Have you ever felt regret about something you didn’t do?
Most of us have some nagging memory of a time when we didn’t take action. We let opportunity slip by.
In hindsight, we see that if we would have taken action and failed, it would have been better than not taking action at all — because without action we only have “what if” to plague our minds.
I was speaking with a real estate agent the other day; to protect his privacy, I’ll just call him Rob. He works at another brokerage and he confided in me that he is struggling internally, yet doing well financially.
Rob explained that what was bothering him was how he was making his money. He was following the guidance and training provided and pushed by his brokerage. It was working, but he didn’t like the person he’d become to make his money.
Rob said, “Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a salesman. I feel like I’ve become that annoying salesperson that I despise in my personal life. You know — that person who keeps calling you to the point you feel guilty if you don’t come to their meeting or send them a referral or something? I’m that guy now.”
My first response was to upgrade the iced tea Rob ordered to a beer, and then I told him about a book that I’m currently reading.
The Compound Effect is a book written by by Darren Hardy, editor of Success Magazine.
Darren has interviewed hundreds of successful entrepreneurs. When Rob told me what he was struggling with, it reminded me of Hardy’s message:
“When your actions conflict with your values, you’ll end up unhappy, frustrated, and despondent. In fact, psychologists tell us that nothing creates more stress than when our actions and behaviors aren’t congruent with our values.”
To put it simply, when your actions conflict with your values, what happens is peak unhappiness. When your actions are in line with your values, life is rich, rewarding, fun and impactful.
More than one way to get leads
Obviously, Rob was struggling internally because his actions were conflicting with his values, and continuing with those actions was pushing him toward peak unhappiness.
Rob shook his head and said that it all made perfect sense and that he was actually thinking of getting out of the business. He felt that was the only way to avoid the depression he was feeling about his job.
I told him that the predominant training for real estate agents is to be aggressive salespeople — because it works.
However, there are other ways to conduct real estate business where you can still make a great living without being that guy. Where you don’t have to chase after leads or push others to send you business. Rather, it comes to you. People go out of their way to send you business because they like and respect you, and they truly want to see you succeed.
I also shared with Rob about how the CEO and founder of Starbucks, Howard Schwartz, says “whatever your culture, values, guiding principles are, you have to take steps to incorporate them into your organization/company early in its life, so they guide every decision, every strategy and objective you set.”
As agents, we get bombarded with advice about what we should be doing in our business.
However, if that advice conflicts with your values and guiding principles, then don’t take that advice. Seek out other advice or alternatives.
Do what suits you, not anyone else
Some agents can cold call all day. They love the chase. Others hate every second of it.
Sometimes we dislike or fear things because we feel ill-prepared for the task, and that is solved through study and practice. However, other times we dislike a task because it conflicts with our internal moral code.
I asked him what he liked about the real estate business, and he said he did truly like helping people.
I encouraged Rob to study other agents who were running their businesses differently and winning. Agents who made helping people their focus, not making money.
Be brave enough to take action
We had a long, heartfelt talk that day, and since then I’ve been thinking a lot about our conversation.
It got me wondering how many agents are like this guy. They are conflicted by the advice they are given to be successful in this business.
It comes back to what decisions and actions we take. Do they align with your values and core principles? If not, you are destined for unhappiness.
Have the courage to change course. Often, the worst you can do is nothing — to not make a change. Because that leads to regret.
Choose to move forward; even if it sets you back, if you are not fighting to move forward, you will slide backward.