mindset

Are Your Beliefs Messing With Your Mindset?

Your mind is a powerful thing, you know. The stories we tell ourselves and the things we believe about ourselves can be our biggest hurdle to the success we dream of. Often we do everything in our power to try to control the things outside our control that we completely ignore the things we can control. We simply make up our mind that those things are out of our control too.

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You see, I know this because I had made up my mind that these things were out of my control at one point too. And when I shifted that mindset to being able to harness the power of my thoughts for good - everything changed. Doors opened, relationships improved, I was a happier, healthier, better version of me. In fact, so much of what I’d been chasing was right there in front of me.

Deep-seeded beliefs are what compromise a “fixed mindset” and a fixed mindset is often what impedes our growth and skill development. For instance, if you believe “I’m just not that good with numbers” chances are that you will never improve because you’re accepting your place as you are. You’re fixing your circumstances rather than committing to growth. Now if you instead said “I wish I was better with numbers” your brain will automatically go into growth mode and crave expansion of your skill set. Really, think about what deep-seeded beliefs you have that might be holding you back. What are they?

  • “I’m not a natural athlete…”

  • “My body just isn’t built that way…”

  • “I haven’t been in the business for that long…”

  • “It’s hard for me to find the time…”

  • “I’ve got a sweet tooth.”

It doesn’t really matter what the belief is, what matters is how your mind reacts to these beliefs. If you’re able to prompt action with your beliefs - a lot can change. As the saying goes - “the first step is always the hardest…” Now, you just need to take it.

The Recipe For Great Leaders

In a rapidly evolving industry, leadership has never been more important. Leadership is one of the most discussed topic in today’s society, it is far more than a trendy term or practice. The right to be a leader is earned, not bought or won. We believe that the best leaders share certain qualities that set them apart.

They take full responsibility. Great leaders know that the performance of their team is 100% a result of their leadership. While they cannot force action or inaction - they can inspire it and great leaders know that when something goes awry - it is due to how they steered the ship. No one likes to be peppered with directives, but great leaders take responsibility for their team’s actions/inactions alike and knows that ultimately, the buck stops with them.

They motivate through fun. As I explained, great leaders don’t force action or inaction - they motivate it. And great leaders know exactly how to get their team’s motivated where much of the work doesn’t have to feel burdensome but enjoyable and some may even say, fun. Whether it is culturally feeling part of something bigger than themselves or simply not wanting to let others down - the teams of great leaders are always ready to show up for one another.

They connect with their teams emotionally. Fun is all well and good, but real connection happens on an emotional level. Great leaders work to connect with their teams emotionally. To make a difference in someone’s work, you often must make a difference in their lives. By taking the time to connect with their team on a personal level - to know their families, their hopes/dreams, and even their struggles. This characteristic of great leaders cannot be emphasized enough.

They train new leaders. Great leaders understand that their leadership undoubtedly will have an expiration date. They know the importance of leadership being in tune with the team’s they’re leading, the trends of the industry, and even the style they work in. This is one of the biggest differences between management and leadership. Leaders care more about how the team will be led for years to come than just managing the right now. As a result, they invest heavily in their teams now to ensure they are grooming the next generation of leaders too.

They are always learning. Above all else, great leaders know one thing - that they don’t know it all. This is one of the best qualities of great leaders because it also allows them to lead by example. To show the vulnerability of not having all the answers and doing the hard work of lifelong learning. Whether it is new ideas, new strategies, or even just a new way of saying something old - great leaders are invested in learning.

Being a leader requires a lot of skills and characteristics - but these, above all else, define great leaders to me. I hope as you have read through this, you have been able to have someone on your team or within your organization come to mind. If not, starting looking. Great leaders are the best indicator of an organization’s success.

Struggling to Get Things Done? Try These 5 Things

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Even the most productive people have their days or even weeks where their productivity struggles or even declines. We’re human, right? But rather that letting your productivity steadily decline into oblivion - focus on curbing your behavior to get back on task. Whenever I find myself struggling with being productive, I implement these five things.

Find the Quiet

Distractions have a funny way of finding us and worse than that, roping us in. Even if you love what you do (which you absolutely should), you likely have certain tasks about your work that you don’t love. These are the tasks that often make us particularly prone to distraction which snowballs into lost productivity. Instead of relying on willpower, which often wains during certain times of the day, focus on eliminating the distractions by finding a quiet space where you can hammer through your task at hand. Reserve a conference room or even consider working elsewhere to find yourself the solitude needed to regain your focus.

