growth

Looking for new podcasts? Check out these designed to help your business thrive!

Podcasts have been one of the fastest growing mediums for people to take in cutting edge content. Their ease of production and accessibility have made them a favorite among many including us! While we love jamming out to music as much as the next person, we also know that when time is valuable, utilizing time in the car or on a flight to educate ourselves can give us a huge competitive advantage. Check out this list compiled by Inc.com of 10 of the Best Podcasts to Help Your Company Thrive.

1. StartUp

StartUp focuses on the experience of starting a business and entrepreneurial life. The podcast launched in 2014 and is powered by a team of women, including Senior Producer Molly Messick, Co-Host Lisa Chow, and Reporter Amy Standen. Past episodes have tackled issues such as balancing entrepreneurship with parenthood, pitching a business to investors, and past mistakes entrepreneurs have made. 

StartUp is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. 

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2. Mixergy

Created by Andrew Warner, Mixergy features interviews with business founders. During each podcast, a founder tells their story and shares solutions to some of the challenging issues that founders face. Past guests have included Gabe Schillinger of Legion Beats, Max Makeev of Owl Labs, and Maria Paz Gillet of Jooycar. 

Listen to Mixergy on Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts. 

3. The Tim Ferriss Show 

Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, hosts the widely popular Tim Ferris Show. The show has amassed over 300 million downloads and has been included in Apple Podcasts' "Best of" ranking for three years. Ferris interviews guests such as LeBron James, Maria Sharapova, Jamie Foxx, and more, examining the routines, tactics, and tools that contribute to their success so that you can put those strategies to work in your life. 

Catch The Tim Ferriss Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Overcast. 

4. Business Wars

Business Wars pits competing businesses against each other, examining what drives a company's success or failure. Hosted by David Brown, this podcast focuses on massive companies such as Netflix, Blockbuster, Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and more. 

Business Wars is available on the App Store or on Google Play. 

5. Rise and Grind with Daymond John

Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU, interviews successful entrepreneurs, musicians, and athletes such as Barbara Corcoran, Ian Siegel, and more. Each interview subject shares their secrets to how they achieved success, and you can benefit from them, too. 

Listen to Rise and Grind with Daymond John on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. 

6. The Brand Builder Podcast

Looking to understand the current trends in branding? The Brand Builder Podcast examines what's working for some of the most successful brands and gives you actionable advice that you can use for your own business. 

Listen to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher. 

7. This Week in Startups

Longtime Silicon Valley investor Jason Calacanis hosts this series of conversations, usually with talented startup founders. If you want insight into the nuts and bolts of scaling a small business in competitive environments, this is a helpful podcast.

Listen to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Youtube and more.

8. The Hirsch Marketing Underground Podcast

This podcast digs into marketing strategy with detailed, precise advice for any business. The short episodes are easy to catch while on the go, giving you new concise marketing strategies in just 15 minutes. 

Enjoy the Hirsch Marketing Underground Podcast on Stitcher. 

9. The Brainy Business

Conversion expert Melina Palmer shares insight and tips about behavioral economics to help you better understand why people make purchases. Use the tips to increase your business' sales and customers. 

Listen to The Brainy Business on Stitcher. 

10. The School of Greatness

Hosted by New York Times bestselling author Lewis Howes, The School of Greatness examines just what it is that makes people great. Guests include business owners and entrepreneurs, celebrities, athletes, and more. 

You can catch The School of Greatness on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, YouTube, Google Play, or Spotify. 

Many of these podcasts give you the opportunity to learn from hugely successful entrepreneurs and business owners. They all give you concrete tips and advice that you can apply to your company. And, whether you're looking to develop productivity habits or refine your marketing strategy, you're sure to find valuable information (and some entertainment, too) from these podcasts. 


How to Delegate Like a Champ

Delegating is one of the most important keys to scaling your success but time and time again - it is something that professionals share as a struggle. I get it. Really, I do. When I began scaling my business, delegating was difficult for me too. It helped to think of delegation as part of the process of eliminating things from my daily task list.

Letting control go of the things that have helped build your business can undoubtedly be uncomfortable and even stressful, but here are a few tips we have for easing the process.

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Establish firm priorities. During the delegation process, it is important to keep your eye on what is most important. What are the things that you must continue to do? What can someone do almost as well as you? Understand that when you delegate something, it may not be done exactly the way you have always done it - but it is freeing your time up to handle the more important things that only you can handle. At the end of the day, the result is more important than the process when it comes to delegation.

