If you were to see my calendar, you’d probably notice a host of time slots greyed out but with no indication of what’s going on. There is no problem with my Outlook or printer. The grey sections reflect “buffers,” or time periods I’ve purposely kept clear of meetings.
In aggregate, I schedule between 90 minutes and two hours of these buffers every day (broken down into 30- to 90-minute blocks). It’s a system I developed over the last several years in response to a schedule that was becoming so jammed with back-to-back meetings that I had little time left to process what was going on around me or just think.
At first, these buffers felt like indulgences. I could have been using the time to catch up on meetings I had pushed out or said “no” to. But over time I realized not only were these breaks important, they were absolutely necessary in order for me to do my job.
As an organization scales, the role of its leadership needs to evolve and scale along with it. I’ve seen this evolution take place along at least two continuum: from problem solving to coaching and from tactical execution to thinking strategically. What both of these transitions require is time, and lots of it. Endlessly scheduling meeting on top of meeting and your time to get these things right evaporates.
Take coaching, for example. It’s often quicker for senior leaders to solve people’s problems for them. You’ve amassed years of experience solving the issues being brought to you. But doing so provides short-term relief at a longer time cost. As the organization gets larger, so too will the frequency of those issues, yet there remains only one of you. Unless you can coach others to address challenges directly, you will quickly find yourself in a position where that’s all you’re doing (adding even more meetings to your day). That’s no way to run a team or a company.
Learning what makes people tick — their unique perspectives, fears, motivations, team dynamics, etc. — and properly coaching them to the point that they can not only solve the issue on their own the next time around, but successfully coach their own team takes far more time than telling them what to do. The only way to sustainably make that investment in people is by not jumping from one meeting to the next but rather carving out the time to properly coach those who stand to benefit from it the most. Equally if not more importantly is taking time in between those meetings to recharge. I want to ensure I’m at my best when coaching the next person who needs it.
The same can be said of the transition from tactical execution to thinking strategically. There will always be a need to get things done and knock another To Do item off the list. However, as the company grows larger, as the breadth and depth of your initiatives expand — and as the competitive and technological landscape continues to shift at an accelerating rate — you will require more time than ever before to just think: Think about what the company will look like in three to five years; think about the best way to improve an already popular product or address an unmet customer need; think about how you can widen a competitive advantage or close a competitive gap, etc.
That thinking, if done properly, requires uninterrupted focus; thoroughly developing and questioning assumptions; synthesizing all of the data, information and knowledge that’s incessantly coming your way; connecting dots, bouncing ideas off of trusted colleagues; and iterating through multiple scenarios. In other words, it takes time. And that time will only be available if you carve it out for yourself. Conversely, if you don’t take the time to think proactively you will increasingly find yourself reacting to your environment rather than influencing it. The resulting situation will inevitably require far more time (and meetings) than thinking strategically would have to begin with.
Above all else, the most important reason to schedule buffers is to just catch your breath. There is no faster way to feel as though your day is not your own, and that you are no longer in control, than scheduling meetings back to back from the minute you arrive at the office until the moment you leave. I’ve felt the effects of this and seen it with colleagues. Not only is it not fun to feel this way, it’s not sustainable.
The solution, as simple as it sounds, is to periodically schedule nothing. Use that buffer time to think big, catch up on the latest industry news, get out from under that pile of unread emails, or just take a walk. What ever you do, just make sure you make that time for yourself — everyday and in a systematic way — and don’t leave unscheduled moments to chance. The buffer is the best investment you can make in yourself and the single most important productivity tool I use.
What's missing in leadership is what's missing in ourselves
When I was a young manager, one of my favorite team members came to me to resign. She’d had some personal circumstances that necessitated a move and change of jobs. I was devastated at losing her, and I was flustered in the moment. It took me a day or two to say the right things and focus on her best interests rather than my own sense of loss. It’s always bothered me how I handed that initial exchange, but it taught me something important: I had some growing up to do myself before I could mature as a leader.
The work of leadership starts with the hard work we must do on ourselves.
The times I’ve fallen short as a leader aren’t for lack of understanding what constitutes good leadership. I’ve read plenty of books on leadership, and I’ve attended (and even taught) leadership programs. I’m still growing as a leader because I still have work to do on myself.
Our shortcomings as leaders are usually the unfinished business within our souls, such as the work of healing our old wounds, gaining the confidence to put love over ego, or bringing forth our authentic selves. These are messy, hard and weighty endeavors, and for most of us, they are a work in progress.
Imago is the last stage of an insect’s metamorphosis. It’s also a psychological term that refers to a mental image of someone from earlier in our lives who influences our behavior today. For example, many of us have challenges in our adult relationships that trace back to our early childhoods. If we lacked affection when we were young, we might now be someone who craves adoration and recognition. If we were constantly criticized, we might be overly sensitive and hear any feedback as an attack. There’s a whole psychological field built around this idea — imago relationship therapy — that seeks to use this understanding to heal old wounds and strengthen personal relationships.
If we have not done the work of healing, I think we have a tendency to bring our imago to the office with us. We might look to our colleagues to meet the needs that went unfilled. As leaders, we might be unable to be who we should — people who model shared values, inspire with vision and elevate others — if our past experiences have cracked too deeply the bedrock of our own character. Instead of leading, we become lost in the effort to mend ourselves.
We all have encountered leaders who seem incapable of empathizing with others, encouraging teams or sharing credit. I think this stems from insecurity – a deskside imago that casts a long shadow over that person. I often quote James Kouzes and Barry Posner on leadership. They say, “Leaders are in love – in love with the people who do the work, with what their organizations practice, and with their customers.” If you don’t love yourself – or feel loved – then it’s hard to be this kind of leader.
