What goes up must come down.
And while optimism can be a great tool for inspiring your employees, finding the good in a bad situation, and building forward momentum, too much optimism can be a bad thing.
It can completely derail your business if you’re not careful.
I’ve seen it happen. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to friends, and it’s probably happened to you.
Everything starts off wonderful — you’re perfectly optimistic about building your business, funding that deal, or hiring that person — what could go wrong? Then, a few weeks or a few months down the road, you’re blindsided.
Someone quits, a deal falls through, or your business runs out of money.
Well, you were too busy being optimistic to notice the dysfunction that was festering in your business. And now, you’re suffering the consequences.
I’m not telling you to be a pessimist, but I am urging you to be a little more realistic. In fact, here are 4 signs that your optimism is going to hurt your business down the road.
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Sign #1: You often hire people that don’t work out.
Hiring a new employee is exciting!
There’s no denying it; it’s a sign of growth, a signal that your business is moving in the right direction. But beware of letting that excitement get the better of you.
I’ve discussed in other articles the importance of hiring A players for your business — if you don’t hire the best, then your business won’t be the best. But to hire A players, you must temper your optimism and be as realistic as possible about the people you’re interviewing.
Many employers (myself included) have made the mistake of hiring someone who’s good at selling themselves — that is, they talk a good talk — but doesn’t perform with the same enthusiasm once on-boarded.
Don’t make that same mistake. Remove emotion from the equation and ask yourself, does the person fit the culture you’re trying to create? Do they have enough experience to do their job exceptionally well? Are they in it for the long-term? Will they help take your business to the next level? If not, move on to the next applicant.
Sign #2: You get discouraged when your unrealistic expectations aren’t met.
When you started your business, it was probably because you had a dream — a dream of working less, making more money, and spending more time with your family.
That’s an important and necessary part of the entrepreneurial journey. You never would have started your business at all if you weren’t dreaming of an exciting future.
But — and this is an important “but” — if you get immensely discouraged when your dreamy expectations are met with reality (for example, you thought you’d be doing four deals per month within a couple months but you’re only doing one deal per month and it’s been 3 months) then you need to adjust your expectations. There’s no reason to get discouraged. Reality is what it is and all you can do is respond to it and try to grow your business toward the future you desire.
Don’t let go of your dream, but also don’t let that dream discourage you when the going gets tough.
Sign #3: You wish more than you work.
There’s a lot of self-help propaganda which tells you to think and dream harder to manifest the reality that you want.
And there’s no denying that our thoughts are powerful. What we think quickly become emotions and behaviors, which means that our thoughts impact our business’ results.
But wishing and dreaming is no replacement for cold, hard work. Make no mistake: you’re going to have to work and sweat in order to build the real estate investing business you’re trying to build.
Wish, yes. Don’t stop wishing. But supplement that wishing with hard work and you’ll get where you’re going a whole lot faster.
Sign #4: You envision an idealistic future for your business.
I have a secret for you: things are never going to be perfect.
If you’re working toward a future where you don’t have to work at all, where your business runs on its own, and where you can sit on the couch and eat potato chips all day, then you’re probably chasing the wrong thing.
It’s good to try and build a business that serves you rather than enslaves you (that’s what we help investors do at Call Porter, after all) and it’s good to know why you’re working to build your business — to have a vision for the future.
But if you think that, down the road, there’ll be no struggle, no challenges, no difficulties… then you’re in for a surprise. In the end, the journey should be just as enjoyable as the destination, because the destination isn’t going to be as perfect as you imagine it.
Sign #5: You ignore very real problems festering in your business.
Enthusiasm is contagious. It can motivate employees. It can create a positive and lucrative culture. It can make your business grow faster than it would if driven by pessimism. Plus, it’s just more fun to be positive than it is to be negative.
But if your enthusiasm for your business and its future is giving you tunnel vision — that is, if it’s making you ignore very real problems festering in your business — then that enthusiasm isn’t serving you, it’s hurting you.
When employee relationships disintegrate into competitive oblivion, when your business loses money on every deal its doing, when everything collapses around you, it won’t much matter if you have a smile on your face or not. Best to let a little realism enter the scene and deal with real problems as they crop up.
By all means, dream, believe, wish, desire, vividly imagine a future that excites you.
That will drive you to keep working on building the business of your dreams.
But don’t let that optimism cloud your judgement, don’t let it discourage you, don’t let it distract you from real problems, and don’t let it replace cold hard work.
You’ll get where you’re going, but it’s going to take some time, it’s going to take some sweat, there’s going to be some obstacles.
And that’s okay. Trust the process and keep moving forward, whether you have a smile on your face or not.