Focus on the Small Wins, Not the Big Victories

People in real estate tend to be competitive. Really competitive.

The upside of that drive is we show up, use skill and action plans, overcome obstacles, solve problems, and press on courageously to get the job done. When we are successful, we acknowledge, are rewarded for, and celebrate the big victory.

The relentless pursuit of success often causes us to ignore the countless daily small wins. Those small wins and the knowledge base we establish from our daily small accomplishments are key building blocks that create our long-term success.

The downside of this passing glance at what we achieve—and fail to acknowledge—between our big victories is that there are many problems that compound. Stress, fatigue, burnout, and the consequent medical problems are commonplace for us. We push through the day and often end it saying things like, “What happened today? I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything!” “I was supposed to make 20 calls today, and I only had two meetings and dug into my email.” “I only got my calls done today and didn’t have a networking lunch or make it through my email.” Unless we accomplish the big victory, we succumb to regular criticism for the lack of what we accomplished instead of celebrating the small wins we do accomplish daily.

How insulted would you be if you received the criticism you barrage yourself with from your family, friends, or colleagues? Would you allow your child to say to you what you say to yourself? Yet what we don’t allow others to say to us we say quietly to ourselves, daily. Garbage in, garbage out applies just as much to the conversations we have with ourselves as to our spreadsheets, and research shows the brain remains malleable, constantly rewiring itself based on new data, which backs up the garbage in, garbage out effects.

How can we change this habit of negative self-talk and replace it with recognition and celebration of our day-to-day achievements? How do we create the neural pathways to focus instead on the daily wins? I have developed a system I call the Win Journal©, and I challenge you to give it a try for just nine days. It takes an insignificant amount of time and creates a rapid, noticeably compounding difference.

Here are the instructions: Note: It is important to write this out by hand. The effect is stronger.

  1. Get a small notebook or allocate part of your daily handwritten journal to your wins.
  2. Over the nine days, label the top of the dedicated section “WINS.”
  3. Throughout the day, write down what is normally insignificant yet really relevant.
    1. For example: Got up on time, didn’t hit the snooze button, ate healthy, drank 5 glasses of water, kissed my sweetheart and told them I loved them, worked out, called a friend, spent time with my kids, recognized a colleague, helped a stranger, wasn’t late for my meeting, wrote in my win journal two days in a row. It does NOT matter if you do these things every day and they are now routine. It does not matter how irrelevant you think it may be. Recognize as many of the small wins as you can—and write them down!
  4. Then, each day, pick one of these wins that feels good to you. It does not matter how big, small, or irrelevant it is. Just pick one.
  5. Write down: How did achieving this win make me feel? What can I do to replicate this win? What wins can I build on top of this one? Do not worry if you cannot answer much of the above. Just let it flow.
  6. At the end of the week, read through all your wins.
  7. On Monday, read through them again.
  8. Keep going.

When you catch yourself beating yourself up, pause, and read through the wins you have written down. After reading, add a few more.

Kevin Hall, author of the book Aspire said, “The words we speak and the thoughts we think are us and our future.”  True to Hall’s words, by recognizing the daily small wins, over time you will experience how much you actually and constantly achieve and how important those small wins matter in the big picture. Choosing the words you speak to yourself molds your mind. The new habits of recognizing the wins will overpower the negative self-talk. A big victory!

Please let me know your thoughts after you have given it the nine days. And one final request: please pass it along to someone else you think it may help.

 

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