achievement

Say It Out Loud

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One of the guiding principles of my life has always been to lead with heart. It has led me to make some pretty audacious decisions like leaving a thriving business to try something I believed in, moving to places where I’ve known no one all for the chance to make an impact, or even becoming a mom. I never want to look back and think “I wonder what would have happened if I’d bet on myself,” so I’ve made it a practice of always betting on myself. Luckily, it has normally ended up pretty well.

But lately, I have been thinking about all the chances we don’t take because we’re too afraid to say them out loud. Did you know that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals by simply writing them down? This is a practice I have often used for myself and with our clients and genuinely believe in. And while there are plenty of studies that show the power of keeping those goals to yourself, I believe saying them out loud brings power to the goals themselves. Once you share the goal out into the universe, you can’t take it back and you establish an accountability unlike being able to keep it pent up inside where you’re the only one that has to face potential failure.

Some people call it courageous for living out loud the way I do - never too afraid to take the leap. But I’ve found that even if you bury the truth, it has a sneaky way of following you anyway. The things you want are etched in your heart and your mind, you just have to take action to make them a reality. And the decisions you make with your just the right mix of head and heart - well the power of those decisions can’t be underestimated!

Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes

A few weeks ago, my second-grade step-daughter came home with a huge smile on her face telling me about a school project where she and her classmates would stage a wax museum. The students each selected a historical figure, researched their person, wrote a small speech, and then this morning - dressed in costume and recited the speech to parents. The entire concept was pretty neat, but what really struck me was when I was asking my step-daughter about Amelia Earhart (her person), she said this: "Could you imagine flying all the way around the world all by yourself?" 

The question stopped me in my tracks because honestly, I couldn't. What would it feel like to go through that? What would I need to do to prepare for such an undertaking? It sounded lonely. Awful, actually. But what struck me wasn't about how unappealing the prospect of what Amelia Earhart did, it was what the project had prompted an eight-year-old to do that so many adults struggle with - walking a mile in someone else's shoes. 

This got me thinking...do we really know what it is like to be in our client's shoes? I moved about a year and a half ago and the entire process was extremely stressful. Yes, even with two seasoned real estate professionals leading the charge. We knew the intricacies of the process, but the outside factors impacted our stress level in the process. As agents, if we're really aiming to enhance the experience, we have to focus on those factors. The things no one can necessarily control, but that we can impact and help shoulder the burden of. That is going to be the difference-maker. And the first step is understanding what is it like to walk in someone else's shoes. 

We're All A Little Flawed

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I have a confession to make. I'm incredibly flawed. I try not to be, but I am. Try as I might, there are times that I stumble, times that I fail, and times that I let people down. It gets to me and that's when I have a choice to either let my head play out every worst case scenario, or to dust myself off and rise to the occasion. We all have these choices and how we choose makes all the difference. 

A friend once told me about a Japanese practice called "kintsugi." In this process they repair a broken object with precious metals - liquid gold, liquid silver, or lacquer dusted with powdered gold. The process not only repairs the broken object, but highlights the breaks - celebrating them as value, not flaw. I adore this practice because it makes me think of the human story. We're all a little broken and flawed, but I have always believed that it is those very flaws that make us who we are. Each flaw has a story, a lesson, and a seed of growth. 

When I work with teams and brokerages, I often suggest an activity where they openly identify not only their strengths, but their weaknesses. I encourage every member of the team to identify these qualities both in themselves and in their colleagues. Admittedly, this exercise can get a little uncomfortable, but the result is truly amazing. What comes out of this exercise is not unlike kintsugi. Individuals not only gain a deep understanding of what they do well, but what they struggle with, too. Their weaknesses are celebrated equally with their strengths. You see, only when you identify what you struggle with are you able to improve and grow those skills. Further, you're able to leverage those around you. To me, this is what true growth is all about.

Admitting the flaw can often be the hardest part. We don't want to be vulnerable so instead, we charge ahead. The beauty in admitting your flaws is that you begin to see the strengths of those around you - both in your professional and your personal life. You begin to identify who you can turn to and lean on in times of need, and that...well, that is nothing short of perfect.  

