“Strong-minded agents” is how all JohnHart agents should aspire to be identified. Strong-minded agents, by definition, are successful, laser-focused, well-rounded, and diligent self-starters. They are willing to help whoever needs it and jump in wherever necessary, plus they are hyper-successful in all aspects of their life and are not easily dissuaded. They have seen tons of agents succumb to the pitfalls listed below, while personally avoiding serious catastrophe by staying the course. These select few aren’t interested in the concepts of “quick success” or receiving something for nothing. Bottom line: shrewd people understand that success is a journey, not a quickie stop!!
So let’s look at the Top 15 pitfalls agents fall into that can wreak havoc on their ambition for success:
1. Have low expectations:
One of the most important facets of being a real estate agent is having a strong, can-do attitude, wrapped up in the high self-motivation. You will get nowhere if you set low expectations and settle for under-performing. If you set ambitious goals and lack a sense of responsibility or disappointment if you fail to meet them, this is likely not the industry for you. Though you cannot expect to maintain a hyper pace all the time, you must strive to be ambitious, highly motivated, and overly conscientious. There are learning curves in this industry, as in ALL industries, and you will learn as you go. As a general rule in this business, it’s better to be overly ambitious and set your sights high and then adjust if necessary. Strong-minded agents are not known for under-performing.
2. Set easy goals:
Naturally, at the beginning of any new endeavor, there’s a learning curve. Ambition and enthusiasm do not equal results; this is something we all (should) know. I am always painfully surprised when I see others who are THRILLED with their accomplishments of one month when I accomplish the same amount in one day. It’s better for you to set an impossible goal and fail than achieve what you already know you can. You should NOT be happy with under-performing just because your business plan matches your lackadaisical ambition.
3. Start late:
I have often spoken about how I start my day — the patterns and habits I have cultivated that set me up for success. I can’t count how many times people have asked me if they can duplicate the same success by doing their patterns or habits at night. The easy and quick answer is: no. The habits I’ve set are ways to START the day. They keep me motivated, vigilant, on course, and forward-moving. There’s a reason we leave sleeping in to the teenagers! Get up! Get on with your business. Let the beginning of a new day be a motivating factor. You dictate your day! Don’t let it dictate you! Not hitting the snooze button is your first major win of many if you start your day early.
4. Avoid planning:
Another important aspect of our industry is planning. Many of my blogs focus on being intentional. Plenty of people find success by merely stumbling upon it, but this is not something you should expect, nor is it “the norm.” Every moment of my day is accounted for, and most have been planned out to the minute for days, weeks, or even the entire month. If you do not plan you can easily be sidetracked, discouraged, or despondent. If you don’t create a checklist, you may mistakenly think you are finished. Even if you accomplished all you planned for the day, you should maintain a broader list of things that you can tackle at any moment. Developing proper systems means less thinking and more doing. Strong-minded agents never have to think about what to do when they get a new listing; they just look at their checklist and execute. Break your plan into manageable parts and always remember — it’s a cinch by the inch and hard by the yard!
Lack of planning and procrastination go hand-in-hand. Without a structured schedule, it’s easy to put off any and everything. Simply put, if you don’t know what you need to do next, maybe there isn’t anything to do! It’s vital to remain active, present, and ever-moving in this industry. There is always someone to be calling, information to be updated, relationships to be developing, and paperwork to be filled out. Brainstorm new ways to reach potential clients in your area, familiarize yourself with the latest information on our ever-changing industry, and more. Strong-minded agents don’t waste their time and don’t put off until tomorrow what they can accomplish today. “Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today,” said Abraham Lincoln, and I agree.
6. Waste energy:
This next part dovetails perfectly from #5: strong-minded agents do not waste their energy or time. You need to be an effective time-manager. After you have been planning your days, weeks, and months for a while, you notice patterns of time cost (how much time you spend on certain tasks). Consistent tasks may require 20 minutes, 45 minutes, or an hour. The more regular your day, the easier it is to plan it. However, there will be days when nothing seems to go your way. Either you mismanaged an aspect of something, or paperwork is wrong, or you forgot to do something time-sensitive. You may be forced to spend extra time correcting errors, but this is not the same as wasting time. There are 1 million ways to waste your time, but the #1, I promise you, is not formulating a plan of attack for the day. I cannot emphasize enough: Strong-minded agents plan their days, weeks, and months, and do not waste their time or energy on things that are not of utmost importance to their business. Do not get sidetracked.
7. Take credit for wins and blame others for losses:
Never take credit for a win, and always take the blame for a loss. If you regularly take credit every time you accomplish something, your team will be less motivated to help you get there the next time. Give credit. Strong-minded agents need to be realistic. Everyone makes mistakes. We have all done it. We’ve misspoken, we’ve overpromised, we’ve miscalculated cost or time, we have been overly confident when we have no right to be. And that’s okay…if we learn from it. But what is NOT okay is making excuses, or blame-shifting when things haven’t worked out the way we planned. This runs, seamlessly, into my next point:
8. Make excuses for failure:
If you take the credit, you have to be able to take the blame, even when there are reasons or excuses for why you failed — those don’t matter. Be responsible for every aspect of your business. This is part of the reason we joined this industry. Do not take the good without taking the bad as well. The good news is: humility is something you can always work on and hopefully you don’t have to get really good at it — because ideally, you won’t be making too many mistakes. Strong-minded agents learn from their mistakes, acknowledge them as such, and don’t make excuses.
