Slow Down to Speed Up


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Welcome to The Agent Leader Podcast. My name is Brent Kelly, your host. Thanks for listening to today's episode. So excited to be with you today. And first and foremost, this podcast will be released, should be about a week or so before Christmas and the holiday season.

So want to first of all just say, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year to all of my listeners out there. I truly wish for you that it's a peaceful, blessed, prosperous holiday season. Of course, an incredible 2022. And we're going to keep bringing you podcasts throughout 2022. And we're going to keep upping our game to deliver more value to you, The Agency Leader is always our commitment, really our mission is to help you gain clarity, build consistency, and to make that commitment to become your best version possible. We'll continue to do that in 2022.

This will be my second to last podcast of The Agent Leader Podcast for this year. I will be doing a podcast, a final podcast for 2021. I'll bring in Roger Sitkins again, and we're going to talk about what we learned in 2021 with our clients and just certain processes and mindsets. And I'm just going to ask Roger, "Hey, what are the biggest learnings that you've had this year?" And I'll share some of mine. And how does that apply to independent insurance agencies? What does that mean? What do things look like going into 2022 from our perspective? So we'll share that in the next podcast.

If you are a video podcast watcher, I know most of you are listening to audio. But I do have behind me on my screenshot here, a digital copy of our new book that is coming out called Best Version Possible. That will be, we are told it'll be shipped right about Christmas time. So the beginning of the year, we'll do an official announcement, we'll have everything ready to go. Want to make sure that we had everything ready to go. The T is crossed and the I's dotted before we made everything official, official. But Best Version Possible is coming your way, can't wait to get that book into as many independent insurance agent leaders and professionals' hands that we can, to help you truly become that best version possible.

And then one other really big announcement, we're excited. I'm not going to give an official date as I'm recording this because I want to make sure we get it right. But we're going to be doing a world premiere of our new Sitkins documentary. And this is again, designed specifically for independent insurance agencies. I've seen several rough cuts. We're really excited to be able to bring this to the world and what we're doing again, to up our game, to help you the independent insurance agency leader up your game.

Now, my focus today, in today's podcast, is as we approach the holiday season, and whether you're listening to this during the holiday season, it could be any time throughout the year. But are you taking enough time to slow down so that you can speed up? Slowing down to speed up. And as I wanted to share some of my ideas and things that I'm working on and see with agencies, this time of the year as I'm recording this and is released, is certainly applicable. Because even our office, I mean like many of you, we shut down for a period of time. And I know that there's a lot for independent insurance agencies, the rush for the one, one. But when you get through that and whether it's right at Christmas, or maybe it's the week after the new year, you got the one, ones and you're ready to maybe take a week or two off and get yourself collected. Whatever that may be for you, I just want to challenge you and give you some thoughts and ideas of ways that you can slow down to speed up.

And I am a hard-driving entrepreneur, quick-start mentality, you name it. And I know many of you that are listening are probably much the same way is that, we would rather take action and move fast than to pause, and to think, and to prepare. Even though we know that it can lead to more success, it can lead to less frustration, it can certainly lead to more clarity. And so I want to share just some ideas with you, and I've got five things, five ways to begin a process of how you can slow down to speed up. And just share some of my ideas around this, maybe share some examples that I've seen. And again, how you can begin to use some of these concepts.

Because it's just one of those things where so many entrepreneurs, so many agency leaders, the term that we use is their hysterically ... the hysterical activity on the way to the grave. Or we talk about, and this is true in our own office, about having time delusion, that we're delusional about time. And so there's a couple of things that I want to share. Number one is this, here's the first thing about slowing down to speed up. That reflection, this comes from John Maxwell, so I want to give credit from his book that I've taken this in different ways. Reflection turns our experience into insight.

So one of the first things that I would challenge you all to do is to take some time, and again, we're going to do a year-end review podcast for the last podcast of this year with Roger Sitkins. So we're doing the same thing. Is taking time to really say, "Hey, wait a second. Let's reflect this past year." And you could do this bi-quarterly. Quarterly, you could do this semi-annually, you could do this even the shorter term, every week. But reflection turns experience into insight because so often ... and I believe this is true and you probably heard this... that experience is the best teacher, experience is the best teacher. Well, experience can be a great teacher, but it's when we evaluate that experience. And really take the time to say, "What did it mean? What did I learn? How can I do things differently?" That's the power. So reflection, when we slow down, it turns that experience that we've just had, good, bad, or indifferent, into insights and knowledge, the power that we can use in the future. So that's number one, just understand that concept.

Number two, is this, schedule it. Find a time or a place to do it. Now, some of you and I've got this too, I've got a place where it's your thinking area. For me, it's the end of my kitchen table. And I get up very early in the morning most days and do some thinking as part of my morning routine. But as we get into break, if you've got a week off or a few days here and there. Even though it's free and it's open, obviously, take as much time with your family as you need. But if you got some morning time, or maybe it's in the evening, or when you know you've got some quiet time. Just schedule it. Say, "Hey, this day or this week or whatever it is, I am going to schedule some time for me just to reflect. I just want to think about some of the things that have happened. And I want to begin to gain some of the knowledge in these areas."

