What Can You Learn from 2018?

For many people, the end of the year is strongly associated with self-reflection. This is a good thing, because self-reflection can be one of our best teachers; it doesn’t feel like nagging when you come to understand something important about and for yourself.

As an insurance agent, the typical year-end business slowdown can be a great time to schedule an hour or two of reflection about your business. Making time to learn lessons from 2018 can help you grow and improve as you move into 2019.

Sometimes it helps to have a model to help guide your thinking. Here are a few questions to get you started:

What Went Well?

Have you ever noticed how a little bit of praise opens people up? Why not do it with yourself? Start with some positives to get your mental state in the right place. Whether you added clients to your book or built out your website or expanded your knowledge at an insurance seminar or made valuable connections at a networking event, more than a few things went right in 2018.

Take out a pad of paper or open a blank document on your computer and start listing what went well. Write down every little thing you can think of, no matter how mundane it may seem. After you’ve exhausted your ideas, don’t read through the list quite yet. Just set it aside for now.

What Would You Do Differently?
Now that you’re primed, think through what didn’t go as well as it could have. Again, put it in writing. Be honest without being unnecessarily tough. If you tend to be hard on yourself, try to imagine that you are evaluating yourself as an employer might; instead of writing “Screwed up sale to Jane Doe,” choose wording like, “Missed opportunity to sell to Jane Doe.”

For this list, stick with the major challenges that come to mind. There’s not as much value writing down every little thing that went wrong, because the focus is on moving forward. You’re looking for lessons, not to beat yourself up.

What Affected Your Business in a Negative Way?
Now take a look at your list of what you could have done differently. What stands out? Circle or highlight those activities. If you come across a one-off problem that isn’t likely to happen again, either cross if off the list or move it to the bottom where it’s out of sight. This is about finding systemic problems, not aberrations. And again, the goal isn’t to revisit failures or make yourself feel bad. It’s to find areas that you can strengthen or fix.

Done with that? Good. It’s time to lighten it up again.

What Affected Your Business in a Positive Way?
Go back to the first list you created: What Went Well. Read through the whole thing and pause periodically to revel in your victories. Become your own boss again and pat yourself on the back for your moments of excellence. If you think of more positives while you’re reading, add them to the list, too.

As you’re doing this, circle or highlight the actions that most benefited your business last year. Then notice which items are already ingrained habits and which were the result of you trying something new. The former are strengths that you can reinforce, and the latter should be cultivated as you go forward.

What Are Your Biggest Takeaways from 2018?
At this point, you’ll probably have some insights bubbling to the surface. What did you circle or highlight on each list? Of those items, which are the most important? Which could or should you do more or less of in order to most effectively support your business?

Choose two or three items that you want to focus on continuing or changing, making sure that at least one is coming from the positive list. Write down those specific goals and put them on a sticky note on your computer or a small sign on your office wall. Don’t overwhelm yourself with more than that. If you find that you’ve easily made necessary course corrections early in 2019, you can always revisit your lists and choose additional goals.

The final step: ask yourself how Hometown Quotes can help you succeed. Maybe you realized that it’s time to change some of your lead settings or ask for advice from a Hometown Quotes Regional Director, all of whom have proven track records as insurance sales experts. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 800-820-2981 — we’re always here to help.