Staying motivated in tough economic times

Posted by on March 22, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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The whole concept of motivation is a strange one. Speakers have been around for years getting people to jump on their chairs at conferences, and Managers have been tasked with keeping people motivated after such events. The truth is that nobody can motivate you. Why? Because motivation comes from only one place – within you.

Motivation can be defined as “the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behaviour”, and this is where the problem begins. It means that other people and external events cannot motivate you. They can merely activate you. As is the case with my Labrador, Brutus. He loves sleeping on the couch, and somehow knows when we’re expecting guests which prompt him to snuggle into his usual position. I don’t want him there when my guests arrive so I try to “motive” him to move. I do this by finding his ball, tempting him with food, tummy scratches, but the only thing that gets him to move from the couch is a slipper to the backside (or the threat of one). This is pretty much the same way companies and managers try to motivate people, and this isn’t motivation at all. It’s activation! It’s a case of forcing people to choose between pain and lack thereof.

So how do we find this never-ending fountain of motivation we have within all of us? Here are a couple of tactics you could try to make 2009 a good year.

1. Find a compelling reason. It wasn’t too long ago that people went to their 8-5 job to simply earn a living, but the number of people I survey these days who go to their place of work “because they have to” is diminishing rapidly. The most successful, highly motivated people I encounter in a variety of industries are the ones who have a compelling reason for doing their job. Their success is not defined by the money they make or the car that they drive, but rather by the difference they make.

An American study of octogenarians found that their biggest regret was that they failed to leave a legacy. As a property professional you have a unique opportunity to just that. The people you deal with will remember you for years to come as the one person who understood them, who took the time to place them in the home (not the house) that matched their needs permanently. Most people, particularly those who find themselves lacking motivation work and live in order to please others. To satisfy a husband, please a manager, serve a client. While I don’t say we should stop doing that (pleasing clients) if that is all we strive to do we will easily become frustrated by their “demands”. To tap into true motivation, we need to find a purpose beyond that – you need to find a compelling reason!

2. Develop Confident Uncertainty. Accept the fact that there are some things that you don’t know. If we allow uncertainty to undermine our confidence, we cannot develop ongoing motivated responses. No agent has any greater chance than you sell a house, or to attract “the right” potential buyers. The confident uncertainty you manage to portray, no matter what the questions are that you are faced with, will go a long way in allowing your prospective buyers to develop trust and confidence in you. Once you have crossed that bridge, your confidence will grow. You’ll close more often, and more often you get results you desire, the more motivated you’ll become.

3. Understand the power of Experience. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Are you constantly trying something new for your customers? Are you always looking for fresh angles to use on photographs? Are you on a never-ending search to find ways to make your show-days unforgettable? I drag my wife (kicking and screaming sometimes) to show-days. We’re not looking for a new house – I’m just looking for design ideas and researching this article. What I found was that every show-day was like the movie Groundhog Day. They were all the same. From the greeting, to the walkthrough, to the same old questions. Why not try something different, something memorable? This is a guaranteed way to increase your value as an agent and to motivate you to keep thinking of new approaches. After all, a change is as good as a holiday! Ultimately you are solely responsible for your own levels of motivation.

There are a myriad of ways to manage your own levels of motivation, but the buck stops with you. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. You will always get results – they may not always be the results you expect. When this happens change something because if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you always got.

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