Real Estate is an entrepreneurial business. Each agent or broker who makes it, puts his or her heart, soul, spirit, effort, professional and personal self on the line every day. In some ways, this puts you a step ahead of the general population, because it’s unlikely you went into the risks of entrepreneurship for something you didn’t feel passionate about. Sure, some people are only in for the money, but, from experience, they don’t end up succeeding as well as those who do it for the love of the industry itself, the freedom of self-employment, and the ability to have just that little bit more control over their lives. With risk comes reward, and that reward is job satisfaction.
I recently saw a blog post on motivation by Chester Elton, co-author of What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work, with Adrian Gostick, and it struck a chord. Elton wrote about his 20+ year career as a consultant, particularly the last 10 years, in which he and his team conducted three research studies on workplace trends, comprising more than 850,000 interviews. All those interviews, all that research, all that data answered some questions. More than that, it highlighted a “key difference in those people who are most energized on the job.”
So what is that key difference? Well, Elton says, “The happiest have aligned more of their work with their core motivations. As for those people who are most unhappy at work, as you might expect, their jobs are out of whack with what they are passionate about.”
One of the key findings is that most people who are unhappy and lack passion feel overwhelmed and powerless to change things, because many of them are waiting (without end) for a manager to step in and save things. But, guess what? As a real estate professional, chances are good that you are your manager. You can make changes and pursue your passion. You can do what you love every day and achieve true job satisfaction.
“In our research,” says Elton, “we have found that each individual is driven by a unique set, or blend, of internal and external drivers. Every person on this planet has a thumbprint-like makeup of what makes him or her most happy 9-to-5 (and in the rest of life); and those thumbprints vary considerably.”
Elton’s team of behavioral scientists mined a decade of data to identify 23 workplace motivators that ranged from creativity to impact, and developing others to money.
“The bottom line is this: If we want to be happily engaged in our work and performing at our fullest potential, we’ve got to look inside and understand a few of these specific motivators that drive us. All of us host a unique blend of motivations that should guide us in sculpting the work life that’s right for us,” Elton says.
Here’s the really great news: the happiest people interviewed didn’t make huge changes to their career paths, they didn’t up and quit; what they did was make strategic course corrections to the path they were already on. You’re on the right track. If you’re not totally satisfied, it may only require a little tweaking or modification. Elton and Gostick call this “job sculpting.”
“There are individuals and teams among us who are deeply fulfilled by their work, who are passionate about what they do, and are energized when Monday comes. So what’s their secret? In most cases, they have taken control of their careers. When our jobs give us the opportunity to do more of the kinds of things that satisfy our key motivations, we are naturally happier and more engaged.”
It’s not an easy process, but let’s face it – if you wanted easy you wouldn’t be self-employed; you wouldn’t have chosen a real estate profession. You make hard choices every day. It’s not too much to ask that you make decisions that put you on the path to real professional satisfaction. It will spill over into all areas of your life.