“The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one's self. All sin is easy after that.” -- Pearl Bailey
“No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nearly four months ago now, “Lance Armstrong ended a decade of denial by confessing to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. The confession was a stunning reversal for Armstrong after years of public statements, interviews and court battles in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation. Armstrong also went after his critics ruthlessly during his reign as cycling champion, scolding some in public and waging legal battles against others in court.” [The Associated Press]
Be sure your sins will find you out, because the past has a nasty habit of catching up with you. Even though Lance Armstrong indisputably worked hard, overcame significant hardships (when his testicular cancer spread to his liver and his brain, doctors gave him a 40% chance of survival), founded an important institution in Livestrong (donating almost $400 million to the fight against cancer) etc. etc., the 7 time winner of the Tour de France was ultimately not fast enough to outrun the fraud he’d perpetrated. The lie wouldn’t stay buried.
I would argue that many of you are leading similarly fraudulent lives every day, lying to yourselves about your limits and your limitations. Chances are the fraud you’re perpetrating won’t reach the scandalous proportions of Armstrong’s, but it is no less criminal if it is, as I suspect, barring you from achieving your full potential.
I’ll wager that when you finally pack it in at the end of each day, you do so dissatisfied, for the most part, with the “balance” of things. I’ll bet you work extremely hard; long hours; pour your heart and soul into it and yet still fall short. What you “get” doesn’t seem in proportion with what you “give”. Thinking of all these things as your head hits the pillow, you tell yourself that you’ll find a better way of doing things. But the next morning, jumping out of bed, ready to turn over a new leaf, you push these thoughts aside and tell yourself that you just don’t have the time to make it happen. You’re doing the best you can.
You are the biggest obstacle to your own success
That’s the ultimate lie because, in reality, you are not doing the best you can. Yes, you’re working hard. Yes, you’re doing a whole lot of running around. Yes, you’re burning the candle at both ends. But the truth is that you haven’t begun to test the limits of your personal best because you continue to lie to yourself about the obstacles that are holding you back. You tell yourself that it is the economy, your competition, your prospects, your town, your family. The truth is that your biggest obstacle is yourself and your belief system. You don’t really believe it’s possible to do things differently so you don’t really try. Your sin is one of omission. You must stop telling yourself that you can “only do what you can do” and hold yourself accountable for the things you’re NOT doing.
I know this from personal experience. You probably know that I was twice named the number one Remax agent in the world. The first time I achieved this accolade, I hadn’t even reached 30 years of age. If I’d made the claim to anyone that I was doing the best I could, no one would have argued with me. How could they? This was an incredible accomplishment for someone relatively new to real estate. I was at the top, beating out thousands of far more experienced agents.
Inside, however, even from this lofty perch, I knew I was far from doing my best. If this was truly the best I could do, there was only one direction I could take from there and that was down. I may have closed a lot of sales, but I did so on the back of an exhausting schedule and manual, brute force labor. It simply wasn’t duplicatable. I was definitely working hard, but I was doing it all the wrong way. I came face to face with the big, fat lie I was living and out-right rejected it. Even while I was basking in my significant achievement, I knew I couldn’t sustain the pace I’d set for myself. I knew it was only a matter of time before all the long hours and depression (yes, at this time in my life I had grown to hate my job in real estate) would catch up to me and send me crashing and burning into oblivion. If I was going to continue in this business, I had to throw out everything that had got me to that point and entirely re-invent the job called real estate. Thank God I did.
I’ll bet that you, too, are burying the harsh reality of your inefficiencies day in and day out. It’s likely that you tell yourself that it’s not so bad, and that you’re doing okay. You probably believe there’s no serious upside potential in your business. After all, there are thousands of competing agents … what can you expect? You can survive on what you’re doing and your family will understand and support you because they can see how hard you’re working.
A harsh reality in this business, though, is that it doesn’t always work out that way. You probably know colleagues yourself whose lives have fallen casualty to this business: their income, their marriage, their health, their self-esteem. And what is most criminal about this is that is doesn’t have to be this way. Do yourself a favor. As your real estate coach, I can help you turn your life around. Make your own confession to Oprah tonight that you’ll stop lying to yourself and turn over a new leaf.
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