Mental Toughness is the choice – the attitude – of staying in inspired action despite the circumstances surrounding you.
JPAR agents our productive! Working out of our 49 locations across the US, including our Texas brokerage operations where we have 26 locations with 105 private offices and shared community workspaces. I thought it timely and important to write about our “new normal” of working from home during this time of social distancing.
While there are many disruptions during the coronavirus outbreak, it’s essential to manage our attitude and mental state. In my view, mental toughness is the choice – the attitude – of staying in inspired action despite the circumstances surrounding you.
As a real estate professional, you are all used to working from a home office, so this blog could be a great reminder for you. For others, as businesses and organizations respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us will be working even more from home. There can be a great deal of additional stress that accompanies the transition to working from home.
Here are a few tips that can help ease the transition or increase the likelihood that you’re able to balance productivity with your other responsibilities:
First, set precise working times
To the extent possible, try to maintain your typical working schedule. If you typically work from 9 am-5 pm when you’re in the office, then try to keep that same schedule when you’re working from home. Now many of my readers are self-employed entrepreneurs… yes, this applies to you. Our number 1 coaching request is dealing with BURN-OUT. Work expands to the time you give it… set your boundaries. Remember the last time you went on vacation and how much you accomplish the day prior? Take that approach to work daily!
Second, maintain boundaries
Maintain clear work-home boundaries. While all in the same space, be intentional about keeping work, home, or school boundaries. Consider this, use time blocks – have a clear off time where you’re done working for the day. As much as possible, don’t let your work spill over to your time away from work. Even in real estate, this is possible…does your lawyer, CPA and other professionals who handle critical matters work 24/7? No… they don’t and neither should you unless you are committed to burn-out.
Third, maintain a virtual connection with others
Working from home can be an isolating experience. Maintain contact with others by scheduling virtual lunch breaks or coffee chats. Find ways to connect and keep in communication with your others to avoid feelings of loneliness. What about a virtual mastermind group? You can continue your weekly small group meetings video conference or FaceTime.
Fourth, stay hydrated, proper nutrition, and take breaks
This point seems like a no-brainer, but the reality is it can be easy to lose track of time and to forget to engage in daily self-care (like drinking enough water, eating regular meals, and getting enough exercise). Set break times and stick with them. Get up and walk around, stretch, and consider taking 5-minute mindfulness breaks every few hours. Your mobile device probably has built-in reminders or popular apps that are available for your mobile device… there is an app for that! Search your device or your favorite app store.
Fifth, maintain a daily to-do list
For some, working from home can feel overwhelming. Focus on what needs to be done each day by making a daily to-do list. Focus on prioritizing each task each day. I’ve found real estate professionals work best with a “daily action checklist.” A powerful list of all the must-dos for that day, week, or month. Don’t forget some type of daily cardio. Consider these seven actions
- FaceTime or call someone you haven’t talked to for a while.
- Pray or meditate more.
- Write a gratitude list, thank you notes, or thinking of you notes.
- Walk or hike more; visit a new park.
- If able, give, or volunteer more. If not, encourage someone who can.
- Read, write, create something.
- Play a new game or an old favorite in your off time.
Sixth, make your home office space work for you
If you have a home office space, use it! If not, consider ways that you can create a workspace that will support your work from home situation. Separate work from your bedroom or spaces where you typically relax. If you have to work in your bedroom, at least make some space outside of your actual bed to do work. From a wellness perspective, mental health professionals, so it’s often important as much as possible to have a clear distinction between working spaces and spaces that are intended for relaxation.
- Set Your Space Up for Productivity.
- Reduce, Remove or Eliminate Your Distractions.
- Get Comfortable.
- Invest in Light Exercise Equipment.
- Declutter Ruthlessly and Often.
- Take Eye Breaks.
- Work with Purpose.
