productivity

7 Ways To Say No

We’re all chasing productivity when in reality, the answer is right in front of us. Have you ever over-committed? Spread yourself a bit too thin? Maybe even said “yes” when you really wanted to say “no” for fear of looking like a jerk? Don’t be shy, you’re in remarkably good company. Yet, the old saying of “every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else” rings incredibly true when it comes to productivity. With time as a limited (and incredibly valuable) resource, we need to refine the skill of saying no. But in order to do so, we have to find ways of doing so without coming off like a jerk. Here are 7 tips to doing just that!


Blame your workload.

A really effective way to let people down easy is to explain that you simply would let them down if you did say yes. Maybe it is your workload or maybe it is simply your bandwidth, being honest about how much you can commit is not only kind, it is the only acceptable solution. People will appreciate that you don’t want to let them down and find another solution.

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Recognize the difference between an opportunity and a distraction.

When we work with our clients to help identify distractions, we encourage them to look at things and ask themselves “will this help me accomplish my goal(s)?” If the answer is “no”, it is defined as a distraction. Now, I don’t mean to imply that your world must be completely distraction free; however, you need to find the rhythm that works for your business and your life.

Refer them someone more qualified.

We often feel guilty for saying “no” because we feel like we’re letting others down by doing so. Just like many of the other tips, this tip can give them both a kind and a productive solution. People ask for help when they need it and so long as you can fill that need, it doesn’t have to be a personal solution. Expanding your network of capable people others can rely on and trust with various situations is a huge asset. This way you can still solve the problem without sacrificing your productivity at the same time.

Explain you don’t do that.

Oftentimes, people ask for help from people they admire or respect. This is undoubtedly an honor, but we sometimes field requests that are simply not in our wheelhouse. The biggest mistake you can make is by actually taking these things on.

Don’t dig yourself deeper.

One of the best things you can do when saying “no” is be completely transparent about exactly why you are saying no. While you don’t owe anyone an explanation, they certainly help temper emotions. Being dishonest about why you are saying no can often leave you with your tongue-tied when someone finds out the real reason you said no harming your relationship more than it would have been had you simply been honest in the first place.

Propose something else.

When we are asked for our help, sometimes it is a result of people having tunnel-vision about the possible solution. This is the old adage of “something is better than nothing.” For instance, say someone asks you to blast something out to your whole mailing list but you feel uncomfortable doing so but you would feel comfortable sending it to a certain segment of your mailing list or posting it on social. These are both great alternatives. You won’t always make everyone happy with this solution but showing that you care by making some sort of an effort can often smooth things over.

When you say it, mean it!

The worst thing someone can do is say have uncertainty. When someone musters the courage to ask for help - they are normally ready to do at least a little convincing to get their way. If you are not firm in your response, you can expect them to do what it takes to get their way. Stay firm and do not waiver. It will establish a standard allowing you to be more productive and faced with only relevant future opportunities.

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.

Weekly Planning That Makes A Difference

One of the most requested topics we hear about from you all is time management. This is something that we almost universally struggle with because our brains are focused on survival (expelling the least amount of energy possible) while our ambition is focused on success. The two competing forces often lead to the frustrating feeling of not enough hours in a day.

When I first began my study of time management, I focused heavily on daily planning. Winning the day by waking up early and making the most of the morning hours and staying efficient through regimented habits. What really made the biggest difference is when I added an element of weekly planning. For me, I tackle weekly planning on Sunday afternoons/evenings. It serves to wind down my weekend and allow me to hit the ground running on Monday morning.

Just imagine how much more productive you could be if you kicked off Monday morning by getting straight to work on tasks you know you needed to accomplish instead of making a list of those tasks! But weekly planning is a bit different than daily planning because it takes the big picture into account.

Step One: Define Your Goals

Proper planning starts by defining what your goals are. Often times, we make ambiguous goals and struggle to make plans to accomplish them because the goals are so loosely defined that a plan is next to impossible. Instead, focus on your top 3 goals. Don’t limit yourself just to business either. What are your goals for your personal life too?

Step Two: What Impacts Your Goals

The next step requires you to complete a sort of objective analysis of what is happening in your life. You need to be really honest with yourself and define - what things have a big impact on these goals? These could be activities, habits, or even plans. Most importantly, they have to have an impact on your level of success. Take care to be honest about both positively and negatively impacting things. Remember, your success is in your hands but we understand that there are always outside influences at play.

