5 min read

Focus Your Imagination

Jun 1, 2023 6:30:00 AM


“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” - Mark Twain

About six years ago, I connected with Gibson’s CEO, Tim Leman, after hearing him speak on a leadership podcast. Being somewhat new to the insurance industry at the time and limited in perspective, I was curious about a number of things that he shared so figured an outreach couldn’t hurt. He said ‘yes,’ which would eventually lead to a series of conversations and several months later, I joined Gibson.

Little did I know at the time that Tim had published a book, written years before, that would lay out a vision for Gibson to have a Michigan office. In our conversations, Tim laid out a vision of what my career could look like and the incredible opportunity we could pursue together. I recognized a gap in what the local market needed relative to proactive risk management, and through some due diligence with the operational leaders, I felt Gibson’s approach would resonate.

I began asking the ‘what if’ questions…
What if what Gibson is delivering in Indiana could be deployed here in Michigan?
What if I left a well-established book of business and started from scratch?
What if I could figure out this sales thing?
What if I became a Principal one day?

Gibson’s leadership imagined market growth into Michigan. I imagined long-term ownership and real impact on the clients we serve. Together, we launched a Michigan office in 2017.

Today, we have a strong and growing book of business, an incredible team, Class-A office space, and are planning continued expansion. There are many things that have contributed to our success, including hard work, collaboration, execution, etc., but one variable seems to stand out…imagination.

I've worked with a lot of leaders over the years, and one thing I've noticed is that those who lack imagination often struggle to succeed in the business world. While imagination may seem like a fluffy, intangible concept, it plays a crucial role in driving innovation, creativity, and ultimately, business success.

Imagination allows us to think beyond what currently exists and envision new possibilities. It helps us generate fresh ideas, come up with creative solutions to problems, and see opportunities where others might not. It's what fuels entrepreneurship and drives progress in every industry.

But what if you're a leader who doesn't feel particularly imaginative? Maybe you've always been more of a practical, no-nonsense type, and you struggle to come up with new ideas or see things from a different perspective. Don't worry - you're not alone, and there are steps you can take to tap into your imagination and unlock its power.

Cultivate Curiosity

Imagination thrives on curiosity. If you want to expand your imagination, start by cultivating a sense of wonder and interest in the world around you. Ask questions, seek out new experiences, and explore unfamiliar topics. Read widely, watch documentaries, and listen to podcasts that expose you to different ideas and perspectives. The more you learn and expose yourself to new things, the more you'll have to draw on when it comes to imagining new possibilities.

Collaborate With Others

Two heads are often better than one when it comes to imagination. By collaborating with others, you can combine your own strengths and perspectives with those of your colleagues or partners to come up with new ideas and approaches. Look for opportunities to work with people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets than you. Brainstorm together, share your ideas openly, and be willing to listen to and build on the ideas of others. The more diverse the group, the more imaginative and innovative the solutions will be.

Embrace Play

Imagination thrives in a playful, open environment. When we're in a state of play, we're more willing to take risks, experiment, and try out new things without fear of failure. So don't be afraid to bring an element of playfulness into your work. Set aside time for brainstorming sessions that feel more like a game than a meeting. Experiment with new approaches or processes and see what happens. Create a culture that celebrates innovation and rewards risk-taking, rather than punishing failure.

Practice Mindfulness

Imagination requires a certain level of mental clarity and focus. If your mind is cluttered with distractions or worries, it can be difficult to tap into your creative side. That's where mindfulness comes in. By practicing mindfulness techniques like meditation or deep breathing, you can quiet your mind and cultivate a sense of inner calm. This can help you access your imagination more easily and come up with more innovative ideas.

Take Risks

Imagination often involves taking risks and trying out new things. If you want to tap into your imaginative side, you'll need to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and take calculated risks. This might mean launching a new product, trying out a new marketing strategy, or investing in a new technology. Of course, it's important to balance risk with caution and do your due diligence before making any big moves, but don't be afraid to take bold steps if you believe they could pay off.

Our journey launching a Michigan office had all these elements, and together, we continue to leverage imagination to achieve our goals, drive innovation, and stay ahead of the competition. By cultivating curiosity, embracing play, taking risks, and creating a safe space for creativity, leaders can tap into their own imaginative potential and help their team members do the same.

So, focus your imagination, and see where it takes you and your business.

Topics: Executive
Brian Bellware

Written by Brian Bellware

As a Principal Gibson and a Health Rosetta Advisor, Brian helps leaders deliver world-class healthcare at a fraction of the cost.

Most leaders view health benefits with limited scope. In fact, Brian was one of those leaders, purchasing and managing employee benefits for 400+ employees in a fast-paced, growing organization. After moving into employee benefits, he’s identified the core issues through experience and education and has gained insight on how to get beyond the limited scope of insurance.

Brian is independently certified by the Validation Institute as a Certified Health Value Professional and is one of eight Health Rosetta Advisors in Michigan, the first and only in Southwest Michigan.