Seventh, reduce distractions
Consider how to remove distractions from your home office environment. That means having a clear boundary for your professional work and your personal work with the associated time blocks. For many readings this, that could mean turning off the TV, your news, and Facebook notifications. For others, having some background noise like classical music or ambient soundtracks can be helpful. It is also important to consider how you’ll maintain your distraction-free work environment if you have a spouse, roommate, partner, children, or pets who will be in your space during your work hours. Talk with all your housemates about work boundaries and how to ensure distraction-free areas so that you’re able to focus on your work. You can also use these tips for working from home with children around. Have a family meeting to discuss the new schedule and boundaries that will help the family during this time.
It’s never been more important to stay connected and avoid being isolated. Besides your circle of influence, many groups our offering assistance on-line for those experience higher levels of stress or coping challenges. Reach out there is a world of help within reach.
And a bonus tip from my sister… after reviewing my draft she sent me “you should add this: dress for work rather than being too informal. You are more productive when you dress for work instead of dressing as if you’re lounging around for the weekend.”
This week I had the opportunity to speak with several real estate agents about their upcoming 2020 New Years’ resolutions. Research has shown that about half of all adults make New Year’s resolutions. However, fewer than 10% manage to keep them for more than a few months. Like me, does this statistic make you wonder why? What’s the solution? Consider this:
What would happen if starting today, you never tolerated inaction in yourself? Think about that for a moment again, what would happen if starting today you never tolerated inaction in yourself?
From the book, Atomic Habits, there is a common mistake that often happens to too many of us. The error has to do with the difference between being in motion and taking action. They sound similar, but they’re not the same.
When you’re in motion, you’re planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don’t produce a result. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome.
Here’s a couple of practical examples:
- If I outline 20 ideas for articles I want to write, that’s motion.
- If I write and publish an article, that’s action.
- If I email 10 new leads for my business and start conversations with them, that’s motion.
- When I set an appointment, that’s action.
- If I search for a better diet plan and read a few books on the topic, that’s motion.
- If I eat a healthy meal, that’s action.
Sometimes motion is useful, yet it will never produce an outcome by itself. It doesn’t matter how many times you talk to the personal trainer, that motion will never get you in shape. Only the action of working out will get the result you’re looking to achieve.
If the motion doesn’t lead to results, why do we do it?
Sometimes we do it because we need to plan or learn more. But more often than not, we do it because motion allows us to feel like we’re making progress without running the risk of failure. Most of us are experts at avoiding criticism. It doesn’t feel right to fail or to be judged publicly, so we tend to avoid situations where that might happen. And that’s the biggest reason why you slip into motion rather than taking action: you want to delay failure.
It’s easy to be in motion and convince yourself that you’re still making progress. You think, “I’ve got conversations going with four potential clients right now. This is good. We’re moving in the right direction.” Motion makes you feel like you’re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done. When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something. You don’t want to be planning merely. You want to be practicing.
Some ideas to get out of motion and into action:
- Work expands to the time you give it: Set a specific time for each task.
- Set a schedule for your actions: Basic time blocking.
- Pick a date to shift you from motion to action: set hard deadlines.
- Ignore, switch your feelings: “I don’t feel like it” to “Let’s get this done!”
For some goals, setting a daily or weekly schedule doesn’t work as well. This is the case if you’re doing something that is only going to happen once: studying for your broker exam or getting your GRI. These things require some planning upfront (motion). They also need plenty of action to complete them. For example, you could set a schedule each week to study. In a situation like this, research shows it’s best to pick a date. Put something on the calendar – like the test date. Make it public. This is when X is happening. In other words, set a HARD DEADLINE.
Research shows that people who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform a new habit are more likely to follow through. Too many people try to change their habits without these basic details figured out. We tell ourselves, “I’m going to eat healthier” or “I’m going to write more,” but we never say when and where these habits are going to happen. We leave it up to chance and hope that we will “just remember to do it” or feel motivated at the right time.
Hope is not a strategy!
An implementation intention sweeps away foggy notions like “I want to work out more” or “I want to be more productive” or “I should vote” and transforms them into a concrete plan of action.
