7 Strategies to Stay Motivated & Move Forward…Even When It Feels Like Nothing's Working
If you’re looking for the secret to success in building a real estate business, it boils down to one simple skill and that is learning how to stay motivated and keep taking consistent action…even when it feels like it’s not working.
If you can find strategies to kick start your motivation, so that you keep moving forward when everyone else starts getting distracted and procrastinating, that is how you’ll get where you want to go and others won’t.
In this episode, you’ll learn the 7 strategies I recommend to get yourself back on track when you start wondering off, so that you can finally get the results you deserve.
Hello hello hello. You’re listening to episode number 60 of the Women Rocking Real Estate podcast and this is the first episode of Season 4. Before I dive into today’s episode, I just quickly want to let you know that doors are now open to my Attract Accelerator bootcamp. If you’re looking to build a business that you love by attracting clients instead of hunting for them, in this 90 day coaching program you’ll learn a proven 3-step process for generating more business from your sphere of influence, earning more referrals and getting found by new buyers and sellers searching for a realtor online….all without using any outdated tactics like door knocking, cold calling or harassing your friends and family for business. Doors won’t open again until next year, so check out the link in the notes if you’re interested.
Ok I cannot believe it has been 3 years since I decided to pivot my real estate career and start this show. In the beginning, it was just me and a microphone. No one knew who I was and no one was listening expect my husband and a few good friends. Not even my parents tuned in. But fast forward 3 years and I’ve had almost 300,000 downloads.
I’ve said this before on the show, that it takes me a LONG time to put together an episode. I really think about what I want to say and it takes a lot of time to craft them, record them, edit them and produce them. In that first year, it felt like I was just pissing hours away pouring my heart and soul into these episodes that no one was listening to or cared about. I wanted to quit so many times. It just did not feel like it was worth the effort and it felt like it was taking forever to get any traction.
James Clear describes this phenomenon perfectly in his book Atomic Habits. He says:
“We often expect progress to be linear. At the very least we hope it will come quickly. In reality the results of our efforts are often delayed. It’s not until months or even years later that we realize the true value of the previous work we have done. This can result in a valley of disappointment where people feel discouraged after putting in months of hard work without experiencing any results. However this work was not wasted. It is simply being stored and it is compounding. It is not until much later that the full value of previous efforts is revealed.”
So even though it felt like it wasn’t working….I had experienced similar situations before where I’d wanted to quit but stuck with it anyway, only to see the massive payoff in the future. I relied on that faith in the first year to keep moving me forward. And thank God I did keep taking action, because I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not.
And let me be clear….I am not special or unique at all. There are thousands of agents out there that have more experience than I do and did better in real estate than I did. They are all probably much better equipped to host a podcast about building a real estate business than I am. The only difference is they’re not willing to do the work and stick with it and I was.
Now I’m not suggesting there are no other good real estate shows out there, there’s lots. But we’re talking less than a hundred shows hosted by agents compared to the millions of licensed real estate agents out there. Lots of agents could produce great podcasts, but the vast majority just wouldn’t be willing to do the work, for as long as it takes, to get on the charts.
And that reality also holds true for many agents trying to build real estate businesses. The vast majority will not be able to stay
motivated long enough to make it.
When it comes to real estate, the work that you do, is always to build your future business. The actions that we take rarely result in immediate business. There’s a delay between the action and the result and therefore it can often be really hard to even see how they’re connected. It feels like we doing all these things and nothing is happening.
In the beginning of starting anything new, you’ll have motivation & excitement driving you forward. But it is not a matter of IF, it is only a matter of WHEN you’re going to hit a point of resistance. It happens in different ways for different people. You start getting overwhelmed, you start getting frustrated or you start feeling discouraged and then you start to have doubt creeping in because it feels like it’s not working and so you find yourself getting distracted by other things, your perfectionism starts getting the better of you and you find yourself procrastinating and before you know it you’ve stopped doing whatever it was you were trying to do, to grow your business.
So that is what today’s episode is all about. If you can crack the code on staying motivated and pushing forward…
even when…You have self-doubt
Even when you’re uncomfortable
Even when you’re overwhelmed
Even when you feel like it’s not working
Even when you feel like it’s taking too long
Even when you feel like it’s too hard
Even when you want to give up
When you can trust that the work you’re doing today, is going to pay off tomorrow….even when you can’t see it yet, that is the best skillset you could ever build. So in this episode, I want to arm you with 7 tips to help you stay motivated continue to take consistent action, even when it feels it’s not working.
1. Cut out the noise.
My first tip for helping you stay motivated, especially through tough times, is to cut out the noise. If there are external factors that influence how you feel in a negative way, you need to shield yourself from those forces.
