Can I ask you a question? Do you know how to become a successful real estate agent? If you do, what’s stopping you from making it to the Real Trends 1000 this year?

How you answered my question will have a huge impact on whether 2022 is going to be a boom year for you or another bust.

What do I know that you don’t?

Well, I’ve done well enough in real estate to be able to focus on my first passion—writing and editing—full time. Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to take my word for it.

Everyone—from Barbara Corcoran, to bestselling-author and Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck, to Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger, The Harvard Business Review, and even playwright Samuel Beckett—all came to the same conclusion:

In order to become successful at anything, you need to cultivate a growth mindset.

That’s only half the story, though. In order to become truly successful in real estate, you need to dig deep and find the passion that will motivate you to work 70+ hours a week and endure constant rejection, day in, day out.

Real estate coach, author, and Close contributor, Sean Moudry, knows this better than anyone. Over his 27-year career, he’s coached dozens of top-producing agents who become successful and then just burn out after a few years. It’s the most common story in real estate.

So today, we’re going to show you exactly how to create the science-backed mindset that will sustain you beyond the modest success you may have already achieved and how to avoid burnout completely.

Real Trends - The Thousand
(Source: Real Trends)

Every year, Real Trends pulls together data on the most successful agents, teams, and brokerages in the country and creates a list of the top 1,000. Now, you’re probably sitting there thinking that making it into the top 1,000 agents in the country is just not possible for you. I know, because I thought the same thing when I started my real estate career. So did Sean.

Well, guess what? Do you think any of the agents on the list thought they would end up there? Do you think they started their careers as brand-new agents, fumbling with lockboxes and getting hung up on 20 times a day, thinking they would be among the best agents in the country in a few years?

Of course they didn’t. They started out just like you did. In fact, many of them worked their fingers to the bone for YEARS before they made it to the top.

Money Alone Is Not a Strong Enough Motivator to Make It to the Top

burning dollar bills

One of the most common mistakes new agents make is thinking money alone will motivate them to build a successful career in real estate. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, money might motivate you for a year or two, but you will inevitably hit a ceiling or worse, burn out and quit.

The reason why becomes obvious when you think about it. Making it to the top requires sacrifice. Making it to the top will probably hurt. Emotionally and maybe even physically. As Victor Frankl said, “What is to give light must endure burning.”

There are very, very few people in this world who are willing to take on the sacrifices and pain true success requires for money alone. In fact, if you talk to any highly successful person and ask them what truly motivates them, almost none will even mention money. They all have a much deeper motivation. One worth suffering for.

Choosing to Be Passionate About Your Real Estate Career & Life Will Fuel Your Success

If you’ve ever met or worked with a top producer, you probably noticed one thing they almost all have in common. They are passionate about their careers and their lives. This passion not only fuels their daily grind, but shines through everything they do and attracts business like bees to honey.

What most people don’t realize is that this is a choice they’ve made for themselves. They actually chose to view their real estate career as something to be passionate about.

If you want to become a highly successful real estate agent, you need to start with this. You need to figure out your “why” that will fuel your success.

Peeling Back the Onion to Find Your “Why”

In his upcoming book, “The Choice: Finding the Passion That Fuels the Most Successful Sales People in the World,” Sean Moudry came up with a simple, step-by-step process to help newer agents or struggling agents find their own “why” that is necessary to become truly successful.

Peeling Back The Onion

Let’s break it down:


The first step to finding your “why” is to figure out why you became an agent in the first place. What do you like about the industry? What drew you to it? You didn’t become an agent by mistake. Something compelled you to join this crazy industry. Dig deep, and try to uncover it.


How do your personal interests align with a career in real estate? For Sean, he discovered that he was passionate about helping people build generational wealth through owning real estate. What interests do you have that align with the industry?


What views in the industry do you agree with? Maybe you feel strongly that leveling the playing field through home ownership is a great way to build community?


What values in the real estate industry do you resonate with? Integrity, honesty, accountability, transparency, diversity, or innovation are all values that real estate agents strive to uphold. Which resonate the most with your own values?

If you’ve taken this exercise seriously, you should now be able to complete the following sentence and use it as a source of strength to help you remember why you’re waking up at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning:

Finish this sentence: I help _______________ by _______________________ with ________________________ so that they ________________________________ and avoid ____________________________________.

What Is a Growth Mindset?

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is a scientifically proven method of viewing setbacks or challenges as growth opportunities. Instead of thinking that your natural abilities or skills are set in stone, a growth mindset encourages people to focus on the fact that you can change and grow over time.

While this may sound obvious (most great ideas do), a growth mindset is something that has only been proven in a clinical setting fairly recently.

Why It Works: The Science Behind a Growth Mindset

The term growth mindset was coined by Stanford Psychology professor and best-selling author Carol Dweck. Encouraged by new developments in neuroscience that showed our brains are far more malleable than previously thought, Dweck ran a study to see how growth mindsets affected the grades of math students.

