Do you fool yourself into thinking that you are taking purposeful action toward what you want? I do that sometimes. Honestly I think we all fall into this habit now and again. Being conscious about your behaviors and how they are purposeful toward what you say you want is key for succeeding in business and in one's personal life.
Here's a true story about an aquaintance who is lying to herself about being purposeful toward what she says she wants. We'll call this woman Elena. Elena is a hard worker and she's had a career for many years working in the hotel industry. She's mature – in her early 50's. After living in “the cold frozen north” as she puts it (her words, not mine) she decided to leave her steady job and move to the beach. And she decided that she wanted to sell real estate.
Fast forward a year. Elena has lived at the beach for a year, she's gone to school and gotten her real estate license. She's affiliated herself with a real estate office in her town. But she hasn't worked real estate other than handing out a few cards now and then. What's going on with Elena that she isn't taking purposeful action about being a successful real estate agent?
Elena has spent a lot of her time looking for a job to “make ends meet” until she starts selling real estate and another bunch of her time working part time in jobs where she cannot control the hours worked. Consequently, she has attended almost none of the weekly team meetings at her real estate company. She hasn't pulled together her marketing plan. She hasn't established a social media presence. She has done two things:
- Looked for better part time work.
Elena says that she is purposeful toward selling real estate. She is not. Elena is purposeful toward being secure and finding a job with flexible part time hours that offers her benefits. The day we had lunch she proudly told me she spent from 8 to noon every day sending out resumes. But when I asked her how much floor duty she'd signed up for and how many team meetings she had attended in the last 3 months the answer was none. When I asked her what networking groups she had joined the answer was the same – none.
So here's the deal. If Elena would spend that same 8 to noon every day working real estate by now she would have sold a home or two. A whole year of getting established has been wasted. Elena says she wants to sell real estate but actually she is taking purposeful action toward finding a “safe and secure” job. She isn't doing a thing toward real estate other than handing out a few cards here and there. Elena is lying to herself about what she wants. Her reputation at the real estate firm is “we haven't seen her around and she is not serious about selling.”
If I were to ask her about this she would give me 1,001 excuses. She aleady started telling me excuses even though all I did was listen to her story.
- She needs to pay her bills.
- She hasn't found a job because she can't take just any job, she needs one with flexibility so she can sell real estate as well.
- It's hard to sell real estate because she is new in town.
Is Elena a total loser? No. Is she lazy? No. She worked for a grocery store but the hours were not flexible and the pay was low so she quit. She then spent 5 weeks in training for a government job that was supposed to be higher paying and part time, only to discover that the agency was short-handed. She ended up working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week and got exhausted so she quit after only 4 weeks. Now she is looking again.
Can you sense all the hard work and effort that Elena is putting into the wrong thing? All the wasted effort? Elena is not lazy, and she is not dumb. But she is unconscious about her actions not being purposeful toward what she says she wants. She is unaware that she doesn't want to sell real estate, she wants a “secure” job. Elena is lying to herself. She is fear-based and afraid to jump “all in” to make real estate work. Until she does that she will fail at what she thinks she wants.
Elena has a fantasy that part time work will pay more than selling real estate. She's trying to hedge her bets. She's not committed and so her behaviors are not purposeful toward what she wants.
It's the exact same thing I do when I say “I'm going to lose weight” but then eat a small bite-sized ice cream bar thinking “it won't hurt.” In that moment I am not taking purposeful action and I am lying to myself. We all do it. But the more we are aware of it the more we can stop it. And that change to purposeful action will bring us success in real estate or whatever else our heart is set on.
If you want to read more about commitment you can check out this blog post that tells the story of a man fully committed to his work. And if you want help taking purposeful action consider an hour with me, which you can check out by clicking here.