How to make your worst habit your secret weapon in commercial real estate

Nov 02, 2022
Your worst habit could also be your secret weapon in commercial real estate

If you’re a nail biter, a nose picker or something worse, I’ve got some great news for you:

Your worst habit may just be your secret weapon in commercial real estate!

How so?

If you have one or more bad habits, it will likely be much easier for you to use the rules of habit formation to start doing more of the things that will help you succeed.

So, what are the rules of habit formation and how can you leverage them?

Let me save you from hours of studying the theory on creating the right environment, identifying trigger and reward centres, and developing discipline.

Instead, we’ve got it all covered in just 13 minutes on episode 112 of CRE Success: The Podcast.



Episode transcript:

What does it take to acquire a new habit? And how can you increase the chances that you will stick at a new habit that you want to adopt? That's the topic of today's episode.

Hello, welcome to episode 112 of CRE Success: The Podcast. My name is Darren Krakowiak. And I help commercial real estate leaders to develop their people and to grow their business.

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Today, we're talking about how we can form habits. And I reckon that I've got a bit of an advantage over some people in this area, because I've got some bad habits. And some of those habits I've broken, but I still retain some of those bad habits.

And I think whether or not you have a propensity to acquire bad habits or night, you can create the environment where you're more likely to adopt and stick to good habits.

And I want to share with you some of the research on this. And also, some of my own personal experience.

Some of this you may have heard before in terms of the research. And if you have, I hope it's a good reminder. And if not, I hope you find it helpful because what people usually talk about when it comes to how can we form habits is firstly, discipline and how we can identify what it is that we want to achieve and have some association between that desired future state or the unwanted future event.

Some people are more motivated by pleasure, some people are more motivated by pain. 

And then our ability to stick at the habit is just having the discipline. And the discipline I think is around doing something that you need to do, you know you have to do, but perhaps you don't always necessarily want to do but you continue to do it, even if you're not yet seeing any benefits because you know that after 60 to 90 days, which is how long habits generally take the form, that once you form the habit that it will be a useful thing for you to have in order to achieve your goals. 

And I'll stick with this point on discipline for a moment before I get into rewards and triggers.

Discipline I think is really important to be able to maintain for perhaps longer than it takes for the habit to form.  A habit takes 60 to 90 days to form (the research shows), but it can take longer than that for the benefits from the habit to materialize.

So, there's this theory about hockey stick growth. And it basically says that at first, you don't really start to see any benefit because you're just starting the game.

But all of a sudden, there's this little inflection point, which is sort of that little hook on the hockey stick and you're starting to see the green shoots a little bit of momentum.

But then when the hockey stick starts going straight up, that's when you start to see really surging growth. And the growth is surging, because there's all this momentum, all this sort of pent-up energy that you've created that provides the momentum for things to happen once you get to that surging growth stage.

You've got to get through that flat stage where you are in the game, but you're not scoring in order to achieve that hockey stick growth.

And the way that you get there is by being disciplined and also having belief that what it is that you're doing is going to help you achieve your goals, or as I said earlier, help you avoid the unwanted future.

Now the other way if you've got a more addictive personality like myself, or if you just want to further improve your chances of sticking with a goal, particularly in that habit forming stage, is to understand about triggers, and reward centers.

For me, I like to have an ice cream every single day after dinner. And the simple trigger for me to wanted to eat an ice cream is that I finished dinner and it's time for an ice cream.

And sometimes if I'm lucky, my wife will say, "let's go out and get an ice cream." And then I'm not even relying on the ice creams in the freezer, but there's a few nice gelato shops near where we live and can really have a special treat.

And that gets me to the reward center, right? So, what is the reward center? 

It's this idea that first of all, ice cream is a treat. You might remember when you were a little boy or a little girl that perhaps your parents say, "If you're a good boy girl, you'll get some ice cream."

There's that sweet taste that you enjoy. And you might have associated that sweet taste with some feeling from the past. And also, ice cream can promote the natural release of serotonin, maybe even some dopamine that can boost your mood.

So that's the reward center. The trigger comes from finishing the meal. And ways that we can have an impact on our ability either to retain that habit or to break it is through identifying the trigger. 

And perhaps in the case of ice cream, we might put some barriers up, which creates some friction in order for me to get the ice cream. So it might be that I just don't keep ice cream in the house.

If I really wanted to be committed to not eating ice cream (I'm not committed at all to quitting ice cream, by the way. I'm very happy with my ice cream every day, I don't think it's hurting me that much). But if I was seriously committed to not eating ice cream, I wouldn't keep it in the fridge. 

And maybe I'd even consider we're going to move somewhere that there's no ice cream shops nearby. We live near a high street where there's quite a few options and that would then create more friction between me finishing my dinner and being able to get ice cream quickly. 

