You don’t know why, but the days just seem to drag on. You’re not as excited about this job like you once were, and you’re wondering if this is the beginning of the end for you as a broker. Sound familiar?
Whether it’s a genuine career slump or just a brief dip in motivation, what you’re feeling is normal—and it happens to the best of brokers. But you don’t have to stay stuck. Today, we’re bringing you four fresh ideas for summoning up that extra get-up-and-go when your tank’s nearly empty.
1. Get the paper clips out.As a broker, there are just certain things you have to do day in and day out. Picking up the phone is one of them. But let’s face it, calling contacts can sometimes feel like a slog, especially if your energy’s zapped.
The best way to recharge your motivation? Turn it into a personal challenge or a game. A great example comes from James Clear, who tells how a young stock broker named Trent Dyrsmid used paper clips to keep his motivation up and build his book of business to $5 million in just a year and a half.
His method was simple: he would place two jars on his desk, one empty and one filled with 120 paper clips. Then, he would pick up the phone and start dialing. For each call he made, he’d move a paper clip from one jar to the other. Simple, but surprisingly effective.
“Every morning I would start with 120 paper clips in one jar and I would keep dialing the phone until I had moved them all to the second jar,” Dyrsmid says. The paperclips were a simple visual cue that reminded him of his goals each day, and that reflected his progress as the day went on.
Try this out for yourself. A visual cue like the paper clips is a great motivator: as you see the actual progress you make towards your goal, you get more excited to see it through. (There’s a psychological reason this works, and it’s called the Endowment Effect.)
2. Don’t break the chain.To keep the motivation flowing from one day to the next, try out Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” technique. Brad Isaac, then an aspiring comic who ran into Seinfeld at an open mic night, recounts a spectacular piece of advice that the comedian once gave him:
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said that for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
If you combine the paperclip method with Seinfeld’s tip, you’ve suddenly got two powerful visual motivators to keep you going. Remember: achieving your goals is about nothing more than putting in the small steps, day after day, red X by red X, until they add up to something big.
3. Try working less.
Brokers’ hours can be unforgiving, and sometimes it seems like they spill out into your morning, lunch, evening, and dreams (or does that technically make them nightmares?). So if you find yourself sleep-talking about your current deal, it may be time to scale it back.
That sounds like the last thing you want to do, right? But consider this: if you’re trying to work while you’re totally drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually, what you’re doing may not be “work” so much as “walking around in a zombie-like haze.” Instead of staring at the phone or flipping between emails and social feeds for eight hours, wouldn’t it be better to just knock out 3-4 hours of solid work and call it a day?
While it seems counterintuitive, working a little bit less may be just the cure for your motivational slump. Think about it: by setting a limit to how much work (or specific work tasks) you’ll do each day, you actually challenge yourself to be more productive in that abbreviated time period. You stop wondering, “How many more hours of this?!” and start thinking, “Great! Let’s see exactly how much I can accomplish in the next hour.”
4. Find the one thing that’s missing in your life, and add it back.You are a complete person—not just a broker. So if you’ve skimped on doing the things you enjoy, it’s time to add them back into your life.
We know, it’s so easy to say, “I’ll have time for all of that stuff after I finally tackle this to-do list or after I win this deal or after I get this next client.” The only problem is that once you accomplish those things, what’s waiting for you is more of those same things: more to-dos to add to the list, more deals to win, more clients to connect with. And so you never make your way back to the things that you loved doing—those things that made you you.
Whether it’s being social, spending time on a hobby, or simply getting to the gym, make room for it. Studies have shown the creative hobbies can have a positive impact on your work life, and that regular exercise can boost your creativity, mental clarity, and powers of concentration. So even if it feels like there’s no room for the fun stuff in your day, adding some of it back into your life can have an energizing effect on your work, which we think more than pays off in the long run!