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Gratitude: The path out of any real estate rut

Do you ever feel frustrated, stuck, stressed or lacking direction in real estate? There’s a simple solution to changing your mindset immediately and getting right back on track as a result. Get out of frustration and into gratitude. Showing it, feeling it and living it. You’ll have nearly instant results!

Cicero called gratitude the parent of all virtues. The dictionary states that gratitude is the quality or state of being thankful. The more gratitude you show, the more you will personally feel it. This translates into a more fulfilled life, with less stress, angst and worry. Lose those 3 a.m. real estate night sweats forever! Overtly show your thanks and you’ll find that you will achieve your own goals and feel more content along your journey.

Here are 21 different ways to express gratitude to your friends, your family, people in your center of influence, your prospects and clients. You’ll become the person everyone wants to be around; the person that makes others feel great, and the person you’ve always wanted to be.

1. Write five thank-you notes daily

It’s been proven that the simple act of writing thank you cards creates happiness not just for the receiver, but for the sender. Studies have shown the long-lasting effects of this act of gratitude. By showing thanks, we become more grateful.

How to send five cards, five days a week: Start by reflecting on the experiences you’ve had over the past 48 hours. Who are you most grateful to? Did someone give you a random compliment, or do a fantastic job at the hair salon, the pharmacy or the car dealer? Take a moment to recognize them.

Next, you can scan your social media for significant events happening to people in your sphere of influence, past clients and other contacts. Instead of just hitting the ‘like’ online, send them an actual handwritten card. This is a great way to reinforce your relationships.

Be specific when you write your cards. “I’m so grateful for the kindness you showed me when I was feeling distraught last week. You really helped me and I appreciate you. I’ll never forget your support!”

Invest in good quality, non-Realtor-y stationery, and use a nice pen. You can find lots of options online. My favorites are and

Choose something with a front door theme or another cozy feel.

Use ‘commemorative’ stamps instead of generic stamps, which you can get at any post office or

2. Keep a gratitude journal

When researchers asked people to reflect on their past week and write about things that either irritated the or about which they felt grateful, those tasked with writing down positive experiences and observations were more optimistic, felt better about their lives and got sick less!

Choose a journal that feels good to write in and your favorite pen, so you’ll look forward to jotting down your moments of gratitude every day. Read through your journal on days when you just can’t find your motivation or feel like you’re simply stuck in a rut.

3. Say a kind word

Make someone feel good about themselves unexpectedly. This is sometimes called, ‘practicing random acts of kindness.’

You can change someone’s day completely with one simple compliment or tiny gift. It doesn’t take anything away from you to make them feel special.

4. Listen more than you speak

Be fascinated by the person who is speaking to you, instead of looking around, checking your phone, or getting ready to make the conversation circle back to yourself. Make eye contact, and listen with the intent to remember, not just to respond.

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

5. Bring someone cookies or flowers

Make dinner for someone who is recovering from an illness or just had a baby.

Pop some cookies by the new build reps at the model homes. Bring your mortgage lender a Starbucks gift card. Chat with the bank manager when you deposit your checks and give them some homemade cookies.

6. Post a positive review

You use different products and services every single day. When something or someone is exceptional, recognize them online! When they thank you, you can always talk about real estate and ask whom they know who could use your help.

7. Show your gratitude overtly and enthusiastically

Don’t be like everyone else and give the token ‘thanks.’

Instead, be more expressive with phrases like, “You really saved my life on that one!” or “That compliment you gave me really made my day!”

8. Notice and compliment specific things about people

We can all name people who are always smiling, tell the best jokes, have the best manners or are always dressed to the nines. Recognize them by being specific.

9. Volunteer to support other people’s causes

Pay attention to the charitable events your sphere of influence and past clients are involved in. Support them whenever you can, not just by donating money, but by showing up and contributing your time and support.

Be public about this. Post and link your social media. Promote their event and participate at a high level.

10. Be gracious when you’re challenged

Show respect and manners even if you’re in serious disagreement. Take the high road. You don’t always have to argue as if you’re in a death match. The other person may have something valuable to offer, in spite of being in contention with you. You set the tone.

The Stoic Marcus Aurelius famously stated that ‘You don’t have to have an opinion on that.’ Don’t be opinionated on every last thing. It’s exhausting to you and you can alienate others.

