BY JULIE ESCOBAR
As we steady ourselves and look to the rest of the year, it’s important to look within and ask what perspectives, habits and heroes have made their mark on who we are and where we’re going. That particular trip can be soothing or scary, depending on the road you’ve traveled. Either way, it is an important step in making the most of what lies ahead.
Too often, our perspective on life, business, relationships and self worth can become skewed by the forces around us. Have you ever had a day that was going along fine, even putting a spring in your step, and then – wham – you run into the “black cloud” in your office who wants to expound on the perils of being an entrepreneur, the bleak market decline, the sorry condition of life and what amounts to his or her version of Armageddon? Even people you are close to, friends you love dearly but somehow find themselves in a never-ending drama that you must help them “sort out” can tap your energy, your productivity and your ability to look at the world with crystal-clear vision. Give yourself a real gift this holiday season by taking an honest look at the people and perspectives in your life.
1. Set boundaries for the energy-robbers and naysayers. Don’t let their experiences cloud yours, and stop tolerating their negative influence. Say no and mean it when you feel their grip on your day.
2. Put the pains of the past in the past. Life is meant to be a forward journey, so keep moving in that direction. Decide what lessons you can take from old haunts or hurts, and let the rest go. We have no control over what happened before – only over what comes next.
3. Choose faith over fear. Many people allow fear of the future and the unknown, sometimes even fear of success, to lock them into a holding pattern that they are incapable of breaking through.
Whatever comes your way, meet it with faith, humor and the knowledge that nothing is permanent. As human beings, we are allowed to make mistakes, even expected to on occasion. Don’t be afraid to step forward and try something new.
Take a look at your habits over the past 12 months. Which have brought you closer to your goals? Which have hurt more than helped in your quest for health, wealth and peace of mind? Grab a paper and pen, or start tapping on the laptop, and make a list of your personal dos and dont’s to keep handy when you feel yourself straying from the straight and narrow. Take a look at your professional and personal habits, and determine what you can do differently in the year ahead that will bring you more balance and prosperity.
1. Do you have a written business plan? Do you have daily, weekly and monthly goal charts? Are you setting obtainable goals that allow you to stretch your abilities and talents? Do you have a set time to prospect daily to ensure a constant stream of new business? Are you investing at least 10 percent to 15 percent of your annual income to market yourself and your business? Do you have an exit strategy that will allow you to retire with a salable book of business, or are you just “winging it” each year? Are you reaching the VIPs in your sphere of influence each and every month to ensure a healthy referral base?
Are you working high-priority activities that keep you close to your revenue line and away from the company water cooler? Have you segmented your marketing to become the go-to agent for niche markets that will help you dramatically grow your SOI, make new friends and upscale your business? Have you put systems in place to automate as much of your marketing as possible, so that you can focus on prospecting, presenting and closing? If you answered “no” to any of the above, then you are short-changing your career and yourself. Take some time this month to put these practices in place so that you can truly work smarter, not harder, in the coming year.
2. What are you doing for you? Is exercise part of your daily/weekly routine? Are you pushing back from the table/coffee/alcohol/nicotine to ensure a longer, healthier life? Do you nurture your own self-esteem and self worth? It’s OK to be your own biggest fan! Do you surround yourself with positive people, inspiration and influences that promote personal growth? Are you on a continuous quest to learn more and be more than you ever thought possible? Yours is the face you will see in the mirror for all of your days; embrace who you are, what you do and where you are going. Accept your quirks, differences and flaws, and ditch the self-defeating or self-sabotaging habits that can land you in a rut. Believe that you really do have the power to make a difference, in your life and in the lives of those you care about.
Remember the old movies? “Choose wisely” was a recurring theme. When it comes to choosing heroes – those we look up to, emulate and pattern our lives after – choosing wisely is essential.
Who do you look up to? For some, motivational gurus such as Anthony Robbins and Zig Ziglar fit the bill. Others choose sports greats such as Tiger Woods, entertainment moguls such as Oprah Winfrey or coaching giants like John Wooden. Unfortunately, however, some choose heroes based on riches or popularity rather than integrity and character. Think of who you really want to be, then choose heroes who embody those qualities. Wealth is certainly a factor, but compassion, empathy, honor, philanthropy, courage and passion should be, as well. You might be surprised to find that the hero you admire most lies not so much at the helm of a Fortune 500 company, but in a beloved grandparent, an extraordinary child, a sibling or a friend. Choose wisely.
Take the time this month to consider the perspectives, habits and heroes that mold your life, affect your days and help you make worthwhile choices. Imagine walking through the rest of this year with a clearer view, improved work and healthy habits and the type of mentors and heroes that help build legacies.
Julie Escobar is director of corporate and convention marketing for ProspectsPLUS! She has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the real estate industry. Visit ProspectsPlus.com, call Escobar at 800.287.5710, or e-mail her at [email protected] to learn more.