As an independent producer, determining whom you spend your time with in the business will make as big an impact on your bottom line as any other factor. You’ve probably heard this quote by Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This quote is as meaningful to business as it is in your personal life. You are never going to be able to change people, but you can change those with whom you are associated.
Remember when you were a young kid and got caught doing something you shouldn’t have been? More often than not, if you think back, some of your friends were right beside you, right? Most of us would agree that at the impressionable age of 10 of or even 15 years old, others’ influence in our lives was significant. As you get older, those you associate with and what you talk about when you’re together make a huge impact in your life. Look at your immediate circle of relationships. Aren’t there shared interests and some shared aspirations or levels of drive?
Chances are, if you look at the five people in the business that you spend the most time with, you will most likely have similarities in your business such as the products you sell, the income you make, and the total production you have.
If you are a producer excelling in our industry, and you have friends who aren’t doing so well, you might feel inclined to “change them” or give them tips to help them. However, if you were doing $5 million a year in annuity production, and all of your friends were doing $10 million, I’d be willing to bet that over time, your business would gradually increase closer to their levels. What you are doing and what they are doing will come together through good conversation, idea sharing and the energy levels you share.
Surround yourself with successful people
You cannot change people. You can change your environment. I would encourage you to go out and surround yourself with people who are exceeding your current production levels. Sure, this may initially require a deep breath and a suspension of ego, but the rewards are limitless. Find a handful of producers that you can aspire to, and pick their brains. Ask them about the key things they’ve changed in their businesses to break through perceived “ceilings” and achieve new heights. Realize that what these individuals are doing and how they are adjusting to their environments is always a moving target. Be willing to be fluid with them. Express genuine gratitude for what you learn, and share your own successes and ideas in return.
After spending years studying the common characteristics of successful people, Harvard professor David McClelland perhaps said it best: “Your reference group is more important in determining your success or failure than any other single factor.”
I challenge you to find the top producers you know–people whose businesses genuinely impress you–and make a commitment to learning, studying and implementing the secrets of their success. There are several groups who put on programs designed to allow producers to share ideas, network, etc. I’d be sure to go to at least two of these every year. Don’t miss these opportunities–they are absolute gold and will make a tremendous impact in your business and life.
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