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How insurance brokers can avoid burnout | Insurance Business

A top professional advisor has warned ambitious brokers that they may be doing serious damage to themselves and their business if they don’t pay attention to their mental wellbeing.

“I like to use the term The Kamikaze Effect in finance and peak performing companies – where people literally put their body on the line for the business,” says global coach Nikki Fogden-Moore.

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Fogden-Moore, whose specialty is in working with highly driven professionals, says the common denominator between such individuals is that they typically thrive in a high-octane environment.

“These high performers are fantastic at pushing through the pain when it comes to working long hours, dealing with high levels of mental stress and having a driven mindset and tenacious approach to business and life,” she tells Insurance Business.

However, Fogden-Moore says this ability to push through in times of pressure often causes individuals to ignore worrying signs of stress.

“We can often mask burn-out without even realising it, as we’re not paying attention to the signs that manifest themselves emotionally and physically,” she says.  

So what should brokers be looking out for?

“Lack of sleep, irritability, short tempers, frustration, uneven energy levels, cravings for sugar, caffeine, increased alcohol and intake of stimulants is just the start — back pain, indigestion, lack of attention to detail, making lots of small mistakes, missing information, headaches, blurred vision and feeling of overwhelm are significant signs to do a personal inventory on health and mindset,” she says.

Fogden-Moore also warns that brokers could face serious repercussions if they fail to recognise the signs or choose to ignore them.

“Financially, personally and commercially burn-out is an expensive lesson to learn, it can manifest itself in bad decision making, massive mistakes made in an instant by lack of detail, poor levels of engagement with clients and colleagues and the inability to communicate clearly when it’s needed the most,” she says.

“Burn-out has a ripple effect as it creates a high stress environment mentally when we are challenged, which means we are not operating in our best IQ and EQ. This can put added pressure on relationships at home and at work.”

It all leads to what Fogden-Moore calls the ‘shut-down’.

“The ‘shut-down’ happens when people go into survival mode, don’t pick up the signs early enough, feel like it looks weak to be tired or overwhelmed and just don’t know how to ask for help,” she says.

“Avoiding conversations around work, not wanting to share at home and working long hours unproductively is a pressure cooker for shame, lack of feeling valued and poor decision making. Stepping out of the rut and assessing your vitality bank — what depletes and what completes you at work and at home, are crucial elements for high performers.”

Undoubtedly, there will be many brokers who recognise at least some of the signs of burn-out in themselves – but Fogden-Moore says there are some fairly straight-forward steps to overcoming the issue.

“Step one is to firmly recognise that sustainable success comes from a trifecta of healthy, wealthy and wise,” she tells Insurance Business.

“Pushing down emotions and physical signs your body is giving you is a recipe for disaster. What is your leadership quota in life? Who and what do you value the most?” she asks. “Pay attention to fueling your mind and body with quality food, good sleep and a sharp brain for work by knowing you are in charge of physical and mental success.”

 

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