Dig Deep: If It’s Not Challenging You, It’s Not Changing You

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The beginning of a new year always brings reflection. We think about where we started the last year and what we want to achieve next year. As I go through this reflection, it is founded upon perspective, a perspective from many angles in our business. I’ve had the fortune, and opportunity to experience different roles…agent, broker, VP, board member, president, director and more. When I began my journey in real estate I didn’t know the extent of diverse roles in our industry. This diversity has pushed me to learn, grow and think in different ways.

A couple months ago I began the Barry’s Bootcamp workout. I have always been someone who loves, needs and believes in working out. I have times where I am more on track, and times where I have fallen off. But physical health is always something I strive for. That’s partly why I love the name. Most people think one goes through boot camp and then graduates to the next level…well, not with Barry’s! It’s a boot camp every time, every day. I am always being challenged and pushed in each class as if it is my first.

At the location I go to in San Francisco, they have a quote above the door, “If it’s not challenging you, it’s not changing you.” When I first started going…and based on what I heard from friends…I was hoping to just make it through the class. I thought I would always lift a certain weight or sprint at a certain speed. But Barry’s Bootcamp drives you to think more of yourself. Just when you think you can’t run another second or lift that weight one more time…you do. The energy in the room is fueling your shaking muscles to do more. The instructor is in your ear pushing you, motivating you to go just a little bit farther…to dig deep.

The first time I read that quote I immediately thought of our industry. I wished it could be on the doors of every real estate office, training room or company meeting. This is what our industry needs…to challenge, change and dig deep. We need to think differently.

In my second year as an NAR Director I have enjoyed the work, camaraderie, passion and connection with colleagues during our annual meetings. I am always amazed at how many passionate REALTORS come together to help further our industry. At the annual NAR board meeting in New Orleans, a new “Code of Excellence” was outlined and passed, to be in partnership to the long standing Code of Ethics. This new code was in part a response to the constant feedback from membership to raise the bar in our business. Many talk about increasing the level of education, professionalism and service we give to clients, and to our colleagues. The “Code of Excellence” is something we can strive to follow but it’s only a high level start. I believe whole-heartedly that true leadership is set by example. While the vision, motivation and strategy of leadership, or a code, can set the attitude of an organization and is imperative for its success, effective change happens if it is implemented at the base, the core.

At Barry’s Bootcamp I have pushed myself, and achieved more than I expected. I find motivation to strive for progress in each class. Every person comes for a personal goal, independent of one another, but we pump each other up and use our collective energy to all achieve more. And just like our industry, while we are all independent, if we work together to set a higher standard, to dig deeper and push each other, we will create effective change in real estate brokerage standards.

As brokers, we have to implement consistency and require it from every single agent in our firm. For many years, I have seen brokers operate out of fear and caving to whatever agents want. This has caused unstable brokerage models, branding confusion for consumers, poor services and performance from many of our colleagues. For example, the CalBRE had to implement new requirements for teams and team names. Teams have great collective and service advantages, but brokers allowed the branding and marketing to become so diluted and confusing to consumers. CalBRE had to be the one to step in, pull it back and set the standard.

If we want to see our colleagues raise the level of professionalism, we have to start with ourselves. Set new standards for marketing, education and service this year. Create consistent branding that does not compromise for any client or on any listing…like never using black and white flyers. I know, it sounds so simple, but at my previous firm, something so small had an impact. I was selling the quality, standards and service of my firm and myself with beautiful marketing in a listing presentation. Then the seller questioned me because one of my colleagues, at my company, listed a home a few doors down and was handing out unprofessional black and white flyers. How we individually chose to market each listing directly reflected upon each other and on the consumer’s impression of our company, colleagues and profession.

To have a long, prosperous and joyful life we have to take care of our health. It’s a choice everyday. The same goes for our brokerages. Our brokers and managers can choose to create a higher standard. We can choose to promote a culture of excellence in the field for our clients and colleagues. Challenge yourself, challenge your team, and dig deep.



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