I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Frank Sinatra fan. His classic swagger, commanding presence, the tilt of his fedora and without a doubt, his unmistakable baritone voice. When most kids in high school were listening to Maroon 5 and Nicki Minaj, mine were used to hearing “Alexa, play Frank Sinatra radio on Sara’s Pandora”. Without fail, any time the iconic song “My Way” played, anyone within earshot would belt out the infamous ending of the song, “I did it my way” with arms outstretched as if declaring our own independence to the world.
There’s a lot to be said for independence. Doing what you want, when you want, how you want. Being creative, innovative, even daring and getting the credit for the results. Wow, what a rush! And while there’s a good deal of upside to independence, especially when you’re an Independent Agent, there’s a fair amount of downside that many don’t realize, much less put into words.
Independence, by its very nature suggests a lack of dependence and everything that the lyrics Sinatra belted out seem to speak. I would like to offer a bit of a contrarian view, which is that the alternative to “independence” doesn’t have to be “dependance” and successful leaders know the value of balance between the two.
There’s an interesting story about the origin of Frank’s blockbuster hit. The song was originally composed as “Comme d’Habitude” (“As Usual”) by other songwriters and later adapted by Sinatra’s pianist and made famous with the title “My Way”. As leaders, think of how often the typical “As Usual” leadership mindset leads to doing things “my way” and “on my own”. That said, great leaders know that continually and independently living in a “my way” leadership mode can be dangerous and sometimes even detrimental. Perhaps that’s why 75% of all Fortune 500 CEO’s meet regularly with peer-coaching groups. In leadership, especially when all eyes are on you, there can be a great sense of loneliness when it feels as though you’re the only one who’s facing a particular challenge and it seems like no one else could possibly be facing the challenges that threaten your organization. Sometimes leaders can feel a deep sense of independence … or even isolation because the issues are particularly big or threaten to force you into uncharted territory, uh hmm….like all that COVID forced us to deal with. Other times as a leader, you just feel your well of creativity has run dry.
Have you ever thought about how helpful it would be to lean into other like-minded professionals, many of whom either are or have walked the same path you’re on and the opportunity to leverage their perspective and experience? If you’ve never been in an “iron sharpening iron” relationship you might not even know how comforting and exhilarating they can be, all at the same time. And yes, while relationships like this do in fact create dependence, it’s smart dependence because two (or more) heads are always better than one when you wisely leverage perspectives that you trust and respect, even when it involves pushing you out of your comfort zone in order to grow.
Growth like this isn’t for everyone though. It’s only those who know they don’t have to have all the answers all the time and that it’s not just okay but smart to lean into others for perspective and be challenged to keep growing as a professional, not to mention the overflowing value to your organization.
If that’s you then a MyNetwork facilitated mastermind group is right for you. Each group is carefully curated for a vibrant, synergistic member chemistry. Each season is balanced between activities that enhance your leadership skills with intentional networking among your own group as well as the broader network of professionals in the insurance vertical across the US. To learn more about how you can take advantage of the immeasurable value MyNetwork visit our website at www.MyNetworkINS.com or email questions to MyNetwork@BIGiOK.com
While doing it “my way” may have sold over 150 million records and won “Old Blue Eyes” double-digit Grammys over the course of his career, that mentality creates a steep climb to leadership success, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. Besides being an Independent Agent, any other type of independence in our industry can create pitfalls of leadership that just aren’t necessary if you’re daring enough to avail yourself to the opportunities for growth and collaboration that being a part of a MyNetwork facilitated mastermind group can bring. Cutting edge leaders who want to keep growing themselves and their organizations to the next level of impact and effectiveness know that a measure of dependence on other like-minded and experienced professionals is just plain smart. What are you waiting for? Apply today to be a part of the national MyNetwork season kicking off again in October.