I was asked recently what the one skill is that a REALTOR® needs in order to be successful. That was a tough question. The one skill…I thought about it over and over. There are so many skills Agents need to be successful. We have to have good presentation skills, marketing skills, negotiating skills, objection handling skills, technology skills. Then it hit me. All those skills pale in contrast to this one: Persistence. It is the one skill that will make up for our deficiencies in all the other areas. It will allow us to win in life no matter what obstacles that are placed in front of us.
Calvin Coolidge our 30th president said it very well. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Geniuses will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
It truly is a noble skill to have the ability to move forward when everything around you is collapsing, meeting the challenge head on and grinding through the competition. We are all professionals or we aspire to be a professional. The definition of a professional is someone who does something even when he doesn’t feel like doing it. Many of us know what we need to do; yet we don’t do it. We spend our time looking for the one step that will change our life, rather than using the path of persistence to win. We look around for the magic answer that will solve all our problems. Do you realize that over 80% of the late night infomercials are centered on “get rich quick or lose weight instantly”? We live in a liposuction society where we want abundance-yesterday. We don’t want to do the diligent, persistent work to achieve success. My friend Zig Ziglar has a great line. That is: “Life is like a cafeteria. First you pay then you get to eat.” It’s not a restaurant where you sit down, get served and get your fill. When you are full and satisfied, then the bill arrives. You have to pay before you receive the reward.
Persistence is crucial to ultimate success in life. To learn the skill of persistence you must first learn to persist in the little things. The first step for mastery of persistence is the ability to decide, and have the clarity of decision that you will do it or else. Start with persistence in your eating habits or workout habits. You could even just select one thing or task you need to do today. Then make sure you complete it before the end of the day. Don’t ever end your day before you get it done.
We often select too many things or set the bar too high too early. This will cause us to fall short, and the negative self-talk will begin. The journey to run a marathon begins with a walk around the block. Start with the walk around the block, and in a few days go twice around. Then in a week you can do 4 times around. By the end of the month you will be able to walk a mile. The process in business is the same. Start with calling a few past clients or sphere of influence. Call 5 people a day. You don’t need to do 4 hours of prospecting. That’s like running a marathon without training. If you managed to actually do it, which would be rare, you would be so sore and tired and spent. You would be worthless for a week. Build the skill of persistence.
The best technique to learn persistence is to just start. The truth is, it’s the start that stops most people. Just beginning is the biggest barrier for everyone. Getting your sneakers on and stepping on the treadmill or picking up the phone the first time is never as bad as our mind makes it out to be. Once you begin, you pick up momentum and that positive self-talk of accomplishment. My father taught me a saying many years ago. It is a saying about persistence. It’s a saying that exemplifies his life.
Once a task has begun
Never leave until it’s done
Though the task be great or small
Do it well or not at all.
Persistence is by far and away the skill that we need to master. It is the one skill that guarantees success in both your personal and professional life. There is no substitute. Remember it is the start that stops most people.
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