Why Getting the Silver is Better Than Gold (On Achieving Big Dreams)

I study success for a living…I obsess over success.  Specifically, I’m in the business of growing huge business empires.  I’m working on building a real estate empire that mirrors the likes of Google and Zappos where someday the waiting list of people who want to work at my firm will be endless. I am building an empire where the mission, vision, and company philosophy attract amazing people to the tribe. Today my friend Karen, a fellow success addict, sent me a Ted Talk about success that reframed the way I will look at success and failure forever.

I recently went through a major rebranding of my company.  For fourteen years I had been growing a real estate empire under a major franchise.  In April, I left the franchise and took the agents with me….at least most of them.  This was one of the biggest, boldest, most audacious moves I’ve ever made in my career.  The circumstances of the change don’t matter at all for this blog post, but suffice it to say that I felt like there was no choice but to rebrand as an independent firm.  My partner and I worked with a team of advisors, coaches, attorneys, and accountants in order to ensure the move would be seamless.  We wanted to ensure that our 264 agents would see the value in the new independent brand.  We invested heavily to make sure signs, business cards, marketing materials, and an ad campaign were all ready the day of the announcement.  During the initial work, my advisors asked me over and over, “Realistically….how many agents will you lose?”  My answer….”Realistically…..none.  We will keep everyone.”

My partner told me I was crazy to assume that 100% of our agents would stick with us.  My coaches, consultants, attorneys, all told me to factor in a loss of 40-50% because people don’t like change.  I didn’t believe any of them.  I was confident we’d keep everyone.  I loved them all.  I was good at making sure they knew it.  I figured they loved me and my company back.  I was wrong.

We ended up losing 71 agents who decided to go back to the brand they were comfortable with…the brand they knew and loved.  It was devastating.  My consultants, coaches, and advisors kept telling me, “You are winning!  You’ve kept more than 70% of your agent base.  You are doing fantastic!”  I didn’t feel like I was winning when people I loved and cared about walked out the door.  I felt like I was failing.

During this process I went back to doing what I do best.  I reformatted my vision board (my master bathroom mirror is one big vision board).  I went back to reading Think and Grow Rich for the bazillionth time in my career.  I stuck with my affirmations.  I clung to my running and exercising.  I read books and dove into learning new business skills with vigor.  I also went back to doing the one thing I do better than anyone else in my business…..recruiting and retaining talented people for my organization.  In three short months my partner and I added 35 new sales associates to our firm.  We took our focus off of the losses and redirected our focus back to where it belonged….opportunity.  At the rate we are growing we will exceed our original agent count by fall.  Not only that…we are building a firm of agents that believe in our vision and our mission.

So…back to the Ted Talk about success.  This talk is about how success in and of itself is not what propels us to our dreams.  What propels us is a series of near wins.  When we get really, really, really close to achieving our big dream, it propels us to the top way faster than if we just achieved our goal right off the bat.  There are studies which show that silver medalists, those who just miss the gold, obsess over the gold and because of this obsession, they are much more likely to eventually achieve the gold medal, unlike the bronze medalists who are just happy to have not come in fourth.  In other words, those that achieve HUGE dreams are the ones who have a series of NEAR WINS in their lives and those NEAR WINS propel them to work harder, try harder, and to stop at nothing to get to their destination.

Upon watching this Ted Talk it was abundantly clear that I am in a much better position for having lost almost 30% of my agent base, because that near win propels me every day to grow the best damned real estate empire in New England.  If I continue to grow at the speed I have grown these past three months, then I will add 140 agents per year.  After the fall out from my rebranding, I only had 190 agents that worked in my company.  At my current rate of growth I will have 330 agents in one short year.  That’s without any additional help…that’s just me and my partner putting our absolute focus on winning.  What if we had won on day one?  What if we had kept all 260 agents that were with us on the day of the announcement?  Would we still have added 35 talented team members in three months?  I doubt it.  We would have grown but not at that rate.  It was the loss….the heartache… the NEAR WIN that propelled me and my partner to do whatever it takes to win.

I am not unique in my situation.  I see people make near wins every day.  My friend Amy just switched mortgage brands and she lost some of her talent who wanted to stay with the old brand.  It’s hard watching her go through it, but I know it’s shaping her destiny to build something awesome.  She needed that loss in order to break through to awesome greatness.  If she had kept her entire team and had 100% support like she expected, she’d be in a weaker position because there’d be no gasoline to propel her.  Now that she’s felt the heartache of loss…she’s felt that cold shoulder of the non-believers….NOW she’s ready to take on the world.

Success is great….it’s what we all want, but what’s even better than success is when you don’t quite achieve your dream.  Failure is the best medicine for those of us who bravely go after the most incredulous, farfetched dreams.  Fail big and success is yours for the taking.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Letting Go of Your Dream Stealers

Do you have any dream stealers in your life?  They are those people who just step on, spit on, and discount your big dreams in life?  Dream stealers come in all shapes and sizes. They are sometimes easy to spot. They are the ones that tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t do whatever it is you’ve set your mind to accomplish.  Sometimes dream stealers are a little less obvious.  For example, I recently made a big change in my business and I had some longtime friends that told me they believed I would build an amazing business empire and that they were even proud of me, but their actions told me a different story, because as much as they “believed” in my dreams, they were going to work elsewhere.  Whether it be through their words or their actions, dream stealers will come and go from your life and it’s your job to keep showing them the door.  You cannot achieve your Big Hairy Audacious Goals in life if you surround yourself with dream stealers.  Your success is dependent upon your ability to surround yourself with a support network of those that believe in you 100%.

By the way, nobody was put on this earth to believe in you.  That is to say, dream stealers are not bad people….often times they are amazing people.  They are smart, well spoken, givers.  They are people you love.  These are high quality awesome people in all regards, they just don’t believe in you.  That’s what makes letting go of dream stealers so difficult.  Sometimes we love the dream stealers in our lives.  They will, however, hold you back.  So, the question is, how badly do you want to fulfill your dreams?

I have been reading and re-reading what has recently become one of my top 10 favorite books of all time, The Millionaire Fastlane.  In this book by MJ DeMarco, he says that dream stealers are like a headwind to a plane.  Headwinds slow the plane down making the journey longer than it needs to be.  On the other hand, a tailwind which blows from the back of the plane makes it go faster…it pushes the plane to it’s destination with ease and cuts the travel time exponentially.  As DeMarco puts it in his book, dream stealers are like headwinds, and they will slow your journey down.  You do, however, have the ability to turn those dream stealers into tailwinds by turning your back to them.  When you turn your back on a dream stealer, you turn them from a headwind into a tailwind.  Block out their disbelief in you and instead surround yourself with the believers….the people who are as committed to your success as you are. My greatest wish for everyone who reads my articles is this – I hope you have Big Dreams.  I dare you to live out loud!  I beg you to flirt with huge goals that scare you.  You can be, do, and have ANYTHING.  Start letting go of the dream stealers in your life.  Clean house!  Your greatness is a byproduct of your own big dreams, your belief in yourself, and your ability to surround yourself with an army of people who believe in you.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.