The results were fairly conclusive. The students who were taught the growth mindset showed an improvement in math grades over time. Meanwhile, the control group’s scores actually declined.

How to Use a Growth Mindset to Sustainably Build Your Real Estate Career

OK. Now that you have a better idea of the science behind growth mindsets, let’s take a look at a few ways experts suggest using a growth mindset to increase sales.

1. Embrace Failure as an Opportunity for Growth

Of all the studies and actionable growth mindset strategies available today, treating your failure as an opportunity for growth rather than a setback is the one that everyone agreed on. It’s not easy by any definition of the word, but if there’s one skill you work on in this year, this should be it.

“Failure is what I’m best at.” – Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran

If you have one role model for becoming a million-dollar agent, print out this picture of Barbara Corcoran and tape it to your monitor.

After all, Barbara grew up poor and dyslexic, and because of her voracious growth mindset, cleared $70 million after selling her Manhattan luxury real estate brokerage. It is now a household name synonymous with grit and entrepreneurial spirit.

As almost everyone who has met Barbara will tell you, she attributes most of her success to not only bouncing back from failure, but embracing it as a growth opportunity.

Her TEDx talk “Rethinking Failure” is required viewing for any new agent, or any agent who wants to improve. I’ve embedded it below, so if you have a few minutes, watch it. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again.

Here’s the same exact idea (backed by scientific research) from Carol Dweck from her bestselling book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success“:

“For some people, failure is the end of the world—but for others, it’s this exciting new opportunity.”

2. Go to Bed Smarter Than When You Woke Up

Charlie Munger

That’s a quote from Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s partner at Berkshire Hathaway, one of the most successful investment companies in history.

Even though they came up with this rule for success decades before Carol Dweck did her research, experts agree that continually focusing on learning is a crucial part of building a growth mindset.

Both Buffet and Munger were voracious readers—each read something like a book a day, sometimes more.

While this may seem daunting at first, you’re actually doing it right now. You’re taking a few minutes out of your hectic schedule to read this article in the hope of improving yourself. All you need to do now is slowly pick up the pace and devote more time every day to learning.

3. Set Your Goals Higher

Another crucial element to using a growth mindset to close more deals is to set your goals higher. Yes, this will mean more stress, more effort, but also more failure—and failure is exactly what you should be looking for.

Here’s Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners, from the Harvard Business Review:

“Want to increase your own performance? Set high goals where you have a 50-70% chance of success. According to psychologist and Harvard researcher, the late David McClelland, that’s the sweet spot for high achievers. Then, when you fail half the time, figure out what you should do differently and try again. That’s practice.”

peter bergen headshot

Peter Bregman


After all, what good is a goal you know you can reach without breaking a sweat? Remember, failure—not success—is what will help you grow your business.

4. Reward Yourself for the Hustle, Not the Results

Let’s face it—no one likes a tyrant. That means whipping yourself because you skipped a webinar or didn’t hit your lead gen targets is counterproductive. It will just lead to self-loathing and worse outcomes.

Instead of being your own prison warden, it’s important to reward yourself when you’re making progress down the path to the corner office. Cultivating a growth mindset means rewarding yourself for the effort you’re putting in rather than the leads you get or the deals you close.

For example, even if you didn’t even get any listing appointments but stuck to your cold calling schedule all week, reward yourself with a treat for the hustle and the learning that that hustle produced. It doesn’t have to be extravagant to produce results. An ice cream cone, a walk on the beach, a night out with friends can all be powerful rewards if you are rewarding behavior that encourages a growth mindset.

Bring It All Together: Find Your Why & Cultivate a Growth Mindset to Succeed

By now, you should be sold on growth strategy and eagerly thinking of ways to implement it into your daily routine. If you’re not, you need to do more research. Buy Carol Dweck’s book, or check out a few more articles on growth mindset from Real Estate coaching team Tim and Julie Harris, The Atlantic, or the Harvard Business Review. Better yet, set aside an hour or so to watch Carol Dweck’s excellent talk at the Google Campus below.

If you’re ready to start applying growth mindset, here are a few ways you might use it to close more deals:

  1. Set higher gross commission income (GCI) targets
  2. Carve out at least one hour per day to devote to learning something new
  3. Subscribe to The Close email list
  4. Attend at least one training webinar every day
  5. Make it real by talking about your goals with coworkers, friends, or family
  6. Reward yourself for the hustle, not the results
  7. Start a regular role-playing exercise with a coworker to practice pitching
  8. Take a deep dive on market data once a week
  9. Talk to your assistant or a junior agent about growth mindset
  10. Read Carol Dweck’s book on Success
  11. Watch Carol Dweck’s talk at Google
  12. Take a deep dive on the neuroscience literature about learning and neural plasticity
  13. Buy more FSBO leads to pitch every day
  14. Research best practices for landing pages, websites, and search engine optimization (SEO)

Wishing you all an incredible year ahead. Let us know your big goals for the year, and if we can create resources to help you grow in 2022.

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