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.

#FunFriday - February 15, 2019 - Melanie Piche and Brendan Powell

Melanie Piche & Brendan Powell

Melanie Piche & Brendan Powell

It is another installment of #FunFriday and today, we’re heading up north to feature some of our favorite real estate professionals out of Toronto, Melanie Piche and Brendan Powell. Together, Mel & Brendan own The BREL Real Estate Team, one of the most productive real estate teams we have come across.

Recently, they joined forced with two other high producing teams in Toronto to create “Canada’s Team of Teams” founding Union Realty - an independent brokerage.

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What makes this team so impressive isn’t just their production, which as you can see is undoubtedly impressive, but their knack for cranking out highly valuable and relevant content on their website which in turn generates them tons of business.

There is clearly a BREL difference in how they conduct their business where production is highly valued (and expected), yet they haven’t lost the personal touch required to run a sustainable and thriving business. Their clients rave about them boasting over 400 reviews from past clients on a variety of sites. (If you’re interested you can see some here.)

What we love most about them though is how they have firmly established themselves as the neighborhood experts with their expansive neighborhood guides that cover all of Toronto’s many neighborhoods. These guides cover everything from pricing data to school information and even demographics and honest reviews of the neighborhood. What they’re capitalizing on is helping consumers understand exactly what it will be like to live in a neighborhood versus just showing them a neighborhood like so many real estate professionals do.

It is this and so many other reasons why Melanie and Brendan were natural choices for this week’s #FunFriday feature. Check them out using the links above. You won’t regret it!

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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?

#FunFriday - February 8, 2019 - Nisha Dua

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This week, we’re swooning over our #FunFriday feature - Nisha Dua.

Nisha is the Co-Founder and Partner at BBG Ventures - a woman led venture capital firm that is committed to “investing in visionary entrepreneurs building the next generation of market-defining consumer products and services.” But the reason why Nisha is an obvious selection for our #FunFriday feature is that they focus exclusively on companies that have at least one female founder. It is a gating factor!

We met Nisha when she presented at Inman Connect’s Capital Connect event where she shared her thoughts on why investing in women is smart business - a core principle of her work at BBG Ventures. She made the case that while women are driving the adoption of mobile commerce and make or influence 85% of consumer purchases, women-owned business are still an after-thought; sharing that women currently get less that 10% of venture funding and less than 3% if a woman is the CEO. I mean, what?!

But we believe that this is about far more than supporting women. What Nisha does so impressively is that she is fiercely committed to not only helping our generation, but ensuring that future generations understand how to get a seat at the table or build their own table to start with - with her newest passion project, #BUILTBYGIRLS that partners current female professionals with students looking to build the future.

If Nisha is part of building the future, we feel really good about what is to come. Catch her on Instagram @nish67

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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.

#FunFriday - January 25, 2019 - Zach Lucas

This #FunFriday we’re featuring one of our favorite beach boys, Zach Lucas of Wilmington, NC.

From the moment we started following Zach, we knew he was a no-brainer for a feature because he embodies what #FunFriday is all about - having fun, providing value, and doing what you love. Zach’s social presence does exactly what it is intended to do - giving you a feel for who he is, what he’s about and what it feels like to live in his beach town.

From leveraging the tools of his brokerage, Nest Realty with their very own in-house marketing team to embracing Gary V’s “document, don’t create” approach - Zach does it right so each of his followers get a first-class experience and guaranteed smiles.

Follow Zach on Instagram and you’ll see everything from his DIY projects to him staying in touch with his clients during Nest Realty’s #ShareTheJoy campaign over the holidays, right down to seeing exactly why he loves where he lives and how he uses his influence for good helping his community recover from the devastation of Hurricane Florence.

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.

Top Tips to Crush Your Content in 2019

We are big believers that content marketing is hands-down the best low-cost, high-leverage strategy for providing value to prospects and generating business. Not to mention, it is so versatile - offering a strategy for agents from a variety of scenarios. Still, the key to great content isn’t only the ideas, it is the execution, which must be thoughtful and relevant to your audience.

As with any marketing strategy, the success is in the consistency and our favorite way to stay consistent is to utilize a content calendar to help pre-plan your content while still leaving space for timely content pieces that can supplement your plan.

When the secret is in the consistent daily actions - we want to make it easier for you to implement. So, we’re sharing our content calendar template (the same one we use here), here are a few helpful tips to executing your plan well.

1. Identify the topics your audience cares about

Different audiences want to hear about different topics and in order to execute a content marketing strategy effectively, you have to consider this when crafting your content. Who are you speaking to? What are the things they care about? What mediums do they utilize? Remember, your content can strike out if you’re just posting it blindly.

