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RISMEDIA, January 21, 2010—With the New Year now upon us, it is with some relief that I look back upon 2009, glad that the year is behind us. It was a year full of personal and professional challenges for many and I am happy to welcome in the New Year and a new decade.

There are so many things that are beyond our control: the economy, interest rates, health care costs, global warming, etc. In our own industry there are an unbelievable number of foreclosure and short sale properties on the market, not to mention the challenge of securing adequate financing for our buyers. Each of these factors seems overwhelming and if you really think about it, each provides ample excuses of why we are not doing well. As a matter of fact, the sheer gloom and doom in the real estate market is all we really need to justify our lack of production and income, isn’t it? It is easy to be miserable, easy to sit back and wait for things to get better and easy to blame our situation on all of the factors over which we have no control.

I have always been a big believer in the words of Reinhold Niebuhr’s serenity prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

In other words, if there is something that is challenging you and it is causing you to stress or complain, ask yourself this simple question: “Can I change it?” If the answer is “no,” then stop stressing over it and just move on. But if the answer is “yes,” then stop complaining and get to work making the necessary changes.

As real estate agents, we may not be able to control the economy or market, but we can control our own individual, daily behaviors that allow us to continue to earn a good living in this business. So many people today are stuck in “analysis paralysis;” they are focused on issues and market conditions that they have no personal control over, when instead they should focus on the activities and personal behaviors that they can control each day.

I have several coaching students who are all going through the exact same program, several in the same offices and markets. It is interesting to me that two agents working in the same office, the same market, and getting the same instruction and coaching get such different results. The simple deciding factor in achieving greatness today is you. You and you alone can control your actions and your activities that can generate new business. Are you prospecting every day? Have you identified the predominant areas where transactions are occurring in your market? Have you built a marketing and prospecting plan to put yourself in the middle of them? If the answer is no, then it is not the fault of the economy that you are struggling; it is your fault for not making the necessary adjustments to succeed.

I believe in you and your ability to take control of your future.

At a time when we are making resolutions and setting new goals, think about what you can personally change, what behaviors, actions and attitudes you can adjust this year, month, week, and today that will make a real difference in your production and income.

Here’s a tip for you. In my opinion, the simplest and most productive thing you can do right now to increase your business is to prospect for real buyers and sellers for at least three hours every day. Block the time from 9 a.m. to 12 noon every day to focus on only one thing: Getting new business. Don’t be distracted by paperwork, other agents or family to-do’s; instead get focused and prepared and lock your mindset into believing that the most important thing you can do right now is prospect. This a magic pill for success and it hinges on your attitude. With the right attitude and the right actions that go along with it, you will find yourself in a much better financial situation in 2010.

What are you willing to do to change your situation?

As I sat in church recently, the teacher was taking us through goal setting and planning for the New Year. I felt like I had heard it all before and even taught many of the same lessons, but there was one thing that stuck out in this particular lesson that really grabbed my attention and it was this: We need others in our lives that are willing to tell it to us straight; that are willing to let us know when we are screwing up, and will then hold us accountable.

In coaching we believe that accountability is a key factor in success. In life that same principle is true. If you have failed to meet your own expectations or the expectations of your family, now is the time to reach out to your closest friends and share with them your goals; ask them to help hold you accountable and keep you on track. Join or start an accountability group in your office or get involved with a coach or mentor that will not allow you to use excuses in areas over which you have no control. Let’s not wait for the market or the government or our broker to create our stimulus plan for 2010, let’s each take control of the things we can and stop focusing on the things we can’t. I personally have decided to make 2010 my best year ever.

Are you with me?

About the author
Verl Workman is a leading national speaker, coach and consultant and is co-founder of Pinnacle Quest Consulting Group. To contact Verl, visit or or e-mail him at