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Turn Off Your Phone

I know, the mere suggestion probably gave you goosebumps, but turning off your phone for the sake of productivity can be an extremely powerful practice to regain your productivity. With notifications flying in from every direction, your phone is a constant form of distraction. Just like a quiet space will boost your productivity, so will the solitude of a notification free environment. If the idea of being completely unreachable makes you uncomfortable, that’s okay. You can also utilize the Do Not Disturb feature only allowing calls from certain contacts in the case of emergency (i.e., your child’s school or your spouse). Remember, we aren’t implying that you should go dark for days at a time (although that could be admittedly nice), we’re just suggesting an hour or two at a time.

Organize Your Calendar

I’m a creature of habit, but more than that - I’m a creature of routine and schedule. Why? Because these routines and schedules have helped build positive habits in my life. Put important deadlines on your calendar to remind you to focus on certain tasks at certain times. I strongly suggest using a planner for this, not just your calendar.

Organize Your Space

A messy workspace can be the demise of efficiency and effectiveness. The less time you spend navigating your workspace to find items you need, the more time you can spend on actual productive tasks. I spend time every Friday evening organizing my workspace for the week ahead. It doesn’t take a particularly long time, but the impact it has when I sit down to be productive is exponential.

Build In Brain Breaks

As I said earlier, we’re all human and that means that we all have a limited brain capacity for any task - even our favorite ones. Scheduling through this capacity is a recipe for distraction and disaster. Instead of making large timeblocks, focus on more frequent, shorter time blocks. For example, I have four thirty-minute time blocks for emails each day that allow me to spend two full hours focused on emails but not fall victim to my inbox (the to-do list someone else creates for me) all day long!

Shake It Up A Little

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Routine can be a powerful asset when it comes to building not only great habits but momentum. When we talk about what sets you apart from the pack - it is all about consistency and routine helps establish consistency. But just like I spoke about a few months ago - sometimes routines can cause us to simply mark things off our list and we lose the impact of the actions themselves, plateauing or even declining.

When this happens, it can be beneficial to shake things up a bit. Interrupting your routine allows life to not get stale and keep you in the mode of wanting to stay consistent. By mixing it up and challenging yourself in new ways you can freshen your entire experience and even re-energize your passion!

The other thing shaking things up can do is offer new perspectives or opportunities. For example, my daughter would live off pizza, mac n’ cheese, or hot dogs if we allowed her. She resists trying new foods and loves to stay in her comfort zone. More recently, we have started cooking from HelloFresh and it has forced her from her normal routine. What has happened has been a much more enjoyable dinner time for everyone in the family because we’re cooking together, eating different meals - healthier meals, and she is discovering things that she actually likes but would never select off a menu herself. I mean, my child now loves Pesto Chicken! Who would’ve thought?

The same logic applies for professionals. When we stick to our same routine of prospecting in the same way, working out in the same routine, or even a routine with our loved ones - things get stale. Sure, they become predictable, but they also get boring and basic human nature is to avoid boring. And what happens once avoidance begins? Inconsistency rears its’ ugly head and we begin losing effectiveness.

This week, look at your routines. What feels like it is just same old, same old? What isn’t producing results? What doesn’t get you excited? Don’t abandon the practices all together, but tweak them. Add in a new set of weight training to your work out, try a different form of prospecting, or plan a spontaneous date night. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Creating A Culture of High Performers

High performance is difficult to attain, but even harder to maintain. In a world where performance is a metric for success - people are reaching new heights, but can they sustain this level of performance? We think with strong leadership and the right environment and focus - high performance is sustainable. Here’s how:

Lead By Example

Someone once told me that an organization’s culture is only as strong as the weakest link. Within our organizations, everyone has the responsibility of upholding the values and core components of the culture. And if performance is one of them - you as the leader have to be bought in. I often tell my clients “I’m not asking you to do anything I’m unwilling to do myself” and that’s true. I believe in order to expect things from others, I must model that behavior. The same goes for leadership. You have to embody the things you want to see from your team in order to expect their best work. Chances are, you will.

Up Your Training Game

Many of our clients come to us looking to solve their training problems. A big focus of ours is implementing more experiential training, which is where agents take a more active role in the training rather than reading from a book or listening to a lecture. Creating simulations or real-life scenarios is a proven tactic for helping people retain that training and is even linked to them remembering to apply that training when the situation presents itself in real life.

