I’m reading the book “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” by Canadian Astronaut –  Chris Hatfield.  It is mandatory reading assigned by the team coach for our Vic Maui ocean sailing race in July.

A rocket ship is basically a bomb with a few people inside waiting to explode as a result of the smallest error.  Chris’s ask to himself during every step is, “What is the next thing that can kill me?”.   Astronauts need to be excellent at what they do to stay alive and what they do is complicated.  It takes decades of high-level training to be prepared to go to space.   Chris goes on to say that he is continually surprised by the mediocrity of people he encounters outside of his work.

“There is a North American sub-culture of pretense, where watching Top Chef is the same as knowing how to cook”.    -Chris Hatfield

When flying rocket ships, good enough isn’t good enough.  Pretending you are good doesn’t work either.

Pretense, or pretending to be good at something is rampant in our society and this is nowhere truer than in Real Estate.   Licencing courses don’t even scratch the surface of teaching and evaluating the skills needed to represent a buyer or seller during these important and complicated transactions.  Most of the learning after getting a real estate license is focussed on lead generation with very little attention is paid to the actual skills needed to represent our clients.

While this is a sad state for our industry, it creates an enormous opportunity for people who are excellent, or want to become excellent, at what they do.  When you are excellent at something, it’s obvious and people will flock to you, recommend you, and refer you.  You will have more clients than you know what to do with.  I’ve been meeting with top agents across the country gathering information for my upcoming book, “The Ethical Advantage” and there is one common thread emerging:  these top agents are excellent at what they do and top teams are hiring and training team members to assure that same level of excellence.   Team leaders all say that their biggest challenge is finding team members to hire who are willing to do the work to become excellent.

There is a Grand Canyon between wanting to be good at something and being good at it.

There are two ways to approach this canyon.  You can try to convince everyone that you are good – this is like snapping a few photos from the strategic viewpoints or buying a souvenir at the gift shop, or you can understand and do the hard work of becoming excellent – this is like hiking down into the canyon, exploring its many remarkable characteristics, and climbing back out.

Excellence is the new currency.  As Tech tools take over the easy mundane jobs,  we are freed up to do the important work of emotional labour, negotiation, strategic planning, problem solving, building relationships, developing networks, understanding the psychology of decision making, communicating and having the courage, persistence and confidence to protect our clients during this important process of buying and selling Real Estate.