When I write, I write on a schedule. So I had this topic of “Be You” on my schedule for about three weeks. It took every bit of discipline in my bones to not jump directly to this one and go after it. I’m telling you, I am so fired up about this topic of being you!

Who are you? I’m me. Okay, who is me? Me is me. There is only one me. I’ll prove it: here is the formula on my DNA: j (h&g20k*%jks*%!.: hdju&5#klcnu&%khg$048932,&4jch*>. See, no one else has that formula but me.

There are people in the real estate business that are making millions of dollars yearly. It’s true; so what? They are who they are. They did it the way they did it. They have been doing it forever. Sometimes it’s easy to become mesmerized, overimpressed, in awe of, enthralled by, or razzle-dazzled by someone else. Forget about it. Be you! That is the only way you will make it in this business of real estate and meet your full potential.

The great Horace says, “You may drive out nature with a pitchfork, yet she’ll be constantly running back.”

If you are twenty-three years old, fresh out of college, and starting in this business as a lender, then be exactly who you are. You are a twenty-three-year-old that is excited, nervous, inexperienced, and eager to make some money. Be exactly that person. Trust me—there will be plenty of people that will want to do business with you exactly the way you are if you are willing to work hard.

If you are new to real estate, fifty-six years old, and haven’t been in the workforce for ten years, then for goodness’s sakes, be that person. Be that person that is new, maybe a little nervous, but has a truck load of life experiences. There will be plenty of people that will be looking for someone just like you—exactly like you.

If you are reserved, pleasant, successful, have lots of experience, and have been in the business for thirty-three years, then own that person and be that person.

I am telling you right here and right now: be exactly who you are. And if anyone tries to change you—run. We are largely marketing ourselves (personally) in this business of real estate. Change even one atom within your DNA, and you will dilute who you are and therefore will damage your business. I’m not saying be a renegade, although if that’s who you are, then fine. I’m saying be true to yourself—and own you.

Do I need to be professional? Yes. Do I need to provide a good service? Yes. Do I need to work daily on marketing, operations, finance, and attitude? Yes. Do I need to be true to myself as I do all these things? Yes, yes, yes.

Can we be credible if we are trying to be anyone but ourselves? No way. In fact, the only way you can be 100 percent credible is to be 100 percent you. A giant portion of communication is nonverbal. Don’t you think a customer will feel it and pick up on those nonverbal cues if you are trying to be anyone but you? You know the answer. There is a direct link between being you and being credible.

It’s not my style to say that God (or whatever you believe in) made you exactly the way you are and that people you met along the way and your environment continued to shape what your Maker produced. It’s definitely not my style to say that. Did I say that? What I will say is that your DNA is 100 percent you—and only you.

Show the world who you are, and stay true to you.

Go get ’em!

Be yourself - everyone else is already taken.

Oscar Wilde

Chapter 88 - Muscle

Your fans will be cheering you on to victory, but it will be all on you to get it done. The good news is that as soon as you truly internalize that fact, you’ll unleash a level of creativity that you never knew existed. Your brain will jump with ideas, but it will only do so if you truly and completely accept that it’s all on you—100 percent of it.

When you have a job, you play a role within that company. When you are a real estate agent or lender, you own a small business and are responsible for everything. Knowing and accepting this creates freedom in your life because you will not depend on anyone for anything within the context of your business life. It creates complete self-reliance, independence, and increased cognitive ability (creativity). That independence and self-reliance translates into a brain that is constantly on the move and jumping with ideas out of necessity. You are training your brain to see only solutions.

It’s all on you; accept that as fact. I would love to take thirty new agents that came from a paycheck job and work with them for thirty days on their attitude about this. It’s a transition. It’s hard to accept, and sometimes we give it lip service, “Yes, I understand that it’s all on me.” However, deep down inside we are still not taking 100 percent responsibility for our own success. We are waiting for Prince or Princess Charming to come along and show us the magic. It’s on us, and by accepting that fact you’ll be preparing yourself to fly in this business.

Your manager, vendors, family, and staff will be there for you, and you need this group to support and encourage you. This group should not be underestimated for sure; however, we can’t ask them to put on the uniform and score the goal for us. It’s on us to get it done.

Why isn’t my office doing more for me? It is not the office’s job to do more—they do enough. The office provides a brick-and-mortar location to work, some level of training, some administrative support, and some organization infrastructure, as well as synergy, energy, and coaching. Not only that, the office is taking tremendous risk relevant to their fixed costs. The office does plenty. As producers, we can do the rest.

Swim. When Uncle Leroy pushes you in the pool at the barbecue, you have no choice but to swim. When you accept that it’s all on you, you have no other choice but to do whatever it takes to make it! Accept it and make it or partially accept it and partially make it. Don’t accept it and you will not make it.

Let’s talk about creativity again. This will be slightly philosophical, but stay with me, because it will affect your ability to make it and fly in this business. When you accept that it’s all on you, the solution, therefore, is also all on you. What is creativity? Among other definitions, it can be defined as “a possible solution.”

There is water under the house and the buyer is scared to death. Be creative; find a possible solution. The chimney is coming loose from the house, the buyer won’t close without it being fixed, and the seller won’t pay for it. Be creative; find a possible solution. I know they want to hire me, but for some reason they just won’t pull the trigger. Be creative; find a possible solution. I need to find four deals before the end of the year. Be creative; find a possible solution. How can I possibly manage twenty offers coming in on this home and at the same time be respectful to my colleagues? Be creative; find a possible solution.