The other problem with old wounds defining our professional personas is that we start to confuse what happened in the past with what is truly happening now. Our ego can get in the way of truly understanding our experience – and each other. We might start to develop all kinds of personal assumptions about the people around us – and the reasons for what they say and do. This narrative separates us from others in a destructive way. Tara Brach talks about the concept of real vs. true. We might believe Joan in accounting is purposely undermining us — that is real to us — but is it true? Maybe she didn’t invite us to the meeting because she typed the wrong name into Outlook. Or perhaps she thought it wasn’t a good use of our time. I like that my company urges us to assume positive intent in others. What would happen if we talked to Joan from that place – rather than our own, old narrative?
In the face of flawed leadership, the way forward is to more deeply understand how we ourselves can grow, which is the prerequisite to fostering growth around us. That means building on the basis of a presence (the thing we most value) rather than an absence (the lingering pain of what we’ve lacked). The best colleagues and most inspiring leaders know their unique passions, and because they are in touch with their best selves, they are better able to connect to and elevate others. They don’t operate from a place of fear of what they won’t get. They focus on what they can give, because they have found a way to feel whole.
Herb Kelleher says, “A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.” So are we.
Purpose is a sense of knowing that your life has meaning, value, and importance. Living with purpose means you know for a fact that your work, your contribution, and your life make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Having purpose means the work that you’re committed to serves humanity in a positive way.
Living with purpose will make you happier, more content, more successful, more graceful, more resilient through hard times, more excited, and more alive than your peers. Living with purpose will give you a sense of living and put you on a fast-track to winning this game that we call life.
The most powerful antidote to depression, sadness, and even a desire to take your own life is knowing that at least one person’s life somewhere is better off because you exist.
The most undeniable way to feel happy right now is by connecting with a strong sense of purpose and contribution. If you’re looking to feel happier—and I think we all are—adding more purpose to your life can put you on the fast-track to fulfillment. Because nothing will give you more joy than knowing that your life has meaning, purpose, and value.
Nothing will fill you up with more pride, joy, and contentment than knowing that you’re adding something valuable and important to the world, to humanity, and to the universe.
That strong correlation between purpose and happiness makes perfect sense. Because depression often stems from a lack of direction.
Depression, dark moods, and sadness usually originate from feeling like a lost soul, feeling out of control, feeling like you have no direction, and feeling like your life has no purpose. Nothing feels worse or more depressing than that confusion, frustration, and disappointment of feeling like your life is headed in a bad direction or no direction at all.
Because when you don’t have a powerful Why that drives you or a sense of contribution to the world, it’s easy to throw your life away into negative habits, negative jobs, negative relationships, and negative behavior. When you don’t have a powerful purpose that’s driving you, it’s easy to just throw in the towel on life.
That’s why my #1 benefit of living with purpose is an unlimited supply of fulfillment. Because knowing that your life has purpose, direction, meaning, and value can give you a reason to get out of bed everyday,a reason to live, and a reason to feel happy on a daily basis. Living with purpose will give you all the fulfillment you’ll ever need.
2. Direction, Guidance, and Comfort Through Hard Times
Hard times are a reality that we all have to face at different points in our lives. We all struggle through dark moments, situations, failures, obstacles, trials, and tribulations.
We all have periods of time when we try our best to our best to succeed, but we fail anyway. And we all pass through moments when we try our hardest to make things right, but they still go wrong anyway.
The hard times are unavoidable. You can’t escape the struggle.
But what you can do is use your purpose to comfort, guide, and support your through the storms. Because when everything falls apart, purpose will be the support system that helps you piece your life back together.
Knowing that there are people out there depending on you to make it through will motivate you to keep faith alive, keep persisting, and keep persevering until you find your break in the clouds. Knowing that your life has value will push you in the direction of resilience, healing, and recovery from your trauma.
Purpose will be the shining light that will guide you out of the darkness.
That’s why my 2nd benefit of living with purpose is direction, guidance, and comfort through hard times.
3. Endless Motivation To Add More Value And Accomplish More Success
Nothing can motivate you more than having a positive effect on other people.
Money, fame, power, prestige, and advancement all come secondary to the most powerful source of motivation in the world: Purpose.
Every successful person has a Why that motivates them to get up every morning, go out into the world, and do what they do. Every successful person has a reason, a Why, and a purpose behind their achievement. Accomplished people always attach their work to a cause that’s bigger than themselves. That purpose becomes the driving force that makes those people successful.
Purpose is the purest form of motivation there is. Knowing that you have people out there depending on you—mouths to feed, customers to serve, fans to please, and followers to inspire—makes giving up impossible.
Because when you realize that your work has a positive effect on others—when you know that the lives others will be worse off if you throw in the towel—you will always be motivated to whatever it takes to be successful.
4. Living With Purpose Brings A Powerful Sense Of Aliveness
Purpose not only gives you fulfillment, guidance through hard times, and motivation to win, it can also give you a powerful and rare feeling of aliveness. Purpose makes you come alive.
Having a sense of purpose, meaning, value, and contribution to humanity gives you that certain spark, aliveness, excitement, and passion for life that makes successful people so attractive to the world. Doing meaningful work can transform you from dragging yourself through your 9-to-5 to loving every single second of your day.
Without purpose, life can feel really boring, dull, and routine. But when you find your Why, life becomes like a great adventure. And everyday that you do your work is another important step in your journey.
Purpose makes you feel happy, grateful, excited to be alive, and lucky to be who you are. It’s a rare and powerful sense of aliveness that purposeful people enjoy on a daily basis.
So if you do know what your purpose is, congratulations on connecting with your Why. But if you still haven’t found yours yet, let this blog post be a wake up call that pushes you to spend the rest of your life searching for your Why.
When you start living with purpose, you’ll know. And you’ll be grateful that you made the effort.
John Lennon said: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” I find this sentiment to be so incredibly powerful and true.
Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with. In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.
