Given all the bustle and activity of a new year, as well as the looming March healthcare deadline, it’s no wonder independent agents are feeling a bit haggard these days.
Bob Epperly, a former Exxon executive, shared five tips with Insurance Business on how to redirect energy to the outlets that really count, and let go of those that are temporary and keep you awake at night.
1. It’s never enough.
Ambition is admirable, but if it’s all that drives you, no matter how much you accomplish, it will never be enough. If professional ambition is more important to you than anything else in your life, that’s a red flag that your life is dangerously unbalanced. The consequences will be painful feelings of emptiness, lack of fulfillment, and having missed out. Take steps now to restore balance, beginning with personal, non-work relationships.
2. No one ever says, at the end of their life, that they should have worked longer and spent less time with family.
When it’s all said and done, life is short, and many realize that time is life’s most precious resource. Intense focus on work tends to deprive professionals of opportunities with their loved ones – moments and memories that cannot be replaced. Set goals for how much time you’ll spend giving your family 100 percent of your attention each day and week, and stick to them!
3. Make communication a top priority.
The importance and value of real communication cannot be overemphasized. “More important than speaking is listening,” Epperly says. “My relationships immediately improved when I began listening very carefully to what was being said.”
4. Only you are responsible for your life.
The Serenity Prayer goes a long way in work-life balance; it reads: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Epperly says that recognizing he is responsible for his life and focusing on the aspects of it over which he has influence while recognizing those he needs to let go has been pivotal.
5. Accept who you are.
This can be challenging; it demands courageous self-reflection and letting go of the need for external approval. “When a friend asked me, ‘Do you think the world is ready to accept Bob Epperly just as he is?’ I suddenly saw that I had always felt I had to accommodate; that I wasn’t okay as I am,” he says. “I started to give myself permission to be me.”
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