Number 1

Motorcycle Motorbike Lonely Rider  - ErikTanghe / Pixabay

Being Number 1 is incredibly important to a lot of people. In our business, it’s something we strive for every month.

Well, some of us do.

I am not so focused on being number 1 as much as I am being better than I was yesterday and I think that helps define what game you’re playing. “Game theory” defines two types. Finite and Infinite.

A finite game has known players, a set of rules and when it’s over you can declare a winner and a loser. Football is a finite game. So is Monopoly. These sorts of games are externally defined. You can go to a source and find the rules and they really can’t be changed during play. Ultimately it’s about winners and losers.

Infinite games have both known and unknown players, there are no predefined rules and the goal is to keep playing. There are no winners or losers, the players are merely moving ahead or falling behind and they drop out when they run out of resources or the will to play. We can say the rules are internally defined and can be changed at any time by any of the players.

That sounds a lot more like life than a finite game does. There are lots of finite games inside a bigger infinite game and getting them confused is what I’m digging into.

I am working on a thought that selling real estate is an infinite game but we measure and score it as though it was finite and that causes a lot of frustration for the players. Players who live and die by the ‘score’ will not be as happy and might do some stupid or even unethical things, just be seen as number 1. For them, it’s not about playing, it’s about winning. That can be frustrating.

We often talk about our Big Why. It’s important to know your Why so you can push through the tough times in this (or any) business. Our Big Why is internal. It’s our motivator. It’s part of the infinite game.

Sometimes your Why is a Who instead. For me, vision boards didn’t work. I tried putting a 1965 Grand Prix, a hunting cabin, and a motorcycle on the wall but honestly, it didn’t get it done. I struggled with this for years until I figured out my big why was really a Who.

It’s my wife, Susan, and bringing her peace of mind as we look toward retirement, spending time with grandkids, family, friends, and enjoying our time together. It’s my motivation now and likely will be in the future but the point is that the motivation is internal.

Players come and go. Over the years I’ve seen many agents start and stop (and some restart) in this business. The game went on, however even as agents got out of the business. Real estate needed to be bought or sold and that will continue even as the rules change (can you say iBuyer?).

Real estate describes “real property” which will always be a part of this life. Dirt. Mineral rights, a place to build on, define ownership, and create improvements. It will always be here but the agents come and go because they run out of resources (money?), desire, and the will to continue.

I think the company you keep can make a big difference too. At Keller Williams we agree (and most behave like) God comes first, Family is second and Business is last.

I have been a part of this company since 2003. I moved offices once in 2005 to find a better fit for my style of working by referral and dressing casually and found it a great place to be even in the tough times of 2006-2008 when the market crashed. Our office was a positive place to be even as the market fell all the way through 2012. That was our bottom and we went from over 200 agents at the start to about 80 at the end.

Watching my friends leave because they lacked funds, business, and vision was tough. Some left (and still leave) because they don’t agree with the mission of KW (don’t judge us on who we hire, judge us on who we keep).

It’s not a good fit for everyone and that’s ok.

I decided early on that KW was the best place for me. I hung in through the tough times because I decided. A lot of that was because of the people I was with every day in this business giving perspective, encouragement, and tough love when I needed it. Real friends that I have today.

I’d love to hear your perspective on the difference between finite games and infinite ones. Are we playing an infinite game or is being a top listing agent in October enough to keep us going? Do your office and broker build you up, coach you and take an interest in your business or are you just there to pay your fees and splits?

If I get enough response to this to start a conversation, I’ll host a Google Meet so we can talk about it face to face.

I think that would be fun.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson