All or nothing – a blessing or a curse?

I’m sure that you’ve met them, those single minded freaks who seem consumed by one passion or another. Hell-bent on being the world’s best at whatever it is that they do.

Slow down buddy, take a chill pill. You’ll burn out before you hit 40.

Can you relate? Know one? Or maybe, just maybe it’s you.d3910-11244616_841332609284410_860039340_n

Hi, my name is Richard and I’m an all or nothing guy. It’s been 45 years now.

There’s no in-between for me, it’s either full speed ahead, or no speed. There are times when I wish I had an in-between switch, an idle mode; it can be frustrating when the turbos aren’t all charged and the engine is not racing full throttle.  But then I remember that every person who achieved a significant milestone in this world did it because that one thing consumed them to the core.

We are taught at an early age to try our best at everything, and to improve on the things that we are poor at. Ultimately, that way of thinking produces people that are just average at everything. I’d far rather espouse the idea of focusing all our time and energy on the things that we’re already good at, thereby making us brilliant at them.

And yes, I do understand that we only know what we are good at once we have tried many things. But if you try, and it’s not for you, stop! Just don’t ever stop trying new things.

Passionate people have an ability to trust their intuition, to follow their internal GPS. They understand that logic isn’t always superior. They are growth oriented, and continually strive to become better. Everything happens at high speed. They are not afraid to take risks, and let’s face it, nothing comes without a risk.

So there is the blessing, and it truly is. Embrace your passions and become obsessed. Obsession is a powerful thing, and all too often seen as a negative trait. Yes, there is a negative component to the word, so be careful what you obsess about. There is a fine line between blissful ignorance and being positively realistic.

all-or-nothingThe wonderful thing about people who are naturally obsessive, is that the same passionate energy spills over into everything else, including their relationships. I know that it’s possible to be obsessive in relation to my two girls – to the point that I become reclusive as a single dad when I get time with them – and to be obsessive about my work and also my sport. All at once.

We do what excites us.
It’s about being in that moment, that at that very moment the only thing that matters in your world is that singular thing. I can stand up in front of a crowd of people with many other things on my mind, I could be sick, I could be taking strain in other areas of my life, but for that moment, the obsession consumes me, and the people in front of me get ALL of me. I don’t think about it, it just happens.  And the excitement boils over, it becomes contagious.

There is another side to the gift of passion though.

Knowing when to let go is extremely hard for those who give everything that they have to every situation. We are so used to making things work. Being tenacious and enduring discomfort are all part and parcel of the trait. We don’t know when to give up or when the obsession becomes detrimental, or when it has merely become time to move on.

We are all too aware that giving up might mean the difference between becoming extraordinary or just plain normal. What if Thomas Edison given up on his 999th try at the light bulb?  Although I’d like to believe that he knew that he was close enough at that point.

A great example of the healthy obsession. I’ll bet there were many people telling him to give up.

f3259b3ebd9f1e4d9ed01a471bdabe93We are courageous and determined and therefore we tend to see giving up or walking away as failure, when in truth there are times when our actual failure is the inability to stop or channel our energies elsewhere. It’s a fine line.

All or nothing people can sometimes become self-destructive too. I know that if I have an athletic goal that I’m working towards, and I am training full speed ahead, the world is rosy and life is good. The minute that I have a hiccup and am unable to train for a couple of days, I find it hard to pick up and finish the week. My week was a failure, full stop.

And so I end up doing nothing for that week.  We tend to be particularly self-critical. It is unfortunately self-defeatist, but all too real. We are idealists.

It is hard for us to understand that not everybody is internally wired the way that we are. Please don’t expect us to be patient.

Passionate people give all of themselves to the people who matter to them, and don’t cope well when they get less in return. We commit, boots and all, and would like your boots to be committed too.

Weighing up the pros and cons, I will take being passionate any day of the week … as if I really have a choice. J


The secret to Real Estate success.

here it is...The Secret

here it is…The Secret

“Richard, what is the secret to success in this business?” I have been asked that question more frequently than anything else any estate agent ever asks me. And I have to say at the outset that the answer is an extremely simple one, one I have given to thousands of agents over the past 10 years. Often the same agents ask it again and again, as if they refuse to believe that that’s all it is. Or they try, don’t see immediate results, and give up. And then most look for the shortcuts. What I know is that the Real Estate Rockstars, those who are at the pinnacle of sustained and repeated success, all spend at least 80% of their time working at this formula for success. All of them.

