The Realty Classroom Podcast Episode 83: You Must Eat That Frog

The Realty Classroom Podcast Episode 83: You Must Eat That Frog

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Table Of Contents

a. Self-Leadership Starts With Doing The Right Things!
b. Self-Management Demands Doing Things Right!
c. Without Execution It’s All Just A Dream About Someday!
d. Eat The Dang Frog First!


Self-Leadership Starts With Doing The Right Things

You must eat that frog. Well. Thank you Brian Tracy for one of the best time management books that I’ve read.

Brian Tracy, now an older gentleman who has done just yeoman’s work trying to keep us all organized and productive, and that’s been his life’s work. And when I was early on in my real estate career, I stumbled into a lot of his stuff looking for that time management solution. That’s one of the biggest gripes that we all have as small business people. Oftentimes we don’t know what to do with the time where we’re new. Then once we get it going, we don’t know how to control the time. Well, he has a very good philosophy about eating that frog and let me get into it and I’ll arrive at what that really means, what that concept is, but wonderful title for a book because it makes you lean in to who wants to eat the frog, right? But the first point here is as I’m preparing for TRC live at an event I run for our mastermind, self-leadership starts with doing the right things, says Peter Drucker, now passed on.

But what a great book, The Effective Executive. So as small business people, we are the executive. You can put your license and hang it at a big corporation, but nobody’s coming for you, you know my favorite saying, if you listen to this podcast, if you don’t, nobody’s coming for you.

You’re the executive. You’re the show. As small business people, we are obligated to be our own leader.

So self-leadership starts with doing the right things, but what are the right things? That’s the maddening part of this. I remember when I was first coming into the business, I went around looking for a plan. I had come out of corporate America. I had jobs at investment banks working for analysts who looked at all these systems in depth that major companies had. Then I went over to a venture capital company and we looked at a lot of smaller growing businesses and the best of those were very planned out and systematic from the start.

In fact, they knew how to make money from the start. All these companies that are out there borrowing enormous amounts of money with some hope that somehow they get better habits to someday make money. Very difficult thing to do so why not learn to do the right things first? But as small business people, there are not many people who have cracked the code for real estate agents. Think about it, look, go Google real estate agent business plan like, well I didn’t Google it because back in the day when I started, you could chisel things out with a chisel and a rock and a hammer. There wasn’t really a digital age quite yet, was there, but it was for if you were really nerdy, you knew where to find it. I didn’t, I was reading books but I just couldn’t seem to find a plan.

So that was frustrating coming out of all this business sophistication. So I just went at it and I always joke, and I’ve told you this before, when the boys at Realty Executive and ladies, I say boys, because there was four of them, there was not a woman in charge, although some of the top producers were women, which I loved. They said, “What’s your business plan?” And so here I was, this young entrepreneur, budding entrepreneur with all this bravado and braggadocio and said, “Well listen, why don’t you just give me 2000 business cards, a desk, a lamp and I’ll bring the army helmet and the work ethic.” And everybody laughed and off we went.

Oh my gosh, what a lunatic. Right? And it worked. I went out, worked hard. I found the benefit of doing the right things early on, like open houses. I went to every agent tour, where they open housed all of the properties and I could see the inventory.

I would run back and I would have met people at open houses that were looking for something and I could best buy what I’d seen on tour. And I started to learn how to be a great market maker, which is very few simple steps. And it worked. So those business cards were being given out like hotcakes at open houses, or if you sneezed the words real estate close enough together, I was doing the right things. And I was, well, I’ll save the word. I almost gave it away with the key word here is today, but I was doing the right things, period. Okay?

But next, as time goes on and you do those things that yield to a result, you know that they’re the right things, right? But you get paid. That’s what happens. That’s what happens in small business. If you figure out the problem, you become part of the solution. You get paid. So you know things are going correctly.

Self-Management Demands Doing Things Right

But then this concept of management becomes a really big deal. So at that point in my career, I felt like, okay, I’m doing a lot of the right things, but this is chaos and this just feels like chaos. When the phone would ring, ooh, I’d get a shutter because I really was losing my life to this. Right. And that’s what I say at the opening of this whole thing. I mean, are you sacrificing your lifestyle to this business? And the answer for me was absolutely. Absolutely. The good news was I was a relatively younger guy. I had two kids at that point, I have five now. And I had two kids and they were young. So you could get away with a little bit more of that grinding out seven days a week, but I just knew it wasn’t right.