Step Three: Time Block For Your Goals

The difference between planning and calendar management is a key distinction to understand. Planning is about strategically reviewing your actions and your schedule to see how you can give yourself the best chances of success. Calendar management is simply a supply/demand exercise. Yet, together - the two are one of the most beneficial ways to develop great habits. During both Step One & Two, you’re able to objectively review the actions you need to take. You have no excuse of time constraints and don’t even need to answer the question “when?” until now. The final piece of the planning puzzle gets you to not only say what you need to commit to do, but when you will commit to do it. It establishes personal accountability, which can be a powerful factor in getting things done.

Whether you’re just getting started with planning or this is a practice you have long held, these tips can help you quickly become a better planner. You’ll begin to see things objectively and really benefit from only a few minutes each week and each day seeing the impact almost immediately.

Happy planning!



How to Stop Avoiding Things

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There is no greater place to start that right now, wherever you are. So often, we spend a huge amount of time justifying why we shouldn’t give something a try when we could spend that time in action making a difference. But avoiding is a natural human reaction to discomfort. Our brains go into survival mode and work to expel the least amount of energy and stress. If you’re feeling stuck, these helpful tips can help you start doing and stop avoiding.

Figure out the next step. The first step is often the most difficult. Chances are that if you’re avoiding something - you’re doing so with good reason (i.e., because it is uncomfortable, difficult, new, etc.). But once you take that first step, you can build off the momentum it will inevitably create. Marathon runners train for months before they run a race - starting with smaller, easier runs and building up to be able to handle a full race. Any task you’re avoiding for should be the same. Start small and build in increments.

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Start when you have the most energy. Most people are the most energetic in the mornings. Let me clarify…you don’t have to leap out of bed with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning to be energetic. I’m talking about brain energy. Your mind is freshest in the morning before the world has distracted you and pulled you in a million different directions. When you find a task undesirable, go ahead and get it on your scheduled for the first thing on Monday morning. Work to time block time needed to make a dent and go ahead and get it done. You will likely even enjoy the added bonus of having an even more productive day the rest of the day building of your early productivity.

Treat Yo’self!  I routinely reward the small wins in my day/life. This is how I keep showing up for the difficult tasks and build strong habits. Too often, we think of rewards as high-dollar rewards. Instead, focus on small rewards. Did you get an hour of prospecting done? Reward yourself with lunch with a friend. Crushed your week? Schedule a date night!

Seek and keep accountability. The months following hiring our Project Manager, my business thrived. I hear the same from our clients once they start working with us. It isn’t any big secret that causes this. In fact, it is simple accountability. As humans, there is one thing that we like less than an unpleasant or uncomfortable action, and that is letting other down. When you not only fail to do what you said you would do, but you also have to tell someone you didn’t do it - it just plain sucks. Keep in mind, it doesn’t matter how it gets done. It matters that it gets done. You don’t need a coach or a trainer to help with this. Set up accountability practices in your daily life and you will drastically impact your likelihood of getting things done! Just watch.

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Stay curious. Sometimes we put things off for a good reason but sometimes - we just put things off. Did you ever wonder why kids learn so much so quickly? Because they are constantly curious. They’re constantly asking questions and learning new information. Steve Jobs once said “Curiosity is the fuel that makes people think at a tangent and come up with new ideas, in an attempt to work differently and come up with better results.” This point has always resonated with me. If you stay curious, you’ll continue to refine and improve on your processes and more importantly, yourself.




 

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!


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.

Say It Out Loud

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

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

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

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.

The Problem With Going Through the Motions

There is an old saying that “activity breeds activity” and while I buy into that saying, there is more to it. It has to be the right activity. It has to be pushing you to grow and evolve.

As many of you know, I have been a consistent Peloton rider for just over two years. The bike that goes nowhere has famously taken me so many places moving me to my very core. When I first got the bike, I jumped in and followed every coaching tip the instructors gave - pushing myself to the limits. It worked. I lost almost 30 pounds in 2017 and felt better than I ever had.

But sometime last year between the travel, the exhaustion, and the demands of everyday life, I began to slip. I started gaining back some of the weight I lost and it had a damaging impact on my motivation. Yes, coaches struggle too y’all! I blamed everything from the poor food options in airports (true) to the early wake up calls. And the problem was - I was still going through the motions. I was still getting on the bike every day. I was still riding for the same amount of time. I found myself scratching my head trying to figure out why the workouts weren’t having the same impact.

Feeling extra defeated, I solicited the help of one of my favorite “coaches” - my wife. What happened next was completely unexpected. She looked me dead in the eye and said - “Do you feel like you’ve been pushing yourself or just working out to check it off your list?” In that moment, I immediately realized she was right. For the past few months, I was simply checking my workouts off my list and not pushing myself to grow and challenging myself to reach new milestones.

Coaching isn’t about being perfect, it is about learning how to be the best version of yourself and sometimes that means hearing the tough stuff. I want that in my life. More importantly, I need that in my life to be the person I want to be. Do you?

