Poison or power, which are you choosing?
Times are tough.
I’ve owned my agency for 15 years, and can’t think of a more difficult stretch during my tenure. We are a diverse group—so the level of difficulty and nuance varies based on the state(s) you serve. I serve Central New York.
It’s okay to acknowledge these insurance industry struggles.
It can become dangerous when we dwell on them.
Recently my team and I played a game called “Poison or Power.” In this article, I spell out how the game works and challenge you to create a similar exercise with your team.
Poison or Power
Step One: Take a poster board, dry-erase board, or a simple sheet of computer paper. Draw a line down the middle creating two columns.
Step Two: Think of and acknowledge the struggles, the obstacles, the challenges, and the situations that are out of our control. Everything that quite frankly doesn’t seem fair. Write them all down in the right-side column. Encourage your team to be open and honest about all things that frustrate them on a daily basis.
Step Three: Ask your team to list all of the things that are within their control on a daily basis. List these in the left side column. Encourage the team to dig deeper with things like attitude, effort, diet, exercise, how they choose to show up, seeking opportunities, pushing out of their comfort zone, defining goals, etc.
Step Four: Label each column at the top.
Right side: “NO Control” and under that in parentheses (POISON).
Left side: “CONTROL” and under that in parentheses (POWER).
Step Five: Now it’s time to have a genuinely honest conversation to let your team know that you get it. You understand that these are challenging times, their jobs aren’t easy, and everything in that “NO CONTROL” column is 100% TRUE! But it’s also poisonous.
The more they allow themselves to dwell on the things listed in that column, the more poison they are feeding their minds. This can become deadly long-term (both personally and professionally).
Step Six: Take a marker and put a giant X over the right-side column. Let them know that it’s okay to acknowledge these struggles, but it becomes dangerous when we dwell on them.
Acknowledge them. Vent about them. Do what it takes to talk about how these things frustrate them.
But then X it out and put the focus on the things you CAN control. The POWER column.
What happened for my team when we did this exercise was they found it to be very therapeutic. It also serves as a solid illustration to keep in front of them throughout the day. It can be easy to shift focus to the POISON, especially if we feel bombarded by it. A visual reminder, with all of the poison crossed off, does help to keep the focus on the POWER.
In the words of Muhammad Ali: “You don’t lose by getting knocked down, you lose when you stay down.”
Stay in that fight my friends! You can overcome these insurance industry struggles. Stay focused on the powerful activities within our control.