When I was a little boy, I became an avid reader. I still am today. And in between, in the 1990s, when my daughters were young, I started reading to them, hoping I might instill in them the same love for books I developed as a child.
One day, reading to them from one of my favorites, a thought hit me squarely with a jarring impact: Sure, children's books teach you a lot of great life lessons - but they can also teach you many great business lessons.
Case in point: "The Phantom Tollbooth," by Norton Juster. It's the story of a little boy who has so much to do that he doesn't know what to do first, so he does nothing (sound like any agents you know?).
He was bored stiff. Then, one day, he was given a magical tollbooth that took him into new lands where he learned the value of managing his time, setting goals and making things happen.
By the end of the story, the boy was cured of boredom for good. "Well, I would like to make another trip," he says, jumping to his feet. "But I really don't know when I'll have the time. There's just so much to do right here." He doesn't need the tollbooth to have adventures. He's able to make a go of it on his own. Talk about a transformation.
Today, I coach people on doing the same exact thing. So what are the lessons you can take from the book? Here are three you can start using today to take your real estate business to new lands - and new heights:
1. Know that time is the one commodity you can't replace. One quote from the book I find highly poignant is this one: "It's bad enough wasting time without killing it." Time keeps going, and we all have to live by the same standards. There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day. It's the same for everybody. So why are some more efficient and effective with their time? Because they manage the way they use it. We can't buy more time. We can't turn it into something else. Use it wisely by having a plan and working the plan. Don't kill time!
2. You must prospect regularly. Another quote I like is this one: "If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you'll never have to worry about the important ones, which are so difficult." We all know one of the hardest jobs in real estate is prospecting. But if you don't prospect, you won't have to worry about being busy because you won't have any business. To be successful, you must take an hour every day and prospect. Business starts with the difficult parts, not the easy and fun ones.
3. See your business as the boat and the plan as the rudder. One more quote: "Expectations is the place you must go to before you get to where you're going." If you don't have a business plan, written goals and a set of expectations, your business will either stand still or sputter around in a meaningless circle. Your business will be a boat without a rudder. And without a rudder, you'll be at the mercy of the wind.
Yes, many parents want their children to live by some of the great advice they get from children's books. Maybe it's time we all took those lessons seriously for ourselves.
Let me hear from you. When you're feeling stuck in your business, do you have specific steps you take to get unstuck? How would you rate your time management skills? Are you facing any hurdles you're not sure how to handle? What are they? What can you do today to start overcoming those hurdles? What specific plans and goals do you have for 2014?
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Article Added on Sunday, July 20, 2014
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