Eugene is the founder of The Litvak Team @ Compass — one of the highest producing and largest teams at Compass.
There was a moment last year when I became obsessed with the character of Dr. Wendy Rhoades in the Showtime series Billions. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, Wendy is a trained psychiatrist and performance coach who—when not for insider trading and ethics fees—spends her days motivating and advising a shoddy gang of hedge fund managers. Around the same time, I met Gregg Sugerman through a mutual friend, and the way forward was clear. You see, Gregg is a performance coach specializing in the real estate industry.
I have spent several years building a team using strategic business practices such as key performance indicators and key performance drivers. I strive to guide every member of the group into a high-performing entrepreneur, but I also realize that as the team grows, I can’t do everything. That’s where performance coaching comes in. The partnership with Gregg has already had a profound impact on our work: in the first four months of 2021, we are at 57% of last year’s already significant transaction volume.
For anyone looking to take their business to the next level, I highly recommend reaching out to a qualified performance coach who can help you overcome obstacles and work effectively and efficiently. Until then, here are the top three lessons from my coaching experience that I’ve used to revolutionize our business and maximize our success.
Think small for big rewards.
The real estate industry is full of high achievers – people with high goals and a lot of ambition. But what also applies to high achievers is that we often look for a big impact from every action. That kind of all-or-nothing thinking can lead to stagnation in tackling cumbersome projects. A classic example is the relationship management database. Every broker seems to have a CRM that needs 20, 30 or 100 hours of attention to be maximally effective. And because no agent has that much time at once, it remains a project that goes untouched.
That’s where thinking small comes in. Why not break your overwhelming project into bite-sized chunks? Work on your CRM for just 15 minutes a day, five days a week for six months and you’ll spend 30 hours on a project that can significantly improve your business. Or, to use another example, by contacting just one person in your sphere of influence each working day, you contacted about 250 people in a year.
Don’t let cumbersome projects slow you down or hinder your success. Break them down into small, manageable steps to build momentum and achieve your goals. For high achievers, that may not seem like a sexy, big ROI way to work. But compared to the zero progress you make otherwise, it’s huge.
Don’t be disciplined, be a habit.
Willpower and discipline are overrated. Everyone wishes they had more willpower, more motivation, more discipline. But those are finite resources, and frankly they won’t support you in the long run. You can get motivated for a new diet or goal, only to lose momentum as soon as your energy hits.
Habits, on the other hand, are much more powerful and enduring than willpower. I like to say that willpower is like pushing a car uphill, while habits and routines are like rolling out in a car going downhill. We accomplish so much in our daily lives through habit, and it is so effortless that we hardly notice it. When you can harness the power of routines with intention and strategy, you can’t be stopped. One of the easiest ways to do that is by “stacking habit,” or linking one habit to another. Let’s say you want to make hundreds of SOI outreach calls every year. Why not make a phone call or two while making your morning coffee or walking the dog or whatever daily routine makes sense to you?
Creating habits works exceptionally well when combined with the previous tip of thinking small. A great way to structure these manageable efforts and future routines is to remember the acronym STARS – small, small and very simple. By creating tasks within this STARS framework, you cultivate habits that are very easy to maintain, making it possible to create significant momentum and move quickly to the next level of your goal or project.
Be proactive to be more reactive.
Just as you would never jump into whitewater rapids without a game plan, you should never start your day without a proactive strategy for success. Without a day subscription, you can quickly get caught up in a stream of text messages, emails and phone calls. The better approach is to make a schedule, preferably the night before, of everything you need to do the next day.
New York real estate agent Ryan Serhant likes to talk about the 1000 minutes of wakefulness each of us has in a day, and it’s a great way to conceptualize this finite resource. I also like to think of the “time vacuum” effect, which means that the time you have available is filled with something. It’s up to you to make sure something is productive and useful, which is by proactively planning your workday.
By the way, being proactive and reactive are not dichotomous choices. Instead, being proactive makes you better at being reactive when real challenges arise. But know that if you spend your days reactive, you’ll never get better at being proactive. Have a game plan, attack it with small, lasting habits, then flip into reactive mode when absolutely necessary.
If you want bigger biceps, you need to lift weights. If you want to improve your endurance, you should do cardio. If you think of your brain as a muscle, a performance coach is like a fitness trainer for your mind. Take it from me that working with a coach gives you the tools, resources and, perhaps most importantly, the responsibility to take your mindset to the next level.
Pyjama People Real Estate Council is an invite-only community for real estate executives. Am I eligible?