Do You Control Your Life Or Does Life Control You?

December 4, 2009

“Failures do what is tension relieving while winners do what is goal achieving.”
– Dennis Waitley

This quote can definitely change your life!

It is the difference between you controlling your life or life controlling you.

When we allow our priorities to be dictated by external pressures, we turn control of our lives over to chance. We become like a ping-pong ball batted back and forth by bosses, parents, spouses, children, politicians… The list is endless. Our attention is drawn to the situation currently creating the most pressure. Once that tension is relieved, we move on to the next source of pressure. Priorities are further refined by our personal boundaries as defined by our self-image. Ex: You feel pressured to make another sale and have decided to call people from your open house guest lists. You also feel pressure to balance your stock portfolio. If you are uncomfortable calling strangers, the stock portfolio may move up on your priorities list. What a mess!! A life dictated by external pressures and limited by doubts and fears? No thanks!

Another option: “doing what is goal achieving.” Instead of reactivity, pro-activity. Understand, for most of us, this does not come naturally. Reactivity is our default program. Yes, we all have goals in the back of our minds, but on a moment by moment basis, they take a back seat to reactivity.

So, do you want to take control over your life, become the writer of your story? Here’s how:
Start from where you are now. For a week, take detailed notes of every action you take each day.
At the end of the week, mark each action with an R (if it was a reaction to external pressure, or a G (if it was undertaken to achieve a goal). Count up your R’s and G’s and see how you are currently prioritizing your time.

If you would like to spend more time working on goal achievement:

  1. Write your goals down. Be clear and specific. Follow all of the rules of goal-setting that you’ve learned in the past.
  2. Create a business plan. Work it down to the tasks you will complete each day for the next 12 months.
  3. Make a contract with yourself that you WILL complete every task on your calendar. If an emergency arises and a task cannot be completed, it moves forward to the next day. Your commitment has to be that every task is completed.

That’s it in a nutshell. Successful people know where they’re going and spend the majority of their time completing tasks designed to get them there. Either system, reactivity or pro-activity, will get your somewhere. The trick is: will it be a place that you’d like to be or where other people think you should be.

It’s good to have choices.

–  Steve Dickason


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

November 27, 2009

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and it’s all Small Stuff.” Richard Carlson

Today was a challenging day. By 3:30, I was pretty exhausted and was heading home a little early. When I climbed into my car I saw a pile of green glass shards covering the front passenger seat. Then I noticed that the passenger window was gone except for some jagged patches of glass around the perimeter. It hit me that someone had broken my window (I’m very quick). I looked down and noticed that my video Ipod was missing from where I’d left it—cleverly visible by all passersby. Ah-ha—it finally dawned on me—someone had broken my window and stolen my Ipod. More than that, they stole my daughter- Moorea’s- music, other albums I cherished and the audiobook I was in the middle of listening to. If that weren’t enough, they opened my trunk and stole…… I have to tell you, I had been waiting for the Star Trek movie DVD to come out every since I saw it in the theater. I’m a huge fan and, well, when I saw it at the Metreon on Imax, we got there late and sat in the front row and, while it was exciting, we missed most of what went on in the upper portion or the screen. It came out on DVD today and I was there at Best Buy at 10am to buy my copy. It was gone, swiped by the window-breaker.

I should have been really mad. I wasn’t. It surprised me at first. And then I just went with it. I realized that I am so fortunate to have a loving family, a great job where I’m surrounded with wonderful, supportive people, good health… well, that’s enough. It occurred to me that if some kid needed that Ipod more than me, then what the hell. It only cost me a deductible to get the window replaced and my Iphone will work just fine as a replacement Ipod. I’m not telling you this because I think I’m anything special. I just want to share a perspective that was very helpful to my well-being today. Like Carlson said, Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff. I’m still kind of surprised that I’m not hopping mad. But, I’m glad. Who needs it? Anger is a very unhealthy emotion. Not good to stuff it, but nice to just let it slide on by.

