Let me share an example. My father had open-heart surgery a few years ago. He was blessed to have an excellent heart surgeon. That was exactly what this doctor did — heart surgery, and only heart surgery. There was an anesthesiologist who put my father to sleep. There was another surgeon who retrieved a vein out of my father’s leg and prepared it for by-pass. There was another surgeon who opened the chest cavity and readied the heart. After all those functions were complete, the heart surgeon stepped in for his part. He completed his bypass sections of the surgery and left the others to complete the operation. Do you have the skills and the systems to run your business that way? What would your production look like if you did? How balanced would your life be with this type of a business?
If you had that level of sales skills and consultation skills, you would be paid better than that heart surgeon is paid. There are more people who truly need your services than there are who need a heart surgeon. You have a bigger market to sell your service in today than the heart surgeon has. The question is whether you are truly taking advantage of it and preparing yourself to win.
Abe Lincoln said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” He would spend two thirds of his time improving the tools that make him effective at work. What would your business look like if you spent time sharpening your axe?
What do we normally do? We start right in trying to chop down the tree. We don’t evaluate how best to chop down the tree. We just start chopping and hope that the tree will eventually fall. We keep swinging the axe until the sweat is pouring down before we evaluate if this is the best approach.
Most of us work to make progress in our life. By working hard, we make good time. But we are often making good time in the opposite direction from our desires in life. The problem is that we don’t know where we are going. Many of us have not clearly defined what we want. We also haven’t spent the time to sharpen our skills so that our efforts can produce much fruit.
Many speakers talk about being efficient. When your efficiency increases, they say, you have won the game. It is true that there is value in increasing your efficiency. Efficiency is great, as long as we are effective as well. But being highly effective is more important than being highly efficient. Let me give you an example. Being efficient is having the skills to drive at 70 mph versus being able to control a car only up to 55 mph. Being effective is taking the most direct route to drive from Denver to Chicago. If you are not focused on effectiveness, you may drive from Denver to Dallas to get to Chicago. The goal is Chicago; even if you can drive at 70 mph the whole way, going to Dallas first wipes out all of your efficiency gains. Take the time to ensure that you are heading directly in the direction you desire; that you are not taking the wrong turn; that you are not stuck on the turnpike of life with no exit for hundreds of miles.
You must spend time to focus on being effective, to “sharpen the axe.” What is your axe in the real estate business? Which tools do you need to spend time sharpening in order to be more effective? Most of us have quite a few things that we need to sharpen in our business. Select one thing that really needs your attention today. Don’t wait until tomorrow — do it now. Then work, focus and improve that one area, even if only for 30 minutes a day, to sharpen your axe. You will be amazed at the ease with which you can fell the big trees of life.