IC Elesson: Motivation will Get You…Nowhere.

Have you noticed that real estate entrepreneurs are especially big on motivation?

We have favorite motivational speakers the way normal people have favorite sports teams.

We speak about Zig Ziglar in reverent tones. We have Brian Tracy, Mel Robbins, and Tim Ferris downloaded on our phones. We’ve got shelves full of books with titles like “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor”. We go to those big stadium events just to get pumped up. We write down affirmations and read them to ourselves every day.

We even like our real estate education with a liberal dose of motivation. Why do you think that nearly every sales presentation contains pictures of other people’s profit checks? ‘Cause it works. If you really wanted what you CLAIM to want, which is 90 minutes of hard-core strategies, formulas, and concepts, that’s what you’d get. But what your brain REALLY wants is the feel-good chemicals that are released when you become convinced that you, too can make millions. And all you have to do is buy my home study course…

If motivation were the answer unto itself, the world would be awash in successful wholesalers, note buyers, landlords, and apartment owners.

In fact, if all it took to “do” real estate was to get (and stay) motivated, everyone who believed in the Law of Attraction would be a zillionaire land owner, and the rest of us would be living in their rentals.

Motivation feels amazing, and it serves the purpose of getting you interested enough in real estate to take the important step of getting some education. But you know what it doesn’t do?  It doesn’t buy properties, or get private money, or finish rehabs, or fill vacancies.

And, if you’re depending on it to carry you through the sometimes-hard, or boring, or scary things that MUST be done to start (or grow) a real estate business, you’re going to fail. And here’s why:  if you’re waiting to FEEL LIKE calling back a seller and telling him you can pay half what he wants for a house, you’re gonna be waiting a long time.

If you need to FEEL MOTIVATED to call the umpteenth contractor to bid the turnover on your property, or FEEL MOTIVATED to call the umpteenth person on your buyer’s list, or FEEL MOTIVATED to get in front of the room at your REIA group and ask for money, you’re playing a losing game.

Feeling motivated is exciting. But it’s occasional, and short-lived, and isn’t always as strong as your dislike of the next thing you have to do. It’s easier to feel motivated in a moment when there’s no specific thing that needs to be done to move you forward than it is when you’re staring down the throat of fear or uncertainty or having worked an 8 hour day and now being tired and having to make the decision whether to spend ANOTHER 2 hours going through leads.

So get motivated. But make your real bias toward TAKING ACTION. Not because you ‘feel like it’ or because you’re motivated at that moment, but because the action needs to be taken to do the next thing.

Yes, I know, your brain really, really wants to give you excuses why right now is not a good time to call back that seller and tell him you can pay him half what he wants for his house. Or to answer yet another call from a potential renter who will probably have the same 3 stupid questions (“How many bedrooms are in your 2 bedroom?”) and is probably another one who needs to move this weekend because he’s being set out on Monday. And to spend an hour creating a system for something you can actually do in 5 minutes, so that later on you can assign that thing to someone else and save an hour a week by never doing it again.

But understanding that it’s not motivation from moment to moment that makes ANYONE successful in real estate is an important thing.

A lot of people never get that realization, and they ‘lose their motivation’, and they never get the REAL rewards of real estate investing, which are NOT the momentary motivation highs or temporary wins. They’re things like time to do stuff you actually enjoy, and the comfort of not having to worry about bills, and the self-respect of building something that no one else has ever built before: YOUR business..

Most of us are very disciplined in some aspect of our life: we’re religious about working out, or about keeping the house clean, or about walking the dog or attending every school function or about our jobs. We do what needs to be done, come rain, sleet, exhaustion, uncertainty, and, sometime, actual physical pain.

Sometimes, this discipline comes easily because we’re motivated because we’re doing something we love. Sometimes, it’s a real effort, but we do it anyway because we understand how important it is.

Your real estate business needs to be like that. Action day in and day out, even when you don’t feel like it, or aren’t 100% sure what that action should be, or are flat out terrified to pull the trigger.

Like most endeavors, investing in real estate is 80% grind, 10% horrible suckweasel discomfort, and 10% awesome.

And like most endeavors, some people will do what needs to be done to get good at it, and some won’t.

But ‘what needs to be done’ is NOT ‘staying motivated’. Don’t fall into the trap of depending on the motivation that got you started to drive you to success. Don’t wait to feel like it. Learn what action to take, and take it. That’s the real key to real estate success.

1 Comment on “IC Elesson: Motivation will Get You…Nowhere.

  1. Another excellent, well thought out, article. However, I was taught that motivation comes from within. I believe real estate presenters call this “your why”. This is what really drives you to do what you do every day.

    If you are driven to action from others words or actions, that is called “inspiration”. The difference, although subtle, is paramount. One force is internal. The other force is external. Both are needed and welcome. But when the tough gets going, it’s your (internal) motivation that will get you through the day.

    When you are down, you may need to be “inspired” to be reminded of “your why”.

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