I believe we’re either growing or stagnating.

I’ve had many interesting conversations with my son about growth and how many people stop learning new things. I hadn’t considered the “who is learning” concept, and I’ve done a lot of thinking about it recently. He took me snow skiing this winter, and except for trying it during my youth, this was a completely new activity for me. The most fascinating part was how intrigued other people were that I tried it! Another woman on the rope tow hill was also learning to ski, and she was 15 – 20 years my senior. Other than that, all the “learners” were kids.

The horror I felt that I might stagnate gave me a swift kick of motivation to think intentionally about learning and growing in all areas of my life, not just business. I’ve since made a commitment to continue trying new things and saying “Yes” to new opportunities that arise, no matter how much I may instantly react with the thought, “That’s not ME. I would never do that.” Well, why not? It takes getting over some self-limiting beliefs that have accrued over the years, and so far, the result has been enjoying myself a whole lot more!

We’ve written about growth a couple of times recently, as #Growth is our theme for the year. You can read about the theme here and how we’ve organized our #Q4Live conference around it here. We figured it was time to ask others what growth means to them, and I’m delighted to share various perspectives from our team and around the industry.


Amanda BrummittAmanda Brummitt, FACHE

Principal at Brummitt Group

The meaning of the word “Growth” has evolved over the years for me. It was initially all about checking boxes and achieving. I had my first job at 12. I was a manager of a national retail store at 16.  I was a director for the largest hospital corporation in the world at 23, and I needed to achieve tangible metrics earlier and better than my peers. I had a lot to prove to myself and the world. Growth was getting more and more achievements, with title and salary being my strong metrics. 

Around 30, my view of growth shifted towards work/life balance and personal fulfillment than my career.  Was I burned out?  Did I peak too early?  Or had I just checked enough boxes?  Observing others doing it “better” than me in the work/life balance realm was a big catalyst.  And by checking enough boxes, I no longer had anything to prove to myself. 

Now, in my 40s, growth is still about delivering a constantly better product to my clients. But it’s also about having time for rest, play, and family. Then, I’m energized to give my best at work.  Growth is about balancing what is good for me with what is good for my clients. And growth is keeping my ego in check when I forget this!


Bret BrummittBret Brummitt

Founder, Generous Benefits

Growth has taken on a different meaning for me in the last year. Our agency has developed naturally in a much healthier manner than expected because we react well together as a team due to adding talented and cherished coworkers. Because this has occurred, the question of "Why did we get lucky?" has been a twofold question of

  • “What did we do right?” (if we can understand why we work well together)
  • "Can we cultivate this into a deeper team collaboration and/or duplicate the luck"?

Investing time into the Kolbe assessments has been a tool to grow our understanding of how we work together and what aspects might create less enjoyment when working together.  Because if things are going well, you don't want to lose sight of the dissatisfaction that can erode the enjoyment.  Due to this newer understanding of each teammate's perfect set of strengths and styles, we have adjusted our communication habits and worked on some role realignment as well as added in a few more faces to help us bridge gaps both internally and in areas that we don't exactly match up with our clients. 

And revenue must follow too.  Growing to round out a good team that collaborates doesn't mean much if we don't have the sustainable baseline revenue to support the agency.  But, having a team of extremely supportive, compassionate, and dynamic people makes the job of transferring the confidence we have internally to the confidence of our current and future clients in that same team extremely easy and gratifying.  And when you transfer confidence easily, you attract the consumer you desire.


Brandy Clark

Brandy Clark

Content Development, Q4intelligence

When I think of growth, I think of open-mindedness, always. Any kind of growth requires keeping an open mind, stepping outside of your comfort zone, and not being afraid of learning new ideas or of change. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. Closing your mind to new possibilities and ways of doing things will only keep you stagnant, and in the same place you are now.


Eliza CulhaneEliza Leder

Program Management, Q4intelligence

The wonderful thing about growth is its uncanny ability to change shape. It’s so easy to brush off growth as something as simple as “make more money” or “gain more clients.” But that’s only one face of the mountain. When growth takes shape in an impactful way, it’s done so intentionally. Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines, once said, “We have a “strategic” plan. It’s called doing things.” There’s something riveting and cringe-worthy about the unchecked, unintentional, reactionary “growth” that many organizations put themselves through that often results in burnout, toxic culture, and unhappy clients. 

Growth should take the shape of your needs, not your dreams. Meeting your needs will enable you to build your dreams. If you need better processes, more time to focus, or a better communication system, then grow in the direction of those needs. As your needs are met and change, the shape of your growth will change and gradually bring you closer to your dream. 


Kevin Curran-1

Kevin P. Curran, CLU®

Partner, Plan Architect, Salt Margin

For 2023, “Growth” is a newfound understanding and appreciation for the strengths and limitations of my unique perspective. I believe intelligence is a God-given gift, but that perspective is a grit-based attribute earned through learning and ingenuity, struggle, and failure. My perspective gives me the confidence to grow in ways only I know how, and my limitations lead me to seek new challenges and mentors that can teach me to grow in ways I cannot imagine.