When the time comes for any potential seller or landlord of a property to investigate the market and call in a couple of agents to discuss the property in relation to the market, that person will always make first contact with the agent that he or she knows. Simple, and it happens without fail. As a property owner, my first choice is always going to be an agent I know (or whom at the very least I have met face to face and have had an exchange), because I will have the greatest chance of trusting that person. Secondly, a potential client will contact an agent who is known to a close friend, colleague or family member, and who has been referred to him or her. And for the very same reason as the first choice. And thirdly, a potential client will contact the agent he or she believes is the most successful in the area. That perception is predominately built on visibility, the agent who has the most visual presence. Normally through; For Sale, Sold, To Let, and On Show boards, signage, vehicle branding, Ads, marketing collateral such as drops, and even the lowly little name-badge.

So therefore, as we know that the agent who ‘owns’ the stock will always have the greatest control of the market, and will always be guaranteed commission, it stands to reason that the only questions that need  be asked of any agent in this regard are the following;

  1. Will you get the first call? How many property owners in your area KNOW you?
  2. If you don’t get the first call, will you get the second?’ How many people who KNOW you will refer you, and do they?
  3. If you missed the first and second call, will you get the third? Are you the most VISIBLE agent in the area?

It sounds so simplistic, and you will probably be thinking that there is so much more to it. And yes there is. Once you get the call what next? What do you say and what do you do? How do you make sure that you leave the house with a signed mandate? But that is a subject for another blog, because none of it is relevant if you are not getting that initial call to potentially list a property. Get that right first.

We use this exact same process when looking for any professional to perform an important service. For instance, If I need to go to a dentist, I will go to one I know, as long as I think they’re good. If I don’t know one, I will always ask if anybody I know can recommend one, if they can’t, I will find one. Which one? The one that looks busy, successful, and reputable. The experience I have with that dentist will determine whether they will become my dentist of choice or not.

GoldfishImage-e1323974710173How do people get to know me? Well I think that right there is the biggest mistake agents make, they ask the question in that manner, instead of asking it the following way, ‘what can I do to get to know people?’ Subtle difference. Agents assume that by shoving copious amounts of collateral in postboxes, putting branding up everywhere, using social networking, and creating visibility people will get to ‘know’ you. Please don’t misunderstand me, those are all fabulous initiatives if all you want is to remain top of mind and create the perception of success, but remember, another agent already got that first call… The agent who assumes that clients will come to them to get to know them, is going to wait a very long time sitting next to a phone that does very little ringing.

How can YOU get to know people? Well, knock on doors, spend time in the community, add value, get involved in various initiatives, join sport clubs and social clubs. Socialize, get involved in schools, community forums, shop where residents shop – when they shop – and engage people. Take an interest. Initiate conversations, but always remember to make everything you do about the other person. Just be genuine, be real, be you. Don’t be that guy who gatecrashes every wedding and funeral wearing a namebadge. People see through a fake faster than you can say ‘bad agent’.  Fake is the quickest route to the shortest career.  What follows is a simple analogy, but a very powerful one; if you go on a first date and the other person spends the entire evening talking about themselves, and then wants something from you –  like another date for instance – is there likely to be another date? No!

Stop asking for things, and rather ask what you can do, what you can give, what you can add, how you can benefit others. The fact that people know what you do is enough. Shift the focus onto them.

success (1)Get the other person to talk, and then listen. From then on, stay in touch, regularly. Simple. Its a guarantee of success. We all want to be remembered.

It’s not going to happen behind your desk, it’s not going to happen on your laptop, it’s not going to happen easily. But if you work at  it all the time, if you persevere, if you’re consistent and persistent, then slowly, slowly, the results will be evident. There are no shortcuts. This is without a doubt the hardest part of real estate, but the most necessary. Real estate is a long term game, not a short term one. It’s hard work and you will need to persevere, but you can have a lot of fun along the way.

So there you have it. Two words, ‘become known’. The secret to real estate. Everything else in this business only matters if your phone is the phone that rings first. Real estate does not happen in an office, it happens on the streets.

80% of you reading this will not follow the advice. You will be obliged to scrap for the 20% of the spoils that are left over. 20% of you will listen and will become the Rockstars who will earn 80% of the money. Tale as old as time. True story. It’s your choice.

Good luck to you. I hope this helps you to become a Rockstar if you aren’t already one 🙂

Next time we will look at how to go about building trust with clients. Please feel free to comment and engage with me,  let me know if you found this blog helpful. I’d like to hear from you.

