Ask Dr. Julie: I Lost my Motivation to Become a Top Producer, Help!
Trying to pull yourself out of a motivation slump and still hitting a wall?
Maybe you can take a Tony Robbins course or tried to amp up your technical skills with a class?
I hate to say it, but that’s unlikely to help.
In fact, a Stanford study found only 25% of success is technical skill.
Don’t fall for the hype of coaching courses or motivational speakers. They’re never going to solve your core problem.
If you’re tired of feeling stressed and unproductive, here is a proven strategy to get your mojo back, and get back out there kicking butt and taking names.
1. Take a Deep Breath
Yes, I know. It’s a cliche. It’s a cliche for a good reason.
Take a moment and slow down.
Stop whatever it is your doing and breathe along with the animation below for at least a full minute:
Feel better? Great!
Keep practicing your breathing in this pattern whenever you feel the stress taking over.
Now that you’re a little calmer, take a few minutes to answer the three questions that we’ll use as we go through this guide.
2. Take Stock of Your Past, Present, & Future
One of the most common reasons agents get overwhelmed is that they aren’t assessing their past, present, and future realistically.
For example, you may look back on your previous career with envy, but forget how miserable some aspect of it made you and your family. Or, you may be spinning your wheels with the wrong daily tasks that just leave you stressed, or have unrealistic goals for your future in real estate.
The problem is that these problems are virtually impossible to deal with when they’re swirling around in your head and keeping you from focusing.
Writing them down and coming up with a solid game plan is a crucial first step to getting unstuck.
Answer these questions as honestly as you can, and don’t worry about perfection. You can always flesh out your current problems or sharpen your goals, but you can never improve if you don’t get started!
1. Why Did You Start Working in Real Estate?
Why did you choose to go into real estate? What made it exciting for you?
Some of these things might sound silly, like maybe you thought you’d make a million dollars your first year out of the gate, but that’s okay – write it down anyway.
Also talk about the perks of the job, what you liked about the profession, or what made you interested in real estate.
2. What is Your Current Daily Routine?
Pick a typical day and track it.
What are you doing in the morning, afternoon, and late afternoons? Put every little detail in it, and don’t hold back.
Walking to the coffee shop, time on Facebook, following up with leads, picking up groceries for your family, going to listing appointments.
Include everything you can think of in your typical daily routine, and try to list the events in order.
3. What are Your Long & Short Term Goals?
Talk about where you want to be in a year, three years, and five years. What are your financial and personal goals, and describe them in detail.
They can be sales goals, asking your partner to marry you, a vintage Rolex you’d love to own, or even buying your first home.
What are your goals?
3. Do the Opposite of What Others Are Doing
Many struggling agents do one of three things when they hit a slump of motivation:
They drop out of real estate, they stack even more work on themselves, or they seek a skills or self help coach.
While it’s true that your current routine has to shift, how you shift it should be the opposite of conventional wisdom.
No matter where you are now or where you want to be, you need to work with what you’ve got today.
Believe it or not, success is not something that makes you happy. It’s actually the other way around.
“Success Doesn’t bring Happiness — Happiness brings Success.”
People like to tell you that if only you had XYZ skills, you’d be rich and you’d be happy. If only you were a better negotiator or salesperson then everything would be humming along.
In fact, the opposite is true.
Research by Shawn Achor at Harvard seems to indicate the opposite of current wisdom in his findings that 75% of success is predicted by three things – optimism, social connections, and how you perceive stress.
There is an important correlation between burnout and quality of life, so even though many people gravitate to educational courses, more work, and coaching when they are struggling, those things just make you feel even more overwhelmed and tired.
Instead, do the opposite.
Okay, so we know that only around 25% of success is about those technical skills, so let’s focus on the remaining 75% and boost optimism, improve social connections, and beat back stress by giving you new ways to approach your tasks.
By reducing stressors in your life, changing your schedule, and working on improving happiness, you can get your motivation back and start hitting your goals.
Ready? Okay, let’s dig in!
4. Identify & Try to Solve Your Most Obvious Stressors
It’s hard to feel happy or motivated if you have ongoing problems you need to address taking up mental space. These nagging issues weighing you down are like anchors holding you back from going anywhere. They can be a literal drag.
Have a medical issue you’ve been putting off?
Schedule that doctor appointment and take care of it.
Have a partner who doesn’t support your career?
Rethink that relationship.
Have toxic friends who only hold you down or stress you out?
Time to cut them loose.
Of course not all the obvious stressors in your life will be this clear cut, and you probably won’t be able to fix many of them in one day. That’s okay – just do your best to address them and make a plan to address the ones that need more work.
