Bookstore shelves and online articles abound with click-bait titles featuring shortcuts for “fixing” our perceived weaknesses. Yet, what’s the use in spending time and effort working on improving things you’ll never be really great at? In this life, we will only truly excel at a few things, so why not double-down on those strengths and forget about the weaknesses the self-help industry would rather us focus on?
Sticking to your strengths sets you apart from the pack and helps you build a reputation while also leading the field as an expert. In other words, focusing on our strengths is the only way to beat competitors and reach our true potential. It also creates the opportunity for a much more joyful life.
Focusing on your strengths creates the opportunity for a much more joyful life.
I know, since I spent the earlier parts of my real estate and leadership career focusing on what I wasn’t good at – documentation and details. Whenever I submitted my paperwork to compliance, it was promptly sent back. It was exhausting, but I kept taking the job back because I didn’t have the self-awareness to recognize I wasn’t good at it. My mind began to shift once I surrounded myself with people who were working on their strengths. And, my life began to change as I steadily started firing myself from my weaknesses.
Like all good things, this was a step-by-step process that took:
Training – A lot of it
I had to read The Millionaire Real Estate Agent eight times and attend KW classes over and over to understand the value of staying in my lane. My ego kept telling me that no one was going to do paperwork better than me. That’s why I was reluctant for so long to hire an admin; I didn’t want anyone to see that weakness. But, after taking BOLD, Career Visioning, Quantum Leap, and many other classes, I embraced the power of leverage.
I began with a simple calculation:
If the average transaction commission is $8,000 and the average transaction takes around 40 hours, that breaks down to $200 an hour. With this, I asked myself if leveraging out my biggest weakness (paperwork/documentation) for $15 per hour was worth it if I could spend the hour building relationships that would build my business. The answer was clear: it was a net win. I might be giving up a few hundred dollars, but those hours I spent relationship-building could produce 100% profit. It’s busywork versus being productive.
Once I hired my admin, my energy dial began to tick upward again. I quickly realized that I would need to enlist more support if I wanted to maintain my strengths-based mindset. I leaned on my team leader and KW MAPS Coach. They helped keep my goals top-of-mind and reminded me that in order to accomplish them, I couldn’t spend my time bogged down in the details.
When I began living in my strengths, my attitude improved, and my relationships flourished; I finally had the energy to focus on being my best self. Before, I struggled to understand how my weaknesses were impacting others around me. Reading the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 was a much-needed wakeup call and guide to help me grow in self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship management. It was an important reminder that my life is NOT just about me. The person I was five years ago and now is entirely different.
When I began living in my strengths, my attitude improved, and my relationships flourished.
Today, I’m proud to say I’m living in my strengths and am passionate about helping others do the same. I operate the Keller Williams offices in Naperville, Glen Ellyn, Geneva, Downers Grove, Plainfield, and Aurora, Illinois, with my business partner Pete Economos. Together, we lead 1,000 agents and will be opening two more locations soon. I also enjoy coaching in-person and on-air through my podcast, “Messy Empire.” We all have the opportunity to shift out of what’s wrong and into what’s right. Own your strengths, because your time and energy is finite. Be happy and make it count.
About Caryn Prall
Caryn Prall has been a real estate agent for 20 years and has been in the business even longer than that as the daughter and granddaughter of real estate agents. Her grandmother was one of the first female broker/owners in the country, and her mom was licensed in 1976, while Caryn, the youngest of five daughters, was 3 years old.
After attending Ohio State University, Caryn relocated to Ohio, joined a brokerage, and soon after became part of a team of Keller Williams agents in Columbus. She was named Rookie of the Year, and in 2006, she moved to Denver, and later Amarillo, Texas.
Keller Williams drew her because she wanted ownership opportunity, so four years ago, she made another move to the Chicago area and met OP Pete Economos. Today, Caryn is the team leader for 490 agents, and, with Pete, she co-owns six KW offices that serve more than 1,000 agents.