You might find it odd to learn that some of the toughest times of my life correspond with moments where I have made a lot of money. I will never forget the sorrow I felt when we sold Virgin Records. I ran down Ladbroke Grove in London with tears streaming down my face. We had to sell – just as we’d signed Janet Jackson and the Rolling Stones – so that we could keep Virgin Atlantic afloat. In that moment, despite having a cheque for a billion dollars in my pocket, I felt like very sad. When you build something from scratch and have a wonderful time learning, growing and laughing with the people that have helped you turn that business into something extraordinary, no amount of money can make you feel happy about selling. However, this money can be used to fund exciting new projects, and grow your brand further – something I wrote about in the aftermath of Virgin America’s deal with Alaska Airlines.
It’s a common misconception that money is every entrepreneur’s metric for success. It’s not, and nor should it be. I’ve never gone into business to make money. Every Virgin product and service has been made into a reality to make a positive difference in people’s lives. And by focusing on the happiness of our customers, we have been able to build a successful group of companies. The simple fact is, if you do good and have fun, the money will come.
Likewise, I’ve never felt successful because of my encounters with famous faces and names. While I’m incredibly grateful that I get to meet fascinating people and change makers, there’s nowhere that I feel more content or special then when I’m with my family. My family are my greatest achievement. When they are happy, I am happy, and that make me feel so successful.
I know I’m fortunate to live an extraordinary life – I’ve been knighted, met the most extraordinary people, and attended the most amazing events – but there’s never been a point in my career in which I’ve felt I’ve “made it”. I’ve never thought as work as work and play as play – to me, it’s all living and learning. The way I see it, life is all about striving and growing. I never want to have made it, I want to continue making it!
One of the things that makes me most happy is being able to give back, which is why we started our not-for-profit foundation, Virgin Unite, to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and create real lasting change in the world. It’s also why my wife Joan and I joined Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge, to dedicate the majority of our wealth to good causes.
Happiness isn’t just how I measure my success; it’s also the key to it. Most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But I know I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy. I wholeheartedly believe that happiness should be everyone’s goal.
Life’s too short to waste your time doing things that don’t light your fire. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, or aren’t having a lot of fun – despite the fact that you’re making a lot of money or rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous – then it’s time to move on to the something that does make you happy.
How many times have you told yourself that you are going to improve your life, but ended doing nothing?
How many times have been dissatisfied with some aspects of your life and vowed to change them, but did not follow through with your decision?
Do you often ask yourself, “How to improve my life?” or “What steps do I need to take to improve my life?”
What is holding you back, preventing you from improving your life?
It is lack of enthusiasm, motivation, desire, determination, willpower and discipline.
Do you, like many others, promise yourself to make changes in your life, especially at the beginning of a New Year? This also happens after a reading a book or an article about a someone, who transformed his life or achieved great success. However, the desire to make improvements does not last long, and the enthusiasm quickly wanes away.
Is it possible to make positive changes? Yes, it is certainly possible, but you have to make a plan, follow certain strategies and techniques, and make some inner changes in your viewpoint and in the manner of your thinking.
Learn How to Improve Your Life in 12 Steps
Do you really and truly want to improve your life? If you do, follow the steps below.
1. Decide what it is you want to improve. Be specific.
Sit down where you can be alone and undisturbed, and write down a list of goals.
Next, analyze what you wrote, to find out whether you really want to achieve the items on your list. You will most probably discover that you don’t really want to achieve some of them. Strike off the one you don’t really want.
2.Copy, on another piece of paper, the items left in your list, which you really want to achieve. Write them down in the order of their importance.
3. Think about a plan, how you can make them come true. Be as practical as possible, using your common sense, intuition, imagination and creativity.
4. Come up with something, a first step, even if it is quite minor, which you can do right now, such as buying a book with information about your goal, attending a lecture, listening to motivating CDs, looking for courses or workshops that can help you improve your life, or any other step that will take you closer to achieving your goal.
5. Read inspiring books and articles about people who have attained success in the area of your choice. This will enhance your enthusiasm and motivation.
6.Visualize the improvements you want to bring about. See them as already real and true. Make the mental pictures vivid and alive.
7. Keep your desire, enthusiasm and motivation alive, by thinking often how you would like your life to look like. Also, think often about the benefits and advantages you will gain by improving your life, circumstances, your financial condition, health, or anything else.
8. Repeat affirmations. They will constantly remind you of your goals, and program your subconscious mind to assist you in achieving them.
9. Don’t let anything deter you from improving your life. Don’t give in if there are obstacles, delays or difficulties. Be determined to do what you have decided to do, no matter how much time or effort it takes. This is the way successful people act.
10. Developing strong willpower and self-discipline will endow you with the power to overcome any obstacle and difficulty and make you persistent in your efforts. These two skills, can be developed through special techniques and exercises.
11. Have faith in yourself and in your ability to improve your life, you financial condition, your habits and your behavior.
12. Be willing and open to accept change. Don’t be passive, waiting for improvement to enter your life without doing anything. Take action, grab opportunities, and be willing to change your habits and lifestyle.
Remember, making resolutions is not enough; you need to do something about them. If you made resolutions in the past, but did not follow them through, it was because you were not serious enough and your desire was not strong enough.
You can improve your life on all levels, but you need to follow a plan, keep up your enthusiasm, desire and motivation, and not give in, when facing difficulties and obstacles. It might take some time and effort to improve your life, but this is worthwhile and rewarding goal.
If you wish to live a better, happier and more successful life, I highly recommend reading the book Visualize and Achieve Your Dreams, mentioned below.
About the Author
Remez Sasson is the author and creator of Success Consciousness website. He is the author of books and articles that motivate and help people to improve their life, achieve success, gain inner strength and inner peace, and become more positive and happy.