So, designate a time and designate a place. If you know there's a place where it's a creative place for you or it's a place of reflection, use it and be consistent. And by the way, it sounds crazy, but your brain knows that. Especially if you begin to do this on a consistent basis, because certainly you want to do this to end a year and start a new year. But are you doing it quarterly? Are you doing it monthly? Are you doing it weekly? Where you just take some time to do that.

And then, what do you do during the reflection? I guess, that's the next thing. And everybody's got to find your own model, but for me, it's just asking myself the questions that I should be asking myself. That's the best way I can say it. In many cases, asking myself the tough questions. Now, depending on your role and what you really want to think through and reflect. Because maybe you're doing some reflection, it's certainly can be business related, what work that I've business process and what didn't? And how can I expand these relationships? And what are the clients that I really want to work on? Those are great business questions, but you may have questions you ask yourself around your current financial situation or family, or your spiritual, your physical walk, whatever that may be. You've got to find it.

But just ask yourself the tough questions. And this would be something that I would consider if you're not using a journal or even an online notebook like Evernote or whatever, people use different stuff. Is just jot down some of the questions that you want to go back and reflect on later. Because if you don't, sometimes you forget what those questions are. But just some general things to think about, I mean, these could be in a lot of different categories. But it's certainly with insurance agencies and we ask our agency partners, whether it's an individual person I'm working with or a small group, and it's a team is, "Hey, what worked this year? And what didn't?" That sounds so simple.

We do this on the majority of our Masterminds. What's working? What's not working? Because again, we're so rushed so many times. And we're always doing the next thing, the next thing, the next thing. We go, "Wait, hold on a second. What worked and what didn't work? And what worked, why are we not doing more of that? Or why have we stopped doing that?" And that's one of the things that we joke about a lot in our programs and it's true. It's like, "Well, it worked so well that we stopped doing it." Have you ever had one of those? Well, six months ago or two years ago, we did that. And that was really effective. So we just got busy and found more shiny things to do, and then we stopped doing the thing that was working.

So just take some time to reflect on that. And of course, what didn't work? What didn't work? Why didn't it work? What did you learn from that experience? Personally, what's your greatest strength? What's your superpower? What do you really love to do? What do you not like to do? What are some of your weaknesses that you can begin to figure out, are there some areas to delegate? I mean, just thinking of questions to ask yourself. Ask yourself questions about habits. What is my best habit? What is the thing that I'm continuing to do, that's helping me accelerate my level of success, helping me be best version possible. And then of course, the flip of that is, what am I doing that's not serving me well? That I need to look at straight in the face, so to speak, or look in the mirror and go, "I got to stop doing that. That habit is not serving me or my team or my clients, whatever it may be, that it's not serving me well."

What about relationships? What are the relationships that I want to enhance? What are the relationships that I want to lessen? Or maybe I hate to say this, eliminate in 2022. What are some of those relationships that again, I need to expand, I need to make more deposits. What are some of the relationships that I need to stop? So talked about just having the reflection that turns the experience into insight. Talked about finding a time and a place to do it. Talking about asking yourself the tough and I would say, real questions.

And number four goes along the last one. When you answer these questions to yourself and again, I would strongly advise if you don't, that you actually journal them and you write them down. Because when you write things, they become real. Not just abstract thoughts that you had one day, but they become real. Is stop lying to yourself. You've heard us say that before if you've listened to this podcast very long. Stop lying to yourself. Well, what worked and we start to justify so many things.

Roger Sitkins mentioned this in one of our earlier podcasts from Andy Stanley, they said, "Justify is just a lie." Well, that didn't work, but it was really because of this or that. No, look at right and say, "Listen, this didn't work because I was the problem. Or this didn't work because we just didn't have that process set up and we got ahead of ourselves." But just whatever the answer is, just be real about it, own it. If you listen to a podcast earlier this year, I had Brittney Stinnett on from Peel & Holland and that was her biggest thing that we got out of the podcast, was I got to own my success. I got to own my failure. And so when you begin to reflect, say, "Hey, I'm going to be real on these things." Here's the good news, you're only talking to yourself. But make it real. And even if it's uncomfortable, make it real.

The last thing I would share is this, when you get into, hopefully, taking some time at the end of this year, beginning of next year, ongoing basis. Is when you begin to ask yourself these questions, you're going to start to say, "Maybe I should do this or this would be something to consider or I should stop doing that." Or all these things that come from great questions that you ask yourself. But then take that list and filter, review. Because obviously what can happen in a negative sense, potentially, is that you end up having these reflection times and you walk away and go, "I got 17 new things I'm going to start to do." So that's not what you want to get out of that.