If it’s the constant negative news and doom and gloom about the market & the economy, stop watching, stop reading and stop listening to the news. Now I’m not saying you shield yourself from it entirely to the point of having no clue about what’s happening, but I am saying you only really need an update a couple times a month and the reality is that you should be able to get your own update from market reports that you run yourself, not from what you hear on the news. The news it is often skewed for headlines and is not always an entirely accurate picture of what’s actually happening in the market.
What you definitely don’t need, is to watch the nightly news and consume every news article you come across during the day. That is inundating you with unnecessary negativity and it can put more than just a damper on your motivation.
Similarly, if scrolling through social media puts you in a funk, either stop scrolling or stop following whoever’s putting you in the funk. I had posted about this on social media awhile ago and someone commented that they liked following other successful agents because it motivated them…well that’s great, but this doesn’t apply to you then. This tip is for those that feel down when they scroll through social media and see posts from other realtors. If something doesn’t make you feel down, it’s not a problem. If it does make you feel down, it is a problem and you’ve got to protect yourself against it, so that it doesn’t derail your motivation to keep taking action and moving your business forward.
So just pay close attention to the noise around you and if something is affecting you negatively, it’s time to put some boundaries up, so that you can feel more positive, more often.
2. Detach from end results.
Next up, tip # 2 is to detach from expectations of end results. This can be easier said than done, but nothing puts a bigger damper on our motivation to continue, than when we don’t get the end result we were expecting or hoping for or when we don’t get it within the timeframe we wanted.
If we only feel motivated to continue taking action when we see the end results of our action, we’ll almost always lose steam before we get there. We’ve got to find motivation outside of the end result or outcome, otherwise we’ll end up in that Valley of Disappointment and give up before that end result comes.
So anytime you’re undertaking a new strategy, pay close attention to your expectations of results and timeframes. Get real with yourself about what the end-result you’re expecting is and then challenge yourself if you’re setting yourself up to fail.
I’ll use the example of my Attract Method that I teach inside the Attract Accelerator. This very podcast uses the same strategy. I create what I hope is valuable content that helps you the listener. I demonstrate my authority in real estate by sharing free helpful information and over time you get to know me and trust me. If you’re ever considering coaching or learning more about how to start, grow and scale your business, you’ll hopefully include me on your list as someone you’d at least consider working with.
This podcast is how 90% of people who work with me, found me. I’ve never reached out to a single real estate agent asking if they need a coach. Not once. I’ve never reached out to a single agent asking if they’ve thought about joining eXp, not once. I don’t pursue, I attract and it’s exactly how I built my real estate business and how I teach others to as well.
But here’s where detaching from results comes into play. If I started this podcast and decided that the end-result I was looking for was new coaching clients and if I’d had an expectation (consciously or unconsciously) that I should hit 100,000 downloads by the end of my first year, I can guarantee you I’d have quit when I had less than 20,000.
Instead of judging success based on the end-result of getting 100,000 downloads or getting clients, I judged it based on short-term indicators.
Those success indicators were:
- It was growing – not at any exponential pace by a long shot, but it was growing albeit slowly.
- it was having an impact. No I didn’t hear from 100s of agents every day, but I did hear from occasional people that I didn’t know, that they were listening and that it was helping them.
- my other platforms were growing too. I was getting more website visitors, my email list was growing and my social media following was growing.
Those three metrics alone told me what I needed to know to stay motivated to continue. Even though I hadn’t seen the end result I wanted, I knew I was headed in the right direction and if I continued consistently, that my efforts were going to compound over time. And compound they did. If you were to look at the growth on a chart – OMG it was so slow in the beginning and by beginning, I mean for an entire year. But then the pace started picking up and then it was exponential.
My attract method follows the same strategy, but using mostly video content instead of a podcast. It’s really important that members begin the program with an understanding of what end results they’re expecting. For most agents, that end-result is getting more clients.
Although there’s loads of agents who actually get leads and clients pretty quickly, I don’t want anyone EXPECTING that, because their motivation to continue will end up depending on it. The only way anyone can stick with a long-term strategy, it to detach from the end result of getting more clients and focus on leading indicators instead. Indicators like impressions, video views, website visitors, social growth, email list growth, people commenting on your content and asking questions, etc.
All of those metrics come before the clients do. So those who are able to detach from only getting the end result of new clients and focus instead on all the other leading indicators, are the ones who stay motivated to continue with the strategy through the valley of disappointment long enough for the real magic to happen where their efforts compound over time and the growth is exponential.
3. Focus on evergreen marketing activities.
Moving along, another tip to stay motivated with your marketing activities when it feels like they’re not working, is to focus on activities that are evergreen in nature. Meaning they continue to work for you in perpetuity or in theory, forever.