Play to your team’s strengths. Delegating is about winning back your time to focus on more pressing matters, which means that delegation is not just a professional undertaking, but a personal one too. If you have specific tasks you need to delegate, hire for those roles. But often where delegation goes off track is that we start with the task versus the person. Focus on what the people in your life do well, enjoy, and are capable of then see where you can leverage those strengths.

Take the time to train. Delegating is the first step in a larger process to remove these tasks from your daily agenda. The biggest mistake I see people make is skipping delegation and moving straight to elimination. They are not the same thing. Delegating is an active process that you as the delgater still must be involved in both through training and follow up. Elimination (the goal) is not concerning yourself with the task at all. It is not enough to take the time to train once and move on. Training may take a few times of you explaining the process, letting them attempt the process, and over time - letting go of the process. Don’t skip the training!

Trust, but verify. Many times, people become reluctant to delegate as a result of previous negative experiences. When delegating, you must be willing to trust the ability of the person taking on the new tasks. Without this trust, you defeat the purpose of delegation in the first place (which is how so many fail at delegating) because you actually spend double the time on the tasks as you originally did - first through trying to delegating then by handling the task yourself anyway. Resist this urge! One great way to build your trust for the person taking on these tasks is to trust their ability and their work while ensure you’re available for questions, yet verifying that the tasks were done to your satisfaction. A few times of verifying their stellar work will build your trust that they are not only capable, but exceeding expectations. Or, verifying that they aren’t capable will save you time of keeping someone tasked with work they cannot handle.

It’s a journey, not a destination. As I have said so many times, delegation is a process. It will require you to be involved in training, support, verification, and so much more. Be patient with yourself and with those you task with the work. They are learning and it can be helpful to remember how you felt when you were first learning these tasks. If you devote the proper level of attention to delegation, you will undoubtedly begin to see the success you were hoping for!


Are You Thinking Big?

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Last week I was talking to a good friend of mine. By almost any standard, she is one of the greats. She has achieved so much in her life, is considered a leader in her industry, and frankly - she is just an all-around awesome person. She always struck me as someone who is a big thinker, and better yet - a big executer, meaning she walks the walk just as much as she talks the talk. And just as she was preparing to get on stage at one of her industry's largest events, she said to me "Just because I think bigger than most people around me doesn't mean I'm thinking big."

In that one statement, I was entranced. Often we are prone to thinking we are thinking big when in reality, we are simply not challenging ourselves. Leadership expert, Jim Rohn says "you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Take a moment and look at who you surround yourself with. Are they achieving their goals? Are they growing their businesses and their lives? Are they living the way you want to live yours? The answers may surprise you.

If you choose to surround yourself with people who are happy with the status quo, you will never grow. Worse yet, if you choose to surround yourself with people who have habits that could be detrimental to achieving your goals, you risk even more. You need to consistently challenge yourself to change yourself and that starts with your surroundings.  

What Guides You?

They say that character is defined by what you do when no one is looking. And when it comes to great service - I believe the same rule follows. It is easy to go above and beyond when you know the client/prospect is looking or to roll out the red carpet for the pat on the back, but real service is defined by the things we do when no one is looking.  

In real estate, it is easy to get attached to the outcome of a deal and align our service with the outcome. But what happens when you align your service with your values is something so much more impressive. You live each moment in the actions because you wholeheartedly believe in them. When we are constantly looking for ways to enhance the experience, we often miss out on ways that we can maintain the experience as well.

Certainly, I am not a fan of the status quo. It pretty much goes against everything I stand for, but the status quo also represents an expectation of a smooth process. Often when we're trying to go above and beyond, we unintentionally disrupt that. This is what happens when we're solely focused on outcomes. We do things with a result in mind and if we don't achieve that result, the entire process is in vain. However, when we focus on the individual actions. When we live in the moments of the transaction, we're able to surprise, delight, and deliver in a way that surpasses the client's wildest expectations. The only question is - are you in it for the outcome or are you in it for the action?

Controlling For X

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One of the most common questions I get is "what is the one thing I implement that will help me succeed?" Talk about a broad question, huh? It doesn't matter where I am or who I am talking to, it is almost a guarantee that someone will ask me the question. Some people may see it as agents looking for a quick fix or a magic solution, but I see it differently. I realize that the journey to success is long and winding and often we're just looking for signs that we're on the right path - even if that path differs from someone else's. 

