Do You Have a Bad Attitude? Change Your Outlook

Stop going to war with yourself and watch peace come rolling in — for your business and your personal life.

September 1, 2007

Are you one of those practitioners who’s never satisfied with their sales numbers? And no matter how hard you work, it seems like it’s never enough? What’s more, the slower real estate market in your community is making your job impossible, right?

If that sounds like you, then here’s some advice: Stop the pity party. Your negative thoughts may be sabotaging your career and destining you to fail.

When you let a bad attitude or negative thoughts consume you, then it doesn’t matter how smart, creative, talented, and knowledgeable you are; you will create bad outcomes in your career and in your life. After all, when you’re wasting so much time dwelling on the bad, you never have time to focus what’s good.

Case in point: Many practitioners struggle to exceed the number of houses they sold in their second year in the business. That’s where their bar is set — their norm — and they can’t seem to focus on anything else. When they do try something different to accelerate their sales, their comfort zone kicks in and they find a reason to slow down, or they stop working at the end of the year believing they “deserve it” for working so hard.

The result? They end up with the same production level for the year even though they were on track to do more.

Don’t let your attitude slow your business down any longer. Here are seven ways you can use the power of positive thinking to turn your business around:

1. Acknowledge your negativity.

Do you tell yourself the open house won’t be a success before it even starts? Do you second-guess yourself before a listing presentation? One of the biggest battles in escaping the cycle of negativity is realizing and accepting that you need to improve your attitude. It’s much easier to notice negative behavior in others than in yourself. Your inner thoughts are insidious things. So watch your words and thoughts — the next time you tell yourself you can’t do something or that something is impossible, give it a second thought. What’s the harm in thinking you can?

Here’s one test if you’re wondering whether a thought you’re having is healthy for you or not: Consider whether if this was a permanent state of being for you (whatever the thought describes), would you be a happy person? If not, then it’s a good time to re-evaluate that thought.

2. Avoid the blame game.

But it’s not your fault, you say? Stop trying to pin the blame on others or on a situation. When you see yourself as a victim, it gives you an excuse to say that you were right and the other person or situation was wrong. Blaming others will only cause you to dwell on a negative situation and prevent you from moving on.

3. Stop being a know-it-all.

You don’t always have to be right. When you’re so attached to being right, you often live in fear of being wrong — which keeps you from being able to relax and just be happy. No doubt there’s satisfaction in being right, but it can be an exhausting, overwhelming, and thankless job. Plus, other people are often turned off by someone who always has to be right. Accept that others can sometimes come up with an answer, too, and welcome their feedback. You’ll find your thoughts are much more peaceful.

4. Find a good role model.

If you’re always a downer, then that’s the kind of crowd you’ll attract. Instead, gravitate toward people who have an upbeat, optimistic view on life. Find a business role model: Someone in real estate who has the kind of attitude that you want to have. Then, follow their lead.

5. Expect the best.

Don’t obsess over that one thing that isn’t working in your business. If you believe that you are a 15-house a year producer, then you will never be more than that. If you believe that you don’t need more than $50,000 per year, then that’s all you’ll ever make. Your underlying assumptions and beliefs are what create your reality. If you want to be the top salesperson in your community, don’t tell yourself “that will never happen.” Instead say “I will be the top salesperson.” Now you’re focused on making it happen, and your attitude won’t get in your way.

6. Be patient.

You’re not going to change your attitude overnight. You need to rewire your mind to see the positive, which takes work. Constantly monitor your thoughts. You might even wear a rubber band around your wrist during your workday to give yourself a little zap whenever a negative thought enters your head.

7. Smile.

One of the best ways to change a negative attitude is to start smiling more. More people report having a positive impression of a salesperson who smiles than a salesperson who has a neutral facial expression, according to psychological research. So put a smile on your face.

Kelle Sparta is the author ofThe Consultative Real Estate Agent: Building Relationships that Create Loyal Clients, Get More Referrals, and Increase Your Sales(AMACOM, 2005). She is also the founder of Sparta Success Systems , a real estate training company.