Thoughts on Leadership: Winning the New Year

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me starting Monday at home with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I participated in the Berkshire Hathaway Energy meeting in the morning then filmed videos for multiple HomeServices of America acquisitions we’ll be announcing very soon. Today, I spent the morning at the virtual Berkshire Hathaway Energy Executive Leadership Conference, themed “Building for the Future.”

It’s noteworthy that this is the very first Thoughts on Leadership post of the new year. Ah, the new year, a time for resolutions to make … or break.

As a long-time goal-setter, the New Year has always held a special meaning for me. It’s a fresh start. An unwritten book. If you had a not-so-awesome 2021, the new year is your chance to begin again. If you had an amazing 2021, it’s still a reset. You’re back to the beginning, starting at Day One, and you can create even more success in 2022.

Zig Ziglar once said, “We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new beginning.”

Of course, you carry the lessons learned over the past 12 months into this new year but for anyone and everyone reading these words right now, THIS is our new beginning.

And it’s up to us to ensure the beginning is everything we want it to be.

If you’re looking for ways to jump-start your new year, here are a few key takeaways I gleaned from the books and podcasts about fresh starts I’ve listened to recently:

  1. It’s all about your “why.” There is no “how” without a “why.” You can have the best plan in the world to crush it in 2022 but if you don’t reiterate your “why,” (the reason behind what you’re doing or seeking), it’s very, very difficult to make it happen. When your “why” is clear, your mind is focused on accomplishing the goals you’ve set because it’s highly incentivized to achieve them.
  2. The 2021 door is completely shut. Unless you invent a time machine, there’s no opening the door again. Leave the past behind you and focus on your future. Whenever I start to worry about the past, I listen to “Changes in Attitudes, Change in Latitudes” by Jimmy Buffett and in particular, this one lyric always helps me focus on the future: Oh, yesterday’s over my shoulder / So I can’t look back for too long / There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me / And I know that I just can’t go wrong. (Listen to the song on Spotify here.)
  3. Every day is a chance to succeed. Success doesn’t happen once and then you ride its coattails for the rest of the year. You must keep working, keep pushing, keep committing every day to make your success sustainable.
  4. Wherever you are today is the starting off point to your success. You can take any metric and make that your starting point for the new year: the number of clients you have right now, the speed it takes you to run a mile, the number of leads you’re working, the number of hours you spend sleeping. Wherever you are today is the starting point to measure the progress of your goals. Again, a goal is measured by
    “From x to y by when.”
  5. Small actions compound over time to create big progress. Brian Buffini said, “Don’t focus on the mountain, focus on the step.” Sometimes, when we see a mountainous goal looming large before us, it can be intimidating. We believe we can but wow that goal is high up there. Instead of looking to the top of the summit, look in front of you to the very next step your foot will take as you make your way up the rocky terrain. By focusing on your next step, your next commitment, the next thing you and your team members will hold you accountable for, you’re making progress that will compound over time until one day, you’re peering off from the top of the mountain, realizing now there’s an even bigger mountain you want to climb. Said another way, this is the concept of a small win. Small wins are exactly what they sound like and are a part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves. Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win. Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.
  6. Focus on goal setting as a journey, not a destination. Bill Walsh once said, “Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, the process rather than the prize.” When you can recognize, identify, and isolate the actions necessary to achieve your goals, you have a repeatable process you can apply to anything.
  7. Success is found in a solid routine. Every morning, I take my M.E.D.S. – Meditation, Exercise, Diet and Sleep. It’s what sets me up for success throughout the day. Bob Bowman, coach of 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, once said: “The key to victory was creating the right routine.” Just as Bowman believed that the key to victory in swimming was about creating the right routines, I believe the key to victory in the real estate business is the same. Yes, it can be hard to stick to a routine day in and day out, month after month, year after year. But it’s the hard that makes you great. It’s the willingness to do the hard that separates you from the competition. Creating a solid morning routine ensures you’re giving yourself the best possible chance to accomplish your goals.
  8. Set the bar high. Why not? You are only limited by what you think you can achieve. “Have high goals and keep pushing yourself to succeed,” says Mike Ferry, and it’s not only about setting the bar high but also surrounding yourself with high achievers. The people you surround yourself with will define the person you will become in this new year. If you want to follow a path of achievement, you’ll surround yourself with those who have achieved. (It’s why back in the day when I was a new agent at Fox & Carskadon, I sat next to Mike Ray, the best real estate agent I have ever been associated with.) As Anthony Robbins once said: “Success leaves clues. Proximity is power. Love your family, choose your peers.”

So, what’s the message? New eyes see old things in new ways. These tips aren’t meant to overwhelm, they’re meant to help you on your journey of leadership, which is a journey of perpetual improvement. Hopefully you find these tips as useful as I have as we start the very first week of a new year together.

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