Category: Motivational Speaker

Adversity Builds Character: What You Can Learn From It

It’s not too much of a stretch to say that you’ll find very few people who actually appreciate adversity. Why would anyone want that? No sane person would want problems. And often, people wish for the day they have everything they desire, no wishes left ungranted.

To many, that’s the very definition of heaven: a place of bliss and peacefulness without disease, war and want. So, who in his right mind would want adversity?

Adversity is the opposition to progress — or so it seems.

The idea that adversity actually builds character and a more meaningful life has been around for more than two thousand years. The first inkling of such an idea seemed to have come from the ancient Greeks, specifically the Stoics. We now think of someone as “stoic” if they face adversity with a positive attitude (or at least without complaining).

So yes, adversity can build character. But how does that work? Why do problems present an opportunity to build one’s person, one’s character?

Stoics would say the obstacle is the way. The idea is that in facing an obstacle, one learns important lessons about themselves — about how they approach and solve problems. It’s not such a far-fetched idea if you think of it this way: An obstacle isn’t just a meaningless challenge or an annoyance, but also represents your limits. The obstacle literally refuses for you to pass unless you find a way around it, over it or through it.

The very experience of meeting your obstacle head-on and thinking about where you want to go opens up new avenues of thought, new ideas, new perspectives. The mind is a problem solver. It desires to uncover any question, any challenge and any problem. And from that new set of thoughts come new beliefs about your abilities, about how you treat others and what your responsibility is to them and yourself, and about your purpose.

This belief gives birth to a new resolve about your purpose, your desires and your actions. It all comes together into a conviction that turns into a strength that is visible for everyone around you to see. When you embrace the challenge that adversity places in front of you and do your best to overcome it, you have literally taken on a new character.

If you let it, adversity opens you up to a new life where your thoughts, words and actions bear new fruits you never would have thought possible. That’s how adversity builds character, which, in turn, leads to a new life with bigger and better possibilities.

Take a look at real-life adversities people are facing every day. Real people are facing real problems. How can this adversity lead to character development and a better life?

For one thing, there are no guarantees in life. But as long as you don’t give up on yourself and on others, there’s always a possibility — and opportunities are still there to be had. The realization that you’re not powerless even in a tough situation is incredibly empowering and transformative.

The reality is there are people in the world today who have faced similar adversity to your own, and somehow they overcame them. They might say that there seems to be some luck or fate playing its part. But I would like to think more often than not, we create our own luck or at least set ourselves up to have a “luckier” outcome.

If you open yourself up and let the adversity you’re facing shape your perspective in a positive way, you too can find a path that not only helps you deal with the problem at hand, but actually changes your character for the better.

To contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Overcoming Adversity Speaker, contact his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

What Will It Take for You to Reach Your 2020 Goals?

 

The Mindset of Success

As a motivational speaker on setting sales goals and sales achievements, I am a believer in developing a goal-setting mindset before anything else, and having the determination to see it through. I am not alone in this way of thinking.

Business writer Jason Alten recently discussed what he considered to be the seven most important goals for any sales person to reach their full potential. The first goal was simply this: “Start with the end in mind.” To quote in part from his comments:

“Ask yourself what the end result you’re looking to realize is so that you can make decisions and set goals that will help you get there. Too often businesses set goals that aren’t connected to the overall vision of where they want their business to be in a year, or even the next quarter.”

If you lack the mindset, the overall vision to define where you want the business to go in the months ahead, as well as the determination to reach your long-term goals, the results could be poor at best.

Kristen Baker in her sales article entitled, “The Ultimate Guide to Setting and Hitting Sales Goals” asks:

“What’s one thing virtually every business does — no matter their industry, target customer, or product or service? They set goalsGoals ensure employees are driven, on-task, and producing work that impacts the business’s bottom line. They also ensure your business is constantly striving to grow, improve, and most importantly:  boost revenue.”

Who Will Take Charge?

While both Jason Alten and Kristen Baker are correct in that without having the mindset and the determination (or drive) to set goals there will be lackluster results, I would add an additional dimension.