Many people think they lack motivation when what they lack is clarity.
A straightforward way to apply this strategy to your habits is to fill out this sentence:
I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]
- I will follow up with 4 leads a day for 30 minutes at 9 a.m. in my office.
- I will complete part 1 of my project, investing twenty minutes at 10 a.m. in my office.
- I will exercise for one hour at 5 p.m. at my gym.
- I will make my wife a cup of tea at 7 a.m. each morning in the kitchen.
Give your habits time and space. The goal is to make the time and location so apparent that, with enough repetition, you get an urge to do the right thing at the right time, even if you can’t say why.
To put it: planning out when and where you will perform a specific behavior turns your environment into a trigger for action. The time and place trigger your behavior, not your level of motivation.
Motivation is short-lived and doesn’t lead to consistent action. If you want to achieve your goals, then you need a plan for exactly when and how you’re going to execute on them regardless of how you feel.
There are some lessons that only #failure can teach. Failure is not the problem… inaction is… procrastination is.
Let’s commit this week to move from motion to action.
Like many of you, I’m coming off a major Thanksgiving holiday. Full of friends, family and the food coma. A study from 2007 found that eating a meal with a high glycemic index shortened the time it took for people to fall asleep by about 50% when compared to those fed a low glycemic index meal.
But there’s likely more than one reason a Thanksgiving feast can end in sleepiness. A study from 2009 suggests that cross-talk between the gut and the brain after a meal activates the hypothalamus, which indirectly stimulates regions responsible for sleep while simultaneously suppressing regions responsible for wakefulness.
In last week’s blog, I wrote about the Mindset, Attitude, Actions, and Results circle. That’s kind of like the cross talk between your gut and the brain after a big meal, yes!? Here is what we know, the difference between mindset and attitude are clear: mindset is a way of thinking; that in turn drives your attitude which shows up in how you approach things, your language tone and posture. That in turns drives your actions and your behavior which ultimately delivers an outcome or a result.
So, IF your business is in a food coma, or you are being proactive to avoid the holiday business coma, here’s 2 steps to consider.
1. Improve your posture and increase your daily physical activity over the next 4 weeks.
2. Make sure your business plan is relevant and up to date by 12/1. And in that process ensure you:
a. Define YOUR unique value
b. Trouble shoot any issue holding you back
c. Be clear and FOCUS on a clearly defined target market
d. Get in a small group
Move your body MORE
Tony Robbins, consultant and coach to CEO’s and self-help guru believes that what the body does, the mind follows. Wake up your body and your mind is awoken.
Example: what is your posture at this moment? When was the last time you went on brisk walk? How do you carry yourself? How do you dress yourself? How does your face look at this exact moment? Change your physical state: Take a daily walk, sit up straighter, put a smile on your face, dress the part for your industry and see if that doesn’t have an immediate effect on your mindset.
If you’re interested, look into the book “Presence” where author Amy Cuddy explains the science behind all of this and even shows you a couple of power poses. Here is a link to her amazing Ted Talk.
Is Your Business Plan Relevant?
Define your value and remember it’s NOT all about you! Be TOTALLY clear about how choosing you as a real estate agent benefits your prospect. When someone asks you what you do, it can be tempting to list your awards and accomplishments. Try to be mindful about naming specific ways your services benefit sellers, buyers or investors. Benefit-focused value statements resonate with prospects in a meaningful way. For example:
I specialize in helping empty nesters find the luxury downtown condo that’s just right for them.
I am a ninja negotiator with a track record of selling homes at an average of 2 percent over list.
Want to sell fast? Then I’m your real estate agent, as my listings sell in 26 days on average, 13 days faster than the norm.
Troubleshoot any issue holding you back. Unless you are a hobbyist in real estate, you’ll need systems for:
Consistent quality – for you, your clients and your partners.
Simplifying your workload – like a checklist for a pilot before takeoff
Saving time – less time wondering what to do next and more time doing it
Highlighting and eliminating inefficiencies
Growing your business – serve more people, make more money
Do you have a clear TARGET?
