Justin Stoddart 0:01
Hey, welcome back to the Think Bigger Real Estate Show, I am your host Justin Stoddart and absolutely thrilled today to bring to you someone who is a friend of mine and an absolute icon in the industry in the real estate industry. She acts as the Senior Vice President, national marketing manager for Old Republic title. And I get opportunities to learn from her. And I thought today how appropriate it would be to share some of that and allow those that that tune into this show, get a chance to meet Michelle, and hear her sharing some really awesome stuff that she’s learned in how many years in the industry, Michelle?
Michelle Lenahan 0:36
Oh, my gosh, I think I’m 23 now, can you believe it?
Justin Stoddart 0:38
cool, coming up on a quarter century in this wonderful industry? And so first and foremost, thank you so much for taking the time and making the effort. I know, like many of my guests, video is not something that you love to do.
Michelle Lenahan 0:54
So my kryptonite, it’s my kryptonite.
Justin Stoddart 0:57
You’re, you’re awesome at it. So I think everybody’s gonna probably private message you in fact, if you have like, find value in what Michelle says today, will you please let her know do more video. Awesome. Let’s dive into this. As as you know, Michelle is you’ve probably heard me say before, is it my mission and passion is really to help people think bigger and to help them as a result of that grow themselves so that their business can grow. You know, you and I both know that businesses don’t grow, at least they don’t grow sustainably unless there’s the personal growth behind it. And I know for that reason alone, you’ve risen to the heights that you have. And the ability that you have the impact in a large degree because you’re deeply committed to like developing yourself and constantly learning. And I love that about you that you like, every time I talk with you, you’ve got like, stories from your previous positions, stories that you’re learning now. Like, there’s always just something top of mine, that you’re identifying a lesson, and then you’re sharing it with other people? Did you have to grow into that and kind of learn that ability to, to identify, to start really picking out the lessons in life? Or have you kind of always been just a curious student like that, you know,
Michelle Lenahan 2:09
what it’s, it’s absolutely at a time totally curious about everything. And I have to tell you, really, my passion is people, I love to learn and grow. And if there’s one thing that I say, every single day, please let me learn from others. So I don’t have to fall into the same pits that they fall into. If I can avoid one pit by learning from someone else, then that to me, is worth a million dollars. And so studying people and learning from them and seeing what’s working and what’s not. And just being super curious, I think, you know, people, people are so amazing, at every level, and there’s so much to learn. And I love it when I talk to someone, and they sort of hit me upside the head and make me think differently. And that those are the moments that I’m that I pull from to say, how does this affect my personal life today?
Justin Stoddart 3:00
I love that, you know, my, the signature question that I asked at the end of nearly every episode is, what do you do to intentionally think bigger? Like what like, how do you position yourself to where your possibilities are always expanding? And I think you might have already answered that question is, is it you’re just a very curious student of what other people are doing?
Michelle Lenahan 3:20
Absolutely. That, you know, I had a professor in college who said, Never make up a story. Because what people will tell you, it’s not possible for you to dream up. We were actually doing a project where, to go out and interview people. And she said, Don’t try to skip over this interview part. Because I guarantee you, if you try to write this paper without having done the work, I’ll know it because you are not you can’t possibly dream up what people are really going to tell you.
Justin Stoddart 3:52
Isn’t that interesting? And is that true in life to in business, that, you know, kind of fake and it only gets you so far, like you actually have to do the work. Now some people get lucky. And they, you know, lat like land a couple of big deals. But if you aren’t doing the work behind the scenes, eventually it shows up in the business doesn’t last like and you know, I don’t even add to that if you’re not growing into the person that can sustain that success. Pretty soon the tide goes out, and you’re left without your shorts.
Michelle Lenahan 4:19
Absolutely. And I think Justin it’s so important for you to learn it here. But you’ve got to learn it here. Because if you just learn it here, it won’t translate when you learn it here in your heart. That’s where the magic happens.
Justin Stoddart 4:33
What have you found on that note? Before we get into the kind of the content of today, I’m fascinated by this topic, what have you found Michelle to take it from head to heart? is there some have you identified, like, what lessons go from here to here and how you get it to do that, any thoughts on that?