When I began in sales. I had only recently been discharged from rehab after an automobile accident that left me a quadriplegic. In the hospital, going through months of rehabilitation, I realized it wasn’t just a matter of mindset and vision, or even determination that would see me through, but the daily grit to make that happen.

My physicians and physical therapists could only do so much for me. It was up to me to develop the grit through good days and bad to reach my goals.

I was successful in the financial services and insurance sales industry; in fact, in just five years I made it into the industry’s Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). I applied the same lessons I learned in my rehabilitation to setting my sales goals in as a financial adviser.

I had to develop the vision to see myself getting better each day, the mindset to do what needed to be done to realize the vision, and the determination to endure the many sessions and the pain associated with the rehab. But what moved and sustained me was the grit to grind it out and tell myself that some days would be good and some days would be rough. There was no choice but to keep going.

Grit must come from within. Grit will help every sales person reach their goals. The best of the best will have rough days, and grit will encourage you to stand up to it. Grit makes each sales person better than they ever thought possible. No one can give you grit, you must make it happen.

 

Meeting Planners: to book Scott Burrows, Inspirational Speaker on Setting Sales Goals and Achievements for your next meeting, contact him today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

What Does it Take to Lead Organizations Through Change?

Do you have what it takes to lead your organization through change? As a leadership and change management speaker, I ask executive leaders if they have the determination and the vision to lead their organizations through change.

Why Vision?

“Demanding” that organizations respond to the challenges in front of them has never served upper management in bringing about effective outcomes to difficulties created by mergers, acquisitions, technology or other major changes. It requires the vision and the daily grit to get everyone on the same page and to see things through.

Several years ago (August 2014), Entrepreneur magazine identified at least eight factors needed to bring about a positive outcome to major changes including:  the creation of a plan; understanding the goals and objectives the plan will address; clear communication; identifying key players in the organization to lead the charge; the specific tasks to be delegated; the objectives of the plan; the management of desired expectations and most important, accountability.

I would add “mindset” to the above change management outcomes. Is the organization of a specific and singular mindset to ensure that the outcome is successful?

To that point, business writer Camille Nicita for Forbes magazine (July 2, 2019), stated:

“When you’re creating change, your employees need to authentically embrace what they are being asked to do. Left uninspired, employees may take on the mindset that ‘they told me I have to do this, so I have to do it.’ Rather, employees should understand how the change affects — and more importantly, benefits — them. They need to believe in the higher purpose the change ultimately serves. Uninspired employees can almost always be compelled to comply, but I believe only an inspired workforce can turn change into a sustainable transformation.”

Who Needs Inspiration?

Ultimately who needs to have the collective mindset and vision to bring about change in their organizations? Everyone. No employee or department should be overlooked in buying into the tasks at hand. It is called “ownership,” where there is a shared vision and mindset throughout the organization.

In October 2017, McKinsey & Company wrote an article entitled “Secrets of Successful Change Implementation.” Among the important points they shared:

“For both successful and unsuccessful [organizational] transformations…the single most significant factor influencing a transformation’s outcome is the degree of ownership and commitment of the organization’s leaders. To be clear, ‘ownership’ and ‘commitment’ involve much more than just ‘alignment.’ Commitment is a level of psychological investment that drives personal, proactive action—and becomes even stronger when failure may have adverse consequences. At a very basic level, successful transformations typically reinforce ownership through clear accountability for specific targets and individual incentives for key players that are strongly aligned to success.”

To lead an organization through change, the executive leaders must convey a sense of ownership. It is a commitment that says, “We’re going to be successful, and I need your determination to help me reach that goal.”

Change is inevitable, and in today’s world, it seems constant. It takes a buy-in and without a plan to bring everyone on board, change is more wishful thinking than reality. Get real. Commit to your vision.

Book Scott Burrows, inspirational Leadership & Change Management Speaker for your next through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Are You Determined to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life?

When I deliver keynote addresses as an inspirational insurance and financial services sales speaker, I often encounter attendees new to the industry who ask me why I was attracted to the industry in the first place?

It is an easy question to answer: “I believed then, as I do now, that having the right coverage can make a real difference in someone’s life.” I carried that belief when I first sold insurance and financial services. I made it into the Million-Dollar Round Table within five years.