You are probably wondering what my answer is, aren't you? And the funny thing about it is the answer applies universally regardless of the situation. Why? Because there is one looming reason that people fail...something I call The X Factor. This is that thing (or things) that fall outside your control, but impact your work. It is unpredictable and more likely than not, it has the ability to throw a wrench in your plans. When the X Factor rears it's ugly head, we tend to crumble and lose touch with all of the things that got us to where we are. So, what is the answer to my question? You have to control for X. 

I get it, it is much easier said than done. How do you even go about controlling for something you don't know anyway? Sometimes the X Factor is time while other times it is emotions. Still other times it is the other side of a negotiation. The thing that high achievers all share is this ability to control for X. Sure, you won't be able to predict everything, but much of what we do is highly predictable. By allowing the predictable to become regimented making it even more predictable you will generate time to deal with the unpredictable events. Controlling for X also requires that we overcome a looming fear of worst case scenario playing it out in our heads so that we can prepare for the possibilities. Chances are that this simple act of preparation very well may eliminate the worst case scenario all together allowing for a much smoother experience to begin with. 

You see, controlling for X doesn't mean eliminating X. There will always be unpredictable events that impact our success and our lives. But how you choose to respond to those actions and prepare for the possibilities is what will set you apart. 

Stay In Your Lane

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the effect competition, or more accurately - perceived competition. As any good business owner knows, you have to be aware of your competition, but there is a fine line between awareness and obsession. When I work with clients, we focus heavily on the things we can control and really there is only one thing in our lives that we have complete control over and that is ourselves. Not only can we not control the actions of our competition but it has an extremely negative impact on our performance when it pushes us to be reactive instead of proactive. It can shift our plans even causing our actions to misalign with our vision. And what if you're being reactive to something you merely perceive as competition and it isn't actually a blip on the radar? An obsession with your perceived competition is not only completely counterproductive, it is downright harmful to your business. When we're constantly looking at others, how can we impact ourselves?

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Going down the rabbit hole of comparing ourselves to the accomplishments of others is a losing battle. Not because we are not accomplished, but because eventually - the likelihood of you finding someone, somewhere that is more accomplished than you is pretty high. And here's the thing...there is nothing wrong with that. Further, where do you stop comparing yourself to others? Do you only compare career success or do you also begin to look at personal achievements? See? Rabbit hole. The problem with focusing on others isn't only that it is a losing battle, it is that it causes you to focus less on yourself and what differentiates you. That is your competitive superpower - focus on what differentiates you from the competition.

It is proven that high performers outpace their competition by focusing inward on refining their own skill set, developing their value, and implementing their plans to deliver that value to consumers. In a world of a lot of the same, I think we'd all be better served to spend a lot less time worrying about what we perceive as competition and more about our own goals. 

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. 

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. 

 

Start Small, Think Big

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By now, most of us have heard the story of Apple, which started in a garage with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in 1976. A true bootstrapping effort of brains, wit, and ambition that built one of the most successful companies in the world. The remarkable thing about their story isn't just the amazing growth of their company though. It is the fact that they were willing to start small to build something they truly believed in. 

Apple isn't the only example of this type of story. Take ice cream moguls, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (better known as Ben & Jerry's) for example. They started their careers taking a $5 class on fine points of preparing ice cream. They opened their first location in an abandoned gas station eventually growing their business to developing creative flavors and selling ice cream to distributors - now a household name. 

Entrepreneurs are really more similar than they are different. Most of us don't work just for the money. Entrepreneurs could trade the unpredictable nature of their business for a stable job, reliable paycheck, and health insurance whenever they want. So why don't they? 

The truth is, we're in it for far more than the money. Sure, money pays the bills, but our motivation is found in customer satisfaction, great experiences, and a desire to make a difference. It can be a little daunting when you're in the garage starting small, but my advice is keep going. It doesn't matter if you start small, it just matters that you start something that matters. 

Practice Makes You Prepared, Not Perfect

As I sit here watching the rain pour outside my window, I am reminded that perfection is all in the eye of the beholder. For some, a perfect day consists of the sun shining, time spent with family and friends, great food and better company, maybe even a little bit of work thrown in. Most people don't think of a rainy day as perfect. That's where sayings like "saving for a rainy day" make sense. Rainy days just aren't perfect. But, what if you prepare for the rain? What if you're the agent that has the umbrella or the raincoat? After all, even in the most beautiful climates it rains every once in awhile. Rather than be brought down by the rain, what if we prepared for it ahead of time? Then it doesn't have as big of an impact as it otherwise might. Are you preparing for the rainy days in your business?