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How to Get Motivational Leverage in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage
If you are to succeed as a commercial real estate broker or agent, then you will generally need plenty of motivation at a personal level. We all have our good moments, and difficult challenges to work through. Consistency and a positive attitude will help you move ahead.
So understand the facts about the industry, and then get to work on building your business. When things get tough or slow from a listing and commission perspective, get out and meet some new people that could have a property need. You are (or should be) the solution provider in commercial property that local people need, so don’t forget that fact, and use it in personal marketing. Find the people with property problems. Open the doors to new business relationships.
Whilst you may get lucky with some listings and client situations, most of the new business that you create will be personally generated and nurtured over time. The laws of motivation apply to achieve that momentum. Are you ready for the challenge? It’s time to get motivated.
It should be said that there are usually some major differences between ordinary agents and top agents when it comes to momentum and motivation. The top agents of the industry will very likely sustain a consistent focus on listing growth and client service. They know how to connect into the right properties and the best people; they ‘open doors’ to future opportunity. Over time they nurture the right client relationships as part of a deliberate positioning strategy and marketing initiative. It’s a personal choice for all of us.
So you can do the same here as those top agents already around you in your industry, as you strive to build your own personal market share. You can connect with the right people in the right ways. Certainly you will have some challenges when it comes to local knowledge and personal confidence, but most if not all agents and brokers struggle through those barriers over time. Consistency achieves results. Prepare yourself for the opportunities in the property market and start taking action.
The motivational factors that matter
Here are some factors to help you move ahead as a successful broker or agent:
START HERE: Start the day with a bias and focus towards prospecting. Spend the first few hours of every day connecting with new people in a relevant and real way. Understand how you can reach out to new people strategically and logically. Canvas your streets so that you understand the positioning of local properties and the location of businesses. When you have that necessary research, you can start the process of door-knocking and cold calling. Track and measure the results that you achieve over time, and maintain a consistent approach to growing your numbers in prospecting.
TALK TO PEOPLE: Every inbound telephone call is opportunity for a conversation. Build your business opportunities around conversations. When you have a property enquiry coming in, ask the right questions and look through all the variations of service that you can apply. Don’t forget to explore the alternatives services between sales, leasing, and property management.
INVOLVEMENT: Treat every exclusive listing as an opportunity for target marketing. Get involved with the listings at a personal level so that you are reaching out into the targeted segments personally and directly. That direct approach involves telephone calls, direct mail, email marketing, and meetings. Be prepared to spread the word regards the quality listings that you have. Create more conversations.
BUILD ON LISTINGS: With every listing that you have currently, look to the strengths of each property and the location. Build some points of difference for each listing, together with some stories that you can use in the overall promotion. Every quality listing demands that extra effort from a promotional perspective. A well-crafted listing will create good levels of enquiry in most circumstances. When you have some enquiry to work with, you can easily build a database containing new people and opportunities.
GO DEEPER: Look at the ways that you can service your clients more comprehensively and completely. That may be through the addition of extra services across sales, leasing, and property management. Look at the variations in each of the services such as tenant mix control, property performance, vacancy reduction, lease improvement, and tenant placement. A simple property discipline can be improved through extra services and productive thought.
LOCAL COVERAGE: Look at the various approaches to marketing locally and how they can be improved. There will be numerous ways to approach property promotion both online and off-line. A simple advertisement can be improved through layout, advertising copy, and photography. Make sure that the marketing message reaches out the right people comprehensively.
Why Typical Motivation Advice Doesn’t Always Work for Real Estate
What’s “motivation porn”? Like Oliver Wendell Holmes, you probably know it when you see it — and it’s everywhere: splashed all over Medium, Facebook, personal blogs, and even business publications like Entrepreneur and Harvard Business Review.
It’s a piece of content offering tips, tricks, or tactics that claim to help you become more productive, start your day right, minimize email, or optimize any number of outcomes that should (in theory) save you time and make you money.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with reading articles or dissecting infographics that might help you become more motivated and productive. The problem emerges when you realize that most of those articles have not been written with real estate in mind. They’re usually targeting people who work 40 hours a week in an office (and maybe have a side hustle) or full-time “creatives” — and that’s not really how the typical real estate agent operates.
That said, it would also be a mistake to ignore the concept of motivation entirely. Real estate agents have the freedom to build a business any way they like — but that also means they don’t have “extrinsic motivation” operating in their jobs, such as a regular paycheck or annual performance reviews.
What’s intrinsic motivation? An intrinsic motivator is a reason to accomplish a task that has no “sticks or carrots” attached, but it does have a “warm fuzzy” component — you’re not motivated because you want money or because you’re afraid of reprimand, but rather you’re motivated because you enjoy solving problems and like the sense of accomplishment and completion you feel.
Let’s be real: You are likely going to work every day at least partly because you enjoy getting paid. There probably aren’t too many real estate agents out there who would keep showing up and doing the job if they didn’t get paychecks when deals close — and that’s okay!
The thing to remember is that your commission check can only get you so far up Mount Motivation, and all the top producers hang out at the summit. You’re going to need something extra to help you reach their level.
This is where intrinsic motivation comes in. If you can make work — or at least parts of your work — fun and engaging enough to motivate you intrinsically, then you’ll have a serious edge over your competitors who are just in it for the money.
The Magic Wand Doesn’t Exist
“There’s no magic wand,” says Valerie Garcia, a real estate consultant and training expert. There’s also no magic technique, tactic, or tool that will suddenly inspire your motivation.
Many agents make the mistake of waiting to feel motivated before doing something, notes real estate coach Tim Harris. “They think they need to feel a certain way before taking action and they look for things to motivate them — they listen to speakers and watch videos,” he explained.
And that kind of motivation has a place, but its effect is short-lived and won’t sustain you all day. (Plus, how many TED talks can one person absorb in a day?)
