How do Successful Salespeople Stay Motivated?
The most important thing in real estate—and life—is not our outer get-up-and-go but what I call our inner energy.
At some point we got the idea that if all of the materialistic exterior circumstances of our lives appear to be going well, then all is well in our hearts and minds. We think that if we solve our external problems, we will be okay.
But the opposite is true: the only way to practice wellness is to be at peace with our internal selves. Have you ever noticed that once you overcome a problem or buy an item you’ve had your eye on, your satisfaction dissipates as quickly as the next problem arises? And in real estate, as you well know, problems and challenges just keep on coming!
This cycle is part of the reality of this madcap industry, but it also mirrors how the Universe works—the physics of it. We are constantly bumping into obstructions, frustrations and challenges. Life rarely unfolds as we think it should, and often our well laid plans are subverted so completely that it seems like the world is laughing at us.
Life and sales are such that we are continuously surrounded by people and circumstances that constantly test us in ways that allow us to grow.
These exterior challenges, and their rewards, are not the true tests. What we really must get a handle on are our own inner fears, insecurities and destructive patterns. Even if you have the job, the car, the house, and are able to rise to the complexities that each day presents, when you are not secure within yourself, eventually it will all come tumbling down.
I’ll give you an example of this principle as it played out in a real estate dispute I experienced recently.
I had helped a real estate seller – who we will name Anne – update her outdated home with a verbal agreement that I would be their real estate agent. We were about six months away from putting the home on the market and since Anne had now become a trusted friend it did not occur to me to get anything in writing.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought Anne would entertain a real estate offer with another agent and just cut me out completely—but that is what she did! When the real estate sale closed, and she confided to me how happy she was with the way everything had turned out, I was speechless. As my way of letting her know how upset I was, I handed Anne a 2 inch thick stack of all the emails and appointments we had over the past five months. She came after me like a wild tornado, asking me if this was a bill? I responded by saying it was simply an opportunity to make things right. She accused me of having no integrity and taking advantage of our friendship. At this point I should have taken a page from one of my favorite Buddhist stories, which reminds us to accept life as it unfolds, taking the good with bad:
Hakuin, a monk, was living a quiet, contemplative life when he was accused by the daughter of one of the local villagers that he had fathered her child. “Is that so?” was all he would say.
When the child was born, the parents brought the little boy to this monk, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. “Is that so?” he said and welcomed the child into his home. A year later the young girl could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth—that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fish market. The mother and the father of the girl went back to the monk and asked for the child, who by this time had a strong bond with Hakuin. When giving the baby back to the grandparents all Hakuin said was: “Is that so?”
Unfortunately, when I was in my conflict with Anne, I had neither the patience nor the presence of mind that this Buddhist monk did. Unlike Hakuin, who accepted life as it was, I beat myself up about this uncomfortable situation for months, having internal conversations that went along the lines of: “I should have gotten Anne to sign a real estate listing even though she insisted the sale was more than six months away,” or “I thought Anne could be trusted.” These went on and on in endless spirals that kept me up at night. Once I relaxed and honored the reality of the situation, I found peace.
Bottom Line: I had to accept what happened internally—both emotionally and mentally.
I was learning one of the most important life lessons: maintaining objective inner awareness is more important than what happens in the external world. I had so wanted to have Anne as a trusted friend and represent her two million dollar three-bedroom home on a double lot, but it was not to be. Denigrating myself mentally was not going to change that—it would only foster a sense of unhappiness that would spill over into other parts of my life which had nothing to do with this isolated situation. If I let self-doubt and insecurity cripple me I would not only be miserable, but I would also risk losing the things in my life I had worked so hard to build.
In difficult real estate scenarios I find it helpful to ask myself this question: Do I want to be right or do I want peace? Sometimes I choose the former, and it is usually when I am feeling most vulnerable and want to protect my ego no matter what the cost. In the long run this choice always proves counter-intuitive. The more painful the problem, the richer the reward for letting it go. It truly is one or the other—you let go of the circumstance or you don’t. There is no in-between. Do not rationalize, do not blame or analyze. You will have good times and bad times—all sorts of things will happen. Realize whatever is holding you down, once released can lift you up to the heavens. Whenever I think about the situation with Anne or any other real estate transaction that did not turn out as expected, I become thrilled that I had the strength and the confidence to let it all go.
Let life flow through you like water. Good things will happen. Bad things will happen. Do not cling to what may be a misguided idea of what you think your life should look like. Once you truly let go you will be free to live in the present and experience life’s many gifts. Accept reality. Relax and enjoy. Then move on. The real estate game is much more enjoyable–not to mention profitable–if you open your mind to the inevitability of adversity. How you view that adversity is just as important as how you rise to meet it.
Be aware that any clients’ names have been changed to protect their privacy. Furthermore, Paula Pagano does not accept any liability for the content of any Blogs and this Website or for any actions you take or resultant consequences of actions taken based on the information provided in this communication. Any advice is my opinion after being a 35 year experienced real estate agent in San Francisco.