I've always been a big on practice. It is one of the things that first drew me to coaching. The importance of practice, of preparation, of commitment - that is the stuff where legends are made. Just watch The Karate Kid. Right? As a kid, I played softball. I loved the outfield, but I was also a talented catcher behind the plate. After practice, my coach used to have the whole team line up and take turns throwing balls in the dirt toward me. I would spend 30 minutes dropping to the dirt, covered in dust blocking the balls from hitting the backstop. It was frustrating to say the least, but it made me a better player all around. It refined my focus. It helped teach me the fundamentals of committing to a goal and achieving it. It prepared me to field grounders in the outfield and behind the plate. It helped speed up my reflexes. My coach used to say "practice makes perfect" every time I begrudgingly took my spot preparing to practice. But, as I've grown older (and hopefully wiser), I've realized that she was wrong. Practice doesn't make perfect. It makes you prepared, which is close, but not the same thing as perfect. 

Okay, this is probably making any perfectionist twitch as they read, but stay with me for a moment. Perfection isn't what we're after, right? Why? Because perfection doesn't exist. It is a pipe dream. It is something that we have made up in our minds to justify our actions. Does that mean we shouldn't chase it? No. I think chasing perfection is perfectly acceptable. Yes, I understand the irony there. I just think we need to be okay with where we land. Even top agents feel the ebbs and flows of the market shifts. 

Practicing to prepare. That's different. It is a far better business (or even life) strategy. Preparedness allows you to pivot when outside factors impact the circumstances.  Preparation allows you to stay calm in moments where someone who chases perfections is feeling panicked. Prepared professionals have far more successful careers than those that strive for perfection because they adapt to their circumstances instead of constantly trying to shape them. This is what your practice should be chasing. 

So, what are you chasing...perfection or preparedness? 

Big Picture Business

Just like that, the first quarter of the year is over. If your market is anything like Raleigh, you didn't see much of a lull during the winter months. You continued to face low inventory and buyers continued to compete for the best homes. But, how does the market impact your business goals? 

We are working with the agents at Bamboo Realty for their quarterly coaching sessions this week, which got me thinking, do you track your progress? We are all taught to plan for the year ahead, but did your planning end after January? For a lot of agents, that is the case. They spend the holiday season and the month of January pouring over a business plan (Pro Tip: this should be done well in advance of this point. We recommend Q3 business planning for the following year) and they have forgotten the goals by March. Worse, the agents adjust their goals based on their production. No! This is backward approach! One of the tactics that we use with our agents is to help them break large goals into smaller, more consumable goals. If the agents consistently hit their smaller goals, they will ultimately hit (or surpass) their larger annual goals.

For example, say that you want to complete a total of 36 transactions this year. Great! The first thing you should do is divide your total goal by 12 (representing 12 months in the year). Okay...so that tells you that to hit your goal, you need to complete a minimum of 3 transactions per month. But wait...when you set your initial goal, did you factor in other expenses (i.e., Association dues, MLS dues, marketing expenses, administrative expenses, taxes, etc.)? No? Well, then you may need 1-2 (or more) transactions to subsidize those expenses and still hit the goal number of income that you want to achieve. You see, there is a big difference between your Baseline Goals (what you need to survive) and your Growth Goals (what you want to achieve). Many agents make the mistake of setting Baseline Goals then wonder why they aren't growing or why they're constantly in debt. 

If this is you, don't worry. This is a pretty easy fix. We recommend backing into your goals. Establishing what you need to make, what you want to make, and what you're willing to do in order to achieve those goals. Then, work with a coach (hey, we've got those too, just drop us a line! ) to help track your progress. Approaching your business with a "big picture mindset" can have a drastic impact on your success. Many agents ask if this cost vs. benefit approach of a big picture mindset will impact their level of service. My answer, "don't let it." Evaluating the cost and benefits of transactions, relationships, etc. doesn't make you an impersonal business owner, it makes you a smart business owner. Remember, the biggest payouts aren't always in the form of a check. Sometimes, it is the relationship that has all the value. 

