Shifts happen. It’s the nature of the real estate industry beast to be in the midst of feast or famine at any point in time. While it helps to remember that our crazy business is cyclical, and that what goes down will eventually go back up, sometimes we need more encouragement than that to remain motivated enough to continue putting our feet on the floor every morning.

Setting goals and taking action can help motivate real estate professionals, even when business is slow“Regardless of the circumstances, there is always an opportunity,” according to sales coach and author John D. Mayfield. To prove this, think about the old saying: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

The housing crash certainly felt like a great big truck full of lemons, didn’t it? Yet, look what we did with it: We made yummy lemonade in the form of distressed property transactions. Sure, it was tough on America’s homeowners, but motivated real estate agents were able to stay afloat in an industry that seemed to be drowning everyone around them.

Although the nation’s housing market seems to be about to move off of life support and into the recovery room, if you’ve been lacking motivation for some time, it may be hard to get going again. Let’s take a look at some tips from both motivational gurus and your colleagues.

Take Action

Tony Robbins, the master of motivation, has a suggestion for folks who need a push. It’s simple, really: ACTION.

“Often we are caught in a mental trap of seeing enormously successful people and thinking they are where they are because they have some special gift. Yet a closer look shows that the greatest gift that extraordinarily successful people have over the average person is their ability to get themselves to take action,” he claims.

Even though Robbins goes on to say that “The path to success is to take massive, determined action,” many agents find that even one simple step can move them out of the lack-of-motivation trap and on to success.

This is easier said than done, especially if you’re suffering from analysis paralysis – that state of being where you are in a constant ritual of preparing, analyzing and weighing your options to the point that action of any kind isn’t taken.

If that sounds like you, the following tips should help shake things up a bit.

Alter Your Routine

“The smallest of changes in context make a big difference in motivation levels,” suggests Samuel R. Sommers, associate professor of psychology at Tufts University. He goes on to say that researchers have found that a change in environment can lead a person to experience a “burst of fresh thinking and increased drive.”

Get away from your desk for a few hours every day. Take the laptop to a coffee shop or even the library. Meet with prospective clients over lunch or meet another agent for cocktails in the afternoon. Anything that you do to break up a long-held routine will help you shake things up.

Read, Listen, Watch

People find motivation in a variety of ways. If you enjoy reading, listening to music or watching videos, set aside some time every day to do so.

Tony Robbins has an oldie but a goody called “Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement” that will kick your motivation into high gear. It’s available in print as well as on CD.

Agents can never go wrong with anything that Gary Keller has to say, but we recommend “Shift: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times,” co-authored with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan.

Then, there’s the master of motivation, Zig Ziglar, and his classic book, “Better Than Good: Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live.”

We’d love to hear about your favorites in the comment section below.

Back to Basics

Getting leads is motivational, according to Anthony Black of Ocean View International Realtors®. To move out of his slump he went back to his beginnings by pursuing FSBOs. He set a goal of obtaining one listing every two weeks, and he achieved it.

Maybe it’s time to reach out and really touch some of the folks in your database. Have some fun and remind them what you do for a living. Margaret Reyes, broker-owner of the Florida Real Estate Store Inc., catered a dinner party for some of her past and, most importantly, prospective clients who were facing foreclosure. She also invited a bankruptcy attorney who spoke to her guests. She received two listings and five referrals for her efforts. Now there’s some motivation!

Pleasure and Pain

Race car champion Mario Andretti once said, “Desire is the key to motivation …”

What do you desire? If you aren’t sure, sit down with your iPad and let your imagination run wild.

Robbins claims that “pain is an even greater motivator than pleasure.” With that in mind, pick out the one thing or goal on your list that would cause the most pain if you didn’t obtain it. Really focus on the pain you’ll feel if you don’t reach that goal or get that whatever-it-is you want. Focusing on that pain and then the pleasure you’ll feel if you do get it will motivate you to take action. “Not taking action is more painful than just doing it,” Robbins says.

Make the action steps small, if need be, but make an action plan. Every time you take one of these actions, you’ll be closer to reaching the goal and will thus feel more motivated.

Motivation varies greatly among individuals – what motivates the guy at the next desk may scare the pants off of you. So, what do you do to stay motivated – what’s inside you that drives you to action?