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Appreciate the Journey with Sonny Patel


We are constantly confronted by a constant stream of notifications, email updates, and news alerts. Life’s many distractions can consume us, but you need to rise above them and take time to zoom out, reflect, and appreciate the influences that shape you.

On today’s episode, I’m joined by Sonny Patel, who has fast-tracked his rise as a leader, founder, and the CEO of Insurmi by embracing this habit of practicing internal gratitude. Under his leadership over the last three years, Insurmi has evolved into a customer engagement platform that helps the top global insurance carriers to generate new business online, streamline customer claims, and deliver excellent customer service through conversational-AI.

When you practice intentional, internal gratitude, you gain the capacity to enrich the lives of others. By sharing stories and worldviews, Sonny and I hope to give you the clarity to identify what makes you who you are and find a new appreciation for your personal journey.

So, let’s get after it! You can listen to the full episode by clicking the Play Button above.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share the show with someone you think it would help and if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, it would make my day if you’d take a second to leave a review for the show. Otherwise, you’re always welcome to send your thoughts and feedback to me directly by emailing steven@decisiveleap.com.

New episodes of Ignition Point are available every Monday, so be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts.

Between now and April, Ignition Point will be featuring 20 Amazing Guests, covering topics that relate to one central theme each month. So, throughout the month of November, we’re focusing on Gratitude & Giving Back.

To catch up on all the Guest Features from Season 1, you can click here to check out the Season 1 Recap.


FULL TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to Ignition Point – the show that’s here to get you fired up and ready to win the week.

If you’re looking to amplify your mindset with a fresh perspective – you’re in the right place.

Hey! What’s going on? I’m Steven Miller, and this is Ignition Point – the show that gets you fired up and ready to win the week.

On last week’s show, I spent some time explaining what can cause you to overlook the importance of showing gratitude. But underneath it all, when you get consumed with whatever is right in front of your face, you hold yourself back from expressing appreciation. Most people do this unknowingly, but it’s important that you break those habits and create positive habits of internal and external gratitude.

When you take the time to zoom out, reflect, and appreciate the influences that make you who you are, you begin living a happier, more fulfilling life; but you also gain the capacity to enrich the lives of others.

By embracing these habits, today’s guest – Sonny Patel – has fast-tracked his rise as a leader, founder, and CEO.

In his work, Sonny believes in the good that insurance does for people, but while working at a local life insurance company a few years ago, he realized the process of buying and selling insurance was outdated and inefficient. So, he went to work to develop a solution that could take the guesswork out of the insurance buying process.

Over the last three years, his solution – called Insurmi – has evolved into a customer engagement platform that’s being used by a number of top-tier global insurance carriers to generate new business online, streamline customer claims, and deliver excellent customer service through conversational-AI.

Sonny will tell you that his life and leadership style have been shaped by his unique world view, multicultural family values, the support of his friends, and the wisdom he’s gained from his mentors. I hope his stories and perspectives give you the clarity to identify and be grateful for what makes you who you are.

So, let’s get after it! Here to help you find a new appreciation for your journey; this is Sonny Patel.

THE WEEKLY MONOLOGUE WITH SONNY PATEL

It can be very easy to get consumed by the day to day of building a company, but when thinking about the people that have shaped me, I think about my friends, family, and mentors.

You know, there’s an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I really do believe that.

I was fortunate enough to be raised by a lot of different people. Not only was I obviously raised by my parents, but I also lived with my aunts and uncles throughout my entire childhood, so I had a lot of different figures in life that were able to influence me in a whole variety of ways. Whether that be my approach to business, how I communicate with others, what I prioritize in my life.

One example is my uncle Sunil in Africa. He would always show up to work at 7:00 AM. He still does to this day, and even though he does not need to – he could always go in at 9:00 AM when everybody else comes in – but just showing up before everyone else shows how dedicated you are to the role that you serve, and then hopefully that will pass down to others. To me, he set an example that showed that if you’re the leader of your organization, then you set the standard.

Living not only with a variety of different family members, but also in different parts of this world taught me how to engage with people of all walks of life from all different types of countries. Because of my international upbringing, I’ve always been very thankful for the fact that in the Western World – like the United States – we are encouraged to, think in a more independent way compared to other regions of the world.

If you’re someone that is in college and you have this big grand idea for a business or any sort of mission that you’re trying to accomplish in the world; if you’re trying to get a lot of people on board with that, you’re going to have to relate with all types of worldviews.

So, thinking about all of those different influences throughout life, now I can see how all of that has come together and formed me into a better leader, a better son, a better nephew, a better friend. And it’s really amazing when you think about it, how many people have been part of your life and the various traits that you have maybe picked up on over time.

Also learning from the mistakes of various people as well. One of my family members is a pretty heavy alcoholic and I’ve seen the detriment to their health over time and if I would have maybe not seen that as I was growing up, I may have slipped into that same bad habit. So, it comes down to being grateful for not only those positive influences in life, but also the negative ones as well.

You need the yin and the yang in life. So, these are just two opposite forces, but they come together to make something beautiful.

I have seen my dad go through a lot of trenches in his business. Back in the early 2000s – or I guess mid-2000s, 2008-9 – his business didn’t do too well during the economic crash. Obviously, that was a very stressful time for not only my family, but also probably millions of others around America. When I look back on that I really think about like how he handled that whole situation.

