The New Year is a good time to start over.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

The one thing I love about New Years is that it is a time to start over. OK, you failed at your diet. Instead of weight-loss it was weight-found, no problem. Start over. You didn't make the top ten agents in the US, your State, your office or your solo brokerage, no problem.  You get another chance. You didn't make the top 30 under 30 list, no problem. There's always the top 40 under forty list. Begin again.

We all need points in our lives where we get another chance. You can let life's failings derail and wreck your life, or you can pick yourself up and dust yourself off and start over. When the economy crashed in September of 2008 my stock portfolio literally disappeared. I had traded over 600 trades that year and was on my way to an early retirement. My first impression on seeing the news was, "Wow, that really sucks!" That was pretty much it.

It drives my wife crazy because I don't go crazy when things like that happen. It wouldn't have made a bit of difference if I did. A pattern day-trader is a fun and exhilarating role to play, but there are things you need to remember when you do it. I quickly learned that you cannot be a trader like I was and be away from the markets for days on end. If you do, you could end up with a negative balance in your account, and you can owe more than you invested in the stock market. That was a tough lesson learned, but I'm back at it a littler wiser and better prepared this time.

That's just one example, but we've all had setbacks. We've all been hit so hard that we didn't think we could recover. Maybe it was a divorce. Maybe it was a business partner who ran off with all of the money. Maybe it was the loss of a loved one, the end of a friendship or the alienation of a relationship. It happens to all of us, but what we do with the pain will determine if the past controls the future. I lost 8 family and friends the second half of this year. I felt like I spent more time in the funeral home than my own home. One of those departed was my mother. It was a challenge, but life continues whether I show up or not. I decided to show up.

There are things you can do when you have setbacks that can help you not only get back on track, but they can put you on a better track.

  • What did you do wrong, if anything, in the failure? In my day-trading days I know that I have to stay engaged all the time. You can't leave a half a million dollars on a park bench and assume it will be there when you get back. It most likely will not be there. I got a little cocky with my success and it came back and bit me. Lesson learned.
  • What could you have done differently? In a friendship relationship, it might be best not to spend too much time with a friend.  There is balance between what is healthy and what is unhealthy. You can feel it down deep inside when it starts to turn unhealthy. Listen to that inner voice. 
  • Don't set unrealistic goals and expectations. Saying you're going to lose 50 lbs is a great goal if you need to, but it might be a bit overwhelming if you have a couple setbacks early. Set smaller achievable goals. When you meet them, they will inspire you to go just a little bit further. Each success fuels the next success.
  • Talk less and listen more. I was in a salvage yard years ago listening to a man blowing off about something. Everyone was starring at him. The poor guy behind the counter was making a host of apologies for whatever had offended the guy, but nothing would appease him. Finally, the counterman asked me, "Mr. Cooper, what do you think?" I simply said what was on my mind, "A fool is known by the multitude of his words." The place went silent, and the bloviator left. Problem solved for those of us listening. The company wasn't ever going to pacify him. So, offending him was not a problem. Listen more, talk less.
  • Approach some issues more slowly. I'm a very fast moving person. I make decisions very rapidly. It's unnerving for some around me, but most issues have the answer peeking out of the issue. If you're paying attention, you will see it. Some do not. In those cases, you need to proceed slowly. If you're unsure about something, take your time. My son was doing an electrical job recently and ran into a very strange problem. He and I looked at the issue for hours with no success. Finally, I was away from it over the weekend and started to realize we were over-thinking the problem. On the next visit to the project, I made a small change and it corrected the problem. It was actually simple, but we didn't give it enough time to reveal itself. The weekend did the trick. Even us fast movers need to slow down sometimes. 

Everyone faces setbacks at some point. How you deal with them will determine if they have a hidden value or a heart full of pain. Sometimes, they may have both, but in it all you can still grow and become a much wiser better person.

Comments (17)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Mike Cooper, GRI - I like your outlooks on goals, learning, and starting over.  Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2019 08:28 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Mike,  Always interesting about new goals for the new year.  I have a 5 year goal that I work toward and it ends the end of 2020 and then I will start a new 5 year goal!


