Blinkers (2)

Another Melbourne Cup is behind us, and I hope the punters among you had a win on the day. The event may not something you take an interest in at all, but it struck me there were messages we might take from it.

A race like that doesn’t just happen. The $8 million prize money and the prestige attract the best Australia can offer, plus international gallopers. To even qualify for such a race means planning, strategizing and a raft of other considerations and best practices.

The horse is the star of the show. Winning is the goal.

There is a phrase in the English language, of ‘got blinkers on’. It comes from the world of horse racing and suggests that someone only has eyes for the prize and won’t be distracted.

Racehorses wear blinkers to help them focus their minds on the race.

With a horse’s eyes being on the side of its head, it has a much wider peripheral vision than we do. Blinkers limit that peripheral vision, which means the horse can only look forward and be more focussed on what’s ahead.

Blinkers come on and off horses as trainers choose to employ them or not. Some horses lose speed through looking around or can be spooked, others benefit from knowing the field and responding to the overall excitement.

As a real estate agent, are you running your race with blinkers on or off?

Let’s consider the different scenarios.

With the blinkers on, you can better focus. You are running your own race, following your own goals, and executing your own plans. You are not allowing others to influence you and the course you have chosen.

On the other hand, wearing those blinkers may mean you are missing out on opportunities, including ways to improve yourself. In this way, wearing blinkers may hinder success.

Through wearing the blinkers, you might be working so hard that you miss out on seeing and hearing about new practices and new technologies, for instance. And while blinkers can be classed as safety equipment for a horse that is easily distracted, you might be working so hard that you miss vital personal issues and health signs.

Taking the blinkers off means you can better see where the competition is and how they are performing. You may be less likely to miss the jump and, instead, get the edge on the competition, which is particularly relevant when it comes to the listing presentation right now.

Without blinkers, you can take a good look around at what others are doing in the market and assess whether there are ways to improve your performance and achieve success for your clients. You can identify opportunities, sift through all incoming signals, and become more competitive. You can spot the clear path to the front of the field and make your move.

The flip side is that having taken the blinkers off, you might get distracted. You may lose sight of your own plans and goals. You might begin comparing yourself with others and get off track. You might begin to question your style and, when authenticity is everything for an agent, this is not a good thing.

Archer won the first Melbourne Cup back in 1861 and is one of five horses to have done so more than once in 160 years. I don’t know if he wore blinkers or how many Melbourne Cup winners have worn blinkers on the day, but I do know that a trainer will chose to apply blinkers to give their horse the best chance of being focussed on what’s ahead and ready for any challenges along the way.

The finishing post for 2021 is rapidly approaching. As we race towards 2022, I recommend agents do a ‘self-check’ and ask themselves whether this is the time to have their blinkers on or off.

What should they be focused on and what should they not? For example, have they got listings set up and ready to go come January 1? If not, they need those blinkers to focus. Or if everything is in order, it may be time to remove them and take some time off to work on other life priorities.

2021 has been an incredible and unique race for all of us and as the year draws to a close, now is the time for agents to assess what best sets them up to win their race in 2022.

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