Inside The Box – YES, NO and MAYBE

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. – Henry Ford

In an email, Adam wrote:


I never got a chance to thank you for the Star Wars “Duel in the Desert.” I attended the event and very much appreciated your insight and humor. I have been doing Real Estate for over 6 years in CA and AZ. Although I have made over 100k one year, I have struggled through many others. I found this interesting in the sense that you mentioned doing this through the first part of your career (the ups and downs).

Somebody asked you a question and you mentioned to them about not being “all the way in the box.” You then mentioned something along the line of You finally getting this perspective yourself in your career and getting “all the way in the box.”

I want to get all the way in. How is this change made? How do/did you flip that switch? I’ve been waiting for years yet it hasn’t happened.

If this seems like a strange email, it’s because it is! I just valued your advice so much that you gave a couple of months back and thought you might be able to give me more insight.



The question I was responding to was from a lady asking about sending out postcards but she didn’t want to mail “ordinary” postcards to a farm area or a personal mailing list. She wanted something really unique – something outside the box. As I hear this sort of thing all the time (and recognize it as a destructive idea) I told her that her problem was not that she wasn’t outside the box with her thinking and her postcard program but that she wasn’t IN the box yet. Few agents are suffering from not being “outside the box”. They think they are but their real problem is they haven’t gotten “inside the box” yet.

There are certain fundamentals in any industry, profession or activity. There are correct ways of doing almost anything. The people at the top (of almost any activity) have mastered the fundamentals of that activity. They aren’t always endlessly looking for a “brand new” (never been done before) way to do something but first take the time to learn the existing way of doing it. And they learn it well.

Please understand that I am not protesting or attempting to inhibit innovation of any type. Forward progress is accomplished by people attempting new things and exploring new ideas. In any area where real advancement is happening the people there are trying new things. Google is a perfect example of this – they became the dominant search engine used on earth by changing the way their searches were done. While all of the other search engines (at least at that time) based their rankings on the frequency of what words were found on a site (including the hidden or “meta” words), Google based their search rankings on how often other sites linked to the page. In other words, they made their search results a sort of huge popularity contest for the entire internet – who else seemed to think this page was important, and what was the popularity of THAT page that linked to the page. Yes, this was a new look at something that had been around a while. But the people involved knew ALL of the fundamentals of how it was currently being done, which was what enabled them to see what they saw and have the insight they did, when they looked. Experts see things when they look at an area that ordinary folks don’t see at all. In a totally different area – Mixed Martial Arts, there has been more advancement in the last ten years for these athletes than in the past 1,000 years. Ten years ago, the top – at the time virtually unbeatable fighters could take on all contenders (sometimes 4 or more in a single night) and win, regardless of their opponents size. Now those same fighters are easily beaten by fighters who learned what they know and combined it with what they already knew. Lesson here? Learn and be able to apply all of the basics.

No one is really going to get all the way out of the box until they get all the way IN the box!

What is your goal? What do you really intend to accomplish? Is that what you actually want? Getting started in this business can be rough because most of us tend to learn by by seeing it done. The problem with this approach for the real estate brokerage business is that most of what you will see would lead a person to the conclusion that you can work really hard and still wind up failing. Look around and what you mostly see IS failure. Even “making 100k” in commissions isn’t making 100k – it is grossing 100k and by the time you pay all of your expenses you are really “making” about $60,000. Take a look around at top agents. The really successful ones. If you were to go around and meet and talk with several hundred of them you might be amazed to observe that most of their marketing and the things they do are not “fantastically unique” or different. Oh sure, organizations like Starpower put a huge emphasis on unique and “the latest thing” (and in spite of this, I still think of them as the very best and most useful organization for Realtors who want to get ahead) but the “secret” the successful agents have is THEY KNOW THE BASICS. Get more contacts to get more appointments to get more listings. It is almost too simple, really – there just HAS to be something complicated about it.

So what is stopping you? It could be someone. But it is common that the “someone” is oneself. The sequence of obtaining anything is (also from L. Ron Hubbard) NAME – WANT – GET. To get anything you have to be able to exactly name it. What IS it? Exactly. If one can not NAME it, there is no chance of causatively wanting it or getting it. If one can name it they would then need to WANT it. Here is where you may be having a bit of a problem. Change “I want to be successful” to “I have an income of 200k a year from real estate sales” . (you need about double what you want to net – and the goal must be SPECIFIC). Now …. do you want the goal? Really? Making 200k a year in real estate sales is factually easier than making less than 100k in gross commissions. A lot easier. Do you WANT it? Totally? (hint: if the answer is an unqualified yes – you already are making that much) No no, that can’t be true! I really want it, honest I do. Sure, but you also have other “wants” that are in direct conflict with that particular want. When someone has an “unqualified want” there is nothing that comes between them and the goal. Nothing. “Well I can’t work then because I would miss out on X”. “I’m not going to go out and knock on doors – I’m a professional”. My point here isn’t to encourage door knocking but to give a couple of examples, there are hundreds, if not thousands of examples you may be able to think of yourself. Achieving success (at anything) is about 90% “mental”. It is almost never the specific circumstances or conditions one finds themselves in or happens to have that are “the reason”. One wants something and DECIDES they are going to get it. Again, NAME, WANT are the two first parts. Exactly named (specific and exact targets that could be checked off as “done” are the only ones that qualify) and then UNCONDITIONAL want. Any thought (your own or someone else’s) that is in conflict with the goal is “bad”. Ignore it and pay no attention to that sort of idea – it is in conflict with the goal.

When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible. – Nido Qubein

There are three possible answers to any question of “Do you want it?” – YES, NO and MAYBE. At the root of any problem you have ever had or will have is the MAYBE. Maybe is yes and no fused together. You want it and don’t want it at the same time. This is the anatomy of a problem – opposing goals, opposing force. Get rid of the maybe and you have just solved the problem. Keep the maybe and you keep the problem. All “techniques” and methods simply smooth out the GET part of the cycle. The better one’s technology the easier it is to GET the prize. But with intention alone one can start to move in the direction of what they want, providing they want it and have no counter intention. This is the process of how someone “flips the switch”. You write your goals – exactly. What do you want? Put it in writing. If you like, make it an affirmation as a statement that you already have achieved. See it. How does it feel to have accomplished that? Now notice how you have “other thoughts” about how you are sort of lying – you don’t have it. Write on a list you keep someplace private every one of those thoughts – ANY thought that is in conflict with your goal goes on the list. It makes no difference where it came from or who said it (may well have come from you when you were tired or hungry) it does not matter. You want to get it out of your head and onto a list so you can recognize it as “something to be ignored” should it pop up again. Every day put your attention on HAVING ALREADY ACHIEVED THE GOAL. Make it real. It is yours. You aren’t waiting any longer for the correct viewpoint – you CREATE it.

The secret to productive goal setting is in establishing clearly defined goals, writing them down and then focusing on them several times a day with words, pictures and emotions as if we’ve already achieved them. Denis Waitley