Postscript: I wrote this the same day as the break-in and published it in an e-newsletter I send to all of the people I work with. The next day one of them brought me an Ipod Touch that he’d been given and had never used. The next day another co-worker gave me a new copy of Star Trek. Does life always work like this? No, at least I don’t think so…humm. All I can say is, this time it did. I accepted the damage and the loss and moved on, shared with my friends the positive lessons I’d gained from the experience, and everything I’d lost reappeared. Like magic. I’ll have to try that again.


Never too late to have a happy childhood

November 4, 2009

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

 I also like what Wayne Dyer said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

 A dramatic shift occurred from the time my parents transitioned from teenagers to adults, and today’s baby-boomer generation. My parents seemed to buy into roles that were modeled by previous generations and reinforced by the advertising of the time. If you are too young to have experienced the generation that reached adulthood in the late 40’s to early 60’s, watch Madmen sometime (television series). They dress, consume and act as if adulthood brings an unwritten obligation to “get serious.” Playtime is for children. Adulthood carries with it certain obligations – serious obligations. 

 Whether the cultural revolution of the Vietnam era, a new paradigm born on Madison Avenue and distributed by the explosion of mass media, or global warming, my generation is not afraid to get loose and have fun. I love seeing people in their 50’s and 60’s out surfing, running marathons, driving hot cars, and refusing to dress old. Blue jeans, baby!

 So why do I see so many real estate agents presenting offers as if they were going to a funeral. The business of representing a client is important but it doesn’t have to be “serious.” Most people respond positively to salespeople who are relaxed, natural and who are not afraid to display a little humor. If you’re too serious in your approach, it may be interpreted as staged behavior, a prelude to manipulation. So relax, take some time to engage the seller in a little non-business banter. Gain their trust by making a human connection and you’ll find that the road to compromise just got a little bit shorter.

 Don’t get DOWN to business.

Get UP for business.


The Adventure

October 25, 2009

“The adventure you are ready for is the one you get!”
–Joseph Campbell (Mythologist and Story Teller)

This quote came from Jeff Probst when he won the Emmy for best reality show host. My ears perk up any time I hear Joseph Campbell’s name. By studying a wide variety of cultures he came to understand what is true about human beings no matter when or where they lived on the planet. This universal truth is particularly significant for commission sales people and reminds me of the Bobby Unser quote:

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”

Bobby Unser won the Indianapolis 500 three times.

We all love stories where a boy opens a magic book and is transported into an adventure of a lifetime. In the real world, the adventure we get is based on our degree of preparation, our goals, our experience, knowledge and skills. Another ancillary quote is the old Buddhist proverb:

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

Everything we need to lead the life we dream will become available when we are ready. What an amazing promise, one that comes with conditions. We must be willing to do what it takes to lead the life of our dreams.

  • We must be clear and focused on the adventure we want.
  • We must believe to our core that we will succeed.
  • We must, however, be willing to fail along the way.
  • We must act in the face of fear.
  • We must recognize and honor our incremental successes.
  • We must be open and vigilant to everything and everyone who can help us.
  • We must ACT!

At What Level do You Want to Play?

September 19, 2009

Summer is fading…school has started…I build a fire in the fireplace this weekend…Halloween costumes are on display at RiteAid…and soon, Thanksgiving…I feel a bit like: “so much to do, so little time!”

THE BUZZ: Our market is active…Believe it!

Buyers are buying.

Sellers are selling.

Lenders are lending.

It has been a tough stretch and you may be tired, disenchanted, stressed out, sick of working hard and making less. But, now is not the time to pause.

Go away for a weekend, rest-up, take a few deep breaths and dig down deep. You have amazing energy reserves that you have yet to tap.

 This is the time. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. We continue to receive mixed messages on the state of the economy and the state of the lending market. Take advantage of the energy that is out in the marketplace NOW!

The marketplace is working for us TODAY!  Jump on that train and enjoy a great ride!