2. What frequency can you sustain?

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Sure, posting multiple times per day sounds great and yes, the effectiveness is proven. But if you can’t consistently keep to your content calendar, you might as well not take the time to complete one. Instead, focus on what you can sustain (even when you’re busy). What resources and systems can you implement to leverage when your schedule is more packed?

3. Engagement is essential.

Okay, so you have the best topics, you’ve implemented a schedule and system so that you can regularly post - but oh no! You’re not there to engage with your audience when you post! Tisk, tisk! The point of posting is to engage your audience and utilize low-cost marketing tactics to gain a larger reach and more effective conversations. If you are scheduling posts and not able to respond to comments or interact with your audience, you’re missing the point.

4. Be flexible to time-sensitive content.

While we love the convenience and increased opportunity for consistency that prior planning offers, there are also bound to be timely posts that can really generate a lot of traffic and engagement. Don’t miss those opportunities. Consider supplementing your content calendar or even rearranging it to allow for timely content. We believe that sustainable content calendars are split roughly 50/50 or maybe even a 60/40 pre-planned content/timely content ratio.

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5. Research but give credit!

Many people fail with effective content strategies because they think it all has to be their content. That just simply is not the case. There are so many resources in our local communities that it makes perfect sense to cross-post content to your audience. That said, be sure you are crediting your sources. Taking credit for something you didn’t create just plain isn’t cool.

We know that creating content is tough, but an effective content marketing strategy can make a huge difference in your business. Let 2019 be the year that you build your content strategy and become a true community resource.

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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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?



Hustle & Heart at Home

I was supposed to be in Wilmington this week for the inaugural Hustle & Heart event put on by Wilmington-local Stephanie Lanier and her passion project The Inspiration Lab. As most of you have undoubtedly seen, our home state of North Carolina was devastated last week by Hurricane Florence and one of the areas that experienced the worst of the storm was Wilmington.

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To me, Wilmington is more than just one of our coastal cities. In fact, Wilmington and more specifically Wrightsville Beach is one of my favorite places in the world. Only about an hour away from us, my wife and I try to sneak away for short beach getaways, sit along the Intercoastal Waterway and watch the boats sipping a cocktail and delighting in perfectly cooked crab dip, and feeling the sand between my toes as the sound of the Atlantic Ocean crashes. I often refer to it as my “happy place” as the salt air seems to soak up all my stress and leave me feeling lighter.

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As the forecasts came in throughout the week it seemed that Wilmington was in for a direct hit and I began to think about my dear friends along the coast. I nervously texted with friends and with Stephanie asking about her home, her friends, her business, and even the event. After putting on my fair share of conferences, I know the work it takes to plan and produce one of these events. Although I haven’t given birth, I imagine it is a similar experience. My heart was broken over the thought of her event being postponed or worst - cancelled. To watch my friend pour her heart and soul into this event and it be taken from her out of anyone’s control was tough. I settled my nerves with a comment that one of the panelists shared on our prep call earlier in the week, which ironically wasn’t intended to relate to the storm. “You can’t live your life worried about what might happen. You just have to live your life and make the best of the circumstances you are dealt.”

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As the storm hit, I knew instantly that we were in for a long recovery process as a state. Pictures of places that I adore were truly underwater and in the moment, it was almost paralyzing to imagine coming back from that sort of devastation. I had seen such things before with Hurricane Katrina, Harvey, Maria, or even Matthew but never had I watched the places I love be truly impacted. I gave to relief efforts before, but I never really understood how far they really had to go. While Wilmington isn’t home, North Carolina is and that’s the thing about North Carolina - it doesn’t really matter what town you call home, we’re all North Carolinians. We’re all in this together.

In past posts, I’ve talked about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, but I really encourage you to take the time this week and do that. There are a lot of people that are really hurting. There are a lot of people that are committed to rebuilding but aren’t even really sure where to start. There are a lot of people that need you to help them get that start. If you aren’t sure how to help, the Red Cross had prepared to help as many as 100,000 people across the region, and sent out equipment and supplies, including vehicles, meals and cleanup kits. You can donate to the group online, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or texting “RED CROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Google is matching donations up to $1 million.

As for Hustle & Heart, the event will go on sometime later this year, but something tells me that there is still plenty of hustle & heart happening around the Carolinas as we work to rebuild the areas we love so much.

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. 

