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Romero Insurance Brokers took the opportunity to sit down with our new partner, Director of rugby at Leeds Rhinos, Kevin Sinfield. We question Kevin on the importance of resilience; whether it can be taught or learned, as well as what it means to be mentally resilient.

Kevin has famously only ever enjoyed his Rugby League playing career at Leeds Rhinos. He was a Rhino for 19 years, having been made captain at 23. He talks to us about his beginnings with Leeds Rhinos, his relationship with his teammates and the importance of a solid support network. We discuss resilience in relation to sport, working life and at home; how being resilient prolongs success, evidenced by both Kevin Sinfield and Romero Insurance Brokers.

Resilience with Kevin Sinfield and Romero Insurance Brokers

Resilience is synonymous with an individual’s mental strength. We talked to Kevin about what determines someone’s mental fortitude.

“You can take great strength from the self-discipline that you have; the focus, the belief, but probably the biggest one would be the sacrifices that you make throughout your career. Having experienced some difficult times, being able to draw on the experience of those and use them to help. An understanding that the sun will always shine, sometimes a bit of perspective always helps.”

Kevin explains that he believes an individual’s mental strength is derived from their mind set. Having a focus is important, but also the self-belief to achieve. There are moments in everyone’s career where they face difficult times and need to make sacrifices, but Kevin explains its these sacrifices which give you the drive to succeed. Taking your losses and turning them into strengths is a trope of resilience. At Romero Insurance Brokers, we offer a supportive foundation for businesses, there to help clients through the most challenging periods of their career – that being when facing a claim. We’ve also had our fair share of rocky moments; we’ve made sacrifices in our past and have come out stronger because of it. To learn more about Romero’s history, read here Business Insider’s recent article on our founder and CEO, Justin Romero-Trigo.

“We can all be mentally tough, that’s the choice we make. You have the choice, when something happens you stay in bed and pull the covers over. Now at some stage you’ve got to get out, so why leave it to fester and make it harder for yourself, just get out and go for it. The brutal truth of it is, the longer you leave it the harder it is to fix. But I absolutely believe that everybody can be mentally tough, no matter who you are.”

Kevin’s mentality here mirrors the ethic we try to cultivate at Romero. The imagery he uses, pulling the covers over our heads, it’s a feeling we can all relate to. However, that mental step to get out of bed and go for it, it’s a mentality we strive for at Romero. Our offices are packed with positive and engaging individuals, each adding a unique ingredient. We are proactive when working with businesses, giving them the confidence to grow and expand. We are always challenging the norm and asking more from insurers, because we strive to deliver the best for our clients.

At the Romero Group we also believe it is within everybody’s power to be mentally tough. Each of our departments have a Wellbeing Champion trained by We Are Wellbeing. These are individuals who have been taught the importance of resilience and a healthy work balance. They are certified and exist as role-models and mentors within the company. Through training and tutorage, we firmly believe everybody can be mentally tough and mentally secure.

“We’ve got a number of mechanisms in place; we’ve got a sports psychologist, we’ve got a guy who’s our head of welfare who’s a trained councillor. [We’ve got] the team and how they look after each other, respectfully. And then for us as staff, just checking in with each other – it’s the smallest thing isn’t it – to check on someone’s family, on how they are, and their friends, and have a conversation to check they’re alright.”

Kevin explains how, at Leeds Rhinos, they are very aware of the effect mental health has on our everyday lives. The Rhinos have various mechanisms in place catering to mental wellbeing; these include employed professionals but also an internal culture which recognises team support. We share these values at Romero Insurance Brokers and are very proud of our culture, fondly known as the Romero family. Kevin knows how an informal conversation everyday with your colleagues can go a long way. He goes on to talk about how there are more ways to reach out now and more education on mental wellbeing. We try to facilitate that at Romero through multiple outlets and on-site Wellbeing Champions.

“The people who I want to speak to and the people who I want to speak to me have my number and I have theirs. The people who are really important to me and who can influence me after I’ve not played particularly well, there’s probably a handful of people I’d go to, that’s enough. I don’t need the whole of the UK telling me how bad I am.”

Kevin Sinfield smiles as he talks about how he deals with the difficulties faced by professional sportsmen. These adversities, although unique, are still prevalent to the everyday person. They show that we each need a supportive team around us, and to not let the negativity we each face affect us. There is no dichotomy between resilience and teamwork. We each have our own methods to push through adversity, however a solid foundation and a supportive network is always needed. Romero tries hard to provide that network for both clients and colleagues.

“Looking round and thinking, ‘He’s better than me. He can do this and that. Perhaps I don’t deserve to be here.’ I don’t mind talking about it because I think we probably all face it at different times. – In these moments you’d tell yourself, ‘Will you snap out of this, you deserve to be here. Think of all the hard work you’ve done.’ And that’s what I always relied upon – think of the prep you’ve done, you’re ready for this, you’ve just got to go out there and do your job.”

Nearing the end of the interview, we circle back to how resilience is synonymous with the correct mindset. Self-doubt is an obstacle that even the most prolific sportsmen experience. It can lead to anxiety, you will perform to your negative expectations unconsciously, which results in underperforming. Kevin believes the key to overcoming your self-doubt is by reminding yourself of all the work you’ve had to do to get to the position you are in. Resilience can be recognised in the unwavering confidence you have in yourself and in your own ability. Romero’s aim as a broker is to give confidence to businesses and, on occasion, be that trusted voice in the ear that will assess the risks and deliver the necessary pep-talk or cautious warning.

We end our meeting with Kevin looking forward to the future. He defines success as:

“Improving and continuing to get better every day. Enjoying what I do, although at times it’s challenging, but being able to get perspective and really enjoy it. Family-wise, helping my kids – that’s why I need some sun and a family holiday.”

Both Romero Insurance Brokers and Kevin Sinfield strive for continuous improvement and finding enjoyment in the challenges. This ethic applies to life at work and life at home; Kevin mentions his children and that a parent’s role is to ensure what comes after you is an improvement on yourself.

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