The Wealth Cast Ep 17 - Scott Addis - Perfecting Your Growth Mindset

Chas is joined by Scott Addis of Beyond Insurance to discuss Scott’s Growth Mindset Index, an important tool and key for personal and business growth. They delve deep into the concept, discussing the five elements of a growth mindset: Passion, emotional intelligence, drive, gratitude, and resilience. Scott also identifies three types of people relative to their growth mindset: The quitter, the camper, and the climber, and how important it is to surround yourself with the latter of the three.

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Today, I’m very pleased to be joined by Scott Addis of Beyond Insurance. Scott is the CEO and founder of Beyond Insurance, is an industry leader, and has been named Philadelphia finalist for Ink Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, as well as one of the 25 most innovative agents in America.
Beyond Insurance is a consulting firm that offers leadership trading, cultural transformation and talent, and tactical development for enlightened professionals who are looking to take their practice to the next level.

On this podcast, Scott and I are going to discuss his concept, which he calls the Growth Mindset Index, and the general importance of having a growth mindset as you pursue your career, no matter what industry you find yourself in.

Scott, welcome to The Wealth Cast. I’m so glad you’re here.

Thank you so much, Chas.

This is a great opportunity from my perspective, Scott, to talk to you about one of the articles that you wrote about the fixed, versus a growth, mindset, and how to think about it, how to use it to your advantage as you grow your career, wherever your career may be—in business, or in your practice, or whatever your chosen profession might be.

So why don’t we start sort of at 60,000 feet, and if you could share with me, what led to your thinking about the growth mindset, what helped you think about creating this gauge that we’re going to discuss for evaluating your growth mindset, and what you think the advantages to someone might be to adopt the growth mindset.

Sure, it’s interesting. I’m going to go back to my college days. I was a psychology major at Princeton, and my senior thesis was on learned helplessness. The concept of learned helplessness is when someone feels lack of control over the outcomes of their actions. What happens over time, you become helpless. So I kind of never felt I’d ever use that again. It was fascinating, and I went through it. And then as I got in business over time, what I realize you have some people that literally, in the midst of adversity are always climbing, always progressing, always becoming better, but then other people somehow shun and move back. So it’s interesting that it really started, I would say, my senior year in college, with really studying the fact that learned helplessness is really a very debilitating situation. It’s something that we need to deal with.

So is learned helplessness the conflict between the fixed and growth mindset, or how does that fit into the structure?

It is. If you think of mindset—first of all, what is a mindset? It’s a set of assumptions, methods, beliefs, and attitudes that everyone holds. I mean, you have a mindset, I have a mindset. And it’s so powerful that it orients the way a person thinks acts, feels, and handles situations. So a growth mindset is a person that feels control over the outcomes, and when they feel so, they can actually have control: They have energy and passion to move ahead in their career. On the other hand, if one has a fixed mindset, you said, “You know, I really can’t progress. I can’t move ahead.” So they become very stagnant.

I think there’s both internal and external factors. Today, we’re actually having this conversation in the midst of COVID-19, and on the back end of the election, and a lot of people at this point are feeling their external factors that really impair their ability to move forward. And when that happens, you have a choice. You can say, you know what, I can either give up or I can progress.

Yeah, so it’s sort of about stretching beyond your comfort zone in so many words.

Yeah, it’s about understanding you have anxiety and dealing with anxiety and pushing through it. It’s interesting Chas, there’s a guy who I love named Paul Stoltz. Paul Stoltz actually is the Olympic coach, teaching grit, resilience and adversity for the 2021 Olympics. He’s written six books, but anyhow, in one of the books he wrote called The Adversity Quotient, he speaks about three people: the quitter, the camper, and the climber. The quitter has given up on life, it’s always someone else’s fault, and never takes personal responsibility. His view of the world is, quitters can be debilitating, and stay away from the quitter. Now the camper gets to a certain level and camps out, and they say “Enough is enough, I worked hard, I progressed, and now’s the time to take a break.” But the camper also has so much more potential not being realized. The climber is always trying to progress, and I feel in many ways my profession and my life has been dealing with people that somehow are camping out. I try to say, “I think I want to inspire them to say, ‘look, put your climbing boots back on, and get to the next level.’” So I would say that the quitter, the camper, the climber is a good way of saying you’re either in a fixed, or a growth mindset.

