girl dancingI have been to more than my fair share of dance competitions and conventions. As many of you know, my daughter Alexandra AKA “Sparkles” has been involved with dance at a high level for more than 10 years.

I attend many of the classes at these events, not only to soak in the beauty of the art form and watch my daughter in her “happy place”, but also to listen to the life lessons and advice the teachers impart on their students.

This weekend was no different. Every teacher shared a piece of advice with the kids that we can all apply to our lives.

1. You can’t win it if you’re not in it
2. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward
3. Do what you love!
4. Don’t be afraid to take a risk!
5. No “In and Out”!

1. You can’t win it if you’re not in it

There are hundreds of kids in one dance class. Some kids hang back, stop a lot to check their phones, skip the classes that are hard for them and spend more time talking to their friends than listening to the teacher. Those kids, not surprisingly, don’t get a whole lot out of these training weekends. Then there’s the kids that stand at attention, work on learning the choreography even when it’s not their turn to dance, go full out on every run and come to the class focused and ready to learn. They put their heart and soul into the dance even if they have not yet mastered the steps. We all know people in business that fall into both of these categories – not surprisingly, it’s the focused and passionate one that get the attention of the teachers and the audience. This is the time of year to ask yourself that tough question. Do I stay focused and engaged every minute of every day as I know I should?

2. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward

I speak with agents and business owners all the time that believe they are veterans so they don’t need to continue to learn new things, read new books or participate in training. Some Associations and MLSs prefer to protect the status quo instead of opening up their hearts and minds to new ways to serve their customers and stay relevant.

Dance teachers tell the kids that if you’re not growing, you’re getting worse. If your dance skills are not getting better, you are losing ground since there are hard-working kids all over the world who are continuing to train and to push themselves to be better.

If you’re not continually examining your success and trying new things to build your skills with recruiting, retention and productivity, then as a business owner, you’re getting worse too. There are new brokerages and new competitors emerging every day in real estate spending millions and even billions to get a share of their exciting business.

NOBODY is above the need for training and continual self-examination. The best NFL stars with the longest and most successful careers train every day with their team AND on their own. They never believe they have arrived. They are always chasing the next bit of greatness.

3. Do what you love!

When you wake up in the morning are you excited to go to work? Are you passionate about serving your customers? Are you always thinking about ways to make your business more relevant, more profitable and more efficient and productive?

Dance teachers tell kids if you don’t LOVE dance, and believe you cannot live without it in your life, then you need to re-kindle your passion or find another path.

Life is too short to do something that doesn’t fill your heart with joy and fulfillment.

4. Don’t be afraid to take a risk

Artists like dancers are a great example of taking a risk. Every time a choreographer puts a new piece on stage they are trying out new moves that may or may not resonate with the audience. They may or may not build their reputation as an innovator. Every one of us in business has to “choreograph” our own innovation to stay relevant as well.

Have you ever looked at one of your competitors and wondered how they came up with that great new program that is helping them build their market share?
Companies that launch new ideas are willing to take a risk – to try a different path. The smart ones test their ideas first in small ways before they bet the farm on it.

If you’re not willing to try something new or take a risk your business may be at risk for extinction. It’s so much better for you to try to replace your current business practice proactively than let a competitor do it for you.

5. No “In and Out”!

Dance teachers tell the kids that they must stay in character and must maintain the same intensity throughout a piece if they want the audience to stay with them. They also talk about no in and out training. If a dancer stops training or stretching for even a few days, there is a marked difference in their skills. They must go in and out of focus if they want to be a great dancer.

At the beginning of the year we all have great intentions. Here’s the kinds of things we talk about this time of year…

“I’m going to build better relationships with every one of my agents”

“I’m going to visit each of my offices regularly so I can stay in close touch with my managers”

“I’m going to schedule meeting with each of my leading brokers to make sure my MLS is meeting their needs”

“’I’m going to publish content every week to promote my brand”

While these and many other goals are great ways to strengthen our real estate businesses, many of us suffer from going “in and out”. We commit to a goal, but we do not stick to it with the regimen we need. If there is a goal that we have identified that we believe will improve our business we must stick with it, through thick or thin. If not, we’re sending mixed messages to our staff and customers and we’re not optimizing our potential to meet the goals we set out for ourselves.