I decided last year to use the last quarter of 2014 to do an in-depth analysis of every aspect of my business. My goal was to take a hard look at every process, policy, and tool I was using. With a critical eye, I wanted to know was working, what needed refreshing, and what needed to go altogether so that I could set up 2015 as my best year ever. For the most part, it was a very productive use of my time, and I’m glad I did it. I had a few eye-opening insights.
Toward the very end of 2014, I came across several authors who challenged me to look at my business on a very deep level. The main, most basic question was, “Is my business truly aligned with who I am, at the very core of my being?”
Substantially, yes it is, although I will admit that in some ways I had fallen into the trap that most small businesses make: the need to be more concerned about getting — and keeping — clients than we are with making sure the business and the business owner are aligned.
This all came to a head when I was asked to make a presentation at my office on planning for a successful career in real estate. Preparing that presentation caused me to really think about every aspect of what I do, and it made me realize that I was not necessarily following the advice I was about to give.
Boy, that caused me to stop and think.
And set about redoing a bunch of stuff.
The meaning of success
The thrust of my presentation was that, as a business owner, I have the luxury of defining what success looks like to me. I don’t have to go by anyone else’s definition. Further, the way someone else achieves success might not work at all for me, because it goes against my very nature.
As I prepared the presentation, it became apparent to me that there really are two basic styles of doing business in the real estate world. There are two basic types of agents, and there are very successful agents of each type. I believe this is because those agents are, by design or by happenstance, running their businesses in ways that align with their selves at their psychological cores.
Maybe they consciously made the decision to do things the way they are, or maybe they just stumbled into it and never gave it a thought. Either way, they have ended up “successful,” in whatever way they have decided to define that term.
The source of struggle
On the other end of the spectrum, there are agents who struggle constantly. They see greener pastures on the other side of the fence, and try to emulate what they see those “successful” real estate agents doing. “Success leaves clues,” they are told, and they go about using the tools and techniques those successful agents are using, despite how foreign those tools are, and uncomfortable their use makes the agent.
For these agents, the real estate business is a constant struggle. They want to do well, and know deep down that they can. They just can’t seem to get the traction needed to get the whole system up and running smoothly. The source of the struggle is that they are one type of agent, trying to be other type.
The source of their struggle is that they are not being true to themselves.
The irony of success
The irony of success is that we do not have to struggle to achieve it.
First, as I said, we get to define “success” however we want. My meaning of success is mine alone, and your meaning of success is yours. My meaning and your meaning do not have to be the same.
Second, when we set up and run our businesses in ways that allow us to be true to ourselves, success will come to us. We need not chase it. Like the butterfly of happiness, it will come and alight on our shoulders.
The true irony of success is that those who can help us achieve it — our clients — tend to be right next to us, but we are so focused looking over the fence at those successful agents “over there” that we don’t even see them. Just as we need to align our businesses with ourselves, we need to let our clients align themselves with our businesses.
Rather than using our energy seeking potential clients from “over there” on the “successful” side of the fence, we need to let our light shine and let everyone see us for what we are.
When we are true to ourselves, we shine like a beacon, and our best clients can find us.
Randall Brennan, REALTOR
EQUITY COLORADO REAL ESTATE
Randall is a real estate broker and REALTOR plying his trade in the southern part of the Denver metropolitan area, including the cities and communities of Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Englewood, and Centennial. He finds interest in just about anything, but especially in history, photography, endurance sports, and permaculture gardening.
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