The key here is to identify them, and TRY to come up with solutions so that they don’t seem so overwhelming. You might be surprised with the solutions you can come up with if you just try!
Now is the time to take care of the things you can, focus on yourself, and get back on your path to success.
Freeing yourself of anchors allows you to be more optimistic and less stressed so that you can be in a place to implement the things you need to do next.
5. Divide and Conquer Your Schedule
Now that you have a gameplan, have identified and worked out solutions for your big stressors, it’s time to tackle your schedule. Scary right? Scheduling is a common cause of feelings of helplessness and chaos. No one really prepares you for how overwhelming it can feel to effectively run your own business.
It doesn’t have to be.
Here’s how to tame your schedule.
Break Huge Daily Tasks into Smaller Pieces
The most successful people don’t take on the huge tasks, they break them down into more manageable pieces. The University of Oxford calls this scheduling strategy the “divide and conquer” strategy.
3 Easy Ways to Break Down Tasks to Get More Done:
1. Make your Tasks Specific
For example, don’t just schedule in “lead generation,” schedule specific tasks you want to complete like “email three warm leads.” Put in specific tasks into specific time slots and stick to them.
2. Schedule Tasks First Thing in the Morning
The optimal time to schedule your most challenging tasks are first thing in the morning for optimal mental performance and attention.
People tend to be the most productive 2.5 – 4 hours after waking up according to Jennifer Ackerman, author of Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream.
Take advantage of how your body and mind works best, get some tasks out of the way, and feel accomplished.
3. Pause Distractions During Your Task Time
Research finds that distractions don’t just eat up time, they make the quality of your work worse from constant interruptions. If you are one of those people with 12 tabs open on your browser, it might be time to drop that to the one thing you’re working on.
If you can break up your prospecting and other areas of your business into specific tasks, schedule them in early, and truly focus on them, research indicates that you’re more likely to get them done and less likely to procrastinate.
As an added bonus, getting things done feels great and will improve your mood.
Eventually, you will learn to see these quick mood boosts as the rewards they are and use them to motivate yourself. That’s for another article though.
6. Schedule in Time for Relaxation & Fun
Believe it or not, scheduling in time to actually grab lunch with a friend, or go to the Crossfit class you’ve been dying to try, actually makes you better at your job.
I’m not kidding!
The University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage found that just having a brief laugh or “happiness shocks” improved productivity from 12%-20%, and that literally scheduling in fun improves productivity and engagement levels at work.
If you have a hobby you want to get back to, times with friends you’ve been skipping, or something you’ve wanted to try, it’s time you made it a part of your life.
It’s easy to say you are too busy to actually have a social life or explore hobbies. You may have a relationship, a family, and a career that you feel places you with clients 24/7.
“If you’re the person who is always “too busy,” to spend time with friends, you are the person who needs to spend more time with friends or to develop a hobby the most.”
6. Develop a Growth Mindset
According to Stanford professor Carol Dweck, there are two types of mindsets that people often have:
1. A fixed mindset, where individuals believe they simply have certain fixed traits (this is just who I am)
2. A growth mindset where people believe there is no limit to the things they can become.
According to Dweck’s research, people who have growth mindsets take more chances and have more success.
So how do you develop a growth mindset if you don’t have one already? Here are key points Dr. Dweck discussed in a recent interview.
The Keys to a Growth Mindset:
- Challenges are seen as exciting, not a threat – give it a whirl!
- Growth mindsets are focused on the process of building, not worrying about outcome
- They’re not hard on themselves if things don’t go perfectly
- A growth mindset is persistent, and develops grit
- People with growth mindsets monitor what works vs what doesn’t work to inform what they do in the future
7. Revisit Your Current Goals & Why You Started
Take a look at the answers you wrote as to what your current goals are and why you started.
Do you see opportunities to break these goals down into smaller tasks to pull yourself ahead?
Do you see places to challenge yourself and the possibility to get to where you want to be?
The sparks of motivation begin in seeing the possibility of what you can do instead of focusing on what other people are doing.
As Beverly Hills Realtor Josh Flagg says,
“Persistence and belief in yourself are the two biggest advantages a person can have in life.”
No matter what your goals are, or how lofty they seem to be, there are almost always ways of making them happen. Life is too short to quit, and we hope to have given you some strategies to get back on track.
The 30,000 Foot View
You can do this!
Heading into the very things holding you back takes courage and some chutzpah, but if you trust the process, you’ll come out the other side feeling better and back on track.
If you’re someone reading through this who has gone through this before and have some wisdom to share, we’d love to hear more.
For those of you who are ready to take on the task, now is the time to go get it.