SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA — There are a lot of threats out there for benefits professionals: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), mergers and acquisitions, rising health care costs and technology, to name a few.
But the biggest threat to your professional, and personal, success, is actually yourself.
That was the word from Jack Singer, president and CEO of Psychologically Speaking, to a room full of benefits professionals at the opening keynote of the Benefits Selling Expo in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“I’m convinced every one in this room has a gift but not everyone opens it. All of us either have a best friend or an enemy in our head,” he said. Which one you choose it to be — either a motivating voice or a voice telling you you will fail — “is the key to success, and also the key to your health and the success of your life,” Singer said.
He told brokers the way to differentiate themselves from just a “sales professional to a world-class professional” is to create a winner’s mindset with “linguistic nutrition.”
“What you say to yourself has to be nutritious, but it is usually poisonous. You tell yourself, ‘I can’t do this. What if this happens?’ You have to change it not just for your career but for your life.”
Here are ways to do that and become a “champion benefits professional.”
1. Recognize, and silence, your inner critic.
There is a thing called “imposter fear” that hinders success for every single person, Singer said. “This is the thought in your heart of hearts that ‘Everyone has faith in me, but I don’t and everyone will find out I’m really a failure.’ It’s about being afraid of what can happen.” Brokers and agents, for example, might fear competition is getting stiffer, someone won’t bite on your sales pitch or PPACA might doom your business. That turns on the “fight or flight nervous system,” Singer said, which also hurts your health.
“It’s not OK if you have these anxieties or worries 30, 40 times a day,” Singer said. “Every time you worry or are anxious, it turns down other parts of your body. Your immune system is shutting down because of your lack of control over your internal dialogue.”
The first step, Singer said, is to acknowledge that that inner voice exists and that it’s not OK. Second, Singer said, “Whenever you receive positive feedback, as soon as you can, pull out a notebook and write down what that person said. And those times when you are feeling helpless and hopeless, read it and it will evaporate those feelings.”