“Those old-school sales tactics tend to get pushed aside by the bright and shiny,” explains Stacie Perrault Staub, who owns the West + Main brokerage in Denver.
That means handwritten notes, phone calls, and door-knocking, of course — but Staub also says that planning ahead just a bit can reap big rewards and make sure you’re not wasting time later.
For example: Scheduling any open houses at least a week in advance so that you have time to tell the world. “Agents are sitting in an empty open house for hours because they’re waiting till the last minute to market it,” she says, “but if they’d marketed it properly, it’d be packed.”
There is one thing that might feel like a magic wand: If you’re really having trouble getting motivated, and it’s affecting other areas of your life, go see a doctor.
“I had some coaching clients I’d been coaching for a long time, and I’d noticed not just a drop off in their production but also a drop-off in who they were — they lost their zest for life,” Harris says.
After a visit to a physician (independent of Harris), he knew what the problem was: lowered testosterone.
“Both men and women as they age have physiological changes that happen, and it’s going to literally hamper your body’s ability to feel optimistic, to feel like taking a risk, like taking on a new challenge — to feel motivated, basically,” he adds.
What Are You Dreading? Do That First
Garcia recently made a transition from 18 years of corporate life to launching her own business — working for herself from home.
So she no longer had a boss or colleagues counting on her to show up and get things done; instead, she had to count on herself.
That means making an appointment (with herself) to tackle the most important task on her list every day — no matter what.
“The feeling of motivation is fleeting even in the most motivated of us,” says Harris, who calculates that he feels motivated for about 45 minutes a day, “if I’m lucky. The rest of the day I’m just getting things done.”
There are a handful of things that you should accomplish successfully every day in order to consider it a great day, according to Harris — and they aren’t all business-related, either. You need to exercise, eat well and show gratitude to people in your life, too, for example.
But for real estate agents, that handful of activities probably also includes prospecting for new clients — that’s not something you can let slide for a long time without feeling the pinch in your bottom line. And not every agent thinks prospecting is the most fun thing in the world.
“The key with motivation isn’t waiting to feel a certain way; the key is getting into action — any kind of action that’s moving toward the accomplishment of your goal,” Harris explains. “Then things start to flow a little bit and all of a sudden you forget that you weren’t motivated 15 minutes before.”
Staub gets all of her prospecting finished first-thing — and tries to get everything on her “must-do” list ticked off before 10 a.m. “If you don’t have anything else to do, then the day is free for you to enjoy your life,” she said.
But that does mean getting your one big task out of the way first thing.
“I don’t wake up and look at email; I don’t look at anything until I get that big hairy task out of the way,” she explains.
“Accountability is the biggest thing that real estate agents don’t have,” opines Garcia. “They love the fact that they’re in this job, they don’t have to answer to anybody, nobody can tell them what to do — and they have no accountability to get things done.”
So adding some accountability back into the mix can be a good idea. Find someone to share your goals with — someone who’ll call you out if you miss those goals.
Staub has an accountability partner and works with agents to hold them accountable, too. She uses what she calls a “Monday morning agenda,” which includes:
The large, looming tasks she needs to finish that week
All her meetings for the week
Her targets for handwritten notes
A place to mark off all the “touches” she makes during a week — Staub goes for 50
“If I can get through the week and have my agenda sheet filled out, I feel super accomplished and I feel like I’ve filled the pipeline,” she says.
Staub also suggests doing some debriefing on your weekly agenda to see if there’s anything you should really be delegating — or removing.
“If I move a task to my new day’s checklist five times — if I’ve been avoiding a task for five days — I need to delegate that out and get it off my plate and off my calendar,” she says. “If you hate writing handwritten notes, get someone to do it for you or replace it with something else. If you hate making phone calls, get something that’s going to help you tackle that task — or you’re just not going to do it.”
Time-Block Like a Master
Time-blocking is a popular topic in motivation porn — and although it’s not always practical for real estate agents, who are by necessity juggling a million things at once, it can be useful for getting the regular prospecting tasks done and out the door.
Staub uses the Pomodoro Technique to split her time into bite-sized pieces — one “pomodoro” is typically 25 minutes long, so you string them together and take short breaks in between each pomodoro. This helps her break her “big, hairy” task into smaller time increments, which can feel more manageable.
“So writing a blog post might be three pomodoros — you block for that — and then you put it away,” she says.
“Adults need to see immediate results for them to feel a sense of achievement,” notes Garcia, who suggests that agents block off time to polish up their databases.
“Most agents don’t use a CRM because of the time that it will take to sit down and organize everybody into it,” she explains. “But if you can break that up into increments so you can see a sense of accomplishment, then you’re motivated to move on and see the next accomplishment.”
Find the Joy
Here is one problem with forcing yourself to do something: Oftentimes, your audience can tell that your heart isn’t in it.
So if you despise cold-calling — hate it down to the very core of your being — then the people who pick up the phone are usually able to suss out that you’re not excited to talk to them.
“Agents hate doing calls because they aren’t seeing anything out of it,” Garcia explains. “Why wouldn’t they schedule calls ahead of time? Why not message your top ten people and say,
‘Hey, I’d really like to catch up.’
“When you call them, you know you’re going to talk to them because you booked the time, and you’ll have a real conversation,” she added. Ten of those calls a week could be worth a hundred cold calls.
This also applies to things you enjoy, but that aren’t helping build your business at all.
“Recently I left my leads group that I’d been in for a couple of years,” Staub explains. “It felt good to me to check that off every week, but I really wasn’t getting business out of it because there were never any new members. By letting that one go, it freed up more time for me.”
So instead of going to breakfast with her leads group on Fridays, she books a breakfast date with someone who could give her business a boost.
“If following up on online leads is not your strong suit, then replace that with something else both time and money-wise,” Staub suggests. “And if you’re dreading a lead coming in, don’t pay for that service anymore.”