Overcoming the Mid-January Blues

We're about 5% done with 2018, and for most people, that means beginning the process of giving up on their goals. Not you. Not this year. Instead of feeling the mid-January pressures to give yourself a break, you would be much better served to stay on track and adjust your approach to make achieving your goals a reality. 

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The problem with setting and achieving audacious goals is that we are often setting big goals while not wanting to compromise anything we currently have going on. I liken this to the mid-January situation in my kid's playroom. Over the holidays, they had their embarrassment of riches in Legos and the latest trendy toy. Prior to the holidays they already had full toyboxes of toys they loved, but as the new toys came - the old ones got pushed to the bottom and now I see them as they sit in the toybox and the new toys grab their attention. 

Adults are really just slightly more evolved versions of kids. We set ambitious goals and New Year's Resolutions and spend much of our time laser-focused on those goals, often completely abandoning other secondary goals or even strategies that got us to the point of our current success. But we must be aware of this trap. Forgetting the tried and true strategies that allowed us to succeed to this point are not things that should be abandoned for a shiny new model of marketing, branding, or prospecting. No, these are the things that should be doubled down on to continue to build our success. 

So, how do you overcome these mid-January blues and stay on track to achieving your goals? Regardless of what goals you find yourself working toward this year, I challenge you to consider this: if you were limited to five major moves to make that goal happen, what would they be? Now, consider these "major moves" more of a category of activities that move you closer to achieving your goals. Once you have the knowledge of what those activities are, break them down further into tasks (with deadlines) and get them on your calendar. When things end up on our calendars, they get back to the forefront of our awareness. It is like pulling the toy from the bottom of the toybox and placing it back in their field of view. No longer does it get treated as "that old thing," but a treasured part of their day. So, what will you treasure today?

Sure, you may not be a kid anymore and you've got things more pressing than Legos and Barbies determining your success, but who says you can't use the same tried and true strategies to tackle keeping things top of mind?

Growth Is A Process

As we embark on a new year, many of us are finding ourselves focusing on the year ahead. But think on this for a moment...2018 is only a year. Just as 2017 was and every year before that. And chances are, there will be more years to come as well. So, instead of focusing just on 2018 and what we will achieve this year, wouldn't it be more useful to focus on how we can make 2018 a year of incremental growth so that we can achieve greater things in the years to come?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not implying that you should sell yourself short and set goals with little growth in mind. I'm a big fan of audacious goals, but why not focus those goals on the process of growth versus a destination? Why set some arbitrary day to be a better you instead of focusing every day on how you can be better than you were yesterday? 

For example, in 2017 I set a goal to lose 25 pounds. 2016 had been a year of big transitions in my personal life and my health was reflective of that. The thing about losing weight and getting healthy is that it provides a lot of perspective on incremental growth. You can't just go for a run and meal prep for a week and poof! you're back to your prime! Much to our chagrin, that's just not how this works. Instead, you better get comfortable with incremental growth. So, this is how it went for me...

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On February 13, 2017, my Peloton bike arrived. I had been lusting after it for months at that point and couldn't wait to take my first ride. I had space in our guest room perfectly reserved, my water bottle was filled, and I was ready for the delivery guys to set it up so I could ride! As soon as they set it up, I hopped on and took my first ride. Truth is, I don't know if you can call the flailing that I did a ride as I thought the instructor had plans to kill me the entire ride, but I just kept pedaling. I got off the bike and felt defeated (and exhausted) and almost started to cry. Here I was, sitting on the floor in a puddle of my own sweat, out of breath, overweight, having spent thousands of dollars on a piece of equipment that I felt like I couldn't even do. 

But that night, I got on the bike again. This time only for 20-minutes, unlike the 45-minute deathwish ride that I'd done earlier. It was still hard, but I kept pedaling. My stepkids sat on the bed watching me asking questions like "why are you sweating so much?" and "is that hard?" the entire ride as my fiance encouraged me knowing that I was struggling. Even though it was hard, it was a little easier than earlier that day. This continued throughout 2017 and I ended the year more than 25 pounds lighter than I began it, completely asthma free, and with a heart rate that was well within a healthy range for my age. So, what does my weight loss journey have to do with your audacious goals for 2018? Well, a lot. Much like my goal seemed almost too big to imagine in January; when I was able to break it down into small, achievable steps - it seemed more realistic. In order to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year, you need to lose roughly 1/2 a pound per week. Sounds doable, right? 

