Obstacles are Key to Winning at American Income Life

The DNA of an obstacle all derives from the same location, it is a thing that blocks one’s way or prevents and hinders progress. What I believe separates successful individuals at American Income Life from the rest of the pack is not only persevering through the obstacle, but embracing the obstacle and attacking the obstacle with a healthy vengeance.

Adversity and the potential failure that may arise should not only be expected in the path to success but should be absolute and critical. Many benefits can be gained through the process of facing adversity.

  • It postures your ability to be resilient in nature. Many of us can agree that nothing breeds resilience like adversity and failure on a personal and professional level.  This is near and dear to my heart, as the son of immigrant parents that have supported their entire family on the premise of resilience – I personally experienced this benefit.
  • It’s been said that adversity can make you better if you don’t let it make you bitter. Thus, adversity develops a maturity level that is critical to success. It develops an uncanny ability to think critically because you’ve been there already.
  • Focusing on the end result and not fearing failure does not allow for mediocrity to set in. There is no greater cancer in any organization then that of allowing mediocrity to co-exist with individuals that strive for growth.
  • Adversity gives birth to unexpected situations that result in opportunities. A light-hearted fact, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes resulted when boiled wheat was left in a baking pan overnight.

Two working artists tell a story of an art teacher who conducted an experiment with his grading system for two groups of students. It is a lesson on the benefits of failure.

American Income Life Regional Director of Sales Chris Selejan

American Income Life Regional Director of Sales Chris Selejan

The ceramics teacher announced on first day of class that he was dividing the class into two groups.  All those on the left side of the room would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced. The right side of the room would essentially be graded on the quality of their work.  The actual procedure was very simple, on the final day of class the teacher would bring a scale and measure the “quantity” of pots that the students produced. Fifty pounds of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds would render a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality” consequently needed to produce only one pot and get graded on it. Come grading time an interesting fact occurred, the highest quality of work essentially came from the group that was graded on overall “quantity”.

Here is the key, while the “quantity” group was busy at producing piles of work and learning from their mistakes (i.e. obstacles) the other group which we have labeled as the “quality” group had sat around developing theories of perfection. In the end, their efforts yielded nothing more than a bunch of theories and clay which amounted to nothing.

At American Income Life, if we embrace the obstacles and failures that come our way and fail forward, it will certainly place the individual and organization for success. It is when you fail forward, in my opinion, where compounding growth occurs as we learn and grow from our obstacles. We tend to overestimate the event and underestimate the process. But if we can see failures as isolated incidents, temporary events, and focusing on your strengths – the yielding affect will no doubt be positive in the long run. Consequently, embracing obstacles will bring about “failures”, and if you are not failing throughout the agency building process, you’re probably not really moving your agency forward.


About Chris Selejan

Chris Selejan is a Regional Director of Sales at American Income Life Insurance Company. Find him on Google+

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