Michelle Lenahan 4:50
you really have to apply things to your own personal life. And the most important piece to get it to translate from your head to your heart is his judgment. And don’t pass judgment, because I guarantee you when you’re learning things here in your head, and you’re trying to translate them if you’re passing judgment, because we all learn and it there are many different teachers out there, and you read books. And if you’re passing judgment on the things that people are doing, you’re never going to internalize it, the moment you stop to say, this person is smarter than me or wealthier than me or the converse is, they’re not as smart as I am, or they don’t have as much as I do. And you pass judgment, that’s when you stop learning. Because when you look at all of these people, is there something to learn at every stage, that’s when your heart is open to be able to internalize that so that you really can get the message
Justin Stoddart 5:44
that’s cool, almost opening your heart to the people that you’re learning the lessons from absolutely helps with that process. A lot of great stuff. And and and also, as you said, where you have to do it, right, like wisdom comes as you apply knowledge. And like you said, I think there’s a there’s a really practical component of everything that you learn unless you apply it, it’s going to stay in your head and eventually go. But if you start to live it, then you as your soul starts to really buy into that, that this is my new identity this, right?
Michelle Lenahan 6:14
Absolutely. And it’s like, it’s kind of like riding a bike, people can watch videos about riding bikes, they can hang out with Lance Armstrong, they can, you know, have a bike and dust it off and read all about it and watch every YouTube video out there. But at some point, you got to get on the bike, and you got to pedal because you’ve got to translate that from your head to the physicality of it. And you’re probably going to fall and you’re going to be off balance. And but don’t delay riding the bike thinking you’re going to study it and become a student. And then, you know, before you ever get on the bike.
Justin Stoddart 6:49
Great points. I love it. And what a great segue into us having some really cool things kind of some cool conversations to talk about. So let’s talk about for those that are going away for the weekend, right? For those that are listening to this life, or we’re live, we’re on the cusp of a memorial day weekend. So maybe if you’re listening to this later, just know that this applies at all times, not just for this holiday. But you had some interesting advice about when you go visit a different city picking up real estate magazines talk a little bit about that. What’s your methodology behind that?
Michelle Lenahan 7:15
Absolutely. Well, we all know in the towns and cities that we live in, we can tell you who the top producers are and probably the statistics on who is doing what type of business when you go away to another town and you don’t know, who are the top producers? What What is the real estate market really like there, you pick up a real estate magazine, and this is where you’re at your freshest. This is when you have the that that clear mind to be able to look at this objectively and see what resonates with me what where am I learning the most? Who in this magazine is inspiring me to call them and what am I learning about the market. And I think at those moments, that’s when you have that clarity because it’s not clouded by all of these other judgments that you have to really look at that market and see who is doing a great job. And and, and that’s I think what you bring back, so when you’re you’re out there, and this is why I highly recommend taking lots of vacations, and learning and studying and doing because that’s when you get a chance to cleanse your mind go out and look at things from a different perspective.
Justin Stoddart 8:19
Really interesting, because you’re right, we are almost too close to our own market, right, we see someone’s marketing, and maybe we know the backstory, or we have some judgment about the backstory and why they are the way they are. So we don’t look at it through the eyes of a consumer, which is how really what matters, right? Because they’re the customer, they’re the ones are going to choose which realtor they’re working with which property they’re going to go see which probably they’re gonna make an offer on or not. Yeah, I love what a great way to really learn from other people. Now, in addition to that, I would say of how important it is to build a network of real estate agents outside of your area, right, some of the best real estate agents I know have multiple streams of revenue, one of which is agents from outside of the area that is referred in them and how cool to say hey, just visit your town, I picked up a magazine was so impressed, or I saw an ad show up, you know, on Facebook when I was in your town, and I can tell that you do really great marketing. I’m also a student of marketing, I’m passionate about the marketing that I do, I’d love to have a conversation with you and see if we can set up a referral relationship to where if people ever moving to your town, or I’ve ever got people moving to your town that, you know, we can collaborate looks like we do business similarly at a high level.