This is incremental growth. So, maybe you're struggling with the size of your goals for this year. Or maybe you're having trouble thinking about how you get from A to Z by 2020. Start by defining where you want to be in a year, three years, five years, maybe even ten years then be honest with yourself about what it will take to get there. What skills do you need to refine or even learn? What changes do you need to make? What strategies must you master? You won't get there today, but thinking about the incremental growth makes you a lot more likely to get there eventually than your zero to sixty plot you've made up in your mind. Take your time. Make incremental changes. Celebrate your wins. And go crush it. 

Small steps add up. You just have to choose the direction. 

 

Time Flies

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Today is my step-daughter's 7th birthday. I look at her and see how much she has changed and grown over the past year, let alone the last seven and think to myself, what is it going to be like in seven more years? She'll be 14 then. Woah. Okay, I'll dial it back. 

But, as any coach might do, I draw connections. I see the last seven years and think about how my business has grown and morphed into more than I ever could have imagined. No, not every step has been planned or even predictable, but every step has been a result of previous actions. What will your business look like in seven years? What do you want it to look like? 

You see, a lot of people can't answer that question. Sure, you won't be able to predict every moment, action, or result of the next seven years, but planning and strategic actions can help determine the likelihood of accomplishing your goals. I read books, work on math problems, or answer those pressing questions that a 7-year old has swirling around in their mind with the goal of preparing Sunni for things beyond 7-years old. This isn't touting my parenting skills. Trust me, I've got plenty to work on. What I'm trying to explain here is that we have the ability to be proactive about the future, many of us are just proactive about others future instead of our own. Why is that? Why are you less important? Before you answer, let me tell you...you're not. 

So, if you're reading this and you have neglected making plans and taking actions, it is not too late. The secret is, it is never too late. Your business (and your life) thrives when you begin to take an active role in the future. You take the time to plan your actions, prepare for the outcomes, and scale accordingly. You can train with the best, but no one can ever say with full certainty that you will experience a future outcome, you can just stack the odds in your favor. An Olympic athlete spends every day training their mental, physical, and emotional capacity to win a gold medal, but only some do. They train for gold, even if they win silver. You should do the same. Train for gold. Train for goals. You still may end up just short, but at least you're on your way. 

Doing Things That Scare You

Have you ever been up at 4 am and watched the crazy infomercials that come across TV? As a business-owner, I actually suggest watching once in awhile. Sure, some of the stuff is cheesy, catchy, and borderline crazy; but some of the products do exactly what great products should. The product solves a problem. What most of these products have in common though is that someone watching is sitting on their couch saying "I thought of that!" Here is the difference though - the person on the couch never did a damn thing about it. 

I think Eleanor Roosevelt was onto something when she gave the advice to "do one thing each day that scares you." Reading quotes like that inspires us. They ignite the fire inside us that make us feel like we can achieve anything. But then, we are faced with executing on ideas. Talk about something that scares you! Taking an idea from execution is just about as scary as it gets sometimes. Especially if you're a big thinker. Ideas inside are head are safe - from judgement, from failure, from difficulty; but when we bring our ideas out into the light of day and say "I'm going to _____!" Well then, shit gets real. 

Last week, I wrote about your team and how we all have one. What I alluded to is that your team is the group that gets you through the tough stuff. Well, your team is who gets you through the stuff that scares you. Having outside perspective can often provide much needed clarity to situations because the outsiders aren't emotionally tied to the idea. They are in execution mode - emotionally unattached, laser-focused on how to get from A to B - without much concern as for why B is so important. This is really difficult for the "idea person" to face. Why? Well, when ideas are faced with judgement, possible criticism, or worse - pivot - it can be really difficult for the person who was originally tied to the idea, but it is the key to great execution. 

You see, you don't have to be an "idea guy" to have great ideas. People have great ideas all the time. And almost just as frequently, people talk themselves out of great ideas. What you have to have is the people that help push you from idea to execution. Who are those people for you?

 

 

What If You Had To?

