Instead of the usual goal-setting blog I’d usually write for the year ahead, I thought I would ponder on the lessons I've learned this year.
Lessons from across not just my own life (personal and professional), but also through the training I've conducted and the client’s I've been lucky enough to work with this year. These lessons have helped me and many property managers, BDMs and business owners alike get through the year, grow and set an incredible platform for a successful year ahead.
Once you've read through my lessons, take a moment to think about what lessons you've learned this year? What has worked well for you? What hasn’t worked well? And what do you need to change?
1. How we treat our existing clients breeds our future business
Self explanatory really, and by clients I do not just mean the landlords. I have done a lot of work this year in conveying the importance of taking care of our tenants; they are our future customers, they know our future customers and they are the ones talking about our business well after their vacate date. In the words of Jim Rohn - "One customer well taken care off could be worth more than $10,000 worth of advertising".
2. There are no mistakes, only lessons we learn
A mistake, a complaint, a royal stuff up is all okay, as long as we learn from it. Sweeping it under the rug or not taking ownership of our errors will not be good for ourselves or our business. Every time something goes wrong think, 'what can I learn from this, what could I have done differently, what could we change so this doesn't happen again?'
3. Our attitude towards life will determine life’s attitude towards us
If you think every day is unfair, that bad things always happen to you, chances are that life will treat you unfairly, and you will always have many reasons to complain. On the other hand, if you think life is a gift, that wonderful things always happen to you, life will give you all of those things and even more. Just how there is a law of gravity, there is also a law of attraction, and based on this law, you attract in your life that which you think about all day long, you attract that which you are, because you see, like attracts like I like to think of it simply, think about when you get a new car, and then suddenly you notice that car everywhere!
4. Be Kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about
We assume we know a person, a client, a colleague – we assume we know they are just a grumpy cow, or why they are angry or stressed, but chances are we know nothing of what is going on beneath the surface in that person's life. We see one dimension of that human, one side, one face. But take a moment to think what could be causing that reaction and stress so we can have greater empathy and understanding.
5. Stress is the perception that everything has to happen right now
Whenever I am overwhelmed or my clients feel overwhelmed, I break it down. While it appears that all of the things need to happen right now and it creates an overwhelming feeling of stress, when you break it down in writing, map out what is urgent, what is not urgent and do some prioritising and planning, you can remove the stress as you're allowing your mind to see there is a time and a place to deal with it all. When you feel like you do not have time to take five minutes to break it down, that is exactly when you NEED to do it.
6. Being busy, may actually just be the way life is
In our office this year, we banned the word "busy" as a response or complaint. In property management we hear this word all the time, however the more I think about it, the more it's apparent that life is just busy, work is busy. We are a generation of busy people who fill our days with work, play and everything in between. If we can accept this, it can revolutionise our attitudes. How we prioritise and stay efficient becomes more important – "working hard doesn't always mean working smart". And equally important is how we prioritise and schedule in our down time or 'me' time.
7. Fit your own oxygen mask before helping others
If you are not in a fit, happy and healthy space (physical and mental) it will be very hard to help those around you, both in personal and professional life. What do you need to do to ensure you are fit, willing and able to help those around you and your clients? Are you eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep? What support and help do you need to get you into a better space? A counsellor or mentor? I know number one for me when I am getting my cranky pants on is that I haven't exercised. That is then my first port of call to ensure I can deal with and react to whatever clients throw at me.
8. There is no one size fit’s all approach... to anything really
Whether it is in the advice I give my coaching clients, or whether it be the way to deal with an angry tenant, or whether it is implementing a system into a business, what works for one person will not necessarily work for another. We need to be constantly learning and adapting to meet the needs of the situation – if you think you know it all, you are wrong. Also, when receiving advice in general, be careful to recognise that it may not always be the best and appropriate advice for you.
9. People will disappoint us
Behaviours of clients, silly requests from tenants, actions of those around you, they will disappoint and frustrate you, but it is just part of life. Not everyone reacts the same way we do, not everyone knows the same things we do, not everyone wants the same things you do. Acceptance of this will remove the stress of expecting everyone to be the perfect human (i.e. you) and resilience to "let it go" will keep your approach fresh and stress free.
10. Escape the comparison cloud
There will always be someone with more money, a more (perceived) perfect relationship, someone with more listings, a person with a flatter stomach, a larger business, a (perceived) less-stressful life. Comparing yourself to others however, is a game you will never win; you may be comparing apples with peanuts. In the words of Oscar Wilde – "Be yourself; everyone else is taken".
11. The importance of self awareness
How are you perceived? Is your confident assertive nature, which you feel is one of your strengths, actually perceived as pushy and bossy by others? Creating a greater sense of self awareness and how we are perceived can not only allow us to adapt our attitudes and actions, but also allow us to see that we may be perceiving a side of someone that they do not realise they are projecting – giving us a greater understanding and improving relationships and communication.
12. Prioritise tasks based on urgency and impact
What tasks can you work on today that will have the biggest impact, which will be the most dollar productive and provide the best result to the clients? Prioritising these days rather than letting our day be run by the small and easiest tasks, or the ones we like doing, or what has come into our inbox – will ensure we go home each day satisfied and accomplished.
13. Remove Distractions
Escape the pop-ups, the notifications, the dings, the bings, the flashing and the sounds. This year I turned off all notifications and I can tell you, this one has been a massive winner for my stress levels, mindset and productivity. It means I am in control of when I check my emails or Facebook and I am not letting my day be run by anyone else. Avoid distraction and stay focused on the task at hand, or on the time that you've dedicated to relaxing. It feels scary, but try it... Things can, surprisingly, wait.
14. Understand the WHY
When the motivation is waning and we are getting tired, we need something to help us regain focus, re-energise us and get us back on track. This is where it is vitally important to understand WHY we are doing what we are doing. What will it mean for you to achieve that goal, what will it feel like to accomplish that task, or what does going to work each day allow our lives to look like. When you start to slip off the track, rather than focus on the goal, you focus on the WHY and it will be much easier to get back on track and keep pushing through. It is also important to understand the WHY of our clients. Why do they need us, what is important to them and why did they choose to use us, so we are able to sell to and deliver on their needs.
15. We are good at going fast, we need to practice going slow
Taking time out, relaxing, unwinding, being offline, is vitally important to our health and wellbeing. However, it is so hard for so many of us who are always trying to jam one more thing into our already fully packed days. Without getting too hippy-hippy-shake on you, this is why practices like yoga, mindfulness and meditation are so important – they help us slow down and connect to our authentic selves. This is why the most successful people in the world start their day with silence, exercise, gratitude and planning. How you start your day will set the tone for the rest of your day (week... month... year... years...)