review that you underestimated the time needed to reach one or more of your goals. That’s okay – and not unexpected. Changing the timeframe for achieving a goal is not a bad thing. If you do make changes, just be SMART about it and follow the tips above.
The website, Declutter The Mind, published more than two dozen growth mindset quotes a few years ago. These might inspire you to stay focused and on target for your 2022 goals:
- “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.” (Audrey Hepburn)
- “Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
- “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed no hope at all.” (Dale Carnegie)
- “Success is not an accident, success is a choice.” (Stephen Curry)
- “It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s just that I stay with problems longer.” (Albert Einstein)
No matter how hard you work, it’s possible that you could come up short on one or more of your 2022 goals. Do not be discouraged. Learn from your mistakes – and try to avoid repeating them in the future. Consider this additional quote from Winston Churchill, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Your agency colleagues, family, and friends can help you push yourself to achieve your goals. Your General Agent may be helpful, too. Talk with your Word & Brown rep about the tools and resources we offer that can help you be more successful in 2022.
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