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Some people may have the perception that coaches have it all figured out, and I am quite certain that I'm not alone when I say, we don't. We question ourselves and our abilities, too. We have fears of failure and we have to work to attack our distractions every day. What coaches have is greater perspective, not ability. We know that not everything works, we just don't believe that is reason enough not to try. 

As a coach, I work with agents every single day who question their abilities. My role helps agents find innovative ways to grow their business, hold them accountable to their goals, and ultimately - assist all of our agents in living #LivesThatThrive. I love what I do, I really do. Another part of my role is helping agents dig deep to achieve things that I know they can, when they are still unsure. 

I have quickly come to believe that our abilities truly don't limit our achievements, our minds do. Sure, it is easy to rattle off a list of why something won't work, but what happens when you ask yourself, what if it does work? What if you stop telling yourself "I don't think I can do this," and you start asking yourself "what if I had to do this?"

Soak on that for a moment. Do you know what you would achieve? Would you push a little harder at the gym? Would you go after the listing in the neighborhood that seems out of reach? Would you work just a touch harder? Would you try that creative marketing idea you've been mulling around in your head? I hope so. 

Some of you still may question how you would act in a certain scenario. But, look at moments where people had to do great things. Moments where a parent needed to act swiftly, ER doctors day-to-day, or a Coast Guard rescue. No, real estate normally isn't fast-pace, life or death moments. That said, real estate is our career. It is our have to. Have your moment. Do your thing. Take those leaps and hope that you fly. Rather, build wings so that you do fly! Our human bodies are wired for fight or flight. So I'm asking you to fight. I'm asking you - what if you had to?

Committing To Yourself

Most of us began the new year with a list of resolutions or goals for the upcoming year. We're all going to end 2017 in the best shape of our lives, with limitless income, and parent of the year badges. Or at least, that's how we start the year...

But if you look back to your 2016, many of you will find that you had the same setbacks, challenges, and bad habits that you had in 2015 or even 2014! You are keeping your problems year after year despite setting out with the best of intentions. Herein lies the one of the fundamental problems that we have with achieving our goals. Many of us make goals - even writing them down, but don't make the changes necessary to achieve those goals - so, we end up in the same place we started. We speak powerful words, but we don't commit to powerful action. Why is that? Author Lisa Jacobs puts it very simply, "If you wanted to travel from Pittsburgh to New York, you can't sit down on a park bench in Pittsburgh and wonder why you're not getting to New York." Yes, while many of us laugh at this sentiment and think "of course you can't!" that same group is found wondering why they haven't achieved their goals year after year. Why, you ask? Because you're sitting on the park bench! Because you are being a spectator in your own life instead of getting on the field! 

This weekend, my 5 year old (5 1/2 year old if you were to ask him) went to basketball practice. This is a new activity for him that he has only been doing for about two months. He's still learning, but when his coach told the kids that they should practice making 200 shots per day, this 5 year old didn't take it lightly. After being at practice on Saturday, he couldn't wait to tell me how he was going to make his 200 shots every day because he wants to get "really good." But then something truly wonderful happened. He got off the park bench! Ryland spent nothing short of 3-4 hours outside sinking shots. He missed more than he made at first, but as the time went on, he started sinking more than he made. He was determined to get to his 200. Shortly after 6:00pm. I stood in the darkness shooting with him and he made his 200th shot! I caught the aftermath on video! 

What is remarkable about this wasn't the 200 shots on Saturday afternoon, although that was undeniably remarkable. Already proud of his commitment to his goals, I gushed with pride as he woke up Sunday morning ready to shoot his 200 baskets. Not because I reminded him, but because he made a commitment to himself. This is what active progress toward your goals looks like. This is what commitment is. I don't tell you this story to brag (although, it is certainly a brag worthy step-parenting moment). I tell you this story because this commitment displayed by a 5 year old is more than what many adults commit to. Kids are constantly learning, growing, and most importantly - doing. As adults, we could learn a thing or two from them. I know that I have. 

If you want to break those bad habits - finally lose those 5 lbs, grow your business, be a happier version of yourself, or even become a better basketball player - you have to get off the park bench. You have to commit to your 200 shots with action, not just words. And when you feel like you have an excuse as for why you can't, watch the video of the 5 year old who is making 200 shots every day and tell me why you can't accomplish your goals, too.

So, what's your plan today? 

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