9. Expect immediate results:
There are other ways in which you need to be realistic as well. In this industry, you don’t just snap your fingers and expect results. Some agents get sidelined because they expect immediate results — they believe their enthusiasm will generate business. This is a huge misconception that can severely damage your long term efficacy if you don’t set realistic expectations. As your relationships go deeper if often takes longer for them to generate business. However, the key is to remember that your consistency will result in effective business transactions. Strong-minded agents realize this and know the real estate industry is a long-distance run, not a sprint.
10. Think they can do it all themselves:
Another common misconception is that, because this industry can be so lonely, there is no one willing to help. Agents frequently become very self-reliant, almost shunning the idea of a communal mentality. This is partly why we built JohnHart to be such a vast resource. I am very proud of how we mentor, how we connect with, and cultivate agents. We would do all agents a disservice if they felt they had to “go it alone.” Part of the problem with these agents is a lack of humility. There are countless agents incapable of seeking out someone for help when they face a roadblock. Maybe they looked for the answer and couldn’t find it, or dug themself into a hole too big to get out of. In the end, who holds you accountable if you do it all yourself?
11. Compete with others:
One of the most important pieces of wisdom I can impart to you is: there is enough success for everyone. One of your friends or fellow agents completing a deal does not threaten you in any way. Therefore, avoid competing with others. There is a high probability their success is based on the amount of time, effort, and energy they put into it. Others’ successes do not detract from yours, and vice versa. Remember when I mentioned not wasting energy? Well, this is a big one that PLENTY of people waste energy on. Your envy of someone else’s accomplishments will only result in wasting your time. In the end, there is success beyond our wildest dreams for all of us. Do not fixate on that which does not affect you. After all, strong-minded agents don’t let it phase them.
12. Feel entitled:
This merely piggy-backs on the previous point. Let me be very clear: you do not deserve anything you have not worked for. We all come from different backgrounds, different walks of life. I don’t care if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or have never seen one! A solid work ethic is essential to this industry. No one will check on you every minute to ensure you created your business plan or ask how much calling you have done! Just because you are ambitious, or attractive, or a “people person,” doesn’t mean you deserve anything more or faster than anyone else. The only way to BE entitled is to EARN it. Do the work. Do all the work. Be diligent. Be deliberate. Be honest. Be kind. Be humble. Be available. Be malleable. Be giving. Be ready.
13. Use external circumstances for internal happiness:
Many of my blogs, especially recent ones, focus more on overall health and well-being. Make sure to take care of your mental, physical, and emotional health — in addition to being hyper-vigilant in business. The idea here is simple: we need to make sure we are well-rounded and well balanced. Success is not only about what you accomplish in business, but it’s also about being a successful person in whatever you do. You want to be a good spouse, a loving parent, a thoughtful child — you aren’t a good enough basketball player to play in the NBA, maybe, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to be good at basketball, etc. Whatever makes you happy, that is what you want to be good at. I hope, more than anything, this business is not the only thing you want to succeed in. Ultimately, the most strong-minded agents achieve in ALL aspects of their lives.
14. Fear time alone with their thoughts:
I am baffled by so few things, but one is: the fear of just sitting quietly in your head with your thoughts! The French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, wrote “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” This is partly why I spend so much time focusing on cultivating all aspects of us, not just our business selves. It’s so important, especially in this technological age, to THINK. Think about your opinions, take a mental inventory of yourself, how you feel — both physically and emotionally. You all know I have been through some serious things in my life, we all have! It is important to have your own opinion. Plus, many who under-perform have a huge sense of dread following them around because they know they should be doing more and performing better. Actively combat that by ruminating in your thoughts and allow things to sweep over you — it is to your benefit I promise you. Let sitting be the new smoking.
15. Give up:
The most important advice I have is: don’t give up. People have no clue how much commitment and self-motivation needed to make it in this industry. But that’s not what stands between them and success. Giving up is. They don’t experience immediate results, so they give up. They drop the ball on something, so they give up. They fail to make back, financially, what they put in time-wise, so they give up. They are afraid to ask for help, so they give up. There is no one holding them accountable, so they give up. There are numerous reasons to give up, but here’s my promise: you will not succeed in anything if you give up. It’s that simple. You have to keep going. You have to commit. You have to be honest and vulnerable and motivated and hard working. You need to set goals and make phone calls and ask for help and keep yourself accountable. You need to keep going. If you do all of these things, you WILL be successful. Strong-minded agents continue striving toward their goals. They have blinders on and aim at success so they are not dissuaded. They are motivated, open, well-rounded, grateful, humble, self-realized, enthusiastic, realistic, well-planned people. Like you. Or like you can be, once you put your mind to it and put one foot in front of the other.
So don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of failure, and more importantly, don’t be afraid of success. Don’t get in the way of your own goals and ambition. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t blame-shift. Don’t make your shortcomings someone else’s responsibility. Don’t play defense with your days. Don’t be so confident that you think you know better. Get creative. Stay motivated. Don’t become complacent and always keep your goals in front of you. Finally, remember why you got into this business: because your ‘why’ will motivate you every day. These are just a few of the characteristics of strong-minded agents. How many can you say you have?