That’s not the way you build a business correctly. So you can be doing the right things as a technician, as Michael Gerber calls it, the sales person. But are you really doing things right as the leader now who has a new responsibility to grow a business. See, there’s a huge difference right there. Doing the right things as a technician was great, I self-led myself out of the starting blocks into being productive.

But was I really leading myself to build a business, which is what I knew this was. Now, again, it’s the same for all of you, don’t kid yourself, you own a business. Even if you’re going to do the average two, three deals a year, like most real estate agents, it’s a business. So you have to lead yourself into organizing even those two three deals as a business, every one of them should be professionalized to the best of your ability.

So now there becomes this burden of management. So I had some leadership and I definitely had some technical skill doing the right things and things were working, but there’s this gaping hole. So this is when I went out again, well, not that I ever stopped really, but I was again reading all sorts of magazines. I think I was reading realtor magazine when I came across an article written by my mentor who was talking about systems. I said, ah, there’s the thing that I had heard all throughout my career in the investment banking and venture capital world systems. That somebody had put the right things in the right order.

I heard Nido Qubein say that one time at a conference. Nido was the chairman of the great harvest bread company and I just really thought that was excellent. Put the right things in the right order and that’s really the concept of getting up underneath a systemized approach.

And the truth is any manager’s dream is to have to manage a very clear concise system that has interlocking pieces. Almost like that Henry Ford assembly line that moves left to right where you can clearly see it. So self-management according to Drucker demands doing things right. So you can do the right things. I have open houses here and I have passing out business cards here and I have digging up best buy properties in market making, but that wasn’t doing things right per se. It was the right things, but they will all out of order and it was chaos. There was no control. I wasn’t segmenting who was ready today or tomorrow. I was throwing them all into one big pile and just throwing a best buy property at them and seeing if somebody was there. So there was a lot of muscle that we say that early on I was building a business on muscle and I wasn’t self-managing by doing things in the right order.

That’s what I would really start to bring in here as self-management is doing things in the right order or doing the right things in the right order. That’s where the manager comes in. And by the way, frankly, all you top producers that are listening to this as well, that’s the biggest problem that you have. You’re still building that business based on the latest, greatest idea. And I know for sure because I’ve seen your income statements and I’ve seen my own.

We tend to spend too much money chasing ideas to try to stay out in front of this whole thing. And that’s not good business. It’s just not, you could be way more profitable on what you’re already doing if you would just simply slow down and put things in the right order and manage them better. And that’s why Michael Gerber’s work just hit me like a freight train.

All of a sudden when I recognize, well, I could self-lead myself out of this self-starting spot and I could by doing the right things that I just discovered quickly by observing the business. But they weren’t in order, so there was no manager. I’m looking around my own business and I’m saying, “Danny, who’s managing this? Where’s the manager? Where’s the organization and where was the system?” You see a system or doing things in the right order simply starts with a checklist.

So if I do an open house, what’s the checklist? If I go to the broker tour, what’s the checklist for discovering that property and best buying it? If I go down my list of prospects who are trying to become clients, what’s the order of things there? Who do I call first? Why? What’s my offer? See, there’s a lot of just simple detailed checklist that you don’t need software to do this by the way, what you need is a good spiral notebook and a quiet library. We use think onto the page and think left to right. I do open houses here. Here’s how I do them. Oops, go back to the beginning. Here’s how I market myself, whatever.

Start to put these moments in time where you do something in order and then you can take those page. You could rip them out of the spiral notebook and organize them left to right, voila. You’re beginning to manage better. It’s pretty cool, but here’s the big old point today.

Without Execution, It’s All Just A Dream About Someday

The third point here is without execution, it’s all just a dream about someday. You hear what I’m saying? Now, I have coached for many, many more tipping points than 10,000 hours at this point in time and I’ve done it. It’s exhausting when you want so badly for your coaching clients or the people that listen to this podcast to be successful, but to just see them struggle with execution of the basics.

You see, if you go back to this whole concept of small business, any business I could teach at this point in time, these principles in the context of any business, I would just need some time talking to experts in that business who are successful to discover what the right things to do are. What are the activities that must get executed? What are the right things, and then how do you manage those in the right order, those first two beats, but then to look at that person and their team or their company and watch to see if they execute the right things in the right order. That’s it. It’s almost like going to a professional event. Whether you’re sitting in the balcony at the symphony and you’re looking down at the orchestra and you’re noticing whether the first chair violinist is executing the right way or does something sound even to your untrained ear out of whack.

