I was recently watching a gentleman named Jonathan Fields interview Dr. Brené Brown. There ware many insights I took away from the interview, but one idea in particular really resonated with me.

Jonathan shared an opinion that entrepreneurs start and run one of two types of businesses. The first is the entrepreneur who finds/creates a product or service and then goes out looking for someone who will buy it. The second, and the most successful, is the entrepreneur who identifies a community they want to serve. They then go out to that community and have in depth conversations to learn what it is that community needs to be more successful. The entrepreneur then builds his or her business on helping provide what is most needed by the community they have committed to serve.

I could write about the countless reasons why I feel the second approach is far superior to the first, but I'll limit myself to one that became obvious to me during one of my coaching calls this week.

What's your motivation?

I was talking to one of my favorite producers. Like so many, he is feeling completely beat up after a brutal fourth quarter. We were talking about how fourth quarter is over; its time to leave it behind, start taking back control, and rebuild momentum a little at a time.

Several years ago, this producer had just missed getting his card to play in the PGA and is just now really re-committing to his golf game. He is taking lessons and showing real progress. He was talking about how he would like to be making the kind progress in his business that he is in his golf game. He kept saying things like, "If I can . . ." and "I don't know if I can, but . . . "

Finally, I stopped him and said, "I don't want you to say 'can' anymore. There is no question at all of whether or not you 'can'. You have already proven that you 'can'. The question to ask is 'will' you?"

Fourth quarter and healthcare reform has shifted the focus of too many producers and agencies to a product that they expect to serve their needs. Too many are left with self-doubt and with questions that start with "Can I?" The sad thing is, when we ask questions that start that way, all we see are the reasons why we can't.

Find your source for mutual success

I reminded him of the community he has always been committed to serving, and how serving the needs of that community has brought him great success. His business community is comprised of the clients that he works so hard to make more successful at their own business. But his community also includes the team he has working for him, and his family at home.

Let fourth quarter go. Stop focusing on a product over which you have no control. Stop asking yourself, "Can I?"

Instead, focus on the community you have committed to serving and start asking, "Will I?" (If you haven't thought about your community before, now is the time to do so.) Figure out what they need to be more successful. And ask yourself, "Will I do what it takes in my business to be the one who helps them be more successful?" Do that, and your own success is guaranteed.

There is no greater motivation to do the hard work than asking ourselves, "Will I do what it takes to better serve my community?" I know my producer friend's answer was a resounding "Hell yeah I will!"


Photo by Elnur