Gotcha. And so you in your experience, are using your experience with this. You’ve created a gauge to help people assess where they are, and then to identify, I believe it’s five areas that they need to address, correct?

Yes, I did create a Growth Mindset Index or Survey—GMI. So a person can go through a series of 10 questions and basically get their GMI, which is a Growth Mindset Index.

And you’ve used this with your coaching clients, and to help them identify the areas that they believe they need to address.

Yes, and in each area, by the way, they get a sub-score for the five which are passion, emotional intelligence, drive, gratitude, and resilience. And all five, by the way, are very important.

Yeah, so why don’t we just walk casually through each one of those, and maybe we can talk about each one and see how they fit together in the big picture?

Sure. Let’s talk about the first characteristic of a growth mindset, and that is basically passion. Passion is loving what you do. I mean, you are Chas, a very passionate person, and that makes you very attractive. It stimulates your mind, motivates your efforts. So the first one is really focusing on passion, and does one have passion.

And do you think passion is something you can learn to have? Or do you think it’s passion you develop by finally finding the thing that drives you?

Yes, you hit it: finding what drives you. But you can ask questions such as, “How long has it been since I was so excited about a work related item or something personally? Do I find myself getting excited when I share for example, my value proposition or unique innovation? Is my energy contagious?” So you can actually score yourself in some ways on passion, but, you know, passion is critical as it means you love where you are in life.

Yeah, I think some folks would call it “following your bliss,” right? Finding the thing that really gets you up in the morning, and finding the mechanism that you can use to chase that.

Exactly.

It’s really important in my experience: Those folks like yourself who’ve been really successful in their chosen area, wherever that area might be—maybe medicine and maybe business—have this inherent spring to their step. They really enjoy what they’re doing, you can tell they enjoy what they’re doing, and it doesn’t mean you don’t have a bad day from time to time, but they’re passionate about it. They really love it. Passion is super important. What about emotional intelligence, which I think is the second one you referenced?

Well, it’s interesting, a lot of people think that IQ is the determinant for a successful person. And I’m not saying it wouldn’t be great to have all the smarts in the world. But all the research and for an example person—Angela Duckworth has done a lot of work on grit. She would actually talk about the importance of emotional intelligence. EI is basically being able to read people—being able to understand, being able to put yourself out there and try to understand how you might feel if you’re in their position. And within emotional intelligence, it allows you, for example, to be more self aware, to self regulate, to motivate, to show empathy, and of course, social skills. So I would suggest that where passion is very critical, so is emotional intelligence.

And would you say that in the aggregate, that comes across as authenticity and honesty and straightforwardness?

Yeah, exactly, and Chas, there’s so many people today that are great people, but somehow they lack EI. They just don’t know how to put themselves in the shoes of others, but I certainly believe that when you’re talking about a growth mindset, it is very important to go ahead and say, “How might that person feel? How do I make them feel better?” and so forth.

Yeah, I think particularly in the advice business, it’s really critical to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, so that you can then explain the concepts, or the course of action in a way that’s going to resonate with that person. At the end of the day, as an advisor like yourself to businesses or in my role, it’s really critical to be able to draw that clear picture for someone, between where they are today and where they’re going to be, and help them make the decisions they need to get there.

Exactly.

So this one, I think is the next one. I think it’s really important, at least in my observation, casual observation of people, is drive.

Well, drive is basically the desire to succeed, the desire to go ahead and to move closer to your goals. The desire to go ahead and win. It’s critical.

What do you think the engine in drive is? Is it? Is it necessarily monetary? Is it personal achievement? Do you think it runs a gamut?

Well, you might be surprised at this Chas, but I’ve actually asked that question hundreds of times, and here’s the way I frame it: I live every day with a fear of failure, and I openly share that with people. In some ways, it’s a greatest thing in the world. Because you work every day saying, “What if I cannot meet this person’s expectation? What if I can’t do this?” So in reality, it drives you incessantly. I would rather I think, be a person who—rather than has fear of failure—is driven for the quest of success, but as I opened up with people, I cannot tell you how many very talented and successful people say, “Scott, it is that fear of failure that drives me incessantly.”