And maybe you won’t love everything about your job (spoiler: nobody does), but you should find what you do love and focus on it when you need a motivational boost.
“Do you actually love what you do enough that you’re really excited to call people up to talk about buying or selling? What is it about the job that you can feel that way about?” asks Garcia.
“Could you get excited about marketing, or video, or creating great newsletters, or making posters, or doing an event?”
Say ‘No’ to Say ‘Yes’
You’re walking away from a listing presentation, and you nailed it — but you know how much work this seller is going to make. Maybe their home is aging and overpriced, and they refuse to see reason when it comes to the comparative market analysis you put together.
Is this client really worth it?
If you’re in real estate solely for the money, then maybe. But if you entered the field to find some balance between work and family, or maybe because you wanted to take more vacations, then maybe this client isn’t for you. And that’s okay!
“I think that we focus on not saying no because we think that we’re saying no,” explains Garcia. “When really, we need to focus on the fact that when we say no, we’re saying yes to something else.”
Maybe in the amount of time it took to get that house sold, you could have landed three more listings or entirely revamped your marketing campaign.
“We need to look at both the personal and the professional why,” Garcia notes. “It’s not just to make money.”
Not every agent has a “why” beyond business, though — so Garcia suggests looking at other agents in your market and figuring out what you don’t want in your business in order to nail down what you do want.
“Most people are going to say ‘I don’t know my why or what I’m working toward’ — great, figure out what you’re not working toward, what you’re not trying to do or not trying to be,” she says.
“Even if you don’t know what you want your business plan to be or your farm area or what your team looks like — can you identify what you don’t want to do, the clients you don’t want to work with? Take that off the table and don’t even focus on it.”
In conclusion, says Tim Harris: “The work part of work always sucks. When the bell rings, get out of bed.”
15 Motivational Career Tips For Real Estate Agents Who Don't Fit The 'Mold'
Forbes Real Estate Council
Although Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez is best known as a baseball star, he’s also a successful business owner and real estate magnate. Despite his extensive experience in many business endeavors, he believes others sometimes see him as “just an athlete.”
If you don’t fit the typical image in the industry, you might face additional challenges beyond those of your job description. However, this shouldn’t deter you from pursuing your ambitions. Keep moving forward with these tips from Forbes Real Estate Council members for real estate professionals who don’t quite fit the “mold.”
Forbes Real Estate Council members encourage atypical agents to embrace their difference.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.
1. Identify Your Unique Value
“People do business with people they like, know and trust.” This famous quote should be the guide for all professions. The goal is not to work with everyone because not everyone will want to work with you. The goal is to understand your value, know what you bring to the table and be confident in serving the needs of those who align with you. – Michelle Risi, Royal LePage Connect Realty
2. Apply Your Previous Knowledge
The typical image is a manufactured construct. If only one type of person can be successful, then no one would be successful. I have many successful clients, from those who own jets down to street merchants. I would suggest Mr. Rodriguez apply the baseball knowledge he has to real estate. Have patience, scan the field of play and execute when you can. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties / Matrix Properties
3. Don’t Worry About What’s ‘Typical’
There are actually a wide variety of people involved in real estate. That’s part of what makes the industry so great. Different types of people are interested in real estate and benefit from it. If you do not fit the mold or stereotypical image of the industry, don’t worry about it. Network with others involved in the industry, do good work and you will be fine. – Kristine Gentry, US Probate Leads
4. Remember Perception Is Reality
Most of us in real estate were not born into the real estate business. If I was Alex Rodriguez, I would milk my baseball status to invest in everything I wanted to invest in. The world is your oyster. Use your connections and sphere to venture into the business. From firemen and priests to CEOs and doctors, everyone wants to invest in or own real estate. Hook them. – Giuseppe Piccinini, JP And Associates REALTORS
5. Be Present In Your Community
Start volunteering to be a speaker at real estate meetings or start a meetup group for real estate investors. Write articles for community papers about real estate investing covering topics like how to get started and finding and funding deals. Get the word out about how you became a real estate investor, obstacles you overcame and the successes/failures of your investing career. – Nancy Wallace- Laabs, KBN Homes, LLC
6. Embrace The Slash
I have an ongoing consulting agreement with the NFL. I use the word “slash” when I speak with current and retired players about redefining themselves. For example, “You are an athlete slash business person.” What comes after the slash is up to them, but we are all more than our current standing. Real estate continues to be an avenue for generating wealth for people from all industries. – Kofi Nartey, The Kofi Nartey Group – Compass
7. Don’t Buy Into Outdated Stereotypes
Fear not! Absolutely no one is born with an intrinsic knowledge of real estate. The best part is that it’s a team sport. From raising equity, designing projects and capital structures to asset management—no one can do it alone. Your initial level of expertise in real estate is not as relevant as your commitment to learning and your creative application of that knowledge. – Jennifer Anderson, Anderson Coastal Group
8. Show Them Receipts
If someone doesn’t fit the mold or typical image of the industry, show them the receipts! Show prospects you’re an expert in your field by providing statistics, sales, market share, testimonials, active and sold listings, etc. By showing prospects that others valued your knowledge enough to have successful transactions, knowledge wins over image! – Cheryl Abrams, Re/Max United Real Estate
9. Focus On Your Integrity And Work Ethic
Regardless of stereotypes, true knowledge cannot be overshadowed by anyone’s perceived image. Have respect for another industry and mind your Ps and Qs. If you bring value, integrity and hard work to any industry, the last thing you need to worry about is what mold others think you should fit it. – Alex Vasquez, Rhino Realty Property Management
10. Never Compare Yourself
We have young twentysomething workers in our circle crushing it in real estate investing. We also have a good amount of women who are completing more deals than the typical image of the industry. Never compare yourself to others. Focus on your goals and make them happen! – Mike Hambright, FlipNerd.com
11. Learn To Stand Out