In 2023, “Growth” is also revenue growth 😊 While it's nice to introspect, we’re in sales, and Production Numbers are the picture that paints a thousand words. 


Joel Daniels

Joel Daniels

Chief Advocate, Revolution Benefits Group

Growth/development is among one of our core values. It's personally important to me because without being provided the space, grace & support to improve as a human...I'm not certain exactly where I'd be. From the beginning of my professional career, I've been fortunate enough to have leaders that set the example and provided direction/guidance in various ways. Both good and...not so much. But even in the less-than-dope examples,  there's lessons...and I'm thankful. 

Key things that have helped me on the path:

  1. Influential leaders that showed an interest in me without expecting anything in return.
  2. Contextual challenges (sometimes adversity) that forced me to adapt/change/grow/learn.
  3. Supportive peers and team members assuring me that I was on the right path.
  4. Mentors and coaches (direct and through observation and books) that have added insight based on their experiences that I borrowed from and applied (with flavor) to be part of me.

As the Mandalorian says, “This is the way.”


Olivia Hall

Olivia Hall

Client Experience, Q4intelligence

When I think of growth, I think of perseverance.

Sometimes we may be up to our neck with work and personal responsibilities, but growth takes continuous effort. So, no matter what, we must persevere and stay accountable if we want to grow. After all, we can be willing to grow, but perseverance and accountability make us able to grow.

On the other hand, sometimes we don't recognize how much we've grown until we reflect or catch ourselves behaving or acting in a way that demonstrates growth. This could be as an individual, team, or organization.

Anyway, those moments shouldn't be ignored! We can be intentional about our growth while recognizing that we grow with our experiences. Let's pat ourselves on the back and let the growth inspire and motivate us.

For instance, it can motivate us to continue paving our path to growth. Next thing you know, that motivation leads to a snowball effect as we see growth in various areas of our lives.

On a separate note — I think growth shouldn't be approached autonomously. One of the best ways to grow and develop is through those around you. Perhaps it could be close friends, a mentor, a community, etc.

So, to grow, you need to practice perseverance, reflection, recognition (and appreciation!), and curiosity.


Meg Hooper

Meg Hooper

Marketing, Q4intelligence

Growth, to me, is much more than making progress. Growth is a way to better understand your set goals, where you are within them, and how to move forward to progress these goals. This can be family, mental health, physical health, or job focused, but generally, it’s the progression of a topic in your life. Growth is not as simple as a good or bad, but a way to learn and gain insight on different life topics. Growth, to me, is looking back at a situation and finding new clarity or lessons from within.


Mike Malhame 

Michael F. Malhame

CEO & Founder, MyHealthily

Business growth often comes from unusual places - it rarely makes an appointment or knocks on your door requesting a meeting.

Instead, growth opportunities float above and around the day-to-day and emit soft signals that are not obvious. Or, business growth comes from a market segment that others have avoided even though they are hiding in plain sight, like small group health benefits. 

Our core belief is that because small businesses drive the U.S. economy, the largest expenditure in those businesses is people-related, and the fastest-growing cost element in small businesses is health benefits. So, we know it's a large and complicated topic on every business owner's mind.

Many brokers avoid the small group market or avoid making their products “fit” into the needs of small groups because the economics don't work or because they simply have the wrong tools to turn the small group market's needs into profitable business. 

Accordingly, we believe that MyHealthily's business success comes from our recognition that small group health issues are best solved by giving brokers, the owner's trusted advisors, tools that make it easy and profitable for them to help their small business customers.  Remember that if a producer writes 100 accounts with an average of 22 enrolled, they will be a million-dollar producer. 


Heidi Rasmussen

Heidi Rasmussen

Co-Founder & CEO, freshbenies

This theme resonates with me because I didn't start as a growth-minded person - it's been a life-long journey. When I was 15 years old, all I wanted was the gold management badge at JCPenney. After college, I remember thinking I was "done learning." At 22, I got the gold badge and was forced to set my sights higher. It's a good thing I met Reid (for more reasons than this) because he introduced me to a whole world of personal development which is when I really engaged "learning mode."

At this point in my life, I realize that growth comes from consistent, intentional learning, alongside an openness to change—and I can't do that well in my own strength. As a Christ-follower, growth is my calling. As I grow continuously in my relationship with God, I'm thankful for the work He does in and through me, and I look forward to the growth adventure ahead.


Pete Travis

Pete Travis, JD

The Howard Group, Inc.

Growth has a directional component. Toss a rock into a pond, and the ripples outward will gain in size but reduce in impact. That’s not growth. That’s indiscriminate expansion. Growth requires focus and refinement. Figure out what you are and where you want to go, then do your homework. Gather the knowledge and necessary tools, move forward, assess, refine, and move forward again. Rinse and repeat. To use a cliché, it’s not the destination; it’s the journey. Professional growth requires a dynamic approach, intellectual curiosity, and moving feet.  Stasis is death professionally.   

Help your team learn and grow with the Q4i Professional Development Plan. Click below to learn more. 

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