Personal Growth & Development

If Street Sweepers Can Smile, Then I've Got No Right to Feel Upset

By Brad O'Neill, Benefits Strategies

There are days sales producers don’t want to get out of bed to go sell another deal or account managers have yet another tough renewal to battle. Let’s face it, selling and renewing insurance is a tough business, and rejection is common in the industry. To win consistently, you must remain positive and optimistic and think differently. The positive mindset can set you apart from your competition. You can look at life as cloudy or sunny, but the results of positive thinking may just make you smile more in the future. But are you an optimistic person or more of a pessimist? Is the glass half full or half empty? Sometimes I just listen to a song by Jimmy Buffet to lift my spirits. No, you don’t need to go to Margaritaville, you just need to have a more positive attitude, dude!

Life and other people’s drama can cause one to look at life in a pessimistic way. Just being around negative people can affect your mindset. No matter your role within the company, you are an ambassador for your insurance agency. You interact with people inside and outside the office. It’s up to you to make things positive for your team. It is important to remain positive and professional throughout the most stressful times. Take a minute to look inside and do a personal attitude check for yourself each day.

How do you recognize when this stress is silently overtaking that positive attitude? According to the ProfMed 2019 Stress study, “lack of sleep, losing one’s temper and eating too much or too little as the top three indicators of stress.” When you find yourself a little short-tempered with family or coworkers, maybe suddenly packing on the pounds and having restless night sleep, take a minute to reduce your stress. Take a walk, meditate, and think positive thoughts. My 8th grade math teacher once told me, “For every problem there is a solution,” and that holds true today. If you have an issue at work, take time to think of a positive way to solve the problem. People like to help others, and particularly they like to help people who are positive in nature.

Just look at the benefits in life you can gain in just being more optimistic in life and living with a sunnier attitude. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic shows that people who live a more positive lifestyle “will increase their life span by providing better physical and psychological well-being.” Even your cardiovascular health improves. With an optimistic attitude, you can even reduce your chance of getting the common cold plus you will tend to smile more often which radiates positivity to others.

So how can insurance professionals become more optimistic? How do you not let the rejections in sales personally effect your life? Work is tough, and as you look at your goals for this year, keep a positive attitude.

When you try to radiate positivity when you are driving to a renewal or sales presentation, queue up your favorite song or listen to legendary songwriter and singer Jimmy Buffett’s song, “It’s My Job.” He was having a difficult day and saw a street sweeper just whistling a song and having a good old time. In the song, he notes:

“A street sweeper came whistlin' by
He was bouncin' every step
It seemed strange how good he felt
So I asked him while he swept

He said "It's my job to be cleaning up this mess
And that's enough reason to go for me
It's my job to be better than the rest
And that makes the day for me."

As Buffet goes on to sing, “If street sweepers can smile, then I've got no right to feel upset.” It hits home as we all have bills to pay and families to support. We need to pick ourselves up, put on a smile each day, and do our best work. A positive outlook makes things better.  

So, what can you do to be more positive? It’s simple if you think about it.

  1. Daily Positivity: Wake up and think positive thoughts. It helps start the day right if you take the time.
  2. Positive People: Invite positive people into your center of influence as happiness is contagious.
  3. Humor: Allow yourself more time to smile and laugh. Practice smiling.
  4. Live Healthy: Studies show exercise and eating healthy foods create a more positive attitude.
  5. Give: Find time to volunteer or help others as it makes you feel better, and you might gain a new friend too.

So, turn up that music in the car on the way to work today and eat a healthy snack. Heck sing your favorite song as loud as you can until people stare at you at the stoplight. Just give them a smile, set that growth mindset, and go win more deals. It’s your job!

Learn more about the author, Brad O'Neill.

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