He never got bitter. He never got and some sort of negative state of mind, and it showed me more than anything else that even if things are not going too well in your life, especially in your business, you can detach from that and kind of separate your business life and your personal life. You don’t really need to attach the two.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs tie their identity and self worth to their companies and that can end up in a very dangerous situation if things are not going so great at your company. It comes down to holding perspective that that’s just commerce at the end of the day and just having this general perspective on being able to differentiate the two and separate business from personal will enable you to get through hard times if they come. Again, without these hard times, we will never appreciate the good times.

There’s always ups and downs in life and I think there’s so much value in the lows. That’s what really will build character and build resilience.

There is always a silver lining to everything in this world. It just comes down to, can you see it? A lot of people can see the silver lining in a whole variety of things, but I think it’s your ability to see that there is good in everything, including the bad.

Finally, giving back to your community is a means of showing gratitude. For me, Phoenix has been one of the communities that has really lifted me up over time. I think as a leader, whether that be operationally or generally speaking, you need to lift other people up.

I’m a big believer in community carry; so, reinvesting your momentum back into the community that you operate in. So for example, if you’re a company that operates in Phoenix, you’d want to source your products and supplies from another company that is in Phoenix. It’s a circular model.

At Insurmi, we are hiring locally. That’s our big community carry give back. We’re not trying to hire from Silicon Valley or New York or LA. We’re trying to create opportunity for people that are in our own hometown.

We’re also giving out blankets and meals to the homeless that are around our office here in downtown Phoenix, but you don’t have to wait to start giving back to your community. You can start giving back to your community in a whole variety of ways that don’t even cost anything.

Mentorship is one of those, and if you mentor people within your own community and they just happen to rise up in the community, that could inspire them to put deeper roots back into the very same community.

In this journey, we’re the sum of our parts. When we’re grateful for all of those various parts, we can enrich other people’s lives. For me, this journey is about entrepreneurship. For you, it could be something else, but at the end of the day, this is all about reflecting back and seeing who helped you along the way, both personally and professionally.

Reach out and share your appreciation to those that have influenced you and recognize that you have the same responsibility to fill that role for others.

STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS

From the brief time I’ve known Sonny, I’ve been amazed by how his experiences and influences have impacted him. And while you only got a snapshot of some of the factors that make him who he is today, I think the lessons he shared make a great example of why practicing genuine internal gratitude is so important.

Reflecting on how you view the world, the values you live by, and the people you surround yourself with are just a few factors that affect who you are, but they’re the right starting points if you want to learn to be grateful for what you’ve got and find a deeper appreciation for where your journey has led you.  

So, find 10 minutes of time and a quiet place to think.

Start by answering some introspective questions and focusing on self-awareness.

Then allow yourself to zoom out. Dig a little deeper and tap into what matters most.

There’s an old saying that echoes Sonny’s point about acknowledging the good and the bad. The saying goes, “without rain or the chill of the wind, you can’t appreciate the warmth of the sun.”   

Getting to the right answers takes time, but once you’ve taken account of the good and the bad, you can determine what’s influenced your perceptions, your core values, and your circle of trust without the filter of bias. Which makes me think of the expression, “without rain, nothing grows.”

See, when I think about where authentic internal and external gratitude converge, I can’t help but feel that one cannot occur without the other. There’s an interwoven reliance there.

If you’re working to appreciate more your life’s journey, you’re going to naturally find people and things you will feel a need to express gratitude toward. And if you’re taking the time to say thank you to others for their work, the ways they make you feel, or how they had your back, you’re going to end up fostering greater internal gratitude. So, it’s circular in its own way.

What I find most amazing about these cycles of gratitude is how they enable our capacity to enrich the lives of others. I think this is because it’s natural to want to share the positive feelings that stem from gratitude. It’s as if, when you feel appreciative, you want share that feeling with others, so you give what you can to enrich their lives and pay those feelings forward.

Sonny briefly brought up the example of mentorship, but there are countless ways you can pay it forward. The great news is that there’s really no wrong way to pay it forward. What matters is that you’re genuine in the way you give back and that the action is kind and grounded in making a positive impact on the world.

In Hebrew, that aligns closely with a concept called Tikkun Olam, which you can look forward to hearing more about on the next episode.

For now, work on kick-starting your cycles of gratitude by reflecting on and appreciating your journey.  

I’d like to give a big thank you to Sonny Patel for contributing to this week’s show.

This holiday season, Sonny and his colleagues at Insurmi have teamed up with the Brown Bag Initiative to give out 1,000 blankets and meals to the homeless around Downtown Phoenix.

If you’d like to participate, please email Sonny directly at sonny@insurmi.com and let him know that you heard about the project on Ignition Point.

For the easiest way to connect with Sonny, check out this episode’s Show Notes at DecisiveLeap.com/IgnitionPoint. There you’ll find links to his social accounts, his contact info and more bonus content.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share the show with someone you think it would help and if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, it would make my day if you’d take a second to leave a review for the show. Otherwise, you’re always welcome to send your thoughts and feedback to me directly by emailing steven@decisiveleap.com.

New episodes of Ignition Point are available every Monday, so be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts.

Well, that’s going to do it for this episode!

So, stay motivated and keep moving forward.

If you put in the hard work right now – one day – you could be the one motivating the world with your story.

I’ll look forward to speaking with you next time on another Ignition Point.

Now get on out there and win the week!

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