Whether it’s sports, hospitality, media or real estate, business is business. You must leverage every opportunity and use your experience, skills and natural talents to get you where you want to be. Don’t worry too much about fitting in; you may benefit more from standing out. There are also competitive advantages to being underestimated. Use them to create your greatest version of success! – Anna Michaelidis, Royal LePage Urban Realty
12. Keep It Real
When I first started, there weren’t many women in the industry and people would always ask to speak to my dad or husband. By educating myself and staying true to who I was, I was able to develop many solid relationships. I received respect from sellers, as well as colleagues who were initially apprehensive about dealing with a female investor. People always appreciate and respond to authenticity. – Melissa Johnson, Dannybuyshouses.com
13. Highlight Your Individual Approach
Be proud to stand out. Highlight how your approach sets you apart and allows you to serve your clients better. Traditional agents might do anything for a commission, but we don’t represent landlords. Our willingness to risk of alienating 50% of the industry shows tenants our commitment to never sit across the table from them. This is what differentiates us and led us to success. We’re proud of it! – Jonathan Keyser, Keyser
14. Take Genuine Interest In Clients
Just as one-size-fits-all t-shirts never fit everyone, there is no specific mold for real estate professionals. Realtors come from all walks of life and have different personalities. We are introverts and extroverts. Outstanding customer service makes an agent rise to the top. Success is based on a genuine interest in people and a desire to solve problems more than being a great salesperson. – Joe Houghton, RE/MAX Results/The Minnesota Property Group Team
15. Take The First Step
There is no mold. If you have the dream and vision, it’s well within your reach to achieve it. Whether it’s going to find experts and mentors, joining groups and really learning from the advice of folks that have come before you, take that first step. Ask the right questions and surround yourself with the right people and success will come. – Ari Rastegar, Rastegar Property Company
Find your real estate focus and motivation every day
Embrace the fact that ‘repetitious boredom’ pays off
Action is what inspires motivation — so as you read this, keep in mind that our goal is to motivate you into taking action, not just passively absorbing and agreeing with us in principle. Remember, your year is determined right now. The pay cycle for most markets is measured in months, so if you’re not out there making contacts, setting up deals and making it all happen today, then you’re setting yourself up for some lean months in the summer.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting until spring to start your 2015 career! Start now, stay ahead of the competition, and set up those future paychecks by the motivated efforts you put into it today.
Most people become agents because they:
Want to be their own boss and have control of their schedule.
Don’t want to be told what to do and when or how to do it.
Want to be financially secure, if not rich.
The first two goals are easy, but this third one is the challenge, and it requires focusing on what you need to be doing on a regular basis to stay on track. Ask yourself if you want to be one of the 99.9 percent of agents who accomplish the first two things but never the third.
How to be motivated and focused every day
Your success is determined by these three things:
1. You must be willing to do what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it at the highest level. There are a lot things agents don’t like doing in real estate — lead follow-up, negotiating with difficult clients, prospecting expired listings, and so on. Your willingness to overcome those things — wake up early, go out there and do the absolute best you can — is what you need to do in order to be successful.
But wait, don’t you need passion to be successful? No! Nobody wakes up every day wanting to do all those things. Be passionate about what being successful in real estate does for you — financially, for your family, however you want to view it. You don’t need to be passionate about taking a short-sale listing — it would be kind of strange if you did, right? Well, it’s OK if you don’t have “built in” passion about real estate. Some people do; others don’t — do not sweat it. You can leverage what you’re already passionate about to inspire your career, but don’t wait for career passion before you take action to pursue your daily goals.
Remember, being your own boss is a blessing and a curse — since no one is looking over your shoulder, it means that you can slack off. The problem is you don’t have that “work or get fired” pressure that you’d have in another job. So there’s no extrinsic motivation to get going and keep going — you must be your own motivation. There’s a quote I love: “When you pray, move your feet.”
2. Embrace the fact that repetitious boredom pays off. Think about where your paycheck is coming from today — probably from the repetitious boredom that you were involved with three to six months ago. Cleaning up your database, following up with past clients, pursuing leads — that’s repetitious and can be really boring … but it pays off.
We used to have “repetitious boredom pays off” written on a whiteboard in our office — while you’re in the middle of those boring tasks, remember that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but if you give up on those tasks, there is no light.
3. You must know your personal early warning signs. What are early warning signs? Here’s a quick analogy for you: Think about the way that a seismologist reviews the way the needle moves to measure earth tremors and predict possible earthquakes. It’s not a precise science, but it’s an excellent gauge of when things are getting out of control. You need to do the same thing.
So what are early warning signs? Well, keep in mind the sales and paycheck cycles for your area. How many contacts do you need to make per day to keep your pipeline full of inventory that eventually leads you to a paycheck? If you’re not making those contacts, then that’s an early warning that you’ll be in financial trouble in a few months.
Another warning sign is disregarding time management. Some symptoms might include sleeping in, slacking off, feeling burned out so you blow off your mornings, or even investing yourself in tasks that may feel like work but don’t actually lead to profits. Remember, there are only six things that lead you to a paycheck:
Presenting (to buyers or sellers)
Another warning sign might be letting yourself go physically. Are you slacking on your exercise? Then you’re sliding out of your routine — and that should be a warning sign that you’re starting to go off-track.
Remember to stay on track by creating goals in these five areas of life:
Those are the main goal-oriented areas for most people’s lives. When you’re choosing minimum daily standards, try to start with these areas and decide what your standards are for each area. For instance, if you say that you’re going to exercise (physical) every day and you don’t, then that’s an early warning sign. If you say you’re going to read your children a bedtime story every night and you don’t — another early warning sign. Write down three to five items to check yourself against every day as your “daily minimum standards.” If you can’t meet those, then there’s an earthquake coming.
