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You, First Rate

October 5, 2011

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland, American actress & singer (1922 – 1969)

Time for a little honesty. Which of the following motivates you more?

A. Visualizing how your life improves as you reach your business and personal goals

B. The news that one of your competitors just closed another huge deal

While you might like to say “A” motivates you more, many people find that “B” is the one that lights a real fire. But while competition might spur you to work harder, is it a healthy strategy to manage your business? Certainly there’s no harm in learning from your competitors, but measuring yourself against others’ success has several negative outcomes.

For instance:

1. You seldom see your own progress. You should always be your own first benchmark. If you’re a new agent in your first year, why are you measuring your progress against a seasoned pro with a 20-year book of business? Would you try and inspire your 10-year-old daughter to play tennis by having her hit against Venus Williams? Of course not.

2. You’re always chasing your competitors’ ideas. When the agent down the street starts using QR codes, you might start thinking: “That’s it! I have to use QR codes!” But what’s driving that feeling, other than an abstract fear that you’re being out-innovated? How do you know what’s really working for them?

3. You’ve outsourced your motivation. Depending on the success/failure of your competitors to motivate you means you’ve effectively let someone else determine your “fire in the belly.” When your competitors are down, you slack off, reasoning, “It’s just the market, there’s nothing I can do.” Suddenly, when the competition begins to pick up, you’re scrambling with the fear of falling behind. It’s perfectly natural to feel a little envy of other successful agents. After all, they have what you want, right? But it’s hazardous to let that envy drive your every decision. It can lead to a truly corrosive kind of resentment, which, as we’ve written in the past, is a silent killer. Look for ways to center your own motivation within yourself. Compare your efforts week-over-week and year-over-year. Take stock of the market, pricing, and inventory, and be honest about what is and isn’t in your control. If you put the effort into being a “first rate you” versus a “second rate someone else,” you’ll discover more joy in building your business.


Source: Scott Levitt / 10/2011

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 5, 2011 8:08 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly! Most small business owners are motivated by outdoing their competitors — in fact, they are obsessed with that. My favoirite part: “…center your own motivation within yourself.”


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