Confessions from a Reflective Learner
Once upon a time, it was explained to me that each year you get older, that year represents less of your overall lifespan. It’s why summers as a 10-year-old child seemed to be so long and yet, as adults, we blink and a year shoots by. When you’re 10 years old, one year is 1/10th of your lifespan, when you’re 40, it’s 1/40th. That explanation makes sense as to how 2016 went by so quickly when in some ways, it seems as if it was just January of 2016.
When I was a business major at Fresno State, I had a business management class where the most interesting thing I recall learning was not about business, but about different styles of learning.
I’m what’s called a Reflective Learner
You see, I’m what’s called a Reflective Learner which can be a bit of a curse and blessing all at the same time.
Over time, I’ve learned and am still learning how to make it a constructive process and not perpetual torment. When you’re a reflective learner, you run every circumstance through your head in a never-ending cycle, searching for ways you could have handled a situation better. Second guessing your every move. Examining things you could have said different and been more effective, or less hurtful. Searching even further for how I can learn from a failure and get better as a result of it. It’s somewhat of an OCD loop if I’m being completely truthful.
Now that you have a bit of background on me, I’d like to share with you some of the biggest lessons learned in 2016 and as a result, my path forward in 2017. Needless to say, I put a lot of thought into this stuff throughout the year. Best-selling author, Seth Godin once said: “Show up each day and do the work that matters.” I love this quote as it defines my will to continually refine myself, my processes, and as a byproduct, my results.
Lesson’s Learned from 2016:
To Be Authentic:
In the last few weeks of 2015, I read a book by Gary Vaynerchuk called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook that had a profound impact on me throughout 2016. Gary Vee, as he’s become known, is a self-made marketing genius. I have learned a great deal from Gary and adopted many of our marketing techniques as a result of his writings. In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary talks about how to create the highest possible engagement strategies with your clients within different Social Media platforms. However, one of the most crucial aspects for success, is to be authentic. I’m learning to be my authentic self and it’s most likely a process that may never fully end.
You see, we’re all creatures of not just our upbringing, but also of social pressures. This is a pressure that we all face, and it can be relentless. From a very young age, we learn the art of fitting in with the crowd. The pressure of going along with the flow and not swimming up stream. From the language you use to the clothes you wear, to going to college, getting married and having kids, It’s societies prescribed path for what is considered normal behavior. If you sway from that “normal behavior” in any way, it starts making folks uncomfortable and you’ll begin feeling resistance. In a way, most people play the part of themselves in public, but it’s not the real “you” if they’re being completely honest.
As a result of this, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about whom exactly is the authentic Todd Mitchell. Integrity is very important to me and I’ve made it my mission to be a “you see what you get” type of guy. I will be the same guy regardless of the group of people I am with. I will dress the same way too. I no longer wear the suit, slacks and ties which is what I’ve always thought people expected of me in my profession. If you come meet with me, I’ll be me, in jeans and a button down and once in a while with a vest on. In fact, that’s how I dress most of the time and I’m pretty comfortable being me now and not playing the part of Todd Mitchell, business owner. There is a vast sea of people out in the world all trying to be EXACTLY the same. They dress the same, talk the same and act the same. I’ve learned that this is the wrong path for me and in early 2016, I abandoned it for good.
To Be a Story Teller:
Another crucially important lesson I’ve learned from Gary Vee was to be a storyteller in everything you do. The power of effective marketing is the ability to tell a story. Have you ever noticed when someone tells a personal story, you are captivated by it and drawn into the story? That’s a very powerful thing and Gary Vee is 100% right with this. In fact, churches have long since mastered the technique of story telling. They know how to tell a good story. They know how to draw people in and connect at an emotional level.
They’ve been doing it right for so many years and mainstream marketing techniques are just now catching up
As a result, I have become a consummate observer of how churches market themselves. I pay close attention to their video testimonials, to their website presence and their social media execution. They’ve been doing it right for so many years and mainstream marketing techniques are just now catching up.
From becoming a student of effective story telling, this newsletter was born. Linda and I decided we wanted to tell stories from our lives and through that, you’d have a better perspective of who we are. What our beliefs are and what makes us tick. Like characters on a TV show, over time you get to know them pretty good, and that is our goal with this newsletter. We aim to be our authentic selves and also, to be vulnerable through our stories. We’ve adopted a different strategy to selling homes. When you start asking more questions, finding out about people, their stories, you see that every home, every family has a story to tell. And, we’re learning to do nothing more than facilitate that story through the home sales process.
To Make Impact:
When history looks back on my life, if nothing else, I would want to be remembered for making impact in the lives of the people around me. I’ve come to realize that life is so much more than going to work and making money and growing the bottom line. There is no lasting joy in that. When you impact someone’s life though, help them to see their potential and change their life’s trajectory, now that’s rewarding. This time of year, you see so many folks in my profession going through their statistics for 2016. I’ve sold 50 homes in 2016 or 35 families served or I’m the top agent in my company. Now, I’m very goal oriented and by nature, a salesman.
I’ve come to realize that life is so much more than going to work and making money and growing the bottom line
These things have always been important to me. But, as I’m getting older, I’ve realized that no-one really cares how many houses we’ve sold. No-one really cares how many families we’ve served or that we’re #1 on our sales team. Tony Robbins talks about this on a regular basis. He says there are two major things at work in a persons life; The science of achievement and the art of fulfillment. You can’t be truly fulfilled unless both of these are in balance. When you look at the life of Robin Williams, from the outside looking in, he was the hallmark of achievement and outward success. Yet, he was extremely unfulfilled. Sadly, this unbalance lead this extremely talented man to take his life. There is a vitally important lesson here for us all to learn with the dangers of only chasing acheivement. We need to live our lives in a fulfilling way and make impact in others. To create value in people and appreciate them. We need to have balance and we need to give back proportionately to what we have received.
That Change Takes Time:
A big lesson that I’ve learned in 2016 is that effective change takes time. There is no way around this. We live in an “I want it now” world and I fall victim to this all the time. I’ve battled discouragement off and on with the pains and frustrations of growing a company. Linda and I have big visions for our business. We have big visions for our Make Impact Fund and our charitable contributions. We’re ready to go and move things to the next level, but God’s not always ready for us to go at the speed and scale we want. He says you need to be patient. I have big visions for wanting to help people grow and develop. Again, he says to be patient, it’ll come. I’m learning to keep my expectations in check and realize that he’ll grow us at his pace, not our pace. And, I’m learning to be okay with this.
Direction for 2017:
When I reflect on 2016 I can confidently say that it was a great year. There was so much incredible personal growth. Linda and I mailed 9 Volumes of this newsletter (which was hard), started two podcasts, RDLpodcast.com and FresnosFinest.net and produced 30 episodes in addition to the regular workload of running our business. We’ve become considerably better at obtaining mastery with our marketing techniques and delivering results for our clients. For 2017 though, there will be some non-negotiable’s for me. These are things I will do, and, it’s non-negotiable. First and foremost, I will continue to work on becoming a better version of myself. The version that God intends for me, and is patiently working with me on. I know that I must frustrate him a great deal too. We will continue to write this newsletter and put our thoughts out there in the world. We will continue to recognize and uplift people on Fresno’s FINEST Podcast. We will be patient. And, we will continue to “Show up each day and do the work that matters.” – To the Best of our Ability.