When we spend hours doing something that has a short shelf life, it is very hard to keep putting forth the effort because it feels like the effort is wasted if it doesn’t work. On the other hand, when we spend hours doing something that will continue to work for you after you’ve put it out there, we’re not as fixated on the immediate results. Because we know the effort wasn’t wasted.
So if you spent 8 hours door knocking and no one answered any doors, that 8 hours is gone and your effort is never going to amount to any business. You’d have to keep going out and knocking on more doors to get leads. Same thing with cold calling. Those types of marketing activities are called hamster wheel marketing, because you’ve got to keep doing the work and putting in the effort to generate any future business from it.
Creating content on social media platforms instead of search-based platforms, is also considered hamster wheel marketing because the shelf life of the content is short lived. The effort you put into creating it, won’t keep working for you. Whereas when you create content on search-based platforms like Google and YouTube, that content gets searched for and found for years to come. You create it once and it works for you forever. So let’s say you create a YouTube video and an associated blog for your website. Although you put a lot of effort into creating that content, if you don’t get any immediate results from it, you’re not as discouraged because you know someone searching for it could still find it a year from now.
I’ll use my podcast as an example again. Even though no one was listening in the beginning 3 years ago, those early episodes still get played all the time by new listeners who find the show. All the effort I put in over the last 3 years is continuing to work for me.
So for every marketing activity you do for your business, ask yourself is it evergreen or is it hamster wheel? Spend more of your time doing evergreen activities and you’ll be more likely to stay motivated doing them consistently.
4. Have a plan, stick with the plan.
Up next, one of the biggest kill joys of motivation, is overwhelm and one of the fastest routes to overwhelm, is lack of focus. When there are too many options available for us, we get overwhelmed by the choices, shut down and do nothing instead. It’s that analysis paralysis thing. To combat this, we need to have a plan, but more importantly, we need to stick with the plan. As soon as you start getting distracted by all the shiny objects around you, remind yourself that chasing those ideas is actually getting in the way, of you getting the results you want.
There are lots of different ways of getting to the same place. Picture it like a flywheel where there are 8 different spokes each representing a different strategy and they all lead to the centre, which is the results you want. So you pick one of the strategies and start driving along that spoke, only to decide when you’re halfway there, that you’re going to go a different way instead. So you go back to the beginning of another spoke and start that strategy instead, only to see another agent going down a different path so you decide to switch again and start at the beginning of another spoke.
You’re never going to get to the centre where the results are using that method. Pick a strategy and stick with it until you get the results you want. Put blinders on and don’t allow yourself to get distracted by the shiny objects all around you.
Once you’ve picked a plan, to help you stay motivated executing it, create a motivation manifesto.
5. Create a Motivation Manifesto.
This starts with creating a list of all the things that fuel your motivation and intentionally surrounding yourself with those things. As soon as you start noticing your motivation dipping, look at your motivation manifesto and start implementing it in your life. Don’t wait, take action immediately.
Some of the more popular motivation fuelers are:
- People – surround yourself with positive people who have purpose and who see anything as possible. These people focus on finding solutions instead of problems. They are doers and not complainers. They are accountable for their own results, instead of blaming others for their lack of them. They will lift you up, support and encourage you, instead of tearing you down.
- Get accountable. Most people are much more likely to take action when they are accountable to someone other than themselves. That’s why we don’t have any issues doing the work needed for clients. We don’t have to feel motivated to get a house on the market, because we are intrinsically
motivated to do it. When you can find someone outside yourself that you’re accountable to, you’re more likely to take action even when you’re not as motivated as you’d ideally like to feel.
- Create a library of books & podcasts that you want to read or listen to. Whenever I’m feeling in a slump, just listening to someone else’s ideas or ways of thinking about things or doing things, inspires me to take action.
- Another way to kick start your motivation if you’ve been taking longer than needed breaks from taking action in your business, is to Purchase training or coaching programs. When we invest in something, we’ve got skin in the game and we’re much more likely to see it through. However if you’re someone that has a digital shelf full of dusty courses and programs that you never finished, be careful of taking self-paced programs with lifetime access. They usually have the benefit of being more affordable, however when left to your own devices, most people can’t sustain the motivation needed to get through the program and implement what you’ve learned. That’s why I structured my Attract Accelerator the way I did. Everything about it was designed with purpose. It’s cohort based so you’re not alone and everyone is learning and implementing the lessons together. There’s accountability pods, there’s deadlines and there’s feedback on your work. All of the things that help people actually implement what they’re learning so they can actually get the results they’re looking for.