Now that I speak to groups across the country, I believe it more than ever!

Selling insurance is a valuable profession filled with purpose providing the sales person has the vision to help people and is determined to sell what insurance can do. In 2017, insurance broker Ryan Stewman wrote an article on his blog “Hardcore Closer” that I wholeheartedly endorse. Stewman said:

“Here’s the cold hard truth: no one wants insurance. What they want is what the insurance provides. Insurance is forced on the consumer and I’ve never heard a person say they would love to have more insurance. What they would love is for their car not to get in an accident, or their belongings not to get stolen.” I would add that no one wants to get hurt, experience a business fire or see their roof collapse either.

While some might argue that insurance is a “necessary evil,” I don’t see it as an evil at all. As an insurance and financial services speaker, I reassure everyone in the profession that what they do matters. To be successful they must possess the grit to influence every prospect that not having enough coverage or the right coverage can be catastrophic. It can be a life changer – and not for the better. Why then, are so few insurance salespeople willing to develop that grit?

Low Motivation

In 2019, the “Agent Survival Guide” website listed four reasons why so many agents walk away from the profession. These include a lack of resources, having too high expectations and poor management. However, the number one reason was low motivation. The article stated:

“As an insurance agent, you have daily opportunities to change your clients’ lives for the better. You can expect to get out of this job as much as you put in. That means if you truly care about your clients and put your best foot forward in finding a plan that will fit their needs, you can find joy in the fact that you’ve made a positive impact on them and their future.”

If you view a prospect not as an income stream, but as someone whose life you can positively impact, then you will make a huge difference. Do you have the vision to make that difference?

Finally, the Kaplan Financial Education website (March 29, 2019) gave five reasons why selling insurance is a great career. My favorite reason is that you can make a difference. KFE stated:

“Insurance policies protect people from financial loss because of unexpected events and circumstances…the research you do and recommendations you provide have a real impact on a client’s financial well-being down the road…insurance agents have the potential to help people achieve their financial and personal goals. They also prepare clients for unfortunate events and provide a measure of comfort to clients during such events.”
There are few professions that will make such a difference in someone’s life. Insurance sales is one of them. Do you have the determination to make that difference?

To book Scott Burrows, Inspirational Insurance and Financial Services Sales Speaker for your next meeting or convention, contact him through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169,

It is Not Enough to Lead, Be Accountable

 

In my keynote talks as a speaker on leadership and accountability, I have found that while nearly everyone wants to lead, relatively few understand that to lead is to also be accountable.

Accountability – or the lack of it – has become a major problem in organizations large and small. In a comprehensive study recently done by the Partners in Leadership consulting organization on “accountability,” it was found that 85 percent of professionals were not clear on what accountability meant, and a whopping 93 percent were “unable to align their work or take accountability for desired results.” From an employee standpoint, 84 percent blamed their leaders’ lack of accountability and responsibility for organizational failures.

Are You Determined to be Accountable?

In my keynotes on leadership and accountability, I often ask if those in the audience who “covet” being leaders are also determined to stand up and say, “I am responsible. I am where the buck stops.”

Business writer Paloma Cantero-Gomez in Forbes magazine (June 2019) lists five accountability traits that every leader must possess:  leaders must take full responsibility for their decisions; leaders must take responsibility for communication (so there are no misunderstandings); leaders must think and say “we” instead of “I”; leaders must run effective meetings; and finally, leaders must solicit feedback.

While each one of those points is important, where they lead is to employees feeling valued by the leader. Do you have the daily grit to value and to be accountable to every employee on your team?

In 2016, the American Psychological Association did a comprehensive “Work and Well-Being Survey.” The results of that study are not just important but vital to successful organizations. Among many other aspects, the survey found:

“More than 9 in 10 workers (who are supported by accountable leaders) said they feel motivated to do their best (91% vs. 38% of those without leadership support) … and have a positive relationship with supervisors (91% vs. 54%) and coworkers (93% vs. 72%).”

Not surprising, more than 85 percent of employees who feel their leaders are accountable recommend their companies as a great place to work.

It was ballplayer Bob “Buck” Rodgers who said:

“You can’t talk about leadership without talking about responsibility and accountability…you can’t separate the two. A leader must delegate responsibility and provide the freedom to make decisions, and then be held accountable for the results.”