[It must be said that the concepts above are true for ALL sales people no matter the product, merely apply the same principles.]

If you don’t love it, you won’t persevere.

“There were tiIMG_0923mes when I wanted to give up”. Have you ever heard that from any self motivated entrepreneur?  Of course you have, I bet that every single successful entrepreneur has been through at least one patch (some I am sure go through regular patches) during which time they wanted to throw in the towel.  It’s one of the most important things that distinguishes those who ultimately succeed, and those who give up.  Those who persevere generally succeed, but it’s practically impossible to keep working hard, to keep persevering, if you don’t love what you do.

Steve Jobs once said about success, “it is so hard, that any  rational person would just give up, unless they love it, unless they are passionate about what they do. And you have to do it over a sustained period of time. Often times the ones that were successful loved what they did, so they could persevere when it got really tough, and the ones that didn’t love it, quit. Because they’re sane, who would want to put up with this stuff if you didn’t love it”.

Perseverance is having the ability to just keep doing the right things over and over again, and very often there are no immediate results. Nothing to reward you for your continued efforts and hard work.  When it’s that hard, and results are as scarce as intelligent goldfish, negativity is overcome by focusing on the finishline, that ultimate goal, or even smaller stepping stones,  and the feeling you get from doing what fulfills you.

per·se·ver·ance  (as defined by

  1. Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
  2. Continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory.
persistence – tenacity – pertinacity – assiduity

I have a passion for endurance sport. Somehow, hours spent on an uncomfortable saddle excite me.  The same concepts of loving what you do and success are true in training for an Ironman event. There are days when it is so hard just to get out of bed, so hard to put some running shoes on and head out the door. You know it’s going to hurt, you know you feel tired and flat.  In fact, you feel you are going backwards and not making progress.  It is so easy to skip the session, the results are nowhere to be seen, and you figure, ‘ what is the point?‘.  You feel more despondent than Albert Einstein did the day his teacher told him he’d never amount to much, and when Michael Jordan did the day he was dropped from the high school basketball team.  See where I’m going with that?  A winner looks beyond the present, and overcomes the tough times.  As an athlete, each session builds on the previous one, and cannot be seen as an individual goal.  It’s the culmination of hours and hours of training, planning sessions, training at varied tempos, and being consistent that will enable you to arrive on race day in peak condition.  Also true is that more often than not, it’s only the first 20 minutes of the session that are bad, and the longer you continue, the more you realize why you do it.  You get out of bed because you know that you will love it when you’re done, and you know that it’s the only way to reach your goals.


And so too, it is in our jobs. The rewards only come after hard work, consistency, and the sustained effort of doing the same things over and over, persevering in the tough times.  So what then does it mean to love what you do?

I believe that each of us is defined as a human being by certain things or needs that are not only very important to us, but that if these defining needs are not met, we will not be happy.  For instance, I am defined by the fact that I am a father. If I do not spend enough time with my daughters I am an unhappy camper.  Likewise I need to exercise, it makes me happy and I feel good about myself.  Another of the needs which define me is my need to teach or coach, and lastly I have a need to be creative.  If my job satisfies my teaching and creativity needs, and leaves me with enough time to spend with my daughters and time to exercise, I will be satisfied.  Simplistic I know, but yet so true.  Steve also said that, “if I wake up on 3 or 4 consecutive mornings thinking that this is not what I would want to do if these were the last days of my life, it is time to change what I do.”

Loving a job means feeling fulfilled, being challenged, having fun, and above all it’s knowing that this is exactly what you want to do because the act of performing your job makes you happy.  The spin off is that those you interact with in your job, for instance colleagues and clients, will respond very positively to your obvious enjoyment of what you do.  And lastly, success will follow you, even if it is not immediate.

If you are trapped in a job you don’t like you know what it feels like to have the life sucked out of you, and you know how hard it is to motivate yourself to work at all. Sometimes that is just life, and it’s a stepping stone or a mid term goal.  You might be a victim of circumstance.  Even more reason then to make sure that all of your other boxes are ticked and that you happy in the other things that define you.  Work towards change, life’s greatest truth is that nothing is forever.20130317-233509.jpg

I would rather spend long 15 hour days working hard in a job I love, than only working for 15 minutes a day on something I hated.  First figure out what defines you, then chase that until it becomes your reality.

Are you having fun?