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2007-11-21 14:20:00

Playing for Keeps - Do You Have the Real Estate Flu?

Just like the flu, real estate anxiety is contagious. Wherever it starts, it doesn’t take long for agents to feel squeezed. Like popping vitamin C, they’re hammering out frantic letters to lenders, hoping to cash in on the foreclosure business. To save money, they’re abandoning their marketing. They’re looking around for someone — anyone — to blame, and finally, when the fever of anxiety gets too high, they’re leaving the business.

But right there, in the midst of the chaos, there’s something else going on. Maybe you’ve noticed: some agents are having their best year ever. How is that possible?

It’s all about mind set.

The reality is that the market has changed — not just a subtle adjustment, and not just sub-prime fallout, but one of the biggest paradigm shifts our industry has seen. And where there’s change, there’s opportunity! We now have four generations of buyers and sellers in the marketplace, from Baby Boomers to Gen X, Gen Y, and the Millennium generation. These groups relate differently to each other, to technology and to real estate. These new consumers want speed, convenience, choice, added value, discounts, extraordinary service, extreme quality and lots of information. The tools we’ve come to rely on — the MLS, business cards, Just Sold mailers — can’t meet those needs. How do we keep a competitive edge and not become obsolete, go broke — or go crazy?

We have to have intention.

So here’s a little story. As my workshop participants know, I like to get people up on their hind legs, thinking, talking and working together, and, very importantly, laughing. At my November Jumpstart workshop I gave the group a challenge: working as a team, you have 30 minutes to build an airplane using all 250 pieces in a Tinkertoy® set. Oh, and one other thing: each person has one arm tied behind his back.

“Impossible!” they said. But everyone quickly realized that Impossible wasn’t an acceptable response, and in a half hour they proved that we can accomplish much, much more than we first imagine.

So when Steve Kantor ( proposed that the Jumpstart participants collaborate on a book, that sounded exciting. When he said it’s going to be finished in less than 30 days, that sounded “nearly impossible.” But when he explained this is how it’s going to look, and this is how it’s going to happen—well, we all saw it, we understood it, we got excited, we got intention, we got started, and we got it done: living proof that 100% intention gets 100% result.

This is the formula for success and it works whether you’re putting together a book, becoming a competitive dancer or having an astonishingly good year in real estate. We all use it sometimes; extraordinary people—Olympic athletes, best selling authors, top producers, even toddlers—use it all the time. The formula is

I (Intention) + M (Mechanism) = R (Result)

Intention is deep knowing — commitment and focus beyond willpower. It’s in your gut. Mechanism is what you already know: the “how-to.” The Result is what you get, whether it’s what you want or not. Where there is 100% intention, there is 100% result; the way to get there will just seem to ‘appear.’ If you don’t get the results you believe you want, there’s usually something amiss with your intention — I call it “your dirty little secret.”

Let’s say that the result you want is to take home $200,000 this year. You’re going through the motions, sending out mailers, checking the computer, holding your opens, working the mechanism. But you’re just not on track for that result. Why not? You’re really trying, aren’t you? But wait a minute! Didn’t you say, in a private phone conversation, that you hate working? Or silently think that the market is terrible and it’s impossible to be successful? Or, Everything I touch falls apart and nothing is working? Or are you burned out because you’re afraid if you take time off, you’ll lose that lead?  Oops. What just happened to your intention? No wonder you’re not getting the results you want — or are you? The stronger of two beliefs will always win out. Based on your results, you will always know where your true intention is. Henry Ford put it this way: “If you think you can do a thing or think you cannot do a thing, you’re right.”  

You can’t trick your subconscious. As we go along on our life journey, we pick up beliefs — from our family, our friends, our teachers, and all kinds of other places. Those beliefs get locked into our subconscious and they hang on for dear life. We all have them, though we don’t often admit them to ourselves or anyone else. Some are helpful: “I’m smart.” Many are not: “I’m fat.” “I’m ugly.” “I can’t dance.” “I’ll never get rid of my debt.” “This is a really bad market.” The list goes on.

The thing is, as long as we hold those beliefs, the results we get will prove that they’re true, every time, over and over. All of our actions are filtered through our beliefs. If your belief is “I can’t understand computers,” learning how to operate that simple new software is going to be agony. But what if you changed your belief? What if you said, “I can cook, I can understand recipes, so I should be able to understand a computer!”? You’d probably be amazed at how quickly you’d “get it.”

There are two layers to our thinking — the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind says “I want,” even as the subconscious mind says, “I can’t because….” What gets in the way is our need to be comfortable. Comfort is like a drug, and every day people sell out their dreams to stay in the comfort zone. Comfort is using the same mechanism you used last year and the year before. Comfort is buying in to the media’s doom-and-gloom predictions, or complaining, or skipping the part you don’t like—the new technology, the new laws, the new generation.

To get what we want, we have to change our beliefs. To change our results, we have to focus and commit to a new belief. Sometimes that takes us outside our comfort zone. This new market means we have to get smarter, learn some new skills, adopt some new tools. We have to think creatively about how we can qualify and educate our sellers as well as our buyers…How we can deal with more days-on-market without going over budget…How we can maintain our equilibrium when we’re surrounded by frustrated clients and frustrated agents…How we can get by between less-frequent commission checks. And we may have to change our beliefs about the market.

To be successful in today’s market, we have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. If we push ourselves through the discomfort — focus and commit to our true intention, both consciously and subconsciously — that new mindset will become our new comfort zone. We will have taken ourselves to a new level of success. If we don’t mind our mindset, no matter how many action steps we take, we won’t get the results we really want. If you want something different, you have to do something different. If you’re not getting what you want, it’s the belief that’s holding you back.

All the workshops, tips, techniques and brilliant thinking in the world will only work if your beliefs allow you to see the opportunity and the possibility in the market. When we make our intention clear, when we believe it, even if we don’t know exactly how it’s going to work, we can move mountains, or create books, or do monstrous amounts of business. This really works.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -- Mark Twain

(Patti Kouri, GRI, Accelerated Performance Coaching, is a Master Coach who works closely with executives, managers, and real estate sales professionals. She offers dynamic and innovative techniques to help people achieve their goals and specializes in breaking through limits. “I work with people with big visions for themselves who want to make a dream into reality or create more meaning in their lives.”  She is the co-Creator of The Real Estate Game®, and hosts the annual JumpStart Workshop.)

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