When we see agents and teams struggling, too often their target market is just not specific enough. Many agents and teams may have several different types of target markets. Yet, for the purposes of marketing your business, you want to start with a laser focus on sellers and buyers. Your target market profile should be specific enough to answer basic questions like:
Where can you find sufficient numbers of them in groups?
What media do they consume? (How to reach them)
What blog sites, websites, forums do they frequent?
How engaged are they on social media and which platform?
What associations do they belong to?
The power of a small group. If your business is struggling – or you want to avoid the holiday coma – as the business owner, it can be tough to see the forest between the trees. It’s easy to get in overdrive mode putting in more hours working in the business with little or no time left to work on the business. This is where it would be wise to seek expert from like-minded individuals, a business coach or BOTH.
What action will you take to get out of OR avoid a business holiday coma?
In today’s blog, we honor our veterans, those that have served us in preserving the freedoms we enjoy. President Franklin Roosevelt spoke about four freedoms: the freedom of speech & expression; the freedom of worship; the freedom from want and the freedom from fear. I’m reminded on this Veterans Day, that all the freedoms we enjoy don’t come without a cost.
What can learn from those that serve and how can we apply those learnings to our real estate practice? American Express, in their Open Forum, interviewed 18 veteran business owners who shared the lessons they learned in the military that has led to business success. They are summarized here:
1. The Power of Intense Focus
4. Superior Decision-Making Skills
5. Resourcefulness, Flexibility, and Persistence
6. The Ability to Harness Processes and Procedures
7. Extreme Discipline
The ability to silence distractions is a critical business skill that allows us to quickly assess situations and identify solutions that yield positive outcomes.
In order to achieve a mission, the military teaches that it takes a team watching each other’s backs while doing their individual best.
In the military, if something stays the same for too long, it starts to feel strange. You’re constantly moving to a new base, changing roles and deploying to different locations. In private business, change is also constant, especially in companies like ours that strive to be ‘innovative and growth-oriented’ and continuously look to improve.
Superior Decision-Making Skills
All leaders would love to make decisions with perfect information, but that never happens. In the military, you learn to trust your ability to make decisions under pressure using what information you have available. Then you adjust as the situation warrants. Situational awareness is a skill learned in military service.
Resourcefulness, Flexibility, and Persistence
Veterans learn to pivot on a moment’s notice from plans that aren’t working to plans that are. When you are faced with the challenge of getting a job done without access to the resources that would ideally be available, one of the greatest skills you gain is an uncanny and nearly unparalleled ability to independently solve complex tasks with little to no guidance.
The Ability to Harness Processes and Procedures
In the military, everything is built on the fundamentals with a process and a procedure. We would never be able to progress to conducting night live-fire exercises if we weren’t able to shoot, move and communicate during the day. You don’t just hop into a plane and take it off the ground. There are many checks and safety inspections that have to be done, and a responsible pilot has to be accountable for all of it.
Starting and running your own business is the most all-consuming thing you can do. Running on little sleep, having a no-quit attitude and preserving until the end is all attributes I can trace back to the military culture and training.
There you have it, 7 key skills that we can learn from Veterans. Which ones can you apply today to #WinTheDay.
Have you ever told yourself, “I don’t have enough time to do that?” Or “I’m so busy!?” When out of time or overwhelmed, it often can mean, “I don’t know what’s important right now.” Can you relate? If so, this article is for you.
I recently ran across a fantastic author, Amber Rae. What I like about Amber is she is not a therapist, a neuroscientist, or even a life coach. She is a woman who is obsessed with the human condition, with what our emotions are trying to tell us, and how you and I can express the fullness of our gifts. Her book, “Wonder Over Worry” is an official invitation to face our fears and create a life that reflects who you are.
I’m SO busy! Here are a few questions to ask yourself intended to align your behavior with your ambition and goals better.
- What is my #1 priority right now?
