Michael Jordan has plenty of claims to fame. In addition to being one of the best basketball players of all time (arguably THE best, but that’s for a different article), he was famous for his shorts.
Seriously. During every game of his NBA career, Michael Jordan wore his North Carolina practice shorts under his uniform. In 1982, he’d worn the shorts while leading the Tar Heels to a national championship, and he thought they were lucky.
Was it just superstition, or was there something more to it?
It’s tempting to write this off as superstition, and that’s probably part of it. But it’s not the whole story.
Routines are powerful. As soon as Michael Jordan put on his lucky shorts, he became hyper-focused on the game. The routine was more than a lucky charm; it was his way of getting mentally prepared for 48 minutes of intensity.
Think about your routines. Do they put you in the zone?
Let’s put this in the context of career. Do you have a routine in place that helps you get in the zone before a challenging task? On the other hand, do you have a routine that’s not working for you?
Maybe you start the day by checking emails. You need to do it, but it doesn’t really set you up for productivity. Afterwards, you’re more likely to spend a few hours putting out fires than accomplishing something.
Instead, come up with a routine that anchors your focus.
To use an example from my own life, I used to put on a tie whenever I started working—despite the fact that our business started in our basement. It wasn’t about good luck or superstition; it was about doing something physically to prepare myself mentally. Wearing a tie, I got in the zone for the workday.
Other agents have similar routines to help them mentally prepare for a challenge. Before every listing meeting, for example, an agent might stop at 7-11 to pick up a favorite drink. It’s not the drink itself that helps; it’s the routine that gets their brain in gear.
The key is to balance routine with flexibility.
Of course, the pitfall of routines is they can limit flexibility—we all know someone so set in their ways they won’t try anything new—so it’s important to keep making space for innovation.
Taking regular breaks from your routine (think vacation) is a good way to maintain balance, as is purposely pursuing the learning curve. As I’ve written before, you’re more likely to stay creative and relevant if you’re learning something new regularly.
Make your routines work for you.
The beauty of running your own business is you get to create your own routines, so set yourself up for success. You know what makes you more creative and focused—so do whatever helps.
(If waking up in the middle of the night to work helps you get in the zone, do it. You wouldn’t be the first.)
Use your routines wisely. It could mean the difference between distraction and focus, failure and success.
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Matt Mittman and Eric Rehling are the owners of RE/MAX Ready in Conshohocken, PA. See articles from them about taking the right kinds of risks, real experience of being a real estate agent, communication styles, building an audience, learning something new, building relationships, and more.
Photo credit: Miss Shari, Flickr Creative Commons