Focus on Building Confidence and Production Will Follow

A lot of people miss the mark when they focus on just building production immediately. To us, that has always been a short-term solution. If you want people to succeed long term, and more importantly, sustain that success - they have to build confidence. This means that you have to get comfortable asking why something happened and what you could have done better. When you start focusing on how you can build your skills, it will translate into confidence and ultimately, into production.

Build Strengths, Acknowledge Weaknesses

We spend a ton of time chasing perfection and as we know - it is all in vain. No matter how much we time or money we invest in ourselves, we’ll never be perfect. Now, while I don’t think that means we should stop trying, I do think it means we should leverage what we’re great at and simply acknowledge what we struggle with. For example, if you’re great at networking events but awful at online lead follow up - don’t just hemorrhage money on Zillow or Realtor.com hoping to finally convert. Double-down on what you’re great at and focus on that.

5 Ways to Up Your Mood and Up Your Game

Mindset is a powerful thing. Perhaps, the most powerful thing in fact. By and large, the distinguishing factor of top producers in any field is their ability to harness their mindset and stay positive. It makes sense really…when you’re in a great mood, you’re productive, happy, spread joy to others. However, when you’re in a bad mood - often you are the pain no one wants to be around. That’s never good for business!

But staying positive all the time is a lot easier than it sounds, right? Life happens, things go wrong, and our mood inevitably is impacted. So, I want to help by giving you five tips to up your mood and in turn - your game!

Be mindful of your environment

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Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Now, take a moment to think about who those five people are. Does the mental image bring you joy? Being mindful of your environment causes you to pause to think about your circumstances as fluid versus permanent. You can change where you decide to work or who you decide to spend time with. Heck, you can even change how they make you feel. All you have to do is create the spaces you wish existed and you’ll be on the right track.

Seek out feedback.

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Sure, we all love when we’re being cheered on by our supporters but how do you react when you receive negative feedback? Now let me be clear, there is a big difference between negative feedback and constructive criticism, but I’m also a firm believer that we need both to really achieve the growth we’re after. Growth requires feedback and more importantly, it requires being responsive to feedback. In order to be effective and efficient, it is incredibly important to not only harness our mindset but to harness our energy and have a deep understanding of how we are being perceived by others. This allows you to communicate effectively and get more done with less - a trademark of great business.

Slow and steady wins the race.

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Look, I get it. Life feels like it is moving faster than ever before and it is easy to get caught up in the hype of speed wins. But me? I don’t buy that. Sure, we need to be able to perform in a fast-paced environment, but did you know that the people that perform in the most fast-paced environments swear by their mindfulness in order to be effective? Taking the time to focus on what you need to do your best work is not only necessary, but critical. Think about it like this…if you take off in a sprint, you can only maintain that speed for a set amount of time. If you jog or walk, you’re often able to endure a longer timeframe and/or distance. You mind is a muscle that must be exercised and stretched, but also must be cared for and given the appropriate amount of time to recharge. Failure to slow down enough to do so will result in a certain burnout.

Exercise your mind, body, and soul.

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The best things in life are free and so are the best things for your mind. Self care is extremely important to prevent other health impacts and burnout like I mentioned above, but they’re also important to help you play the long game. You must take care of your health and while that normally implies your physical health, your mental health is equally important. Good health leads to good performance in every area of our lives so while that extra helping may bring you short-term joy - the negative impact it has on our mindset and body can be more than you might think. As we mentioned above, taking the time to slow down enough to take care of yourself is critical. Remember, there is only one you.

Gratitude should be shown and felt.

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There are few things more enjoyable than genuine appreciation whether it is being felt by you or shown to others. As humans we love to feel wanted and appreciated and work is no exception to that. Take the time to show the people in your life (both personally and professionally) how appreciative you are of the role they have in your lives. Go the extra mile to make someone smile or surprise them with a note or a gift. In all my years, I have never once regretted making someone feel good and gratitude is one of the few things that guarantees to deliver such a feeling.

The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up...Your Mind

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Like most of us, I recently got hooked on the new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo with grand ambitions of sifting through what I soon realized was an embarrassing collection of meaningless items that I kept just for the sake of keeping. I wouldn’t have qualified as a hoarder, but I certainly found myself questioning why in the world did I hold onto this?