Michelle Lenahan 9:26
Yep, absolutely. And that’s this world is becoming so much smaller. And we’re seeing that in my role working nationally, we see that happen all the time, people are moving from one area to another, or they have family members in those areas. And it is different, and it’s a different market. And it’s so fascinating how they’re different. Even from our perspective Justin just on the closing process, you know, if someone’s moving to Texas, they’re sitting around a table, that’s a lot like a party, you know, having some typically some food with both sides sitting there, signing the documents and handing over the keys. We don’t see that in other states and other states. It’s, they’re signing separately. And there’s a couple of days delay before they’re actually handing the keys over. So even the processes on how these works are very different. So it’s so fun to talk to different people and to understand that and, and just to see how what are they doing that we can do with that we can take advantage of Now obviously, the closing process is something different. But now if you’re looking at the experience, you start to say, Oh, yeah, I don’t know why we do it the way we do it. What are the opportunities for me to do it differently?
Justin Stoddart 10:38
Yeah, that’s awesome. I love it. A great tip for those that are going out of town and what a great reason to get yourself out of town more often. Right? Let’s talk about taking the high road right now, obviously, you and I are both a part of a lot of Facebook, real estate related groups. And sometimes those turned into a kind of vent sessions and complaint sessions. What are your thoughts on taking the high road when it comes to real estate?
Michelle Lenahan 11:03
So you know, and being part of several private groups, and I love it just to have a window into what’s going on in the world. And hearing people really talk where it’s not public, but talking privately between themselves. And I often see people who get bad news and in the case of real estate, you know, it’s your, your best friend or a family member that’s decided to use someone else other than you and it does hurt it’s a shot right through your heart. And your immediate reaction is to, you know, cut them off, I’m never talking to that friend again, you know, they’re not invited to my book club any longer. You know, that’s it. And I feel like we have to be prepared in those moments where we’re getting bad news and Justin You know, this from working in title and escrow, we have we walk very similar paths to our real estate agent friends, in that we do have, you know, we’re out there trying to do the best possible work and enjoy educating and sharing so that we can, in turn, get escrow and title work. And it really is not so much either way that you experienced success or winning, if you will, you get that contract, you get that listing, you get that buyer, but it’s how you respond when the news is not in your favor. And And honestly, when that’s hitting you, if you don’t have a go-to in your head that you can can quickly say, all right, how I have her two pads here, if you’re not prepared, then you’re probably going to go down the wrong path because it’s very attractive, that path of bitterness and snarky Enos and all of that is, is lined with beautiful flowers to try to get you to go down that path. But you have to instinctively when you feel that moment happen, you have to instinctively go to your go to and I always say the high road is never the wrong road. Because I’m watching I watch people even Facebook say things and I want to go into that snarky road with them and be like, you know, you don’t need those people. But you find out that people are really when they’re going down that road there. There’s something else and those even the braggadocio people on Facebook when you see them, you know, oh, and maybe it’s maybe you’re getting hit because you were up for that same listing. And now your friend is saying, I got this fabulous listing, you know, and immediately you start feeling bad. I would say you’ve got to say the high road, never the wrong road. What am I going to do here? How am I going to respond? Because every time and I have to tell you without fail every time I go down the wrong road, or I go down the Starkey road for a split second, it feels great to be like, boy did I tell them and then it’s horrible. There is no payoff there, right. And nothing a good ever comes from going down that road even for a minute. So always say what’s the high road here. And when you train your brain to do that, and I like that, and I know this is going to be kind of crazy. But you have to have a plan, right? And you have to have a plan and you have to train your brain where to go to very, very quickly. Otherwise, it’s you spend too much time in that feeling of that shot in the heart, right? I know, I always think about if I’m ever at an ATM, and someone holds me up, you know, if you give them your money, or you don’t give me your money of equal opportunity, an equal chance of being hurt, and worse being killed. So I’ve always thought, Man, if someone ever holds me up at an ATM, and I hope you know, please don’t ever test me on this, I’m going to fall on the ground and just start flopping around like I’m having a seizure. And I thought that’s going to take the element of surprise away from them. But here’s the gig is that if I’m prepared at that moment, and I’ve got to go to and I’m not sitting there going, Oh my gosh, this person has just ambushed me. And I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I know I’ve played that out in my head, it’s good things to playing out. If you’re going to win, or if good things are going to happen. How are you going to respond? But if those bad things happen, and this goes even to just seeing things on Facebook, things that are hurting your feelings, or people that say things, that moment, when you have that feeling of this, this doesn’t make me happier, it makes me sad. If you automatically train your brain to say the high road is never the wrong road, you’re going to be able to come up with something positive to say, and that’s going to lift you up and keep you from this really dismal place of, of fear and sadness and anxiety and, and jealousy. Right. So the high roads, never the wrong road. And it literally every time yanks me out of whatever path I’m going down to and then I’m set free from all of this from any bad news. It’s coming my way.