In the game of life, business, and sales, there are no time-outs, no overtimes.  We only get one chance to play the game.  The question we need to ask is:  “At what level do I want to play…do I want to wait on the sidelines or do I want to win?”

And, remember: success is not something you pursue; success is something you attract by being the person you are. Success finds you when you are: Focused, Disciplined, Diligent, Consistent, Mentally Strong, Skillful, Knowledgeable and have a sincere desire to Be of Service.

Some thoughts to take us through the day…the week…the month!

You Gotta Get in the Game!

You Gotta Have a Dream!

You Gotta Think Like a Winner!

You Gotta Get the Competitive Advantage!

You Gotta Raise the Bar!

You Gotta Plan to Win!


Follow Your Bliss

December 11, 2008

Quote of the Week

“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.”
— Joseph Campbell: was a mythology professor, writer, and lecture

If life always seems to be a struggle, it may be that you not following your bliss. Happiness and a sense of fulfillment can only be achieved when “the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.”

 

Not the one you think you ought to be living.

Not the one someone else thinks you should be living.

Not the one that you think you need to live to provide “enough” money.

 

Too many people settle for something less than what they desire and do so for a variety of reasons: lack of confidence, low self-esteem, expedience, societal pressure, peer or parental pressure to name only a few.  

 

To follow your bliss you must first identify what it is that you would truly like to be doing. Then, do it. Campbell believed that we were unlikely to achieve success or happiness pursuing anything less than our bliss. When we live the life we ought to be living, we approach each day with energy, enthusiasm and confidence. With that attitude, how can we not succeed?

 

If you love serving others, solving problems and looking at houses, be a real estate agent. If you love to write, be writer. If you love working with animals, be a pet groomer. If you love watching movies, open a video store. Find your bliss and follow it – great advice from a great teacher – Joseph Campbell.


An Infinity of Choices

December 6, 2008

Quote of the Week

“You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment or our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” – Deepak Chopra

In order to live the lives we dream, we must remember what Deepak is telling us. Our tendency is to imagine ourselves living within a narrow range of options dictated by current capabilities, outside influences and the momentum of our recent trajectory.

Our achievements are limited only by our belief that we have limitations, that we are condemned to a narrow field of possibilities. It requires a conscious expansion of awareness to realize that we have the power to choose from “an infinity of choices” every moment of every day.

To access this awareness we must we willing to let go of the security of the status quo, to take responsibility for past choices, be willing to fail and be willing to succeed.

That may sound like a tall order, but it can all be accomplished by focusing on our vision and politely telling that little voice of fear and doubt to (in the words of my British agent, Angela) bugger off.


Risk – The Greatest Security

November 10, 2008

Quote of the Week

 

“The greatest security is to plan and act, and take the risk that will ultimately ensure your personal freedom and independence.” -Denis Waitley

 

 

This is what great quotes do: they encompass profound, complex, often life-altering concepts or processes into succinct, one line instruction manuals for living.

 

Here we have the nearly universal human goal of freedom and independence, the prerequisite of a willingness to take risks, and the essential two step procedure – plan, then act. And each component of this procedure is absolutely indispensable to success.

 

Assuming the goal of freedom and independence, planning is a useless exercise without the willingness to take risks. Implicit to the achievement of any life-altering goal is the requirement to take new actions, to stretch beyond previous boundaries. Since new actions will likely create new, unfamiliar results, it is natural to experience a certain amount of trepidation. This is where willingness enters the equation.

 

You must be willing to step into the unknown and trust that you will survive. Do that and you’ll be amazed by how well you adapt. Looking back, you will say to yourself: “How could I have been so concerned about that. I did great!” “I wish I had tried that sooner.” “What was I afraid of?”

 

In the end, doubt is the greatest boundary to success. Suspend doubt, be willing to enter the unknown and freedom and independence are within your grasp.      


What Do You Focus On?

November 1, 2008

Quote of the Week

 

“We become what we think about all day long.”                   Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

What do You Focus on?