As I sifted through my closet determined to understand the KonMari method, I began to feel actual weight lifted off my shoulders. Not only was the clearing out of unnecessary belongings freeing up space around my house, but it was freeing up space in my heart, soul, and even mind. This has far less to do with a ratty t-shirt you’ve been holding onto since college that barely has enough fabric to qualify as a t-shirt and far more to do with the mental and emotional impact things can have on us when our surroundings are in disarray.

This got me thinking, if this is how much tangible stuff that I hold onto - what things am I holding onto that can’t be seen. In a different context, some may refer to this as emotional baggage, which it undoubtedly is - but this baggage extends into our professional lives as well. We hold onto professional accomplishments, failures, and events and assign weight to them as though they were objects vs. experiences. This isn’t always a negative thing, much like Kondo acknowledges that things are not inherently negative. Rather, we should hold onto only those items that spark joy and let go of the ones that no longer do, thanking them for the service in the process. Think about the impact it would have on your mindset if you did this. Can you imagine?

What if you made the conscious effort to only hold onto the thoughts that brought you joy and tossed away negative experiences, first thanking them for what you learned? What if you let go of the rejection, the hurt, the comparison? What if you embraced the positivity, the accomplishments, and the growth? What if instead of looking at how far you have left to go, you took a moment to acknowledge just how far you have come?Don’t you feel lighter just thinking about the impact that could have on your mental state?

Joy. Pure joy.

Maintaining An Attitude of Gratitude

Picture this: the dogs are barking, kids forgot their homework, you ran out of coffee, your deal is crumbling, and it’s only 7 am. When life gets in the way, it is not only challenging - but some days it is downright hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude has a number of scientifically proven benefits such as higher self-esteem, enhanced empathy, better sleeping habits, and even better social connections. With evidence of the benefits of gratitude, why do we still struggle to maintain that feeling?

Last year, I began a practice of living my attitude of gratitude. Not just acknowledging my feelings, but also making the point of assigning gold stars of sorts to the people in my life who I feel grateful for and the things in my life that I feel most blessed about. As soon as I made gratitude a practice versus an intention - everything shifted. I found myself able to have better interactions with my family after a stressful day; I was able to shrug off the small stuff (admittedly not all of it, but hey, I’m a work in progress); and I even found myself having more energy.

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The practice began with my utilizing the 5 Minute Journal each morning and evening as the journal teaches. Starting my day with gratitude and getting into the mindset that “I’m going to have a great day” begins my day with the positivity that I need to accomplish the big tasks and “swallow the frog”. Then, after the stress of the day happens, I’m forced to pull out the great things that happened - potentially shifting my mindset to a positive place highlighting the great things that happened instead of letting setbacks burn into my mind. The other aspect I love is that it also forces you to end the day in a growth mindset - focusing on how you can improve or do things differently.

The 5 Minute Journal has drastically impacted my attitude of gratitude and I hope it can do the same for you. I get no kickbacks or kudos when you buy it, I simply endorse it as a life-changing practice. If you have a goal to show more gratitude in 2019, I strongly recommend purchasing your copy today.

Our Favorite Planners to Win Your Year

A goal without a plan is just a dream

The new year has kicked off and we’re anxious to hear about how you’re making it your best year ever. As we all know, the secret to real success is in the consistent daily actions we take toward our goals. Below are a few of our favorite planners to help you put your daily actions in plan and move from dreaming to execution making 2019 your best year ever.

The 5 second journal

The 5 Second Journal has been my go-to planner for about a year now. I love the simplicity that it offers during my planning time first thing in the morning. Without overcomplicating the process or asking a million questions, The 5 Second Journal has the ability to give you clarity and perspective all while preparing to tackle the day strategically, accomplishing your most important tasks and putting you in an execution mindset.

Buy

This is the perfect planner for the overthinker, serial analyzer, or perfectionist because it gives you just enough time to prepare before getting you stuck in a state of getting ready to get ready.

The High Performance Planner

New to the market, the High Performance Planner is truly designed for the dedicated individual. Part planner, part journal - this tool helps you strategize your entire life to be more productive in every aspect of your day. Morning mindset journals help you start each day with both gratitude and purpose, while evening journals help you understand where you excelled and where you need to improve throughout the day. But, the magic is in the middle when you combine all the elements to be more focused, productive, and effective all day long.