The leader, in being accountable, must also be humble. Leadership is not about going it alone, it lies in being determined to go forward together. It cannot happen in a vacuum. While the leader must often make tough decisions, there is nothing that prevents that leader from listening to others, respecting everyone, and then being responsible enough to say, “Your solution may be better than mine, and I respect that.”

In workplaces where there is greater accountability there is less turnover, more cooperation and more loyalty. Accountability is a shared vision.

To book Scott Burrows, Motivational Leadership and Accountability Speaker for your next meeting, contact him through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

Keeping Teams Focused and Engaged Saves Lives

 

I consider my work as a motivational speaker for safety teams much more than a keynote speaking exercise. For me, the mission of motivating safety teams to stay focused and engaged prevents accidents and saves lives.

NIOSH

In a study published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) by Royce Moser, Jr, MD, MPH, Dr. Moser states:

“Simply calling a group of people a team does not make them one, as has been demonstrated too often when a ‘group’ effort was totally unsuccessful because a true team had never been formed.”

Bringing employees together and telling them they are a safety team does not make them a team, even if they share a common manual or they are exposed to the same safety signs. Dr. Moser continues:

“The manager will frequently find it essential to instill a sense of cooperation and support among the professionals and staff involved in order to obtain quality results… the essential criteria of a team are that the members are working together on a common taskeach member is essential to the effort, and the team effort is necessary for the satisfaction of individual needs.”

The onsite staffing service, Staff Management, emphasizes that a strong safety culture is one where employee teams feel personal ownership for the safety of everyone in the organization. Leadership teams should be champions of safety:

“Successful employee engagement in safety programs depends largely on the motivation and support of leadership teams. All members of the leadership team should strive to set positive examples and abide by the same safety policies expected of their employees…behavior-based safety can include leadership taking the time to observe employees and provide feedback, encouraging employees to stay safe and ensuring they are informed about all required safety procedures.”

How Determined is Your Safety Team?

As the two references above and other studies show, safety teams must be determined to commit to making a difference in their organizations. It is an active process where every member of the team must share a common vision to make their workforce safe no matter the size or the mission of the company.

Rebecca Timmins, writing for Safety + Health magazine, talked of a safety team vision where every member of the team must ask themselves: “What organizational structure do we need to support and sustain our vision?”

Ms. Timmins concludes: “Getting the ‘structure’ right improves the likelihood of success, with the side benefit of improving overall organization functioning.  Ensure you have well-defined roles and responsibilities for everyone to flourish. Ask for input on your vision from a diverse group of people and be open to refining it…make sure you and your people have the skills and capabilities needed to realize the vision.”

Without the safety team having the determination and the daily grit to make their shared vision to safety work, employees will not embrace the importance of safety. They will not be engaged.

Without a safety focus and shared engagement, the safety team will be little more than an assembled group of strangers; however, with focus and the resolve to make a difference, the safety team will prevent accidents and save lives. Be determined to make that difference.

 

Hire Scott Burrows, Inspirational Safety Team Speaker for your next meeting through this website or by calling us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Big Changes Ahead for Healthcare: Be the Provider not the Patient

 

Speaking to audiences on managing change in the healthcare industry, I often compare hospitals and clinics that are content with clinging to an outmoded mindset to patients awaiting miracles rather than getting legitimate medical help.

No matter your place in the healthcare system, change is either at your doorstep, or it’s coming at you from all directions. The changes are not coming quietly, and will demand a new vision.

Dr. Stephen Klasco, interviewed for Modern Healthcare (May 2019), said:

“We’re going through a once-in-a-lifetime change in healthcare from a B-to-B [Business to Business] model to a B-to-C model [Business to Consumer]; the physician and administrator as the boss to the patient is the boss. If you believe that … you have to fundamentally change how you view things.”

The medical facility and its providers must have the determination to manage the changes sweeping over the industry.

Managing Healthcare Change from All Directions

About a year ago, healthcare writer A.J. Abrawal identified at least six factors that are bringing about change in the industry:  technological advancements, a shift to practices that are more for-profit than non-profit, the changing landscape of the Affordable Care Act, the widespread use of patient data, the modernization of payment options, and more readily available healthcare advice.