Until next time...

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?

 

 

We've All Got A Team

Teams have been all the rage in the real estate industry for quite a few years now. They proudly boast about the higher level of service and satisfaction that consumers will receive due to their setup, their larger marketing budgets, etc. While I understand the argument, I have come to believe that we've all got a team. Whether it is real estate or any other area of our lives, we don't tackle things alone (or at least we shouldn't). 

Over the past few weeks, our leadership team here at Bamboo Realty has been tackling "sprint work". This style of work dictates following a 12-week process to take a project from idea to execution & roll out in 12-weeks. You spend three-weeks in each phase - planning, creating, shipping, and assessing - and ultimately end with a really refined vision and end product. The process, originally taken from our CEO's coaching club, 108 Collective, has been enlightening for all of us working together. We've grown as a company, but more importantly as a team. We've been able to truly uncover each other's strengths, compensate for each other's weaknesses, and trust our guts. 

In true Bamboo fashion, we decided that we didn't want to tackle one sprint, so instead, we opted for three sprints. No big deal, right? Now, the magic of the 12-week sprint is that it is long-enough to fully think through something, but short enough that you're unable to overthink any particular element. This is a fantastic perk for us creative types. We're analytical of the details, so rather than over think them, we focus on executing them with precision, yet we're still comforted that we can adjust the dials during the Assess phase of our sprint. Last week, on the brink of beginning the Create phase, I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. As I shared my concerns with our VEEP, Zach, he said something that I have taken such comfort in. He told me, "Don't worry about the amount of tasks. That's why we're here." As supported as I felt in that moment, what struck me about his comment was the truth to the statement. We're here. Zach & Sarah care as deeply about the projects that I champion as I do about theirs. We all have different roles and responsibilities within the company, but we're after the same thing - making Bamboo the best version of itself. 

So I began to wonder, is it any different for agents? I'm not sure that it is. Explain that you too, have a team. No, a solo agent doesn't have a formal team per se, but they have a team just the same. They work with photographers, appraisers, lenders, home inspectors, attorneys - the list goes on! You have a group of professionals (that you probably think are the best at what they do) working to get the best results for your clients. If you ask me, that's pretty great. A team doesn't have to mean that your checks are signed by the same folks, it just means that you're working toward a common goal. More agents need to leverage this to consumers. 

When I reflect on the greatest moments of my life - my greatest achievements, my happiest memories, and the things that I am most proud of - they have one thing in common; I wasn't alone. So, perhaps I don't have a team, perhaps agents don't have teams either, but as the Beatles put it best, "I get by with a little help from my friends." I think we all do, don't we?

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?

Creating Your Community

More and more, I find myself looking outside of the real estate industry for inspiration. So, this week, as we tackled the concept of branding on one of our training "B-Line" calls here at Bamboo Realty, I couldn't help but reference my latest obsession - my new Peloton bike. Those of you that follow me on social media may have noticed this new obsession; however, what you likely haven't seen, unless you're a Peloton rider yourself, is the power of the Peloton community. After just a week with my bike, the power of their community has vastly changed how I ride and my drive to keep going. 

Of course, it's all in the name though! "Peloton" is a word used to describe the main group of riders in a race. Riders group together to enhance their performance - so riders in a peloton work together, conserve energy and perform better because of one another. Hm, sounds a lot like a community to me. One might begin to wonder how a spin bike with technology for at-home on-demand rides actually enhances performance or creates community, but I tell you - this company has mastered it.

Founded in 2012 as a kickstarter, Peloton was created by people who "loved cycling but had a hard time finding a workout that consistently fit their schedules." The mere idea of this had me hooked long before I was a rider. You see, I was sold on the problem they were facing and their way of solving it. I too loved working out, but for me - life had gotten in the way. Peloton works to utilize technology to deliver an engaging experience that truly can act as a replacement for an in-person class, because it delivers the same level of experience. By bringing classes on-demand to your home, they're able to solve one of the big reasons why many of us stop working out - because we simply can't find the time. 

But, without community, motivation is easily lost. Communities not only keep us engaged, they keep us accountable. Many adults who continue to work out regularly have gym memberships merely because they need to go somewhere to actually work out. Personal trainers have made a career out of not just expert advice, but providing accountability. (Yes, real estate coaches have too). This isn't a bad thing. It's just honest. Wherever there is a void in the market, there is a business opportunity. Peloton nailed that opportunity. 