One Year Later

On August 24, 2017, with a grand vision, a belly full of nerves, and an insatiable passion for helping agents, I launched Compass South in my living room. It was just the right mix of exciting and terrifying, which I knew meant I was doing something worth doing. Those of you that know me well know that I didn't do this blindly. I had dreamed of this for years and even though it may not have been the perfect time, there was no time like the present to live my dream and help others do the same. 

But that's the thing about dreams. Sometimes the stars align and things happen just on the timeline you were expecting and sometimes you're thrown a curveball, jerked into position and expected to rise to the occasion. When Compass South opened, it was definitely the latter. In fact, I was still reeling from the upheaval from my previous position at a company that no longer exists. Truthfully, I may still be reeling from that. But one thing remained, I knew the work I was doing was important work. I knew these agents mattered. I knew I could help. So I did. 

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There is something both traumatic and liberating when your fate is decided by someone else. It forces you to look deep inside and cement your values, your ambitions, and your integrity. As I look around the industry a year later, a lot has changed. Major players still exist, there are some new ones and the ever present "disrupters." But one thing has remained the same, this industry is run by hard working agents that pour their heart and soul into what they do every day. To me, that is inspiring. Those are the folks I want to help thrive. 

A year later, Compass South probably still isn't considered a household name, although luckily my kids consider it one. We haven't helped a billion agents or closed million dollar deals. But we have experienced our version of success. We're living our mission each and every day. We're helping those hard working agents that I see as the difference-makers. We're partnered with incredible brokerages, MLSes, and vendors to help them deliver value to their customers - agent and consumer alike. But most of all, we're proud. Not because we're boastful. In fact, we're anything but. We're proud because when the going got tough, we got going. 

A year later, I genuinely believe that each one of us is far stronger than we give ourselves credit for. We're capable of taking big leaps of faith, jumping without safety nets, and rising to the occasion. We're every day people capable of amazing things. We just have to say when. 

 

Moving Forward

Great brands are more than just fancy (or simple) logos, more than just vision statements, or cutting-edge marketing. The core of a great brand rests in their actions and the actions of those associated with the brand. It requires that you take the words off the page and live your creed. But to build a great brand, you have to have more than branding - you have to have character. 

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Take, for example, Uber. This is a brand that despite their one-time lofty valuation of $69 billion dollars, has had their fair share of struggles. In fact, many of my friends have fully abandoned Uber as a result and moved to other rideshare providers such as Lyft. But Uber as a brand is making an effort to come back from their setbacks through their new Moving Forward campaign. Now, taken at face value there is nothing particularly remarkable about Uber's moving forward campaign and many probably see it as a mere effort to regain the sought after appeal that they once had. Frankly, I thought that. But then I experienced what my hope is the campaign in action. 

Last Friday night, my wife and I took an Uber to dinner to see our friend play music at a local restaurant. After some glitches with the app, the driver, Vicki, called us to ensure that she was headed to us on the fastest route. This was my first inclination that we were about to have a great experience, but at the time, it didn't seem any more than good customer service. She was pleasant to talk to during the ride and very accommodating asking us standard questions such as "would you like the air adjusted?" or what type of music we preferred. I jokingly asked her if she had ever considered real estate. All in all, 5-stars! 

Now, when it was time to come home, my wife went to call another Uber to take us home. What are the chances, but it was Vicki again! We laughed to each other when she picked us up exclaiming how that never happens. We chatted with her our whole ride home and learned a lot about her story and even about her recent homebuying process. The fact that we asked about that, we'll just call an occupational hazard. Vicki dropped us off, wished us well, and went on her way. 

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Here is where things get interesting. On Sunday afternoon, our doorbell rings. I couldn't figure out who would be stopping by, and when I answered the door, it was Vicki! I was obviously surprised to see her, but she immediately held out her hand with a set of car keys explaining that she found these in her back seat and she thought they might be ours. They weren't. So, I asked her, "what are you going to do now?" She went on to explain that we were her sixth house and she had about fifteen more to go by to see if they had left the keys. Talk about living your creed of making the rider experience next level! Vicki is the example. She's living it. 

You see, Vicki probably doesn't even know about the Moving Forward campaign. I didn't until the other day either. And she probably doesn't have any personal connection to the company's leadership. Not to mention, she does this as a side hustle. But what Vicki does do is she lives the commitment the brand is making to move forward, to improve every ride, and to put people first. I can think of a long list of things that Vicki probably would've rather done on Sunday afternoon than drive around to all of her riders pick up points, but to her, it wasn't about what she preferred to do. It was about the commitment she had made to a brand, to the rider, and to herself. That's something to be proud of. 

5-stars, Vicki.  

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.  

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. 

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