You can sense when execution is out. Go to a football game, sit up high and watch the whole thing. That’s why I like seats that are just above all the action. I love to watch the execution and the flow of the game and I can instantly see, even if it’s not my sport or not my passion, I can instantly see now after all these hours when something wasn’t executed correctly or at all. You ever seen that athlete just sort of sit in their hands, stuck out to the side, the bewildered look, “Well, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.” Not true, especially at a professional level. You know exactly what you were supposed to do, but for some reason you tripped all over execution. Now I could open up a huge can of worms and I’ll try to go into this as succinctly as possible. As I think about a couple of folks that I coach currently, I think about the execution problem and I tried to figure out the why.

It’s not so much that you want to stick your own nose or somebody else’s in, but you didn’t do this but it’s really tough by the way, to be a coach like that, I have to have people that really trust me, that understand there’s never a personal attack. You’re trying to get through these weird paradigms and these things that have people stuck and you have to almost sometimes fight through if the punchy way through their exterior, which is all the noise that who knows where it comes from. It could come from childhood, it could come from an event that just happened recently, could come from fear. There’s all these weird things. But I keep coming back to this whole concept that maybe we’ve just gotten soft. And I mean this as human beings. I don’t mean this, “Oh, my generation, we walked 17 miles in the snow just to get a cup of coffee with no shoes.”

That’s not this. What this is more, and I learned this recently. I’m a big fan also of David Goggins recently who went from 300 pounds to Navy seal fit. And it’s just something so dang basic and correct about his message that the brain, the animal brain that we were born with is wired to help us survive, which means it’s going to take you through that hierarchy of needs, right. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you haven’t seen it a while go check it out. Yeah, there’s some real basic needs like how about some food? How about some water? How about some shelter?

If you really think about those things, food, water, shelter. Hey, by the way, shelter is housing. That’s the business we’re in. We’re in one of these really basic things, but as agents, we need those things too. Food, water, shelter. And so the minute we feel like in the back of our heads somewhere that that animal brain is like, “Oh, you’re good man. You made enough to pay the rent for the shelter. You made enough to put some water on the table. You made enough to put some food in your belly today. You’re good man. Shut it down, just shut it down. It’s good.” And that’s what Goggins talks about is that this is kind of this 40% if you’ve heard it also as the thermostat control of the animal brain.

See the brain that’s very animalistic is not looking to thrive. It’s looking to survive. So once it’s good for the day, it’s telling you to shut down. Why is it telling you to shut down? Don’t burn those calories too fast. We just put the water in the body, we just put the food in the brain and it’s all in there. We’re feeding it. We can survive, we can get up tomorrow and think about how to do it all over again.

So we end up in this sort of repetitive cycle that we’re stuck in to just survive every day. I get how hard that is to get beyond that. So you’re going to do the bare minimum. And quite frankly, in the real estate agent business, what I’ve found is that puts things all out of order for most people. I’ll give you an example. They’ll go out and they’ll buy some leads that are too much money and they’ll try to skim some of the cream off the top. They’ll get one deal. They’ll proclaim the animal brain will say, “See, we were right. We spent that money, we got that deal.” They’ll never look at the rest of it at all. And they’ll stop executing anything else that threatens survival. So the irony here is execution of a better plan. My whole endeavor here at the TRC to try to push you beyond this animalistic thermostatic situation and push you into this place where you’re better.

It’s a better life. You have to break through this thing. Goggins talks about going from this 300 pound out of shape guy to grinding himself down to a fine powder by doing these crazy physical things to get beyond his fear, get beyond his insecurities so he could execute a much greater plan in his life. And he has, and he says he’s been up on stage with “MIT geniuses” who were saying these things can’t be done. But yet there he sat.

So the idea is maybe we have to go outside of our businesses and look at what kind of a soft life are we living with this animal brain? Are we slowing it all down? Are we making excuses of time? And I don’t have this to… I hear that all the time by the way. I don’t have enough time, come on. 168 hours and you got plenty of time to eat, sleep, bathe all the basics in this, just all this white space.

What do you mean you don’t have time? You don’t want to take the time and your animal brain is shutting you down saying you’re good. So you retreat to whatever doesn’t require a lot of calories. Ever watch some brain numbing TV? Doesn’t take up too many calories to sit on a couch and do that, right. Ever taken extra nap that the body’s not necessarily looking for? It’s just that you were so sedentary, you fell asleep. You know what? You’re sacrificing in those moments.