- Are my behaviors consistent with my priorities? For example,
- Is there anywhere I’m saying “yes” right now when I need to say “no”?
- Is there anywhere I’m saying “yes” to that is not serving me or my goals at this time?
- How much of my time and energy is devoted to things that feel like a burden?
- Can I make them feel less of a burden?
- Can I delegate or do less of these activities?
- In terms of where you are investing your time write now, what brings you the most fulfillment and joy?
- How can you do more of that?
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ” ~ Coco Chanel
“I’m so busy” — three little words many of us use all the time as a way to decline invitations. Think about it, and it makes sense, though: Time is the most precious commodity because unlike money, we can’t make more of it.
But guess what? Everyone is busy, so while you might think the message you’re sending with “I’m so busy” is, “I’m slammed,” what the other person hears is,
“What I’m working on is more important than you!”
Wow – is that the message you want to send to others? Stop saying ‘I’m so busy.’ Harvard researchers say this is what successful people do instead:
Take a rain check.
Let the other person know what you have going on. Telling others what you’ve been doing (even if it’s unrelated to work – for me like preparing for a Spartan Race) also allows them to get to know you better. In turn, the other person is invited to share updates of their own, which can help to establish rapport.
Be honest and lend a hand.
Showing complete honesty and sincerity can boost the relationship. Depending on what the invitation is, here are a couple of examples:
- “I can’t make it to the brainstorming meeting because I have a few deadlines to meet. I’m not finished and to be honest, I’m a bit overwhelmed. Would it be helpful if I send my ideas tomorrow morning?”
- “I can’t make it to your networking event next week because I have dinner plans that night. I’ve rescheduled it twice already, and I’d hate to do it again. But I know a few colleagues who would love to attend your event. Can I extend the invitation?”
The key is to show that you trust the other person enough, to be honest and that you care enough to offer support.
Be honest about your condition
In a study from Harvard, participants found two valid excuses that resonated with others:
- I don’t have the money right now for that activity… with some context.
- I don’t have the energy right now for that activity… with some context.
The significance of the Harvard study is that it provides valuable insight into how we can be more protective of our time without making others question how much we value the relationship.
Rule the day or the day rules you!
When you undertake a project, a new initiative you’ll hit predictable resistance. It may sound strange, yet some of the most unlikely personal tendencies will actually help you be more successful.
Consider some of the odd champions on your side:
Picasso painted with passion, Mozart composed with it. A child plays with it all day long. You may think that you’ve lost your passion, or that you can’t identify it, or that you have so much of it, it threatens to overwhelm you. None of these is true. Fear saps passion. When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion.
Is there a spiritual element to creativity? Of course, there is. Our mightiest ally (our indispensable ally) is a belief in something we cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or feel. Resistance wants to rattle that faith. Resistance wants to destroy it. Don’t let that happen.
The three dumbest guys I can think of: Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill. Why? Because any smart person who understood how impossible the tasks that they had set out for themselves would have pulled the plug before they even began. How do we achieve this state of mind? By staying stupid. By not allowing ourselves to think!
Don’t think. Act.
You can always revise and revisit once you’ve acted. But you can’t accomplish anything without action.
Once we commit to action, the worst thing we can do is to stop. What will keep us from stopping? Plain old stubbornness. We don’t have to be heroes to be stubborn. We can just be pains in the butt. Make sure you’re in until the finish.
If resistance is the shadow, it’s opposite–assistance–is the sun. Attempt to pull others into your project. Assistance is the universal, immutable force of creative manifestation, whose role since the beginning of time has been to translate potential into being, to convert dreams into reality.
Friends and Family
When art and inspiration and success and fame and money have come and gone, who still loves us–and whom do we love? In other words, don’t leave those you value most behind in pursuit of your goal—this is a true failure.
What’s the Lesson?
Go out and follow your passion with the blind faith that allows you to stupidly pursue that passion with a sense of stubbornness that prevents you from stopping… all while being a light to others drawing them in and allowing for their assistance because at the end of the day they will see that passion.