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2008-07-31 17:31:11

Finding the Keys

Damn! You lost your car keys. You know they were here someplace. You gobble down your breakfast as you tear the place apart, find that uncashed check and the dog’s lost collar, get extremely frustrated, and snap at the next person who calls you. It’s not their fault you lost your keys. But once you’ve apologized and are trying to have a productive conversation with them, your mind is still poking around in the bottom of your purse, your briefcase, and underneath the driver’s seat for those #x@(*! keys. You’re distracted. You have to ask the caller to repeat what they just said. You only realize they’ve asked you a question when silence stretches out at the other end of the line. Sound familiar?

Okay, try this one: You lost your car keys. You have to have them, right now, because you have to meet the client who’s going to sign the big listing. You have everything you need: business cards, contracts, marketing package. Now all you need is the keys. You turn and glance down and they’re sitting on the carpet right below the telephone table.

So what’s the difference here?

The difference is intention and focus. You’ve heard the stories about someone lifting a car off their child. Intention and focus. I’d venture to say that just about every athlete who broke a record (performance-enhancing drugs aside) did it through intention and focus.

When we want and need to achieve a specific goal, it becomes very real to us. We can taste it, see it, feel it. And the more clearly we see it, the better chance we have of achieving it. We eliminate the distractions, narrow our field of vision and laser beam in on our goal.

We live in a very, very distracting world. We are so saturated with media, advertising, technology and non-stop communications that it’s no wonder we sometimes have a hard time focusing.

But the external distractions are a lot easier to shut out than the internal ones. The problem a lot of us have, especially in shaky market conditions, is that we have an enormous amount of internal noise. Am I going to get the escrow check in time to pay my mortgage? If I don’t make my car payment, I may not get approved for the equity line. If my daughter doesn’t get the scholarship, she’ll have to live at home, which means we won’t have the rental income from her room. Etc., etc., etc.

It’s not that these aren’t valid concerns. They just have a way of leading us off course. They distract us from what’s important. They immobilize us with fear. And they keep us thinking about what we DON’T want instead of what we DO want. They keep us from finding the keys.

Another problem with this distracting noise is that it’s contagious. How many times in the last two months have you heard agents complaining about market conditions? Somebody tells a story about an impossible buyer and then somebody else pitches in with the story about the miserable short sale and someone else shares their woes about the sellers who won’t budge even after their house has been on the market for two years. And so on. I’ve recently talked with a number of top-producing agents who simply won’t go into the office any more because they don’t want to get infected with gloom.

So how can you dial down the noise, regain your focus, and get back to business? Here are some tips:

  • Don’t play the gloom game. When the conversation turns to market miseries, either redirect it by changing the subject or leave the room. Let people know you’re interested in what’s going right, not what’s going wrong.
  • Sit down and face your concerns. This is the real world, with plenty of imperfections and problems to go around. The problem with problems is that we never give them a rest. We think about them all the time. They get connected to each other: if this bad thing happens then that bad thing happens. The reality is usually far more manageable than the monster in our worried imagination. Make a list of the things you’re concerned about. Get them out of your head. Acknowledge that these are your concerns and now that you can step back and read them in a list, you can begin to solve them, one small step at a time.
  • Decide what you really want. You’re the athlete at the top of your game. If you want to break a record you need to know what the previous record was. Then you start visualizing the new record. How high can you jump? Focus on your goal and make a list of all the things that would help you get there. All the positive things. More qualified buyers. More motivated sellers. More referral business. An assistant. Some new technology skills. A blog.
  • Write it down and put it up. Specific goals get specific results. Write down your goal and post it somewhere you’ll see it (or in a few somewheres): on your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, on your steering wheel, on your office coffee cup. Every time you see the words, envision yourself achieving the result.
  • Talk about it. Just like bad news is infectious, so is good news. Once you have your goal in mind, bring it out into the open. Whether you talk with your business partner, your coach, your friends or loved ones, be open to creative ideas for realizing your goal. Brainstorm. Get excited. Share.

Now go out there and break some records. You can do it. Athletes have soared over higher beams and shaved time from records that were thought to be unbreakable. You have the goal, the focus and the intention. And now you have the keys. Go do some business!

(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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