Listen, when you fully accept that it’s all on you, you will unleash a level of creativity that you never knew existed, and your brain will buzz with creative solutions to previously insurmountable problems. This is not hocus-pocus; it is a commonsense survival instinct that begins by accepting the fact that it’s all on you.

There is no shortcut. If you want to work in real estate and have freedom, unlimited income, and no boss, then you must accept the fact that it’s all on you. Do that, and you may find all those things and a whole lot more.

Go get ’em!

Chapter 84 - It's All on You

An offensive coordinator (in football) was having a tough time moving the offense out of their own end zone. In other words, the offense would be on their own one-foot line and need just a single yard (maybe two, but that would be a luxury) so that they were not pinned into their own end zone. They needed room to maneuver, and that one extra yard or even a foot made all the difference. It was one of those must-have situations. Literally every time (almost without exception), given those circumstances, the team would fumble, throw an interception, get tackled for a safety, have to punt from deep in their own end zone, or have to punt and have the punt blocked. The coaching staff finally designed a play called “Muscle.” Brute force, shoulder-to-shoulder football. Muscle right, Muscle left. The lineman lined up foot to foot, the quarterback handed it off to the running back, and he ran straight ahead (no dancing, straight ahead)—all in an attempt to gain that single yard. That must-have yard. It was brute force, no slick this or slick that—just a straight-ahead fight. Rough and tumble. Sheer determination football, and it worked.

There are going to be times in your real estate career when your back is against the wall and you are in a must-have situation. Your pipeline is dry as a bone, you have no hot leads, no pendings, and haven’t closed a deal for a few weeks. And by the way, before you drop your head in shame, that’s called normal. It will happen, to me, to you, to everyone. You don’t think so? Just wait. It will happen, and it will happen more than once. But that’s no time to sit and cry. It’s time to call the Muscle play. Brute force was my way of coming back from the bottom of the basement. Nothing slick—just an all-out, straight-ahead effort. What does the Muscle play look like for me in real estate? Glad you asked.

Number one: Work. For seven days I would be working a minimum of fourteen-hour days. Half the time I didn’t even know what I was actually going to be doing, I just knew that I would be working fourteen hours that day. It turns out you can actually do a lot in fourteen hours, even if you are only technically working ten of those fourteen. Hey, we all have to eat and go to the bathroom and talk to our friends and goof around a little.

Number two: Cancel nearly all personal stuff for that week. Whatever it is, it can wait for one week; it needs to wait for one week. “Well, I still have to do pickup for my daughter at 3:00 p.m.” I understand. I was part of the pickup schedule, I know. But can someone else do it for a few days? At 2:00 p.m., you start tapering down. You don’t want to be late, so you leave at 2:30; pick up at 3:00; drive home and drop off daughter at 3:15; go to the bathroom; and have something to eat. Before you know it, you are back at work at 4:00; and then it takes thirty minutes to get warmed up again. You can’t afford to lose two and a half hours of prime working time when you are in a must-have situation. This is back-against-the-wall time.

Number three: Talk with my wife and let her know that she won’t be seeing much of me for a week. She was always good about that; maybe she liked the break! But if your partner or spouse gives you a hard time, it’s pretty simple. “The choices are a) see me a little less for a week or b) worry about paying the bills for the next three months.” That’s how much momentum you can produce in one week by running Muscle.

Number four: No drinking. That was a little hard, but it wasn’t an option. It’s like giving a racehorse a tranquilizer right before it is about to run the Preakness. Not an option. It’s only a week, you’ll survive.

Number five: Get up. I hate getting up early. But for Muscle to work, early is better, so 5:00 a.m. was the time, and 5:00 a.m. it was. If you happen to have a problem going to bed or sleeping, you won’t the week you run Muscle: 5:00 a.m. wake-up call, fourteen-hour workdays; are you kidding? You won’t even remember your head hitting the pillow.

     That’s it.

I’m not going to tell you to chant for thirty minutes or sing songs to yourself in the mirror; you figure out what to do during those fourteen hours. Ask your manager for help if you get stuck, but don’t rely on your manager; it’s not his or her job. You are the producer. The rainmaker. You are creative, entrepreneurial, and a self-starter. If you are not, you are in the wrong business or in the wrong job within that business. You figure it out. If you want someone telling you what to do, then go get a job. I will tell you, stay in motion and stay focused on marketing. Work for seven days straight; limit personal responsibilities that week; secure buy-in from your family; no drinking; and get up early. That is the framework for Muscle. The foundation of the play.

There are times when you have to force it to get things moving. Trust me: your world will look different after running Muscle for seven days. Muscle will work as long as you do.

Go get ’em!

Whatever you do, do it with all your might.

Cicero

You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.

President Abraham Lincoln

"There’s no better person qualified to deliver this message - funny, insightful and useful.”
Dominic Nicoli,  Inaugural Member of the Intero Real Estate Services Hall of Fame

​​​"Inspirational and entertaining while literally providing a pathway to success."
Adam Eyre, Top 100 Lender at PrimeLending and previously Top 100 at Wells Fargo Bank

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​​​​A SUCCESS GUIDE 

for real estate lenders, real estate agents and those who would like to learn about the professions.

JAMES R. CARTER

Chapter 99 - Be You

Three of the twenty chapters included in the section called ATTITUDE.