Yeah, that’s been my experience as well. I’ve described it to people, at least from my own perspective, as being in a race and knowing that someone is right behind you. That they’re overtaking you at all times. In business, you sort of have to think that way, right? You can’t afford to slow. You have to continue to lean forward towards the tape. That is the easiest way that I’ve come to think about drive, but I’m sure everyone looks at a different little bit differently.

Another angle to take, Chas, is one of grit. And grit is, I think, tied into drive. If you think about grit, grit is basically your ability to go ahead and confront obstacles, failures, adversity, distraction and plateaus, and progress and move through it. And I would say drive and grit together are a very powerful combination.

Yeah, you need—well, I think, you know, in my own experience, when you have obstacles that you need to overcome in your career, issues in business, whatever it might be: passion and drive get you through a lot of times those obstacles, right? Because drive comes from passion and at least in my experience, they’re really closely related, and without having that, I’ve seen people run up against the wall, whatever that obstacle is, and not be able to overcome it for lack of that spark, or that drive or that passion. I think that’s a critical, critical observation.

And I think Chas, that’s what makes you very special.

Well, thank you. How about the next one, which I believe is gratitude, I think for those folks that are successful, and have able to harness their drive to overcome the obstacles they they’ve overcome and become successful, gratitude is an important component of that, right? How does that fit into the equation in your mind?

Well, you think about a fixed mindset, one that can’t progress. The way I believe, to move to a growth mindset is to start by realizing all the positive things in your life: No matter how down you might be, no matter how many challenges you have, there always is a silver lining. Gratitude is taking the time to really appreciate all the positive aspects of your life, and it could be relationships, it could be health, it could be what you’ve done to progress. So it’s critical to have an attitude of gratitude, to move to the next level and have a growth mindset.

Yeah, I think a lot of people that are successful don’t spend a lot of time celebrating their successes. They have a success, they celebrate it for a second, or are grateful for it, and then they move on to the next thing. That’s the drive keeping you going forward.

But it is worthwhile, I think, from time to time to sit down and say, “Okay, these are the things that I’ve accomplished, this is what I’m grateful for,” whether it’s the support of your spouse, or your family, or your colleagues, or your clients, or whatever it might be, just to actively think about those things—without just moving on to the next thing—is really important.

And you could be just starting small. It could be a little thing you’re grateful for and that all of a sudden builds to something much bigger.

Yes, exactly. You also talk about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people—define “positive people” for me, if you would.

Well, you can look at the glass half empty or half full, and I’m not saying that everyone is like that, but there are certain people in a fixed mindset that are always complaining and nothing’s right, and so forth. Those people can pull you down. So therefore, I would suggest, if someone were to be challenged with needing a boost and attitude of gratitude, try to find that person that just exudes positivity. Try to model them, but also spend time with them.

Yeah, I think that makes sense. And then, I love your thought about thank you notes.

Well, it’s simply you reaching out to someone and thanking them for something they’ve done. First of all, you will get a very nice response typically, but the sheer fact you’re taking time to recognise others, that can be a very, very therapeutic and a motivational step.

And I think in the days of email, et cetera, a handwritten thank you note is a differentiator, right? It shows someone that you care enough to take the time to do it, which is very nice, and I remember as a kid, my parents forcing us to sit down after Christmas, or whatever the holiday was—birthdays—to write these handwritten thank you notes to all of our relatives or whoever gave us a gift. That sort of tradition has sort of gone away, right? It’s there, but it’s not practiced aggressively. I think that’s a great idea.

Exactly.

Scott, the last characteristic on your list is resilience. Let’s talk about resilience for a minute.

You know, we all get knocked down in life, and some people get knocked down more than others, but at the end of the day, we have a decision to make, and can we get up after we’ve been knocked down? So resilience is basically measured by how quickly you can recover after rejection or defeat.

And what sort of steps can you take to master resilience? I think we’ve all had difficult periods, in sports, or business or whatever, I’m sure there are things that you’ve had to overcome—obstacles you’ve had to overcome—that require resilience.

