The Short on Achieving Your Long-term Career Goals
Of all the things Realtors hate to talk about, this one is numero uno. No, not your listing commission rate, this is about your actual business goals. That just made your stomach turn a little didn’t it? Ya, well, you need to figure it out - you know it. So, stick with me here, your future business self will be very happy that you did.
I spent a lot of time thinking in-depth about how Realtors need to use a careful goal setting strategy kind of by accident. I was in the middle of some poor goal planning myself.
In the summer of 2018 I set out on a personal journey to run/hike the entire 910 km’s of the beautiful Bruce Trail in Southern Ontario. My goal was to complete the entire trail in about 22 or 23 days, that was an average of approximately a marathon a day for three straight weeks. A lofty goal for a weekend warrior such as myself, but one I had trained extensively for. By July I was ready to go. I had all my maps, food, clothing and gear prepped. My success was planned from the start.
But I made some big mistakes. I had prepped my body for the grind, but I hadn’t prepped my mind. It took half way through day 2 before I realized I needed to re-think my mental approach to all of this, or I wasn’t going to make it. I was only focused on the one big goal - 910 km’s.
My days were not super enjoyable to start, they just felt like non-stop work. The toll on my body was big, but I realized that I needed to get more sense of accomplishment out of my days or I would lose the mental game first. I decided that my mind needed many small victories to get that ultimate big win. I needed to treat the task of completing the trail as a business
I spent the entire morning of the third day thinking about a business-like strategy that I could stick to and enjoy. I focused in on the idea of setting multiple short and mid-term goals to help keep me on pace for the long-term accomplishment. When the easier to obtain goals were achieved, I would have a reward planned. I hoped this would keep me happy in my head with a chance to appreciate those small victories. It worked.
Some goals were as small as by 9 am I wanted to have 10km under my feet already, or by noon 25 km. If I made it, I would usually celebrate with a sugar-filled treat and drink. Not a healthy snack really, but hey, I could always use the calories out there, and more than anything it kept my mind focused on goals that were only short distance away - not one that was still weeks away, My sanity returned.
I began to think of how the Realtors we train and help build real careers could really benefit from all of this. We constantly preach career goal-setting, but I had been helping Realtors prepare plans that had time-lines that were far too extended to stay successful with.
Think about it - do you have declared annual goals for your real estate business? The answer will almost always be ‘yes’ from professional Realtors. Do you have quarterly goals? How about monthly, weekly and even daily goals? I bet the honest answer was ’no’ to most of those.
We are too focused on the big picture and not enough on the careful small steps it takes to get there. In the end, real estate is no different than a long-distance trek - your mind needs those small victories for long-term success.
Here are a few things I think are important for Realtors to remember when setting goals for their business:
Stick to the notion that all goals you set must be realistic. Don’t commit to goals that are simply unachievable for where you are at in your career and personal life. The end result is not achieving them and the ensuing mental beat-down.
Start with big annual goals and then work backwards from there to make those happen.
Think of rewards for yourself big and small. If you reach your weekly goal then have a special indulgence for yourself, if you reach that long-term goal maybe it is as large as a big vacation. Keep yourself always focused on awaiting rewards.
Write it all down and have checklists to make sure you are staying on point
Ensure your daily and weekly habits are challenging, repeatable, focused and still achievable. No point setting goals that are too easy, that you get easily bored with or don’t firmly help grow your long-term business.
Share your journey with an office friend. Sometimes we need others to keep us accountable, especially with the tasks we don’t love doing.
Don’t let industry measurements be your guidelines. Create your own individual levels for success, not what anyone else says is a ‘good’ month or year.
While setting short-term goals to achieve your long-term ones doesn’t guarantee success, it will inevitably help you get a heck of a lot closer. In an industry with stretched out timelines and terrible bars for levels of success, create a plan that works for you. If you plan and celebrate the small victories, you won’t have to sweat the anxiety of achieving the long-term goals.
It worked for me on the trail, I hope it will work for your own path as well.