When you create a community, your brand becomes powered by it. You aren't constantly looking for new ways to tell your story - your community begins to tell your story. Communities are created through satisfied consumers who believe that your work matters. This isn't just a past client that thinks you did a good job for them. That's great, but that is a singular story. Communities are a collection of stories - a collection of paths crossing in a way that ties the individuals together through a common bond. Community is created by people who know you would care just as much about anyone you worked for, because you care just as deeply about each of your consumers. Community is created by people who care deeply about one another. By people who believe in one another. By people who want others to succeed just as much as they want themselves to succeed. Community is created by people. So, regardless of busy schedules or any other distractions, don't look past the people who you are building your community with. Each one of them has a story that is now part of your brand. Each one of them will now tell their version of your brand story. Becoming part of one another's stories is magical. It is deeply personal. Relish that opportunity. Don't waste it. 

Just last week, the Official Peloton Rider Page on Facebook hit 25,000 members and to commemorate the moment, they put out this great video from folks throughout the company to say thank you. Want to see how companies nail creating community? Click the image below to see the video

I realize that there is a big difference between Peloton and real estate, but then I wonder - is there really? Don't we all have the opportunity to create a community around a common bond? I think so. 

Swag That Sticks

don't know about you, but I love good swag. Not the junk that someone tosses in a gift bag, but something I like to call "sticky swag." Swag is really just a vehicle to tell your brand story or start a conversation. Isn't that the goal? To get your consumers/clients to tell their story that you were a part of? I think so. To me, there is nothing more frustrating than combing through the meaningless trinkets that are brought home that don't resonate with me. Why? Because they don't make sense. They seem wasteful and thoughtless. In a world where every dollar matters - why are you wasting money on swag that doesn't tell a story or that you need a manual to figure out? Like this pen that BMW sent me a few years ago that took me 15 minutes to figure out was a pen!

So who are some companies with great swag? A few of my favorite companies with "sticky swag" are Contactually, BoomTown, and Giveback Homes. Why? Because their swag is second to none and their story always resonates. They have "sticky swag" in that none of their swag feels like they just dug through a closet in the marketing department and gave you the random junk they found. Their swag has thought, has story, and most of all - has purpose. As a real estate agent, you should have the same intent when you give away swag. You should want your swag to be useful, interesting, and meaningful. 

Take for example, Contactually. As a Contactually Ambassador, they take the time to send me swag from time to time. What is fun about Contactually is that they find a way to give away swag that you will use on a regular basis. More than that, they have swag that can save you in a pinch, like when you need to give your phone a little juice or your 5-year old forgot sunglasses on your Bahamian vacation. But, more than the physical swag, Contactually has a way of showing you that they care. Like when they sent me this kaleidoscope after I shared a very personal story of the meaning of kaleidoscopes to me on stage at Inman Connect San Francisco last year. 

Contactually understands that the impact of swag isn't always in the item, it is in the story. When I share how they took the time to not just send me an item, but seek out and have a hand-crafted item created to show me how much they value me as a customer...I think, "wow, that has impact." Are you conveying how much you value your customer's business? 

Personal connection drives growth. Just as the meaning of swag is more than the item, the reach should be too. "Sticky swag" is swag that your client's want to share and show off. These don't always have to be high-dollar items, but showing to clients that you value when they share your story and your brand is a great way to maximize your reach. 

On a recent vacation, my fiance was wearing some swag sunglasses given to us by BoomTown. The sunglasses met the basic criteria of "sticky swag" in that they were slick looking, comfortable, and something that we wanted to use. This is something that BoomTown does extremely well! Their swag is always high-quality, which is so worth it, because it has a much longer shelf-life. They also have the BEST t-shirts of any company that I have come across. 

I digress...well, as we ventured out on our first day of vacation, we had arranged to swim with the dolphins. When the trainer asked my fiance to borrow her sunglasses so Astro could take them for a spin, we were excited to watch. Luckily for us (and for BoomTown) there was a professional photographer on-site. The remarkable part of this story, besides the dolphin's ability to balance the sunglasses as he swam, was that the first thought we all had was "make sure the photographer gets a shot so that we can share this with the BoomTown team!" How amazing is that? Not only were we utilizing the swag, we had the desire to share it because the company made us feel valued. The company made us feel like that would matter to them. 

