Mindset: You Are Who You Are… Embrace It

Just Be Yourself, there is no one better.

– Taylor Swift

How many times have you heard old cliches like  “don’t reinvent the wheel” or “follow in the footsteps of those who have already done it well?” Imagine how different the world would be today if Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Steve Jobs decided to do what everyone else was doing…. Okay, I admit I’m a “green bubble,” Android loyalist and I don’t drive a Tesla. But, I abuse the crap out of Amazon Prime and can’t deny how much these pioneers and their innovations impact our everyday lives.  

Sure, you should learn from those before you so you don’t repeat mistakes. But, so many people are looking for a step-by-step, get-rich-quick guide to success instead of paving their own path. When this type of advice is taken literally, people get lazy and try to be someone they aren’t. That’s not good.

You Do You, Boo Boo

Real estate is inherently a people business. Clients are the lifeblood of real estate and loan brokers’ businesses. Title and escrow companies rely on industry professionals to bring them work. And investors have to network their asses off to secure great deals, find lenders to fund their projects, and work with contractors who actually care about their rehab. Real estate is insanely competitive so you have to set yourself apart to succeed. 

The fact that there’s no easy route to success is good and bad. First, the bad news… it takes a lot of hard work and outside-the-box thinking. The good news… if it were easy, everyone would do it, and there’s no real way to set yourself apart—it would just be a crapshoot to see who wins. I go to the casino to test my luck, not my business. You have every opportunity and ability to crush your competition. 

One of the best parts of being in real estate is that it allows you to do things your way. You become your product, your brand. And guess what? No one knows you better than you. You don’t need “gurus” to teach you about yourself because you’re already an expert. The trick is figuring out how to market yourself authentically. You are doing yourself a great disservice if you pass on this responsibility. Figure out how to use your authentic self to your advantage and watch how much your business grows. 

Real Recognize Real

I cringe every time I hear someone say “you just need to fake it till you make it.” Just because it rhymes, it doesn’t make it profound. In fact, it blows my mind that anyone would be so proud of and encourage deception. Sure, there are plenty of people who talk out their asses and still do well. But, there’s a cap to how far they can go. You can only fool those who are dumber than you, and the real ones won’t respect you. People have a surprisingly good B.S. meter and can sniff out the snakes. 

People know that the only reason anyone needs to fake anything is that they are unethical, lazy, and/or unprepared/uneducated. That’s not to say that you need to know every single thing before jumping into the game (you’ll never get started if you have analysis paralysis). Plus, no one likes a know-it-all anyway. But you must know the basics, be willing to learn, and be willing to admit when you don’t know something. As long as you are diligent in filling your knowledge gaps, people will respect and relate to you.  People do business with people they like and people will like you a lot more if you’re genuine and real. Your reputation is everything so protect it as if your success depends on it… because it does.

Authenticity is Attractive

When I was an attorney, I had imposter syndrome real bad. I was a knucklehead when I was young and had a regrettable past. I was a high school dropout, a community college transfer, and had a juvenile record. Even though I grew up and got my shit together, I still had remnants of a misguided youth. I still smoked, cursed every other word, and dressed like I was in a 90s rap music video (i.e. oversized tees and baggy jeans). The only suit I owned was three sizes too big, from Kohl’s, and style-wise looked like I was borrowing it from my dad (3-button with pleated pants). I doubted anyone would take me seriously so I tried to hide it all. I used to rush home during breaks to smoke so I could shower and brush my teeth (thank god for the invention of vaping!). I changed how I spoke to sound “smarter.” I spent thousands on suits and shoes to try to “look the part.” Despite my efforts, I never felt like I belonged. Deep down, I was miserable because I knew it wasn’t the real me and I felt like a sell-out.

By nature, I’m a happy-go-lucky guy, and don’t take myself very seriously so the stuffy suit and tie aren’t me. Now, I wear Hawaiian shirts as my “dress clothes” because they make me happy and it suits my personality (dad-joke intended). It’s actually become my thing and part of my brand. I get comments on them all the time and I get them as client gifts. It sounds like such a small thing, but when you’re uncomfortable, it makes people around you uncomfortable. People avoid situations that make them uncomfortable so it really hurts your business. Even if you do an amazing job, just think of the referral you’re going to get: “he/she is awkward as hell, but…” That’s not a good co-sign.

Food For Thought

When you really think about it, the vast majority of your business is going to come from your personal network when you start out. Only your family and friends will give you a shot when you’re so green and inexperienced. These people already know you and like you for who you are. Don’t change the one advantage you have. Lean into what draws people towards you and stay true to yourself. You won’t have to worry about any competition.

Thanks for reading!

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