- When you’re lacking motivation, you can also try using brain-based techniques. I teach a specific tool called brain priming that has been a complete life-changer for those that do it, but you can also try meditating, visualization exercises and affirmations. The key for these to work is to do them in the mornings to kick your day off in the right motivational direction and to do them consistently.
- Lastly, when all else fails and you’re feeling in a motivational funk, use the Do something principle found by Mark Manson, the author of the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Beep. The premise is this….”Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.” Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it. Boom mic drop! Most of us commit to action only if we feel a certain level of motivation. And we feel motivation only when we feel enough emotional inspiration. We assume these happen in order Inspiration > motivation > action. The thing about motivation is that it’s not only a 3-part chain, but an endless loop. Your actions create inspiration which leads to motivation. So if you lack the motivation to do something, just do something. Anything really. Just take a small simple action that you already know how to do and that action will likely spark some inspiration and then your motivation will follow.
6. Focus on your feelings, re-frame your thoughts.
Up next, tip #6 when you’re finding your motivation flailing, is to focus on your feelings and figure out what thoughts are making you feel that way. Remember that you’ll always notice your feelings first. You’ll feel a pit in your stomach, or a heaviness, or you’ll notice your heart is beating faster than normal or your breath is shallow. Whenever you notice negative feelings, pay attention to what thoughts you were having. The time between a thought and the resulting emotion or feeling is a nano second, so we often don’t recognize the thought and miss it all together.
Learning how to bring this awareness to your feelings and thoughts takes practice, but it’s a skill worth building. Because we are not powerless to our thoughts. We can choose to think whatever the heck we want. So if you find yourself thinking things that make you feel like crap, choose different thoughts that will serve you better. Don’t just get stuck in your feelings and be victim to them, realize there are always thoughts that precede your feelings and choose to reframe those thoughts into something that is going to help you move forward.
A fan favourite self-sabotaging behaviour is comparing yourself to others and losing motivation pretty rapidly when you do. Just stop. Seriously nothing good ever comes from comparison, it truly is the thief of joy. The problem is that when we let it happen unchecked, it becomes a habit and that habit can turn into pain seeking where you start unconsciously looking for opportunities to compare yourself to others and get stuck in the negative feelings.
It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped, so every time you catch yourself comparing yourself to anyone, try using some grounding techniques to distract yourself. If you’ve never tried grounding, google the term and you’ll find hundreds of different ways to try it.
7. Remember this too shall pass.
Last but not least, always remember that this too shall pass. If there is a situation or external influence that is causing your lack of motivation, remember that it will pass. This business is seasonal and cyclical and it’s normal for there to be ups and downs. Normalize that and remember it will pass.
When something goes wrong with a client or a deal (which it will) it will pass. As awful as it can feel in the moment, it won’t always feel this way. Take deep breaths, fix what you can, learn from it, grow from it and move on.
When you are in a fear-based mindset, be careful about the decisions that you make, because all decisions it can still feel like a big decision.
That’s your brain’s job. It’s designed to keep you safe & familiar.
It’s programmed to keep you exactly where you are.
…and if you’re happy with where you are, it’s doing it’s job!
The problem, is that sometimes our brains get in the way of what’s actually good for us. In trying to keep us safe & familiar, it ends up keeping us stagnant and stuck.
The key is learning how to figure out when things are actually a big decision, versus when things just feel like they are.
By all means, you should pause & hesitate when things really are a big decision, but how can you tell the difference?
When it comes to spending money or time on something, I always ask myself the following 3 questions:
- Is investing this money / time going to materially affect my life (in a negative way) a year from now?
- What will I have to give up to invest this money / time and is it worth it?
- What do I stand to GAIN by investing this time / money and is it more than the investment? How much more?
Usually the answers to those questions help me get out of my primitive, fear-based brain and into my more rational, logic-based brain where I make better decisions.
Alright just to summarize where we are. The key to success building any business (and real estate is no exception) is to be the one who’s willing to do the work…even when you don’t feel like it. If you can find ways to kick start your motivation, so that you take consistent action when everyone else is busy getting distracted and procrastinating, that is how you’ll get where you want to go and others won’t. The 7 strategies you can use to get yourself back on track when you start wondering off:
- Cut out the noise.
- Detach from end results.
- Focus on evergreen marketing activities.
- Have a plan, work the plan & stick with the plan.
- Create a Motivation Manifesto.
- Focus on your feelings & re-frame your thoughts.
- Remember this too shall pass.
That’s it for today, if you’re enjoying the show I’d be so grateful if you left me a review on Apple Podcasts and make sure you’re subscribed to the show so that you don’t miss any episodes.
Remember the more you learn, the more you’ll earn….but only if you’re implementing what you learn.
Until next time