Tim and Julie Harris have over 20 years’ experience in real estate. Learn more about their real estate coaching and training programs at timandjulieharris.com, or tune in to Real Estate Coaching Radio every weekday at realestatecoachingradio.com.
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10 Success-Boosting Motivation Tips From Millionaire Entrepreneurs
Nearly anything is possible but almost nothing is easy.
Motivation is a daily struggle for entrepreneurs, so I’ve put together these motivation-boosting tips from 10 of today’s successful entrepreneurs.
1. Fear of failure.
In an article that he wrote for Bloomberg, Mark Cuban stated that he uses the fear of failure for self-motivation.
“No matter what business you’re in, you’re always at risk — particularly in technology, where it changes so rapidly you’ve got to put in the effort to keep up,” writes the Shark Tank panel member. “There’s always the opportunity for some 18-year-old to come out of nowhere and crush you—that motivates the hell out of me.”
“Every one of my companies, whether something I started or something I invested in, is a scoreboard. How am I doing? A lot of investors or advisers play it as a numbers game.”
“If they invest in 20 companies, as long as one success covers 19 losses, they did OK. I look at every loss as a huge failure. I had an investment go bad recently. I lost $1.5 million on it. It pisses me off to no end.”
Failed at something? Ask these Mark Cuban questions.
“You can also use it as motivation. What did I do wrong? Who did I trust that I shouldn’t trust? What can I learn from this situation so I can avoid it next time?”
2. Do what you’re passionate for.
This is the key. However, as Chalmers Brown, co-founder and CTO of Due writes, “We want to not only make a lot of money but enjoy what we do as well. We are willing to take on the risk of unstable pay in exchange for following our dreams.”
“Unfortunately, your dream job may not always be the best decision financially. Sometimes your hobbies are best kept as projects in your spare time for fun (which is great!). If you do want to try to turn your passion into a full-time job, these tips can help you get started the right way.”
Brown gives the tips below:
Improve something that you’re already doing.
Figuring out where market.
Sharing your passion with others.
Stay happy and motivated by assigning tasks that you’re not a fan of to someone else.
3. Keep affirmations where you can see them.
“It’s so easy as an entrepreneur to get sucked into feeling exhausted or frustrated, and often the blame is yours alone,” writes Murray Newlands, founder of online invoicing company Sighted. “But a negative mindset sucks up mental bandwidth and energy that you need to stay focused and successful.
“It is crucial to maintain an optimistic attitude in the face of setbacks. Whenever you see a quote or a picture that helps you stay positive, place it front and center so you can remember what this journey is all about.”
4. Leverage the power of rejection.
“On June 26, 2008, our friend Michael Seibel introduced us to seven prominent investors in Silicon Valley. We were attempting to raise $150,000 at a $1.5M valuation. That means for $150,000 you could have bought 10 percent of Airbnb.”
“Below you will see five rejections. The other two did not reply,” writes Airbnb Co-Founder Brian Chesky on Medium. “The investors that rejected us were smart people, and I am sure we didn’t look very impressive at the time.”
Today Airbnb is valued at just under $30 billion.
5. Surround yourself with highly successful and motivated people.
“No one does it alone,” said Mark Zuckerberg during a Q&A in 2016. “When you look at most big things that get done in the world, they’re not done by one person, so you’re going to need to build a team.”
When building your All-Star team, seek out people who excel in the areas where you’re not strong or have less experience. “You’re going to need people that have complementary skills,” Zuckerberg emphasized. “No matter how talented you are, there are just going to be things that you don’t bring to the table.”
6. Never feel sorry yourself.
“All of my best successes came on the heels of a failure, so I’ve learned to look at each belly flop as the beginning of something good,” said Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on Shark Tank.
“If you just hang in there, you’ll find that something is right around the corner. It’s that belief that keeps me motivated. I’ve learned not to feel sorry for myself, ever. Just five minutes of feeling sorry for yourself takes your power away and makes you unable to see the next opportunity.”
7. Look for inspiration.
Inspiration is a driving force that you can use to motivate you. Lyft Co-Founder Jordan Zimmerman said that, “Right now, my daughter is a huge inspiration. Thinking about the future of our cities, the world and what environment she’s going to grow up in.”
“Also, the driver and passenger stories we hear every day. In a past team meeting, we had a mother come in and tell the story herself. She is a Lyft driver living in New York and her daughter is in Los Angeles.
“The daughter was going through a rough living situation with a roommate and had to leave and move into a new place. The mother called a Lyft for her daughter, had a quick conversation with the driver and the driver took care of her daughter in this tough situation.”
“These stories inspire us to think how we can make things more efficient and create a platform for two people to have a really positive interaction?”
8. Don’t obsess over your vision.
Yes. Think about your vision. But don’t spend too much time over it or it will bog you down. Elon Musk, for example, only spends around 30 minutes a week on his vision of SpaceX colonizing Mars. Besides those 30 minutes, Musk spends a majority of his time focused on the milestones that are the most immediate and critical.
9. Be grateful.
“Most of the time when people ask me about motivation, 80 percent of the time I attribute it to gratitude. If you want real fuel to win, be grateful,” writes Gary Vaynerchuk.
“Gratitude is what has gotten me through my toughest moments in business. Whenever I have lost a deal to a competitor, or an incredible employee, or millions of dollars in revenue, I default to gratitude. It’s impossible not to stay motivated or get too down when you’re feeling grateful.”
10. Forget about motivation.
“So many people wait to feel ‘motivated’ before they do anything. Here’s a newsflash: happy productive people do not wait for motivation, they just get on with it,” said Marie Forleo. I suggest that you watch the entire video where Marie shares her tips for motivation. It’s spot-on.
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