But start to understand a theme, a concept. I did some reflection today, I did some journaling. What I took out of it is, after looking through all my notes and all my thoughts, is that this is something that I need to be focused on. Or this is one action that I need to begin to take. Or this is one action I need to stop doing. But just be real and then filter through that. And we've talked about The ONE Thing book on this podcast before. I know I have, we mentioned it, I love that book. And I love the one thing focusing question, I just say it again and again, it's such a hard question, but it's such a powerful question. What's the one thing, so that by doing it, will make everything else, either easier or unnecessary? What's the one thing, so that by doing it, will make everything easier or necessary?

So just after you do reflection and after you do some journaling and after you do some review and filtering. Just say, "Hey, listen, of all this stuff I see here, what's the one thing that's going to make all of this better for me? It's going to make it easier for me." And just go from that.

And so all I really wanted to share with you today is first of all, if you're not stopping or slowing down ... or maybe it's the better term. You'll never speed up at the rate that you want to, you're going to cap out, you're going to run out of capacity. Because the things that got you here, wherever you are today. Whether you love where you're at, or you don't love where you're at, are not going to get you where you want to go. And so you've got to take a step back. And again, this is such a great time of the year to do that. I love this time of year because I run a million miles an hour.

Just had a conversation with my team, go really fast and to take a step back and go, "We're going to have this thinking time, is so critical." As was said in the book, The Road Less Stupid. And I've referenced this book before, I love that book. But in the very beginning of the book, he says, Keith Cunningham, the author says, "Running the wrong direction enthusiastically is stupid. Running the wrong direction enthusiastically stupid." And so often I see that in coaching agencies, because I get a bigger picture and I take a step back. But in my own life, in my own business, I got to take a step back, go, "Where am I running the wrong direction enthusiastically?" And what are these thoughts and these questions I need to ask myself? And how do I prioritize them? And what's going to be a simplistic focused action step that I can rally around?

And it gives you clarity, it gives you guidance. And even our Best Version Possible, we say there's three C's, clarity, consistency, commitment. Clear on what you want, clear on how you got to where you are today, clear on where you really want to go and what looks like. Consistency. These are the very few things that I've got to do at a high level. And always take a look at those, are they leading you to where you want to go? And then the commitment again, of course, is to yourself, but to your team. Who's going to hold you accountable to doing those things?

Because our whole theme of Best Version Possible, it's not just a catchphrase. It's a real thing. It's the fact that there is a best version possible waiting for you. There is no doubt. I've had the fortune and the pleasure and the honor talking to people, I said, "I never thought about what that best version possible of me really look like. And I never put an action plan to actually go do it. And now that I can see it and I'm beginning to make progress on it. And I've committed because I don't want to look back in years and have regrets. It's a whole new day. And that's what we want for you. The independent insurance agency leader for independent insurance agencies and your team, is we want to continue to think about what is that best version possible.

And I will tell you this, our programs that run, there's three things about our programs that I so, so believe in. Number one is, it's holistic, meaning that every person on your team in our programs has an opportunity to hear the idea of best version possible. And number two is, they all go to engage in a process together. It's not just a one time thing, but we're going to walk together for something that matters. And the last part is, yes, there's that commitment and there's that community that we have together. That there's going to be rough patches, there's going to be tough weeks, we know that. The question is, are you going to quit and go back to old habits? Or are you going to continue to commit with a community of peers and mentors and coaches to say, "Hey, that best version possible. I may not be there yet, I may continue to work for it. But I'm not giving up."

And I know that when I continue on that path, the word that I love to use, and we love to use with clients, because I know it's true is freedom. Freedom of your time. Freedom to say, "Listen, I want to do the right things at the right time." Freedom with your relationships, I want to work with the right people. Freedom of money, I want to be financially free. I don't want to have to worry and think about money. And I want to make sure that my insurance agency is capitalizing all the potential it has. And that we're not losing millions of dollars. That we're making sure that I'm giving, whether it's myself, my team, every opportunity to be as successful as they can financially. And of course, freedom of purpose. That what I do every day matters and it's meaningful. And I can tell you, this industry, it does. It does.

So my solo podcast for the day, thanks for being a listener. I appreciate you. Again, we're going to do one more podcast this year. I'm going to do a wrap up of the biggest learnings we've had, share them with you, our audience. And what this means for you and your independent insurance agency for 2022. Again, be on the look at out for our book, coming out at the beginning of 2022. Also be on the lookout for a new documentary that we're putting out there specifically for independent insurance agencies called Best Version Possible. And you're going to love it. Make sure we get that to as many people to watch that as possible. And there's going to be some mindset shift and some process shifts and some different learning on people and talent development that you're going to see.

So, for all of our information, go to We'll talk to you soon. I wish you all the best in your success. Thanks for listening.


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