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It is alright to fail

Real Estate Agent

Jon Washburn on mile 7 of a 10 mile run!I didn't apply to college mostly because I didn't like the idea of the acceptance of my admissions being outside of my control.

As a real estate agent I was limited in my success because I could not bare the disappointment of losing out when competing for a listing.

I also had a difficult time working leads because I became discouraged if my close ratio was not 100%.

I am not afraid of failure. I am afraid of not being perfect.

In some ways this fear has propelled me to succeed in areas where I might otherwise have failed. But in most cases it has held me back. I have a suspicion that many others are affected by the fear of not being perfect, and I hope that this post helps them.

I am working on being comfortable with my true self; working on accepting myself where I am at right now. Being content with who God made me to be.

Ironically I have turned to Donald Trump to help me on this journey. ;) I have bookmarked a page in Trump's book, "Think big and kick ass" that has had a surprisingly profound impact on me: 

"A truly positive mental attitude is when you are good at what you do and you are prepared for every possibility, both positive and negative. You can boost your positive mental attitude by being thoroughly prepared. You cannot expect to be successful 100 percent of the time no matter whether you are in business, finance, real estate, management, medicine, or science. If you are not prepared for a negative result, a few minor setbacks, the loss of a promotion, or a deal falling through, such an experience will cause you an unnecessary amount of confusion and doubt. Both a positive mental attitude and a good work ethic are important in creating your own luck, but you cannot rely solely on them.

The real-life truth is that deals do not always close, you do not always land the new account, you do not always win the lawsuit, you do not always get the promotion, your patients do not always recover, and the people you deal with are not always honest. There always circumstances beyond your control. The only way to guard against having your confidence shattered is to come to grips with the stark reality that negative things can and do happen. Count on it. Be prepared for it. Realize that it is life, and that it has nothing to do with you or your abilities. Do not let it shake your self-confidence one iota!"

I guess I just needed someone to tell me that it is alright to fail. 

Comments (38)

Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate

Jonathan - I guess that would depend upon your definition of failure.  If anything less than perfect is failure, then it seems a slight adjustment to perception is needed.  In MHO, failure can also be never trying.  Looking forward to being along for the ride as you try and win more than lose in your quest for self-realization.

Jan 06, 2008 12:04 PM
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI
Baseball is my favorite sport, always has been.  One of the reasons is this:  My Grandfather used to remind me (while we watched games together) "Where else can you watch grown men fail more than 50% of the time at the plate with thousands of people watching, yet get right back up there with confidence?"  It stuck with me.  Get right back up there with confidence :-)
Jan 06, 2008 08:05 PM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Jonathan, Abe Lincoln ran for public office 8 times before he was elected. Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, George Washington Carver, invented many things before he invented peanut butter.

It's not IF we fail, but how we handle it, and if it is our passion, get back up and try again. I like that quote by the Donald.

Jan 06, 2008 10:18 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

If for no other reason, I couldn't bring myself to participate in cold calling or door knocking than the unwillingness to subject myself to certain rejection. 

I'm just not one to "try things".  I like to study, think about, look at stats, trends, evidences and then do what you know will work.

Interesting Jonathan.

Jan 06, 2008 10:44 PM
Cynthia Tilghman, RealtorĀ® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC
Hi Jonathan,
I have lots of hang ups that "needing perfection" is not one of them.  Having a child cured me of that very quickly!
Jan 06, 2008 10:59 PM
Monika McGillicuddy
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty - Hampstead, NH
Southern NH & the Seacoast Area
I've always liked to try new things, experiment but often fear of  failure held me back.  I'm no longer afraid of failure...it happens, life happens. I'll admit it took me awhile to get there...having a family, responsibilities...just too many things in life to allow fear to hold me back.
Jan 06, 2008 11:42 PM
Kelly Sibilsky
Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD. - Lake Zurich, IL
I don't particularly like competition and certainly don't like failure, nor can I just brush it off and say "oh well" it was a "learning experience." But does the fear paralyse me? No. It just makes me work harder. So that's a good thing. I just am who I am.
Jan 07, 2008 12:15 AM
Allison Werner
To Be Announced - Middletown, NJ
Hi Jon, In my thoughts, you can't really appreciate your success unless you have failed at something to begin with. I always equate recruiting with baseball, you can fail 7 out of 10 times, and make a hit 3 out of 10 times, and be successful. You don't appreciate 3/10 being a success until you go 10 for 10 without a hit. Perfect doesn't have to mean never failing, it can also mean you closed the best 3 out of 10.
Jan 07, 2008 01:02 AM
Katerina Gasset
The Gasset Group & Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Provo, UT
Amplify Your Real Estate & Life Dreams!
Jonathan- I like to think of it as not negatives will happen, but rather that everything happens for a reason, everything is that is. I just wrote a post about FEAR, False evidences appearing real. The perfectionist attitude is very limiting and causes one to never really reach their full potential even though it may seem the other way around. The listing you don't get is not a loss, it is not a negative, it is something to help you grow or someone you were not supposed to connect with because maybe they would have been horrible to deal with. I do not agree with Trump on this issue, just because he is rich, he is also a ahole, and he is mean and aggressive to the point that it hurts people. He expects women who work closely with him to give up time with their families to build their career in the way he says to do it. That is not a balanced man. I am sure we can learn some great business skills, but personally, I would rather me memtored by someone who has balanced success and family life. Katerina
Jan 07, 2008 01:04 AM
Jon Washburn
Seattle, WA
Katerina, I love the fact that you use the word balance.  It is so important, and Trump readily admits he does not have it. I agree to look for a person with balance as a mentor.  However, I also believe that you can learn certain characteristics from different people, so even if I wouldn't want to follow Trump as a mentor, I still can learn from him.
Jan 07, 2008 04:50 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Would you like the often overused baseball analogy? 