Taking any of the changes identified and combining them with Dr. Klasco’s comment, it is easy to envision a scenario where healthcare is soon to become increasingly closer to a supermarket concept of picking and choosing options from a shelf. In fact, it’s about to become literal. For example, the October 4, 2019 issue of Supermarket News states:

“Next month, Sam’s Club plans to begin testing a program that offers members bundles of health care services — including medical, pharmacy, dental and vision care — for a low annual fee. [It is] Called Sam’s Club Care Accelerator Together with Humana.”

It is a given if the Sam’s Club model becomes successful, other national supermarket and wholesale stores will follow. By bundling services, consumers are manifesting a desire to implement a set of changes that the healthcare industry should have seen evolving quite some time ago.

In a 2018 survey sponsored by Aetna, it was seen that patients clearly want greater choice in their care. They want a more holistic approach of diet and exercise rather than relying on a practice for all of their care. Patients are more educated about their desires and treatment than ever before. The study summarized, in part, the findings in this manner:

“It’s clear that in the changing health care environment, transforming care delivery means considering care of the whole person. New care models such as value-based care, in which doctors are rewarded for improving patient outcomes, are creating opportunities to do just that…”

In this shift patients are wanting more choice and asking more questions. They are literally shopping for the best combination of services for their needs, and overall, they are demanding much greater transparency in how they are treated and billed. The industry will have no choice but to change to meet these needs in the years to come.

Book Scott Burrows, Motivational Healthcare Industry Change Management Speaker for your next healthcare industry meeting through this website or by calling us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Staying Focused and Resilient: What is Your Blueprint for Success?

In my addresses as a graduation and commencement keynote speaker, I frequently ask my audiences if they have the determination to stay focused and resilient in mapping out their blueprints for success.

“Staying focused” has become more difficult than ever. In a recent psychological survey that came out of Canada, 89 percent of workers, mostly Millennials, claim they waste time at work. Eighty-five percent of Millennials and Gen-Y admitted to being on the internet (for personal reasons) at work. Yet, here is the odd-ball statistic: 84 percent say constant work interruptions make them unhappy.

The Lack of Focus

In a 2018 study by Baylor University, 60 percent of college students “admitted” to being addicted to their cell phones; about 10 hours per day for women and 8 hours per day for men.

While I am not bashing the internet, cell phones or college students, we have entered an age of serious distraction. As I relate in my keynotes on staying focused and resilient, if our blueprints for success include welcoming distraction, a lack of focus and an absence of priorities, we welcome a career path that reassures a lack of direction.

Writer Jason De Mers for Entrepreneur magazine studied this increasing lack of focus. One of his conclusions concerned prioritization:  “You could also have trouble focusing simply because you aren’t sure what you should be focusing on. The typical entrepreneur (worker or student) has dozens of tasks on his or her plate at all times. So, if you’re one and unsure what to do next, you might jump among tasks frequently, leaving them half-finished, and only dedicating half your attention to any of them…you’ll need to work to establish a firmer system of prioritization.”

Interestingly, the lack of focus leads to a lessening of resiliency. If we focus on prioritizing a series of important tasks, for example, applying for grad school, getting into shape, raising our GPA or looking for work after graduation, and we are constantly distracted, the results will be a lessening of concentration and that leads to failure of the task.

Being focused on a priority allows alternative ideas, other paths or an expansion of knowledge to take place. Without focus, there is no vision, only scattered thoughts; without determination and the grit to push away distraction, there will be a lessening of results.

When I found myself in a hospital bed a quadriplegic, I was determined to get as well as my body would allow. I allowed myself the vision to see movement and daily improvement in my mind and body. I knew that through good times and bad I would need the intensity to be successful. I blocked out distraction and focused on the challenge at hand.

In speaking at graduations and commencements I issue the same kind of challenge to the graduates. In developing your blueprint for life, there will be hundreds, if not thousands of interruptions. There is a choice:  give in to the distractions or be passionate about your priorities.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Graduation and Commencement Keynote Speaker on staying focused and resilient, through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169