“The two most dangerous words in the English Language are ‘Good Job’” ~ Terrence Fletcher, instructor in the movie Whiplash (played by J.K. Simmons)
You’ve pushed yourself.
At some point, probably even recently, you had to work really hard to overcome an obstacle. That obstacle could have been finding an investment market area that makes sense for you and your goals. It could be building the right team to help you with a major renovation. Or, it could be finding two new joint ventures to buy four more properties this year.
Whatever it was, you moved yourself closer to creating that ideal typical day you want to live.
That’s a cool thing. You should pause and pat yourself on the back for a moment, but the work is not done.
If you are ok with where you are at – you are living your ideal typical day and you feel fulfilled – cool. But if you aren’t happy in your job, or there is more you want from your life … if there are things you need to do to still get there, your work is not done.
There’s a danger in celebrating progress that isn’t goal achievement. You can run into motivation problems if you pat yourself on the back too much for a step that moves you forward but doesn’t get the goal achieved.
Let’s take this to an example to explain. I will use a subject that I know personally – book publishing (see More than Cashflow).
Let’s say you too want to be a published author and sell your book on Amazon.
At what point do you celebrate your achievement?
There’s a massive amount of work that goes into research and preparation before you even start writing. It’s exhausting.
Then, you start writing. Every chapter feels like an accomplishment.
If you successfully push yourself to write almost every day you might have a first draft after a few months. (Even with over ten thousand words pulled from articles I’d already written, my book still took me eight weeks to write.)
A draft is complete. Surely it must be time to celebrate?
Nope … you’re still a long way from selling that book.
You still have to go back and forth with the editor …. you have to rewrite many of the chapters. You have to read that book so many times you’ll never want to read it again. At long last, you have a final fully edited version – surely you can celebrate because you’re done writing, right?
Well, there still isn’t anything you can actually sell to other people yet. You have to get it into a layout that is Kindle and print compatible. You need an ISBN number, a cover, a way to sell it, marketing descriptions, accounts so you can have listings on sites like Amazon and then, most importantly, you still need people to sell it to.
Sure, you’ve come a long way but there is still so much work to do.
You haven’t achieved your goal until you’re receiving money in exchange for your book. That’s when you celebrate.
I’m not saying you never look at how far you have come.
In fact, when you feel discouraged and you feel you’re getting nowhere, that can be the best thing you do. Take a quick look back. And then get back to work.
We all ride a roller coaster of emotion when we’re pushing ourselves to achieve new and cool things in our lives. It’s scary. Once in awhile something really positive will happen and you will feel like you can do anything. It’s a rush! It’s confirmation that you’re on the right track. Most days you just have to keep pushing forward. You might feel tired, and you’ll probably question whether this is going to work.
You will most certainly wonder if you are doing the right things.
Then something will go wrong and you will wonder if it’s even worth it to keep pushing. In those moments, it’s helpful to give yourself credit for what you have achieved. You will gain confidence from realized the obstacles you’ve over come. But you should only pause for a moment because it’s even more important to know that there are still many more steps to take to go forward to reach your target.
We as humans have a tendency to count things as achievements when they aren’t really. Yes, it was hard work, but if it’s not the results you set out to achieve, you’re not done yet.
Add to that tendency, we are the most motivated when we start something and when we are near completion. We are not motivated in the middle.
What does that mean?
It means there’s a real danger in taking your foot off the gas for very long when you haven’t reached your destination. When you’re tired from working so hard, it’s easy to tell yourself you have worked hard and deserve a rest. Call it a rest. Call it a break. Call it whatever you want.
Your intention is that the pause is temporary. You mean to get back to it … you really do. But, you don’t.
It’s not your fault that you feel that way. It’s human nature. It is your fault if you don’t recognize it and push past it. Because now you know.
If you’ve ever done a running race like a 5km road race, you know what I am talking about. When the starting gun goes off … you feel great. You leap off that starting line like you’re going to be first across the finish line. Your legs are fresh and you’re excited! It feels like all the people on the sidelines are cheering JUST FOR YOU.
2km in there isn’t anybody cheering and the effort it takes to keep running starts to weigh on you. Your legs are feeling heavy … 3km in you think about taking a walking break but you keep going. When you hit 4km … there’s only one little kilometer left. Suddenly you realize you can do it. You round a corner and see the finish line coming into site. You start to hear the people cheering. You start running faster. You forget about your legs feeling tired and you race to cross the finish line feeling exhilaration and pride.
The problem is you have to get yourself through that pesky middle. You have to push past kilometer 3 when you want to take a rest and probably quit.
People are the most motivated when they first start something or when they are almost done. What are you going to do to push through that pesky middle?
One part of the solution is in knowing what should be celebrated and what you should focus on.
I think there is a danger in telling yourself ‘good job’ for the wrong things. You can say ok cool I’ve signed up for the race. Ok cool I’ve done 30 training runs. You can congratulate yourself for showing up for the race but you MUST finish the race, or you’re not done.
So what can you do differently?
First, set your goals in terms of what will occur.
Set your goal in terms of something you have full control over.
For example, many investors will set their goal to get two deals done by June 1st. That might happen but there are so many factors that you can’t control that could prevent that from happening (the right property doesn’t come up, the seller wants to close on May 20th, you get outbid in a bidding war…). So instead think in terms of what you WILL do to move yourself toward that goal. What are things you can certainly do? You can walk around your neighbourhood every Sunday to identify new opportunities. You can make offers on every deal that fits your criteria. You can spend 15 minutes a day reviewing MLS listings and sales in your area. You can hire a new realtor. There are many things you can most certainly do to move yourself forward.
Aggressively do 3 things each week to move forward. Period. You WILL do those things. Set your goals in terms of what you CAN do.
A good goal is not to ‘find two new private lenders in the next 30 days’. A good goal is to speak to the next 10 people on my list about getting referrals, follow up with my best lender to see if he wants to do another deal, get a speaking gig at the local investment club to share tips and let folks know I am looking for investors, and submit three article proposals to local newspapers (by the way, if you’re not sure how to do any of this, the Ultimate Money Raisers Mastermind could be the perfect thing for you). You have 100% control over all those items and every single one moves you towards your goal achievement. Those are good goals.
And if you’re a full time investor you should be AGGRESSIVELY doing three things every day to move yourself towards the important goals that are going to help you create that life you want to live.
People will quit when the website is complete because it felt like so much work. They won’t do what they need to do to actually get traffic to the website and attract new investors or clients because it was so much work just to set that sucker up.
People quit after they master their ‘5 Why’s’ to raise money for their real estate deals.
The work that matters is getting people to see your website. The work that matters is ACTUALLY having those conversations with people who could be the perfect fit to invest in your deals. Everything else FEELS like work but it’s not goal progress.
And, now you know it too! See you at the finish line.
1st Image Credit: © Fuzzbones | Dreamstime.com
2nd Image Credit: © Alphaspirit | Dreamstime.com
Credit for the concept of goal achievement goes to Kevin Hogan. I'm not sure if I read it in one of his books or heard him speak about it in one of his CD programs, or at his Influence Bootcamp, but I am certain it was him I heard first discussing it. Thanks Kevin.