Dec 31, 2019 08:55 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Mike. You are smart and responsive and that is a great combination. Some think of the New Year as the time for a new start. I think any and everyday is a good time to do that. I am sorry for your losses but know that you will be engaged and successful in the New Year and always. I wish you all good things.

Dec 31, 2019 09:10 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Thank you, Sheila. The loss of loved ones this year were stunning. 

Dec 31, 2019 01:03 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Mike- good inspirational post. Years ago I met the inventor of the flak jacket for football. He told me that before that he'd invented something else but didn't have the business knowledge he now had and lost most of his money. He started over and invented other items. 

Jan 01, 2020 01:40 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

what i learned

Jan 04, 2020 06:26 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Thanks, Kathy. 

Jan 05, 2020 07:05 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent words of advice. We can always start over/try again. 

I'm sorry to hear about your losses; eight in six months is a lot of pain to deal with; I'm glad you decided to show up!

Jan 05, 2020 05:39 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Kat, it ended up being 9 by the end of Jan 1. What a crazy year.

Jan 05, 2020 07:05 PM
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee 423-677-6677

I like your "keep going" attitude.  Always keep thriving.

Jan 05, 2020 07:11 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Absolutely, Mike. I'm so sorry to hear about the losses you faced this year. That is a lot to handle. However, your positive mindset not only got you through it, but allows you to see the hope in the next moment. Good for you. 

Jan 05, 2020 07:35 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Debb, by the time the year turned over, it turned into 9 deaths. What a year! 

Jan 05, 2020 07:04 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is timely advice to share. Some of us definitely need to make some changes.

Jan 05, 2020 09:40 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Mike, this is a great post, and I'm glad Kathy Streib included it in her round up this week. You said it perfectly, I decided to show up.

Jan 05, 2020 06:39 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

I am so surprised this post isn't featured! Thank you, Kathy Streib for sharing it!

When I was young and still in school, having trouble with a math problem one night, my dad told me to leave it and come back to it in the morning. As you stated, I needed to give it some time. Worked like a charm! The problem was much easier in the morning.

Love the quote:  "A fool is known by the multitude of his words."

Jan 06, 2020 07:26 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Mike:

Happy New Year 2020 and here's to new beginnings, or perhaps endings, whatever they may be.

Loved your quote "A fool is known by the multitude of his words." I'll have to remember that one.


Jan 07, 2020 09:32 AM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your mom last year. I lost my mom in February 2019. 2019 was a lousy year with too many deaths. I counted at least 20 people in the 1st half of the year to include almost all of the agents in the office losing a parent or sibling. I am hopeful that 2020 will be a refreshing year with  a brand new grandbaby (our first!) coming early June. Plus, I'm hopeful that this will be a prosperous year for real estate.

Jan 09, 2020 06:36 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Mike Cooper, GRI - I am so sorry to hear about your mother's passing. The loss of a family member is one of the toughest times we can endure. Here is to new beginnings and a fresh start to this year. 

Jan 10, 2020 06:52 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Wow Mike what a great blog post - so much wisdom you've collected over the years and written.    I'm sorry you went through so much loss in 2019, including losing your mom, which must be especially tough.    You're right, it's what we do about loss that defines how we experience loss and life.    You've set a great example by continuing to show up.   Thank you.

Jan 13, 2020 08:34 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Love this post. You are so right.  If it can't be changed, don't stress over the outcome of the problem.  For remembrance, I still have the newspaper dated October 8, 2004 "Will prices continue to rise?" as a reminder to be reminded of what happened and not to be complacent, but proactive in all that I do and what I say to clients. 

Good for you for stepping away and figuring out the problem.  I hope they are all that simple!

Jan 23, 2020 11:35 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

I was going to try Dry January but realized when I toasted in the New Year, I had already failed in the first few seconds of the year!  Start over!

I am going to take smaller more obtainable steps for February.  I intend to finish the month strong by not drinking any alcohol on Feb 29, 30th and 31st.


Jan 17, 2022 04:59 PM