Well, I would say firstly, in many cases, you shouldn’t take it personally. It is not a personal attack on you when you’re rejected. The second thing is, when rejection occurs, you have to know ahead, when to cut your losses. When you face rejection, it may be wise to sit back and say, “How much time, how much energy, how much effort will I put in? Is it time to go and cut my losses?”

Number three, and most critical, is a support system. And this is what we talked about before: a group of people that are positive, a group of people that truly care about you that are authentic. Having that support system there, because when your ego is bruised, it’s very, very important to have people remind you of the person that you are. Also, maintain a focus of control: things you can control and things you can’t control. So often I know for me, I get in a tither, and I’ve got to remind myself, “You know, Scott, I just couldn’t control that, so why did I go ahead and to beat myself up?” And the last obviously, and as we said before, is always try to remind—you’ve got to have a positive attitude.

Yeah, that ability to lean forward, and the other way that I think about it is to tune out the noise. Try to tune out the things that are just distractions, and focus on the issue and task at hand, and the fact that you’re going to achieve what you achieve, because you demonstrate passion, because you demonstrate emotional intelligence, drive and gratitude—if you harness those things, being resilient is a lot easier, correct? I mean, it just sort of comes with the territory.

Exactly.

So Scott, I know you’ve created an assessment the listener can use to evaluate where they sort of stand at this point in time, in terms of these characteristics and overall growth mindset, and we’re gonna make that available in the show notes for today’s episode.

Scott, this is really helpful. I wish you tremendous continued success with your efforts, and I appreciate your passion. We’ve known each other a long time and it comes through in every way—how you do business, et cetera. This article was really helpful to me, and I appreciate you writing it.

Chas, may I spend a moment on my favorite quote?

Absolutely.

It goes back to 1907. This is Theodore Roosevelt, and he was in France, and he says the following: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who airs who comes up again and again, because there’s no effort without error and shortcoming. But who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the very best knows at the end, the triumph of high achievement, or at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. And I think what that’s basically saying is it’s so often we’ve got to put ourselves out there and said, You know what, let’s go ahead and try to go ahead and move to the next level.

Yeah, I think that that’s, that’s one of my favorite quotes. Matter of fact, I have it hanging in my office, we will put the full text of that quote in the show notes as well. That’s been really meaningful to me over time. So thank you for sharing that.

And Scott, thank you so much for taking the time today. I hope we have the opportunity to revisit again, and talk about another subject that’s important to you, or that you think is important to understand as a growth mindset individual, and I look forward to that opportunity.

Thank you, Chas. Thank you very much.

Thank you for joining Scott and myself on today’s episode. In the show notes for today’s episode, we provided a link to Scott’s article about the growth mindset index as well as a link to the growth mindset survey that you can take to evaluate your score in terms of passion, emotional intelligence, resilience, drive, and gratitude. I hope you find it helpful. Thanks again.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Full Quote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

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About Scott

Photo of Scott Addis

Scott Addis serves as the CEO of Beyond Insurance. Founded in 2006, Beyond Insurance is a coaching and consulting firm that empowers insurance agency leaders, carriers and other insurance and risk management professionals to capture unrealized potential.

Scott has been recognized as one of the “25 Most Innovative Agents in America” by The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research and also received The Franklin Award for outstanding achievement and contribution to the insurance industry in the Delaware Valley. Scott was a Philadelphia finalist for “Entrepreneur of the Year Award,” sponsored by Inc. magazine, Ernst & Young, and Merrill Lynch.

A graduate of Princeton University, Scott is a Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), a Certified Risk Architect (CRA), a Certified Benefits & Wellness Advisor (CBWA), Trusted Risk Advisor (TRA) and appointed to the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter’s Advisory Committee.

Disclosure

Original Release Date: December 10, 2020.

This podcast was originally distributed on December 10, 2020, by Independence Advisors. Independence Advisors officially merged with Modera Wealth Management on December 31, 2020. Please note that the information provided in these recorded conversations may no longer be current or may refer to events that have since passed.

Modera is an SEC registered investment adviser which does not imply any level of skill or training. For additional information see our Form ADV available at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov which contains a full description of our business, operations and service offerings including fees. Statements made in the podcast are not to be construed as personalized investment or financial planning advice, may not be suitable for everyone and should not be considered a solicitation to engage in any particular investment or planning strategy. Statements made are subject to change without notice.