A hitter is wildly successful if he can hit the ball once every three times he comes up to bat.  And, Babe Ruth led in not just homeruns, but also strike-outs (I keep hearing it, never really checked).  

From my world, there are VERY successful racers that have hardly EVER won an event.  Others that haven't had their big wins for a while, but they place at even after event, and they beat out the sprinters.  

I know I will fail... heck, I take on tasks that I think are almost impossible when I take them on.  Losing only hurts if you don't learn... 

Jan 07, 2008 04:55 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time
Jonathan, I have failed at many things BUT I have never been a failure. I've been through bankruptcy and foreclosure. I've had business ventures that didn't pan out. Through all these things I do one thing......get up, brush it off and keep moving forward. Failing is a normal part of growth. Being a failure is giving up. 
Jan 07, 2008 09:40 AM
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

I didn't read any of the comments so I could skip down....like I tell my (adult) children. It's not failing if you found some kind of lesson it it (learning lesson) and I have told both of them through out their lives that it isn't about being first and being the best ...it's about feeling comfortable that they tried their best. On top of everything else "stuff" happens....

Okay...I just glanced up and saw BB's. Being a failure is giving up...YUP...we learn as we "grow up". Good luck in all your endeavors!

Jan 07, 2008 11:10 AM
Alexander Harb
Knights Investing - Mesquite, TX
Dallas, Texas Real Estate Investing

You don't have to be perfect, Jon....... only our Creator is perfect....

That is why we have spellcheck.... and people to remind us to do things.....

and a date book................ and an address book......

So if we forget to do something...we can be reminded or look it up.....

it's also why we have user manuals...to show us the right way of doing things

I agree with a LOT of the comments here to you..... stumbling while learning to do what is right is natural....

Also.........ActiveRain© is kind of a user manual now, isn't it?



Jan 07, 2008 04:43 PM
Spokane Home Loans Spokane Mortgage
Spokane Mortgage - Spokane, WA

Great Post... failure and success go hand in hand.

By the way... thanks for not only creating this amazing virtual community, but inspiring me to think big in my own Internet endeavors.

Jan 07, 2008 05:20 PM
Spokane Home Loans Spokane Mortgage
Spokane Mortgage - Spokane, WA

Great Post... failure and success go hand in hand.

By the way... thanks for not only creating this amazing virtual community, but inspiring me to think big in my own Internet endeavors.

Jan 07, 2008 05:20 PM
Benjamin Clark
Homebuyer Representation, Inc. - Salt Lake City, UT
Buyer's Agent - Certified Negotiation Expert
Preparation is critical if you are to be professional. There is an old saying, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." Many things can and do come up in a real estate transaction. The professional is prepared for each of these possibilities and by making a habit of being aware and prepared for the known possibilities makes a person better prepared to deal with the unknown challenges that may arise.
Jan 11, 2008 04:46 PM
Marlene Scheffer
Realty Station - Bremerton, WA
Realtor to Kitsap County, WA

Jonathon, I absolutely love your quote from Trup.  I get the impression that you think a lot like me.  It's because I take my "failures" personally, that they affect me the way they do.  And like you, if the biz fails and I start over, that's fine, but when people are judging me, uh, ick...  I'm actually bookmarking this post, so I can come back and read it again.  

Why is my "graphic" the word "bigay"?  LMAO!  I just love these clarification words! I'm going ot have to do aother post on that!  LOL!

Jan 12, 2008 05:52 PM
Kim Harris
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA
Designated Broker/Owner/Sound Realty
 I was thinking of a business presentation I paid for in 1971--on cold calling and selling. If the odds are 1 in 50 (as an example) to create a sale, then each time someone says no,,thank them and smile as you are one more closer to the next yes. One of the best books I have ever read on success was not about business at all; It is called The Spirituality of Imperfection and basically says that we are human beings. Nothing more  and nothing less. There is no failure in life, just a path that keeps movin' down the line.
Jan 19, 2008 08:15 AM
Liz Dobbins
My Home Group - Scottsdale, AZ
Now is the Time to Sell! Call 623.826.1981


One Door closes and another opens. Best to you with your new venture. Love "The Donald" quote.  He is a brilliant man, too smart to run for President, unfortunately for us.

Dec 09, 2011 04:08 PM