In terms of identifying a wanted future and unwanted future, for me it might be, “Well, if I continue to eat ice cream, then I'm going to spend more time in the dentist chair, or I'm going to have to work out more than I would like to in order to not put on a lot of weight.”

So, these are some things from my ice cream example to help you understand just what's going on with triggers and reward centers.

And the job for you I guess is to understand whether it's going to be some of those psychological factors, those triggers and rewards, or if you're more driven by logic and reason, and you can identify what you need to do based on what you want and have the discipline to stick at it.

And I think now's a really good time to be thinking about what new habits you want to form, because we are coming up to 2023.

I'm recording this episode early November 2022. And your ability to achieve your New Year's resolutions and the goals that are associated with them will strongly base on your ability to stick at it. 

And a lot of people will give up on their goals because they don't see the benefits from them, and they break the habit.

Maybe you can start to do some things to create the right environment to maximize your chances now of being able to develop the habits that is required to achieve that result.

You can also start to get very clear right now on what it is that you want to achieve. And therefore, once you've got that real clear sense of what you want, that will help you have the discipline to continue to take the actions that will help you achieve the goal that you're looking for.

So, I want to give you another example now when it comes to prospecting, because this is a show about commercial real estate for people who are operators, individual performers, but also for leaders.

If you're a leader, what can you do to help your team to be more committed to prospecting? And what you can do as an individual also to be more committed to prospecting?

So, in terms of the trigger and reward center, I think a great trigger to make sure that you are consistent, persistent and proactive with your prospecting is just to schedule it every day.

The trigger for you to do your prospecting is when you get a ping on your calendar notifications and it is literally time for you to do prospecting.

A CRM can also help you with that. You can reduce the friction that's associated with prospecting by doing some research on the prospects before you actually start doing the prospecting activity. So therefore, you're making the call warmer, which makes you perhaps a little bit more motivated to make that call.

You could even get somebody else to help you with the research before you start prospecting, so you're able to just get started. If that is part of the pre-work to prospecting that you don't enjoy, get someone else to do it, and then you're more likely to do the prospecting. 

Now, what is the reward from prospecting? Well, I guess it's qualified leads, right? But you can go further than that. You can associate that with your income goals and what you get from that.

You can also look at how can I make this prospecting activity more enjoyable for me. And you may decide to gamify your prospecting. And you could do that in a way like saying, "How many times can I say a certain word on a prospecting call?"

Or you can look at new angles and approaches, not just words, which is you know, a little bit silly, but it can be around what you say and how you say it. New combinations are prospecting outreach, so you know, how are you getting better results when you have been connected with someone on LinkedIn for a few days before you try and call them, for example.

Do you get better results and responses to emails, if you send them straight after leaving a voicemail, and if you send them the day after? These are all little things, experiments that you can run to not only improve your results, but also just to make a little bit interesting to make your prospecting, a little bit more enjoyable. 

And your job, of course with prospecting is to keep going until you get the results.

At first, you won't see many results from your prospecting because that's just not how it works. You do some of the work, but then there is this momentum building and building and building and then you start to see the green shoots. You start to see a little bit of results and progress and then all of a sudden, there's this big effect. 

And that's where the discipline comes in. Because if you have the discipline to stay the course, you'll keep going for long enough in order to achieve the results that you're looking for.

So that's just a little bit of information around developing habits and sticking at them.

I want you to remember the importance of understanding, the triggers and the rewards, really getting clear on what it is you're trying to achieve and where the link is between the activity and achieving that result, and having the discipline to stick at the habit until you start to see the results from it and also before it becomes a habit that you have naturally formed.

And you're starting to do more out of habit as opposed to doing it because you need to, but because you're being disciplined at it.

If that helped you, I think you're really going to enjoy our 10 more ways to kill it in commercial real estate. We're going to give you five ideas on mindset and five ideas on how to find win and grow more opportunities, more clients, more deals in commercial real estate. So, five plus five is 10 more ways to kill it in commercial real estate.

And I'm also going to be talking about some of the top commercial real estate trends to look out for in 2023. And therefore, once you know what those trends are, and you've got the mindset and also the process in order to implement, you're going to be setting yourself up for a fantastic 2023.

So, to get on the list to join that live and free session, you just go to to get all of the information. Leave your details and I'll get back to you and let you know as soon as we're going live and a little tip for you on the podcast.

If you do register, you'll also get access to the replay. If you can't make it live, don't worry. We'll also give you access to the replay after we go live.

But in order to get that access, you do need to register first. So go to

That is our episode for today. Thank you so much for listening and I will speak to you soon.

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