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.

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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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3 Tips to Have a Better Morning

I love mornings. I wake up every morning between 5:30-5:45 am, get out of bed and start my day. There is something undeniably calming about mornings for me. No one is awake yet, no one is asking me for anything (except maybe the dog to go outside), and I have a clean slate to have a great day. But my mornings weren’t always like this…

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I used to start my day a little bit later, convinced that the extra hour of sleep would make me a more effective version of myself, but little did I know that I was selling myself short. Way short. Waking up earlier has changed everything about my day and I end my day with more energy even though they are longer. If you’re anything like me, you may be scratching your head wondering how this is possible, so let me tell you.

When you start your day focused on you, you can spend the rest of your day focused on others.

By starting my day early, before everyone is awake allows me to focus solely on myself. Something that most of us cannot find time for any other time of the day. For example, not only am a the owner of a company, I have two kids under 10 years old, a dog, and a wife - all that demand my attention at one time or another throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that they do - but it is rare that I can find the time to sit down with a personal development book or and make it through more than a few sentences before someone asks me a question. Our days are filled with constant interruptions, distractions, and pulls on our attention. Most of us spend a lot of time focused on others and not on ourselves because society looks positively on such selfless actions, but this is no way to achieve your goals. Success requires a level of selfishness because it requires a level of inward focus to achieve external goals. You owe it to yourself.


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Planning is the second most important thing you do all day.

Since you’re probably wondering what the first most important thing you do all day is, I’ll start there. Execution is the most important thing you do all day because that is what prompts the forward movement to accomplish your goals.

But, planning is a really close second. Why? Because planning is what allows you to focus on exactly what you need to execute and map out how you will do it. Planning is trendy. There are a million planners on the market, each with bold claims of how they will be the ones to help you achieve your goals. The kicker though - none of them work unless you do. (If you’re looking for one to fit your lifestyle, we have a whole list.) By taking the time to plan your day, be strategic about what will make it on your schedule and what won’t. What 3-5 tasks each day will help you make forward progress to achieving your big goals? Those should be your non-negotiable tasks for your day that you focus one first, not allowing other things to get in the way until they are accomplished.

Don’t cut and run at the end of the day. Use your evenings strategically too.

I get it. By the end of the day, we’re exhausted. After a full day, the last thing you want to do is plan for tomorrow, but doing so can drastically change the tone of your mornings. By not allowing the messes of today follow you into tomorrow, you’ll start your day with the clean slate every day deserves. Take some time each evening to clear your desk, write your list for tomorrow, and pack your things for the next day. I’ve found by doing these things, I’m able to start my day with actionable tasks and more focused on how I can make forward progress rather than looking back on what went wrong today. If you’re looking for a great place to start, try this helpful guide by Mel Robbins that she shared.

As Brendon Burchard, one of my mentor always says - “win the morning, win the day.” By starting your day making forward progress, even if it is incremental, you’ll gain momentum and build off of those actions to have a much more successful day.

What's Your Metric?

In my line of work, the last quarter of the year means one thing…business planning. Most of my clients are hard at work charting out their plans for 2019 and we’re by their side to help. One of the biggest parts of business planning isn’t just about the plans for the future, but the metrics with which you will measure your success.

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Each day, my kids go to school and I am able to track their progress and behavior through a fun app the school began utilizing this year. I absolutely adore the features this app provides. Because I’m more aware of what they’re doing each day, I’m able to have more substantive conversations with them each night. Gone are the days of “how was your day at school?” with the humdrum “Good!” Now I’m able to ask, “What were you doing when you got a point for setting a good example?” or “I’m really proud of you for being a shining star today” and yes, even “We really need to focus on making better choices tomorrow.” The simplicity of the metrics in this app make it easy for me to track their progress, but they’re also the metrics I want to evaluate their progress by. Are they being good people? Are they helping others? Are they setting good examples? Sure, I want them to excel in reading and math too, but I stand by the fact that I’ve used none of my chemistry knowledge in my adult life.

This got me thinking, who really defines our metrics? In real estate, so much of our success is inherently tied to production. Brokerages award them, other agents measure themselves against your production, and it even is leveraged to help you win more business. And while production is undoubtedly important - to me, so are so many other metrics. Have we lost sight of those metrics during our chase for more?

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Most adults struggle to find the hours in the day to complete their to-do lists. We go to sleep with our minds still abuzz with our tasks for the next day and even struggle to sleep through the night because we’re constantly thinking about what lies ahead. Sure, technology is partially to blame, but so are we. I think this is all a result of us falling off track from the real metrics that matter in life. The news, work, our lives - it can all feel a little heavy sometimes, but each time it does; I encourage you to revisit your metrics and even go back to the metrics of your childhood to measure up.

