By now, you might be at a comfortable place in life. But if you’re anything like us at Discover Pubs, comfort feels weird. It feels unnatural, fraudulent… lazy. For those of us who demand success out of life, our most exciting years are our hungriest. Remember your early days selling real estate, or whatever you did to get your start? How insatiable, unstoppable… how motivated you were? That motivation fueled momentum, which made it possible for you to persist through obstacle after obstacle. Lest we ever get complacent, I think it’s important to continually refuel our momentum tanks.
There’s a great book – maybe you’ve read it – by Ivan Misner and Don Morgan called Masters of Success. It’s a compilation summing up the best advice from some of the best “achievers” of our era. It has a permanent home in my Success Book collection and it’s my inspiration for this article. While the book is mainly about persistence, there’s an underlying theme of each of these influential people getting – and keeping – the ball in motion. A lack of persistence will indeed bring a business owner to his knees, but momentum is what accelerates that persistence. Momentum makes it easier to push on; much like going up the mountain with the wind instead of against it. Let’s take a moment and look at what momentum is, and then how Tony Robbins and John Maxwell teach us to create it.
What is Momentum?
Merriam-Webster defines momentum as “strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.” Momentum is different from motivation, positivity, focus, and persistence, though we often hear it used interchangeably with these terms. Have you ever heard these?
“Think of rejection as a step closer to your next sale, and you’ll keep momentum!” That’s a good thing to do, but constant rejection is unlikely to build momentum. This strategy is helping you maintain a positive attitude (which is essential in not losing momentum if you have it).
“Let’s get some serious momentum going and make 100 calls today!” Great! But that’s more like persistence.
“I really need more momentum, I’m so distracted.” You need focus, sir.
“That speaker really got the momentum going!” Hearing a speech, or reading this or anything like it, is not going to give you momentum. Action produces momentum. The better word is motivation.
Momentum, as Merriam-Webster writes, is indeed a force. You can’t just flip the switch and have it. Focus, a positive attitude, persistence, and seeking motivation are choices we make, and I believe they all are critically important to a mind frame which will cultivate momentum. These things can all be done in an instant, however momentum takes a little longer to build. But the great thing about momentum is that it doesn’t build upon itself in a linear way. Rather, once the wheels start to turn, they spin faster and faster. Gaining momentum is easy when we’re overly passionate about obtaining a result, because that passion ignites fires to focus, persist, stay positive, and be resourceful. Unfortunately, later in our business life we may need to be more intentional about building momentum – perhaps our passion to succeed isn’t burning as brightly as it was when we were young and hungry. So, then, how do we build momentum for our business when we find it is no longer happening naturally?
Let’s ask Tony Robbins!
In December of 2015, Tony Robbins shared his strategy for creating momentum with an audience at one of his conferences (watch the video HERE). Here’s what he says: “How do you make [energy] sustainable? Create the base… If you’ve got a base, you challenge and grow… Then you’ve got to celebrate and reward yourself… and that celebration enhances your base, because you feel better and stronger and you want to do even more… And then your base gets even stronger so you can take on an even bigger challenge in life. And sure enough you reward yourself and celebrate some more and it becomes how the rich get richer, how the happy get happier, how the healthy get healthier, and the poor get poorer, and the depressed get more depressed, and the unhealthy get more unhealthy. It’s momentum.”
Let’s look at this advice a little deeper. He is telling us to begin by creating a base, which I interpret as getting moving – taking action – to accomplish a goal. For those of us in Real Estate, that may mean suiting up and beginning a door knocking campaign to get 10 listing appointments, and out of that, 6 listings. Next, he says to challenge and grow beyond the base. In this example, that could mean to review what we’re saying to homeowners and how they’re responding, and tweaking our message. Or it could mean that we aren’t doing enough activity, that to get 10 appointments we’ve got to knock on a hundred more doors than we thought. This step means to review and recalibrate – or to hone by continual improvement. Finally, he says to celebrate and reward. Say we hit our goal of 6 new listings and we take our exhausted (and elated) team of agents out for happy hour. Celebrating our successes, Tony explains, is what sparks our feel-good reward response, which causes us to want more success. So, we go back and say, “we’re going to keep at this, and this time we’re going to get 8 listings!” That’s a return to the first step. And how will we go from 6 to 8 listings? By challenging the process and improving it (which is step 2), which will get results and give us another reason to celebrate (which is step 3!). What is this, friends? It’s momentum – a roadmap for cultivating a cycle of success that builds upon itself.
To recap Tony’s system for building momentum:
- Build a base: as Nike would say, just do it, but do it with a goal to achieve.
- Challenge and grow: improve your system. Do more, demand more, refine.
- Celebrate and reward: when you hit your goal, bust out the bubbly (if that’s your thing).
- Go back to step one, with a stronger base, and set a higher goal. Repeat.
What can John Maxwell teach us about momentum?
John Maxwell has written several books on management that helped me early in my career – he offers pragmatic, easy to apply wisdom reminiscent of a good father’s advice. In one of his books, How Successful People Lead, he writes about momentum. Where Tony Robbins teaches us to create momentum personally, here John Maxwell shows us how it can be done at the organizational level. Where does it start in a group? Is it similar to developing personal momentum, with a procedural base? No. It starts with people.
He says there are three types of people on your team:
- Momentum Makers: Producers who “make things happen”
- Momentum Takers: People who “go along for the ride”
- Momentum Breakers: People who cause problems and hurt morale
How true that is! He goes on to say that as leaders, we must focus most of our attention on enabling Momentum Makers to have the greatest possible impact. If you head up a team of agents, these would be your top producers, your best inside salespeople, and could even be your marketing or administrative assistant. John then says that we ought to train the Momentum Makers to help lead the Momentum Takers, with the philosophy that they will be motivated by their Momentum Maker counterparts. Finally, he says to sit down with the Momentum Breakers and tell them where they’re falling short. Give them an opportunity to improve, and if they don’t, let them go. In my own experience, and perhaps in yours as well, most of the time they unfortunately do not rise to the challenge (at least not in the long run). I have heard often to “fire fast,” but I, like John, believe that giving them a chance to improve is the right thing to do. This is especially important if one of your Breakers was at one time productive. They have the right stuff, it just got lost in in a personal crisis or professional setback, so it’s worth it to ask them how you can help them get it back.
John Maxwell’s approach to building team momentum is to build solid relationships among team members upon a foundation of “positional rights,” or certain powers or autonomies you give to staff whom have demonstrated they can handle it. Then, leverage the results of productivity – perhaps by celebrating a success, as Tony teaches – and a properly knit team will thrive. “…You will gain momentum,” writes John, “And when you do, you’ll find your work comes to fruition more quickly.”
A final thought on momentum
In parting, it’s our hope that you find time to put some of these practices to work. It is all too easy to get complacent. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As John Maxwell preaches, if we’re fortunate enough to have a staff, we can transfer what was once our own personal momentum to an entire, unstoppable team in motion! But staff or not, the buck stops with you, and it’s important to remember that momentum doesn’t just happen upon us. We can follow some simple steps to create it, long after the wildfire of our early business years. Go get ‘em!