So, if you think about your swag - what makes it "sticky?" Do consumers find it useful, engaging, and important? Swag is just like content in that what you put out is a true reflection of your brand. It has to make sense. Let your swag tell your brand's story, have a little fun with it, show your consumers that your value them, and you never know - maybe they'll send you a picture of your swag on a dolphin someday. Imagine the possibilities! 

*Disclaimer: I am a Contactually client and a past BoomTown client

Intentional Happiness

I've always been sort of a morning person. By that I simply mean that I naturally wake up early. What I wasn't doing was designing my mornings to make an impact. I was going through the motions and things were getting accomplished, but I might as well have not been present. I wasn't engaging with the kids as they ate their breakfast, instead I was cleaning up the mess that really could wait 5 more minutes until they finished. I wasn't reading and continuing to challenge myself to learn. I wasn't working out, I was chugging my coffee and immediately sitting down at my computer or rushing out the door, convinced that I was being effective by merely showing up. I was doing, but I wasn't being intentional with my time. You see, showing up isn't enough. You have to do more than just show up. Your work, your clients, your kids, your dog, etc. expect you to show up. How do you expect to make a difference by merely meeting expectations? Moreover, does your presence even matter when it is just your physical presence, not all of you? I say, no. 

Last fall, I decided to choose to make mornings a more intentional time. I was the heaviest that I had ever been in my life, lacked the self-confidence that I had once oozed, sleep deprived, and always wondering why I never felt like there was enough time in the day. It was bizzare since I felt so fulfilled in so many areas and in so many of my relationships. What I realized was that despite my attempts, my happiness had to start with me and my choices, not the joy that I found in others. So...I chose to give up coffee, which may seem ludacris to most, but was very intentional for me. I wanted to break out of the routine of needing something to get by so that I could focus more on what I was doing. And I did. By removing part of my routine, I was able to fill it with intentional action. Yes, the first week was awful. I would melt at the mere smell of a freshly roasted brew, I was probably pretty irritable, and I thought, "what a dumb idea to replace coffee with a workout!" as I pedaled the bike still half asleep. But, I was determined to find the time to be the better version of myself. So, I committed. I stopped complaining about being achy and tired from my lack of coffee. I started finding the time to be on that bike every single morning. I missed some days (hey, we're not perfect), but I worked really hard to make sure that I was creating a habit, not just a fling. For me, it wasn't about the weight or even really my self-confidence. It was about making a difference in my day. It was about choosing to do instead of dream. 

Sure, it was scary carving out an hour when I wasn't sure that an extra hour in my day even existed. A big "a-ha" moment for me was when I realized that I didn't have to spend the time 100% focused on pedaling. After all, pedaling is a pretty mindless task in and of itself. So, I found other ways to use the time. I found a way to balance carving out an hour of each day without losing it somewhere else. I often spend my rides on emails or reading a book that helps me in my work and taking notes, watching recorded webinars, making my morning calls, making lists on my phone of things I'd like to tackle that day, or even just laughing with the kids as they play Legos on the bonus room floor and I hammer out my 10 miles in the corner. It has been fascinating because I am expanding my horizons in more than just my workout. I'm reading again! A lot. I'm writing again. A lot. I'm creating again. A lot. I am finding so much uncovered wonder in this version of myself.

So how do you magically uncover an hour in your day? Well, it is a whole lot easier than it seems. In fact, we probably have hours of our weeks that exist and aren't being used effectively. We just have to look. When creating a habit, we thrive off predictability and routine. A lot of coaches may recommend creating habits by tackling the task at the same time each day. Unlike so many coaches recommend, I rarely ride the bike at the exact same time each day, I merely focus on tackling this task in the morning - before the day has the opportunity to go off the rails. Four months later and almost 15 lbs lighter, I feel on top of the world. You see, it has very little to do with the actual weight (although that part admittedly feels good too). I now find myself being an active participant in my own life. I find myself being more calculated about my time and how I choose to spend it, more present in the moments that I choose to spend a certain way, and more effective at work. I am better able to nurture my relationships and nurture my career, because I'm finally nurturing myself. 

By spending time in the morning with intention and focusing on things that make me feel good, I am able to be intentional about the rest of my day. Do you have a task or goal that has been looming for a while? An unfinished project? Try carving out some time each morning to devote to that. I think you'll be surprised at how quickly things get accomplished. 

So, what are you going to tackle tomorrow morning?

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