Pain is a Barrier to Glory

Strength >> Pain
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Last week at NAIFA Nebraska, I had the chance to see an interesting speaker, strongman Dave Whitley aka The Iron Tamer

This man not only bent a 60 penny nail and ripped a deck of cards in half with his bare hands

he discussed the psychology of self-imposed limitations that prevent us from breaking our chains and achieving excellence.

The Marines say “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

Benjamin Franklin stated “There are no gains without pains.”

Strongman Slim “The Hammer Man” was insightful when he went into WHY we stop before our full potential, be it bending steel or hitting Top of The Table through introduction-based production.  He said: It’s not that you don’t have the power; it’s that you can’t get the power out because of fear.  The power is there, inside you.  The question is, how do you bring it out?

How do you go beyond the fear, into the glory that awaits on the other side?

One way is to follow Tim Ferriss’ favorite approach of fear setting, where instead of focusing on the goal you explore what is THE absolute worst thing that can happen, and how you can recover from it.  For those of us in financial services, most of the time the biggest downside is that they say “no” and our ego gets momentarily bruised.  But as ultrarunner and former Navy SEAL David Goggins says, it will callous your feelings and eventually won’t hurt anymore.

So the outcome of asking for introductions or calling that potential huge client at WORST is some people say “no” and you become mentally stronger.  No physical damage, no big financial losses, nothing more than a small slap to the ego that stings for a moment and then you move on by mentally saying “next”.

And if they say “yes”? 

Potentially life changing for the better.

That is a very low risk for a high potential return, a great investment if ever there were one. So sit down and think of all the bad stuff, so that you can face your fears in the business.  Once you start really looking at them they aren’t that scary, not like giant spiders with glowing eyes.

Big Scary Spider!

Now THAT is something to fear, even more so than fear itself.

A second approach is to take micro actions for success.  Because movement overcomes fear.

How do we eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

How do we write $500k of premium in a year?

By looking at our business, seeing what is most profitable, and planning to increase the amount of those activities to a level where the output of the daily work sums up to $500k or whatever the goal is that will take you through that barrier of fear to the glory on the other side.

So let’s say that your best clients are young attorneys, and currently you average about $2k of business off of them a year each.  Can you get through your fear of hard work and success to work with 250 of them this year?

Probably not.  Just being honest.

But can you:

  1. Increase the amount of business you write on each one by doing additional lines of business (life insurance, investments, disability insurance, property and casualty, etc,)?
  2. Increase your average revenue per client by working with clients in this space that make more money (ones that are more experienced, specialized, older, or in a different physical location)?
  3. Build in escalators for future production such as COLA (cost of living adjustments) and guaranteed purchase options?  I know dozens of producers that make MDRT just off of these components every single year.
  4. Re-work your planning cycle to make it take less time, so that you can cycle through more introductions a year, thus producing more business in the same amount of time/meetings?
  5. Tweak your process to increase your flow through rate from Introduction to Client?
  6. And of course, use what The Intro Machine teaches you to get tons more introductions to these people?

Let’s say you did $100k of production last year, 12:1 introduction to client ratio, $2k per client business.

Assuming you can increase your production per client to $2.5k through applying the above concepts (laid out in depth in Choices: Creating a Financial Services Career available at, and you can get your sales ratio down to 10:1 via practice as laid out in other posts on this site. Let’s say you can also decrease your sales cycle from four meetings to three by addressing concerns earlier in your planning process, adding some information sent to the potential client between meetings, and creating agreement on a more efficient process. Applying these improvements on the same amount of activity would more than double your business in the next twelve months assuming the exact same introductions in terms of quality and quantity. It is not a stretch of the imagination to see that your process improvements combined with some more and slightly better potential clients via the concepts of The Intro Machine puts you within striking distance of that $500k target.

As we have worked through this mental exercise your fear has dissipated like the morning mist, because firing up your neocortex disables most of the fear circuitry in your brain.  But even though we have eliminated most of the fear, let’s continue the exercise because you might as well keep going and get to that $500k of production!

$500k on $2500 per client is 200 clients.  Huge job.  Absolutely monstrous, and in a different plane of existence than what you are doing now.  But let’s keep going.

200 clients is 2,000 introductions needed on a 10:1 ratio.

That’s 10 introductions a day.

If you are keeping 2.5 meetings per day, that is 4 introductions per kept meeting.

Can you do that?

I know you have gotten four introductions in a meeting before.

Do it again.

Use an agenda, use feeder lists, give your clients your Virtucard.  Do all of it, because you have done 4 introductions in a meeting before and can do so again and again.

Will you get to a half million of production in the next twelve months?

Probably not,  because I doubt you will quintuple your business due to infrastructure shortfalls and just plain not being used to working that hard.  I bet you The Iron Tamer didn’t start out bending 60 penny nails, that his tendons and muscles needed to develop over time.

But if you can start getting four introductions at a meeting, just once a day, I guarantee your business will be much stronger in six months.  And if you do it once a day you can get to doing it more often, and your number of kept appointments a day will grow quarter by quarter.  And from the repetition your skills will strengthen, so your revenue per client will increase.

Soon, you won’t remember the fears that kept you below MDRT, that kept you from producing and unleashing your power.

As your internal structure toughens from lifting weights, so too will your mental resolve from facing your fears of failure, and failing more often to succeed.  Bend the world to your will. 

Push through the pain.

Push through to the glory.

Because pain is merely a barrier in your mind, a paper-thin wall in your psyche keeping you from greatness and glory.

Push on through to the other side.

When your going through Hell, keep on going.

Heaven awaits beyond the veil of tears.

Break that wall, break those chains.

Break the barrier.

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