Today we’re talking about setting limits and it should give you some insight about goal setting for really anything you’re involved in with your day-today activities. If it’s cold calling, I know that some of you have “cold call nights” that your manager sets up or your district sets up, or maybe you’re setting them up for your team or dialers. Maybe you have a “life call night” or a “prospecting night for corporate accounts” or whatever the case may be….
Some of you know and some of you don’t, but I’m going to do an Ironman and I have absolutely no athletic experience whatsoever. I’ve never run a 5K, 10K, never done a swim and I just bought a bike a couple days ago. I had a friend that did it and he told me about the eye opening experience with it and how it’s not so much the race or being fit or some sort of physical monster that just trumps everyone else because you can complete the most enduring race on the face of the planet other than an Ultra-Ironman which is just ridiculous. What he told me though, is that physically, anybody can be ready for an Ironman. It comes down to your mental capacity and what limits you set for yourself. While we’re not a fitness program by any stretch of the imagination, as I’ve gone through my first few days of training, I try to relate everything and make it relevant. For me, I look back to when I was in an agency selling insurance and the limits that I imposed on myself and how much further I might’ve gone had I had the insight that I have now as it pertains to setting your own upper limits while thinking about what’s possible and what isn’t. I know that when people say “anything is possible, you’ve just got to put your mind to it”, it sounds like a bunch of motivational bullshit and people on stage have said it for years.
Last night though, I ran 4 miles. I’ve never run that far in my life. In fact, the furthest I’ve run was about a mile and a half back in 2009. This is close to a 10K, I believe and people train to run these 10K’s. This is my first run in my training for this and my training guide says today you’ve got to do 4 miles and I’m like “holy shit…..alright”. So I do a little stretching and get on the treadmill and start running. My chest is burning and feels like it’s caving in, my ankles are starting to hurt because I haven’t run in years and my body is in shock. A mile and a half in, I start thinking that I’m ready to burn-out here. There’s no way I’m making 4 miles. As I’m running though, I realize that that’s the whole purpose of this is to push my mental limits to see how far I can truly go and whether or not and can control my mind enough to make my body do whatever it is that I need it to do. So I’m talking to myself because during something like an Ironman, you won’t see anyone listening to an iPod or a radio because you’ve got to be mentally focused on the task at hand, on yourself, what you’re doing and what it takes to get to the next point. You’re left with your own thoughts and you will literally talk to yourself as you’re pushing yourself this hard and I’m thinking “Okay Sean, just get to 2 miles and you can take a 60 second breather, go get some water, jump back on and knock the other 2 miles out”. As I hit about 1.9, I’m thinking about how that defeats the whole purpose. The purpose here is to NOT QUIT. If you quit, you lose. So I get to 2 miles, I’m feeling good, I’m settling into the pain, I’m accepting it for what it is, I’m focusing on the TV’s, the walls, the people around me and everything other than the pain. I’m trying to get my mind off of my chest and feeling like someone is sitting on it and I tell myself to just get to 3 and then that last mile, we won’t quit but we’ll slow it down. As I get to 3.5, I realize that I’m not going to slow it down. In fact, I’m going to speed up because I’ve only got a half mile left and if I just pick up the pace and knock it out, I’ll be done with it. If I slow down, I’m only going to drag the process out. So I get to 3.8 and I’m thinking that I’ve only got 2/10 left so lets speed it up and so I did and the last 1/10 of a mile, I had the treadmill literally as fast as it would go. While doing that and finishing out a sprint of the last 1/10 mile, I realized that physically, my body could’ve gone further. I wasn’t going to collapse. My legs weren’t going to give out. I wasn’t pulling any muscles. I wasn’t so out of breath that I couldn’t breathe. If I just stayed in control of my breath, physically, I could do it. The only reason I wanted to quit was all mental. In my mind, I was thinking that 4 miles is a really long distance and without training, you shouldn’t be able to run this far so my mind was telling me to stop.
The reason I share this story is because we do this a lot in business. Each of your companies set different quotas for you. When you accept those quotas as your goal, you are pushing the ceiling down on yourself to accept those goals. That’s why if you look at Farmers Agents production against State Farm production against Liberty Mutual production, you’ll find that Farmers is lower across the board. Farmers agents produce at a lower rate. The reason in my mind is not because the Farmers products or agents are any worse or that there’s a disadvantage against any of the other companies, but corporate at Farmers presses down and says “This is your goal”. That goal is lower than everywhere else. If you look at Liberty Mutuals goal, they have to sell 215 policies a quarter whereas a Farmers agent only has to sell 40. That’s a HUGE difference. The Liberty Mutual agents meet the goal though because that’s where the bar is. That’s where the upper limit is set. This is where you want to push past that though and say “screw their goal”. What do YOU want out of your agency? What do YOU want out of your staff? What do YOU want out of your life and business? Let that be your goal. Lift the lid off of whatever the company is telling you because the company doesn’t dictate your lifestyle. The company isn’t the one paying for the vacations for your kids, your wives, your husbands. The company isn’t the one putting the money in the 529 plan. The company isn’t the one paying your bills. YOU are.
I want you guys to let go of the limits that your company is placing on you with their stupid-ass quotas. Set your own quotas. Know that the only limit is the one that you’re placing on yourself, or worse, that you’re allowing someone else to place on you. Continue to raise the bar higher and higher and do not accept any excuse as to why you can’t make it there. There are a million and one reasons why you can’t do something. All you have to do is to find one reason that you can, that you will and that you’re passionate about and make it happen. You will find a way if you make it to where there’s no other option but to reach that limit and then lift the lid and push it again. You will be able to rise to standards that you never thought possible. When you’re making your cold call night, push yourself to make more calls than you made the week before. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t do it. Find a reason that you can do it and make it happen and you’ll see exponential results.
Sean Matheis founded Agency Alliance, the elite mastermind program for insurance agents, and The Millionaire Masterminds with the most recognized celebrities & professional athletes on their coaching roster.