11. Be good at accepting compliments

You’re so kind, thank you for your lovely words!” Or “How thoughtful of you to notice that!”

Have some scripts so you improve your acceptance of compliments and aren’t weird about it. Awkwardness is often mistaken for ingratitude.

12. When someone gives you something, always show it off

Even if something isn’t your style or vibe, show it off. If they gave you a book, put it on your desk or on the shelves behind you where you shoot your social media videos or pictures. Put the flowers on your desk or wear that scarf when you meet for coffee. Show your appreciation!

Don’t act like the kid in ‘The Christmas Story’ when his aunt gives him the bunny suit!

13. Let people know when you’re thinking of them

Whenever you can share your experiences with friends, past clients or sphere of influence folks, let them know.

Try to make them laugh… “I thought of you when I was at the dentist today… I was remembering the time you told me about your funny experience!”

14. Pay it forward

When you see someone behind you in line counting their dollar bills, give the cashier five or ten dollars toward their bill. If you know someone who’s struggling, drop off a twenty-dollar gas card or grocery gift card. A little bit can go a long way.

If you’re checking out somewhere and have 30 items in your cart, but the little old lady behind you is buying a gallon of milk, let her go in front of you!

15. When you say sorry, be sincere and specific

Even when you don’t feel you’re entirely wrong, remember you don’t always have to be right. A proper apology acknowledges that someone feels hurt, recognizes why that was and contains a commitment to make it right.

16. Tip really well for good service

Write a little note on the receipt: “Thanks for taking such good care of us!” Leave your business card when you tip.

17. Learn and use people’s names

Learn what people prefer to be called by, how to correctly pronounce their name and if they use a nickname or shortened name. Ask if you’re not sure! Learn the names of your UPS driver, your mail carrier, your pharmacist, the manager of your bank, the manager of your grocery store and the name of the school nurse.

Everyone desires more repeat and referral business. You have to give before you receive. One of the easiest ways to expand your sphere is to expand who you know and interact with them frequently.

In order to connect the dots and remember everyone, add them to your smartphone in your contacts with notes about how you know them and specific things you want to remember. ‘Susie Smith, Sarah’s Mom, met her at school. She works at ABC Bank and her husband is an executive at Telecom Inc’, for example.

18. Say yes more than you say no

If you’re always saying no, or seeming too busy all the time, people will eventually stop asking you to participate. This is not good for you personally or for your business.

Pay special attention to events and clubs which your past clients and sphere of influence contacts participate in or run. Support them whenever possible!

19. Donate your duplicate things

No one needs five spatulas, 10 scarves or six flower vases. Share your abundance with those less fortunate. There are many charities who will come to your home or office and pick up your donations.

Better yet, host a clothing drive, toy drive or food drive at your home or office. Post this on your social media, get a press release and do good for your community.

20. Help a neighbor out

Shovel, blow leaves or cut the grass of your neighbor when you do your own. Or rake the sand if you live in the desert!

Get to know your elderly or disabled neighbors and assist them whenever you can. Even bringing in groceries from their car can make their day much easier.

21. Be a Secret Santa or secret philanthropist

You can go to any Target or Walmart and ask for the manager to help you select a few families who have low-dollar ‘layaway’ items. Pay them off anonymously.

Lots of people have toys set away for kids’ birthdays or Christmas, where they’re paying a few dollars towards a $50 layaway. You can make an impact easily and inexpensively.

Scientific research shows that people who habitually engage in exercises of gratitude, such as the 21 we just suggested, show increased satisfaction with their relationships as well as greater physical and mental health.

We haven’t done a scientific study on real estate professionals practicing gratitude regularly, but we’re willing to bet that those 3 a.m. real estate night sweats will stop happening when you practice gratitude regularly. You’ll be more optimistic, more enthusiastic, more confident and more profitable. We have no doubt!

Choose which of these acts of gratitude and kindness you’ll integrate into your life and start enjoying ever-increasing levels of happiness. Share your stories and set an example! You’ll be glad you did.

Tim and Julie Harris host a podcast for Realtors called Real Estate Coaching Radio. They’ve been professional real estate coaches for more than 20 years, helping agents succeed in many different market conditions.

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