 

With the popularity of The Secret, by now everyone has heard of the law of attraction. If not, it is what Emerson described in this week’s quote. Stated another way:

 

“Our futures are formed by the thoughts we hold most often. We literally become what we think about, and we are all given the gift of being able to write our own story.”

                                                                                                Wayne Dyer

 

The fact that our thoughts have the power to mold our futures is not new-age voodoo. It is actually just the way our brains are hardwired. The actual mechanism at work is sometimes referred to as the Reticular Activating System. I first learned of this amazing brain function years ago from Lou Tice of the Pacific Institute in Seattle.

 

In a nutshell, here’s how it works. We are bombarded by millions of messages every day, which are detected by our eyes, ears, nose and nervous system. If we became consciously aware of every message our senses were exposed to, we would go mad trying to interpret, categorize and react to them all. This is where perception comes into play. In order to filter out the majority of the external noise, our perception lets only a small fraction pass into our conscious minds. Pretty cool. 

 

How does our perception decide what to filter out and what to let in? We give it instructions by forming beliefs. Other than the need to recognize anything that might threaten our survival, like an oncoming train or an angry dog, we basically perceive what we expect to perceive. This is accomplished through the Reticular Activating System. It is the filter through which we view the world around us. Whatever we focus on, believe, expect is passed into our perception and becomes part of our conscious awareness. For example, when my children were born, I saw Huggies and Loves commercials every time I turned on the television or opened a magazine. Since my girls passed out of the diaper stage, I’d swear I haven’t seen a single commercial. Why? Because my Reticular Activating System considers this input irrelevant to my current life.

 

This is very powerful stuff. If our experience of the world is created by our thoughts, what we think about is extremely important, to say the least. Bottom line, we have two choices:

 

  1. We can focus on what we don’t want – like a failing economy, a difficult if not impossible market, rising credit card debt, decreasing home values and poor production, or
  2. We can focus on what we do want, like quality, loving relationships, positive financial goals, meeting new, motivated and qualified clients, or making our daily calls, writing notes and popping by to visit past clients.

 

If we become what we focus on, which do you choose, #1 or #2? Once you’ve made your choice, wake up every morning and make it again.


Believe it when you See it

September 27, 2008

Quote of the Week

 

“Beliefs are the determinants of what one experiences. There are no external ’causes.'”
            
David Hawkins: Internationally renowned psychiatrist, physician, researcher

 

This quote embodies the essence of the phrase “taking responsibility.” Notice I didn’t say “Blame.” There is enough blame in the world without us blaming ourselves for our experience of life. I am no David Hawkins, but here is how I believe the process works:

 

Upon entering the world, we each begin to accumulate a unique set of beliefs. These can be as basic as fire burns, or as complex as the prejudicial beliefs we tend to develop toward certain groups of people (the Irish drink whiskey, Germans drink beer, college students drink anything). Throughout our lives we add and refine these beliefs based on experience. Ex: A man being chased by a rival comes across an apple tree. He picks up a handful of apples from the ground and throws them at his pursuer. He makes a decision that apples are weapons. Attracted by the smell of crushed apples he takes a bite. His belief is now modified to apples can be weapons or applesauce.

 

This long list of beliefs is the basis of our perception, the complex filter through which we view the world. If there was one human perception, there’d be no conflict – but here we are. Since our perception is made up of our beliefs, we tend to see what we expect to see and filter out what we don’t. The old phrase “You’ll Believe it when You See it,” would be more appropriately stated, “You’ll See it when You Believe it.” In summary, the entire process flows like this:

 

1.     Beliefs form our unique perception.

2.     How we perceive the world directs our actions.

3.     Our actions create our experience of the world.

4.     Thus: “Beliefs are the determinants of what one experiences.”

 

Viewed in this manner, we understand that it is our choice of beliefs that ultimately dictates our experience, not external causes. This understanding is helpful because it allows us to not only stop blaming others for our circumstances; it is the source of our power, what allows us to change our lives for the better.

By changing our underlying beliefs we alter our perception, modify our actions and, therefore,

transform our experience of the world.