Execution of the plan to thrive. Let me state that again. When you do all of these sedentary lifestyle things, it’s because the animal brain is saying, “We’re good for today. Take it easy. I’ll burn extra calories. We got to do this again tomorrow to survive.” Goggins argues at 40% I’m with him. I agree. Just doesn’t take that much.

So you have to get up off that couch. You got to go exercise, you got drink the green juice, you got to stop eating all these fatty foods. You have to stop doing these things that make it even worse that you’re feeling sedentary, slowing you down more because it’s at the sacrifice of execution of a better plan.

Eat The Dang Frog First!

So how do you do that? Here’s the last point here today. We go all the way back to my good friend there, Brian Tracy in his book, you got to eat the ugliest frog first. So if getting your mind right, for example, to pick up the phone and call people that you don’t know and make an offer of proper guidance to help buy or sell or access to the information via MLS, whenever offer you come up with and it makes you feel like that takes energy because it does folks, thriving takes energy.

You have to get yourself up and ready to go out there proactively and help somebody else get to the next level. That takes energy beyond just survival, especially when it comes to trying to help people that you don’t know. Why do you think everybody says, “Well, I just do referrals.” And by referral only and all that stuff. I’m not knocking Brian Buffini by the way. I know that’s his tagline. I just think that it’s great. But go look at his stuff. Go look at anybody, they’re not asking you to sit down on a couch and hope the referral jumps up into the pan and fries itself up and you get paid. They’re saying go knock on doors. Go drop something by. Say hello. Proactive, eating the frog, getting face to face with people. And by the way, eating the frog first is this concept. If you got up every day and you actually looked at all these ugly things that you had to do, including eating frogs, what do you do?

There are five of them on the table. “Oh my gosh, I got to do this. I got to do this.” You go right up to the biggest, fattest, ugliest one and you eat that frog first and again, please. This is not a literal podcast. It’s the thing you don’t want to do. So if it’s picking up the phone and calling a client who is absolutely irate because you didn’t do something or they perceive you didn’t do something, do that first that your client, do something first. Take the punch, get your teeth knocked out, apologize. Take responsibility. That’s eating a frog.

Then you get go spend a couple of hours on the phone calling expireds, calling for sale by owners who think we’re not worth anything. Calling people where somebody has died and maybe there is or isn’t real estate. Yes, that takes calories. Yes, that takes a whole other level, but you got to go eat that frog first because that’s the only way to get there, to thriving and getting beyond this business where we’re just stuck.

Hey folks, look, you see statistics all the time in the real estate agent business. The typical agent, there’s no such statistic as the typical agent. What does that mean? There’s a middle number and an average number and it’s somewhere around two to three deals a year. Now, if you’re a part timer, God bless you. If that’s what you do and that’s a good part-time income, but to do it professionally and you do it correctly just as if you were spending more time, but if you’re not and you’re stuck in this place where you’re just barely surviving, this is your issue. This whole podcast is about your issue. Execute the dang plan and shame on those of you that learn it, know it, and don’t do it. You’re going to win that fight. You stop retreating and I got to hide under the desk for a couple of months and I got, it ain’t going away a away folks.

You got to execute. It’s a key point here, right? So let me go back through this. You must eat that frog, meaning how we build up to that. Recognize itself, leadership starts with doing the right thing. So learn that from podcasts like this and others where people have been doing it for a long time and know what the right things are. Self-management demands doing those things in the right order. Once you start to see it, put them in order, lay it out on a table and see it in the right order and next point. But all of that without execution is just a dream above. Someday I’m going to miraculously get over myself and I’m going to do those things. So you do that by waking up every day, no matter how tired you are on that Monday morning with sleep in your eyes and you’re going to eat the frog first.

Call the irate client, pick up the phone call the person you don’t know. Do the open house on a Sunday when it’s beautiful outside. By the way, I’m looking out the window. I’m doing the podcast. It’s gorgeous outside, and I’m in a basement with two lights on and a green screen behind me while I record this. Yes, do it. Do it. Do it when it hurts. All right, I’m going to chunk this up here. Summarize the key point.

Once you know the right things to do, you must put them into a manageable plan. Then you must eat the frog of execution every day. I keep eating those frogs until they taste delish. All right? All right.

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