Here’s a fun little exercise that you can do when you’re feeling like you don’t know what you should be doing or you’re lacking clarity around something.
This isn’t my original idea. I’ve heard it from several different people, and I think it works because it’s just so simple and it really makes you think.
START – STOP – KEEP
- What could I start doing?
- What could I stop doing?
- What could I keep doing?
Three powerful little questions that you can re-phrase to suit your situation: “What could I start doing that if I committed to doing it consistently would make me extraordinarily happy with my job?” Then just replace the word “start” with “stop” or “keep.”
You can also apply the three questions to a particular topic:
- What do I need to start doing to get more leads for the team?
- What do I need to stop doing to get more leads for the team?
- What do I need to keep doing (or do more of, or do better) to get more leads for the team?
You see, most of us will innately ask the first question, and fail to ask the other two. We’re always looking for the next big thing, the newest shiny object that will make the biggest impact. Funny thing is, adding something to what you’re already doing isn’t always the answer.
You already know that feeling. Your lead agent comes to you and says something like, “I want to start farming the Silver Oaks neighborhood. Find out exactly how many homes are in that neighborhood and what it would cost if we mailed to them once a month.”
Great! Another thing added to your plate requiring several hours of work every month when you’re already overloaded.
That’s where this questioning technique comes in handy. If we’re going to start farming, what are we going to stop doing and what are we going to keep doing?
This is really good for your own personal growth plan too. My business partner Christy Belt Grossman wrote a great blog post about creating your own personal growth plan. And the ideas are fantastic!
But what about the things you’re going to stop doing for personal growth? How about not checking your email until you get to the office? How about not answering the phone during your lunch break? Do you need to stop rolling your eyes every time a teammate tells you bad news? Do you need to stop eating out more than once a week?
What about your job? What could you stop doing and leverage off to someone else? What would happen if you stopped taking the pictures for your team’s listings? What would happen if you stopped managing the contract-to-close process and hired a transaction coordination company?
Finally, what are you doing so well right now that you simply need to keep doing it to get the rewards? Do you need to keep contributing to your investment accounts? Do you need to keep that kick-ass listing marketing plan that wows your sellers? Do you need to keep going to that yoga class you love three times a week?
Sometimes we forget to acknowledge the things that are working well for us!
You can ask these three questions weekly, monthly, quarterly, or you can even do your yearly business planning session around them. You can apply them to your work, marriage, relationships, money, health, spiritual life, or any area you want to examine more closely.
The last thing I want to leave you with is this: your words matter. The answers you get from asking these questions will be more life-changing if you ask the question in the right way from the beginning.
Good: What should I start/stop/keep doing?
Better: What could I start/stop/keep doing?
Best: What am I committed to start/stop/keep doing?
“Should” never works because when you use that word, you’ve already resigned yourself to the fact that you’re not going to do it. You know you should, but there’s never going to be any real effort there. As in, “I should lose some weight.”
“Could” opens up your options and invites possibility. As in, “I could lose some weight if I really wanted to.”
“Committed” draws a line in the sand and invites accountability. “I am committed to losing 10 pounds in the next three months by meeting with a nutritionist every two weeks and going to yoga with my friend three times a week.”
Do you see the difference?
I invite you into accountability right now. If you’re willing and can draw up the courage, send me the answers to the three questions. Let me know what you’re going to start/stop/keep doing this week, this month, or this year. Drop your answers in the comments section. I’ll be watching…