It still puzzles me how some days I can hit the ground running, and the whole day unfolds like a well-oiled machine; and yet, other days, I feel as though I am stuck in Neutral, trying to accomplish things, but being constantly sidetracked or otherwise distracted.
As a real estate sales agent, it is necessary to “keep a lot of balls in the air at one time”, and while that may help to avoid the boredom that often results from doing the same single task day-in and day-out, there are those days where it is critical to stay focused on one single task or challenge to its completion before contemplating other items on one’s To-Do List. For those of us who need a highly structured environment (read that PREDICTABLE), it can make you crazy. But if you thrive on variety, embrace the challenge of shooting at a moving target, or are simply a thrill-seeker, baby, you’ll be right at home in real estate sales.
What has made it challenging for me, however, is that I can be doing any one (or more) of nearly a dozen different tasks to establish myself and build a pipeline of customers and prospects; yet on any given day, I may do so in an entirely different way. Facebook posts, e-mail blasts, newsletters, phone calls, postcards, professional networking at local events, and YouTube videos are just a short list of tools at our fingertips to generate and maintain business relationships and future sales. At times, I feel as though I am failing at this career because I am doing the wrong tasks to succeed, despite using the tools which I have been told time and time again are the ones that help you succeed. What I have concluded after much soul searching is essentially the same as the expression I heard regarding exercise sometime back: “The best exercise for you is the exercise that you do.” So, if I INTENDED to do an e-mail blast, but ended up spending the day making phone calls and sending e-mails, well, guess what? That may simply have turned out to be using a different set of tools that day in my quest for the same end goal: business success. This in and of itself does not constitute failure, but simply taking a different route to the same destination.
You’ve probably heard the expression “Failure is not an option.”, but if you subscribe to this way of thinking, you have probably taken fewer if any chances since failure is almost always a possibility. A lifelong friend of mine enjoyed a successful business for decades until the dot-com boom went sideways and took his company with it. It was a nasty ego bruising, and left some equally nasty scars, but in time, he dusted himself off, and resumed his quest for success and retirement savings. Make no mistake: It took several years to get his groove back, but he has made considerable and admirable progress, and is happy with his new careers (yes, careers, plural).
For me, I am gradually learning to deal with the self-doubt that creeps into my mind when I am unable to accept my best efforts as being sufficient to prevail in the long term. One of the ways that I am doing so is a matrix (spreadsheet) with as many of the tools of the trade listed along the top, and dates listed vertically in the first column. Each day, I fill in the number of times that a tool gets used (for example, 8 mailings to expired listings; or 4 phone calls to visitors of my webpage, or a YES or NO to whether I have posted a blog or Facebook update). It’s a tool that validates my efforts by reminding me that I didn’t just wait for the phone to ring, but rather used ACCEPTED and PRODUCTIVE tools of the trade to pursue success in this industry. Yes, the change from my previous way of working to how I work now has been, at times, rather dramatic, and even traumatic, but as times goes on, I am becoming more and more comfortable (as well as familiar) with the “lay of the land”, and how I must operate in it to succeed.
The world is constantly changing, and those who refuse to change are often lost to ignorance. (Another friend of mine used to elicit laughs with his vocal impression of a well-known politician with the following fictional quote: “The universe is expanding. And government must in turn expand to meet the growing need.” It still cracks me up after all these years, and this little tidbit dates back to 1976.)
So, what are you going to do? Go get ’em, Tiger. And don’t forget to give yourself a little credit along the way. When it is deserved, a pat on the back can feel very comforting.