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I Believe In You

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Last week, a friend of mine posted about her son who started high school. His math teacher took the time to stop by with this little gift for her students. What astounded me about this post wasn't the effort it required, which was admittedly minimal. It wasn't even the cookies or the nicely tied ribbon and cardstock color coordinated with the school's colors. It was the four words: I believe in you. 

What tremendous power those four words carry. They help us overcome self-doubt, they help us feel part of something bigger, and perhaps most importantly - more often than not, they inspire action. 

There is an old saying "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." And, while I've always believed this saying, I think it is more than that. It isn't just about physical ability to put one foot in front of the other. In fact, our physical ability has very little to do with it. Our minds are the real control center of our actions. And that's where things can get messy. 

We've all had times in our lives that have caused us to doubt ourselves. Perhaps it is a failure at work, letting down a loved one, yelling at your kids after a stressful day and immediately regretting it, or even just not achieving what you set out to achieve. Sometimes our doubt is rooted in real impacting factors, while other times it is simply in our head. Whether you're a high school math teacher or a real estate agent, you have the power to help others achieve great things in their lives through those four little words. And if not through those exact words, through your actions. Show others you care with small, yet impactful actions. Go the extra mile to show your clients you care. Take the extra step to remind them that you're on their side. 

The world can be a lonely place. Do your part to never make it feel that way. And as for Mrs. Hollis, you're doing great. Thanks for leading by example. 

Effective Communication Starts With You

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No matter how many transactions you do, every real estate transaction is different. They each come with their own clients, cooperating agents, inspectors, lenders, appraisers, and most of all - complications. In real estate, but mostly in life - effective communication is essential.

So often when there is a lapse in communication, we are quick to blame the other party. Yet, when things go off the rails, we often must look inward to solve the problem. Others ability to understand us and further communication with us starts with us

Here are some easy-to-implement ways to improve your communication:

Set Expectations. We hear a lot about setting expectations - with our clients, on the other side, with other agents, etc. But this goes beyond setting expectations during the transaction and boils down to the need to set expectations at every turn. 

Have Empathetic Awareness. Empathy goes a long way to effectively communicating with others. It helps you understand what they're going through and how it is impacting their position so it offers insight into how what you communicate could be interpreted and even responded to. When you take the time to understand how the other half lives and perceives you can understand how to communicate effectively with them. 

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PRAA. This one is a tough one for me. Sometimes when we're driven by passion, it is difficult to pause long enough to really absorb what someone else is saying or consider an alternate perspective. This is a huge disservice to both ourselves and our communication. Instead of charging ahead, I use this acronym to help me communicate effectively. Whenever I hear something, I try to take the time to pause and truly listen to what the other side is saying, not just hear it. From there, I reflect on what was said, why it was said, what the tone was, and how I can respond. Next, I adjust my response accordingly. Not necessarily to abandon my perspective, but to deliver my thoughts in a manner that the other side will be most receptive to. And lastly, then I act. Saving actions for last isn't always easy, but it is certainly worth the time you'll save in ineffective communications. 

Whether or not you utilize these methods, investing in your communication skills isn't just a necessary component for a successful real estate career, but a successful life. Becoming an effective communicator you will see the benefits both in your career and your personal life. I guarantee it. If you're looking for one thing that can truly set you apart from the pack, this is it. 

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.  

Begin

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There is something refreshing about a beginning. So much of our lives are spent in preparation mode. We're always preparing for something - our next listing, our next step in our career, our next step in our relationship, etc. The problem with approaching life this way is that we miss so many opportunities. 

One of the biggest reasons people don't accomplish what they set out to is because they fail to ever truly begin. They spend days, months, even years of their lives preparing to begin and fail to ever take the first step. Here is the secret: you will never be fully prepared but some of the best things have come from inadequate preparation. Ask just about any parent. Most of us were probably ill-prepared to have kids, heck, most days I still feel that way. But they have been some of the great treasures of my life. When I began Compass South, there was no question that I wasn't adequately prepared. Sure, I had the value to share with clients, but I didn't have the systems in place, the lessons I have learned over time, or the experience that time has brought me. That's the thing though, had I waited and prepared, I never would've learned all that I have by starting before I felt ready. 

Your odds will never be perfect. Your journey won't be easy or hassle-free. But, the lessons that you learn along the way because you are approaching your journey with the humility of someone who doesn't have all the answers will be the key to grow beyond your wildest measure. There is no time like the present to begin.

It's your move. 

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. 

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...

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?

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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