Are you proud of who you are or who you are becoming?

Did you try your best today?

How did you help someone today?

Are you happy?

What did you do to be better today?



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. 

Making The Most of Your Downtime

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Whenever I ask real estate agents about how they spend their downtime most laugh and playfully say "what downtime?" I get it. Real estate is hardly a 9-5 and often when we escape long enough to actually have downtime we either struggle to actually unplug or we want to unplug so much that we lose all productivity. But what if I told you there was a happy medium you could reach? Because get this...there is! 

When we're overworked, over scheduled and overtired it is easy to struggle with productivity. I know, that seems like a double negative - overworked and unproductive? But here is the truth, without the right amount of time to recoup and relax - we are no where near as effective as we can be. Think about it like this...if I work out at the gym to the point of straining a muscle that is my body's way of telling me that I overworked that muscle. If I continue to work through the pain - I may risk injury, more time off, and ultimately even reverse any progress I have made. However, if I take the time to work out, rest, hydrate, and do some low impact workout that doesn't provide as much stress to my muscle - I can make huge strides when it comes to my fitness. Although this example refers to physical fitness, I believe mental fitness works the exact same way. If we work to the point of exhaustion, confusion, or even mistakes - we have overworked our bodies - even strained them. Continuing to push through has negative impacts on our health, our business, and even our clients. Your clients deserve better than that. You deserve better than that. 

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But what happens when the opposite occurs? If we completely disconnect and leave nothing to plans - we aim for calmness, but risk complacency. These are the times when we so badly need to rest and recharge, but instead end up binging on Netflix and compromising all semblance of productivity. Again...your clients lose and you lose. 

So how can you strike that balance where you can gain that much needed recharge, yet not give up your treasured productivity. Well, the best tip is to try and find anchor activities for your down time. The mistake most people make is anchoring their downtime with work activities such as email, transactional communication, or even a small window of showings. This is counterproductive because we all know it can quickly snowball out of control. Instead, anchoring your downtime with short, planned, non-work related activities. Great ideas for this are lunch dates, visits to a museum or park, exercising or hiking, etc. Having these short planned activities prevent our brains from falling into a trap of Netflix binging, yet give us the much needed relax and recharge that our bodies so deeply need. 

As a coach, I clearly believe in peak production - but a big part of that is committing to be the best version of yourself. While you need to hustle and grind, the need to recharge cannot be ignored. If it is, you will undoubtedly burnout or worse - suffer the health impacts of a non-stop schedule. This summer, it is common to have some downtime, make sure you make the most of it and anchor yourself in a productive mindset. You won't regret it. 

Trust The Process

In real estate, we talk a lot about trust. After all, trust is the foundation of any great relationship - even the agent-client relationship. But while trust is the goal, trust is not instant and it certainly cannot be taken for granted. Working with a new client isn't all that different from dating. When you first start working with someone new, there is that constant - "how much is too much?" thought that runs through your mind. And just like every real estate training teaches you, you have to earn your client's trust to really be able to deliver excellent service. But, before a client can trust you, they must like you, respect you, and feel the value you bring to their situation. How does that happen? Well, there are a few ways. 

Getting Your Clients To Like You - It seems like an easy enough idea to get your clients to like you, but this is actually slightly more complicated because it involves saying "no" more than it involves saying "yes." They key to getting people to like you is associating with clients who genuinely like the authentic version of you. The reason why so many agents struggle with this is that they are working to develop any client instead of doubling down on the clients that like their working style, understand their value, and truly want to work with them. The key to getting clients to like you is working with client you like first. The rest will fall into place. 

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Respect You - Liking someone and respecting them are two entirely different concepts. Respect, much like trust is earned through reliable, consistent actions. Sure, a certain level of basic respect is assumed; however, you need your clients to not only respect you as a person, but as a professional and that includes respecting the boundaries that you set for yourself. 

Know Your Value - There is a lot of talk about value and knowing your worth, but I am constantly amazed at the number of agents who feel entitled to defend their commission, but have no substantive reason why they are worth it. To earn your commission, you need to not only be able to articulate your value, but to prove it day in and day out. And the funny thing about value is that it looks different for every consumer, every stage of the process, and every perspective. Taking the time to understand your clients' needs beyond just bedrooms and bathrooms is essential to providing great value. 

While these three areas are an easy place to start, great service is more than establishing a good start. Great service is defined in the moments where no one is looking. Great service reflects great character because it shows your desire to do the right thing because you know it is right, not because of some reward at the end of the rainbow. 

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. 

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