Nothing destroys faster than flat-out apathy. The question isn’t “Who cares?” It’s “What do you care about?” And then, “What are you prioritizing?”

Two things are needed to overcome complacency: passion and purpose. This doesn’t mean that you have to feel “passion” to be successful — because let’s be honest: No one feels passion 100 percent of the time about what they do. Honestly, you’re lucky if you have a true passion for 10 percent of your work tasks, 10 percent of the time. In other words, it’s called “work” because you have to work at it.

So if you’re not feeling passionate about work, then where do you find your passion? Try to feel inspired by the rewards of that work — your family, hobbies, and everything else that work pays for and makes possible. Feel passionate about the stability and quality of life that work provides and the opportunity to have a job — something a lot of agents will closely identify with after the down-market economy of the last few years.

Be careful, however, and don’t confuse complacency with being content. There’s nothing wrong with feeling content, but the problem comes when we drift from contentment into complacency. How does this happen? Is becoming complacent typical? That is the case for many of us, and it takes a real focus on passion and purpose to overcome it.

If you’re worried that this might be you, then answer the questions below to see if you’ve fallen into the trap of being complacent:

  • Do you have a real business plan? (A plan is an exact road map from one point to another, not just a load of generalized statements.)
  • Do you have a list new skills that you will master in the next 90 days?
  • Do you feel stuck? Do you look around and find that you are physically, mentally, spiritually, educationally and financially still living in the 1990s?
  • Do you only truly get results from your work when you feel a certain way?

If you’re feeling a little nervous about your answers to those questions, then you’re probably being complacent. And that’s ultimately a career-killer because while the people around you keep moving forward, you’ll be left behind. This was the topic of a two-part series on Real Estate Coaching Radio:

How to get unstuck: 12 easy steps to overcome complacency (Part 1)


How to get unstuck: 12 easy steps to overcome complacency (Part 2)


So how do you overcome complacency? Here are nine of the 12 steps we shared:

1. Create a crisis. Allow yourself to feel anxiety. But don’t go overboard; find your optimal anxiety. Optimal anxiety is a God-given apprehension that must be heeded. There is something that causes so much unease in us that it almost forces passion. But don’t create anxiety overkill — like someone who has to lose weight and doesn’t take action until diabetes is a real risk.

2. Get rid of visible signs of success. That means all awards and plaques. Clear your office and your desk. Don’t rest on past performances.

3. Raise your standards. Raise them so high that you can’t reach them by operating the same old way.

4. Schedule the “big rocks” first. If you have a jar and small rocks and big rocks to fit inside, and you put all the small rocks in first, then you won’t have room for the big rocks. Big rocks are the things that get you paid.

5. Redefine accountability. If you have staff, hold everyone accountable for overall success rather than using team goals. It’s very common for low-performing, complacent agents to hide out in teams. From here forward, make sure you know who in your boat is riding and who is rowing.

6. Be stone-cold honest about your numbers. Know your cost per lead, plus your cost per closed transaction on the buyer side and on the seller side. Don’t be surprised to learn that you are making less than 20 percent net before taxes. Know your expenses down to the nickel.

7. Focus on what’s next. Create small tasks that you can accomplish immediately to 
help you reach the larger goal. For example, schedule lunch with three accountants this week to discuss referrals. You may have to go even smaller: Call an accountant on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. You 
will find that it is much easier to get each task done immediately rather than 
postponing them. Otherwise, you’ll get buried under your own list very

8. Make lists — and love scratching things off. Go over your weekly or daily list and take pride in the tasks 
accomplished, and do not forgive yourself for those missed. Add anything not completed to the 
following day or week.

9. Love self-improvement. Learn to love the fact that you can always get better. Ask yourself this question: Where are my competitors better than me … or even, would I hire me over my competitor to list my home?

Tim and Julie Harris have over 20 years’ experience in real estate. Learn more about their real estate coaching and training programs at, or tune in to Real Estate Coaching Radio every weekday at

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