Our family has always had dogs, mostly rescues. We got our first-ever puppy – Bentley, the Sheepadoodle — four years ago this month!
If you’ve never had a puppy before, it’s like having a brand new baby with needle-sharp teeth, who enjoys biting you. They should be called Sharkadoodles.
Bentley has turned into a wonderful dog, and we love him. He’s a good boy, and more-or-less well-behaved, but this wasn’t always the case.
As a puppy, we took him to puppy training school, but he was such a high-energy, fun-loving little guy, all he wanted to do was play with the other puppies!
Puppy-training is really people-training, so we learned as much as we could, and gradually he got better and better. But training a puppy is a slow, methodical process, requiring patience and consistency.
We did have one experience where Bentley learned something in literally an instant.
Sometime after the puppy-training group class, we hired a private trainer. It turns out this guy had trained police dogs for years, so he definitely knew his stuff, but my wife and I were a bit shocked by some of the methods he used. Let’s put it this way: It wasn’t all about “positive reinforcement.”
One of the basic principles of dog training is that they are pack animals, and YOU must be the pack leader. For example, when you leave the house, you are to go first. The dog should never barge ahead of you.
He taught our puppy not to barge out the door ahead of us with this one simple lesson:
We weren’t expecting this at all. And honestly, the “slam” wasn’t hard enough to hurt the dog; it was more of a shock to him (and us) than anything.
But Bentley has NEVER forgotten.
Honestly, I said that the dog is “more-or-less” obedient. Truthfully, he’s got a stubborn streak and doesn’t listen perfectly all the time.
But when it comes to leaving the house, I open the door; he waits patiently for me, then he follows. EVERY time.
We never had this trainer back again, but I have to admit, this lesson was highly effective.
Not walking through the door ahead of us is hard-wired into Bentley’s brain.
I think this happens with us humans, too.
You tried going outside your comfort zone once; you had a bad experience. You’re never doing that again.
How much is this holding you back in your Real Estate career?
You knocked on a door once to invite a neighbour to your Open House, and the guy was a total jerk and bawled you out. You’re never doing that again.
You know you should be reconnecting with old clients, but last time you did it, they barely remembered you and it was awkward and embarrassing. You’re never doing that again.
A thousand other things. Maybe it has nothing to do with business, but you’re being held back in your personal life.
You mustered up the courage to ask someone out on a date, and they turned you down cold. You’re never doing that again.
You tried to have a hard conversation with a friend, and it went badly. You’re never doing that again.
We’ve all tried things in life, and experienced pain, or rejection, or embarrassment. ALL of us.
We ALL suffer the irrational avoidance of getting slammed in the door.
But you’re not a dog. You don’t have to allow one bad experience to hold you back for the rest of your life.
You can do what Bentley won’t do. Just decide you’re walking through that door. And do it.
If it helps, start with baby steps. If you’re not making phone calls you know you need to make, simply phone a friend you haven’t talked to for a while. That’s all for today.
The next day, phone another friend whom you haven’t talked to for a bit longer. Maybe you’re feeling a bit guilty about it? Make the call.
Guess what? Those friends are thrilled to hear from you. By taking baby steps, you’ll gradually gain confidence, and before you know it, you’ll be making all your calls every day, and feeling accomplished and successful, rather than fearful and frustrated by what you’re not doing.
Keep it up! The more you consistently overcome your irrational fears, the more desensitized you will become when you inevitably have another less-than-perfect experience. You’ll have had so many good experiences; the one bad one will seem like nothing. You can now laugh off the rare less-than-ideal experience, and carry on with accomplishing what you need to get done.
Think about a fear that is holding you back, and devise a plan to overcome it. Right now. What will be your first baby step?
Don’t worry, my friend. That door is NOT going to slam on you. I promise.
Walk through that doorway with courage and confidence.
12 X RE/MAX Chairman’s Club ($500K+) all as an individual agent (2006-2017)
Now, I teach good REALTORS® how to be great REALTORS®
Knowledge First Real Estate Training
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