Justin Stoddart 15:52
one thing I don’t cover in this show is politics, Michelle, but I’ve got to make a comparison here, whether you are a Trump fan, whether you are a Hillary fan, it’s interesting to me. And occasionally I’ll be on Twitter. And it’s interesting to see how when, whether the President or Clinton or somebody tweets, how there are immediate trolls that are just waiting to pounce upon that, and I don’t think any of them have had any impact on any of those people really. But like what a miserable life, I thought to myself, like it would suck to be that person like I am waiting for someone that I hate to say something so that I can try and counter it like and I think probably nobody on this episode on in this audience does that. But I love what you’re saying. Because I think that stepping totally on the opposite end of the spectrum of that, to say I’m going to look for the good in the world. And I’m going to focus on that. And when something uncomfortable or unfortunate happens to me, here’s my plan, here’s how I’m going to respond to that. So that I can be always out of that negative. You know, I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, who told me it just a few years ago want to say it was a CIA declassified a document that showed proof that there is a matter associated with thoughts. And I gotta look this up myself. So this isn’t totally validated. But, but interesting, when you go back to the book, Think and Grow Rich thoughts are things right. And we might think for a moment, that by us having a negative thought or saying a negative thing isn’t affecting us. It is if we play in the mud, we’re going to get money period. And so to have a plan to get out of that, whether it be because we’re trolling on somebody else, or because something you know, unfortunate happens to us. But I love what you said is that is to have a plan to get yourself out of that. Because every second that you’ve got a negative thought negative feeling inside of you. It’s impacting your future, it’s impacting the way you show up, there’s an opportunity cost of that. And you’re going backward, not forward. So awesome stuff. Michelle, thank you so much for sharing that. Love, love learning from you. Let’s go this last topic, you’ve seen people who have gotten into the industry. And in a matter of three years, they went from newbie to top producer, talk to us a little bit about kind of your observation of this, because you’ve been in everything from, you know, kind of an entry level role within a title company to now you know, one of the highest roles in the company. And you’ve kind of seen people progress and grow. Talk to us about your perspective, and what agents can learn from that, as they may be a little too close to their own journey to appreciate the progress that’s happening.
Michelle Lenahan 18:32
Absolutely. So three years ago, I picked up and moved from Northern California where I was born and raised six generations, and moved to Arizona. And I have to tell you, I’m so grateful for social media because it allows me to keep connected to people. So that’s one of the reasons why it was so easy to make the transition. But working in Northern California for my entire career, I had an opportunity to get to know so many people in the industry and to meet new agents and to watch, you know, to watch them sit in that first new agent training and talk to them about riding that bicycle. And jumping out there. And I think as a new agent, you know, everyone has, they have that same, that same anxiety, I’m new, how am I ever going to, you know, go head to head with a top producer. And you know, they just don’t see themselves because they haven’t put the 10 or 15 years into the industry. And so it’s always an issue. And I know I always told them, you know, if I’m interviewing a couple of agents, and a new agent says, Yeah, I’m new. But look, I No one’s going to work harder for you than I am. You know, you feel that. And that’s why even listening to some of those ads, there’s that one guy who does a radio ad. And he says all of these great testimonials. And at the end, he says I’m not bragging, I’m applying for a job. And when you look at that, when you’re applying for a job, when you really think about it, when you have someone who has x number of experience, and they’re applying for the job, and they sort of come in the swagger. And you have that new young gun that saying man, I’m gonna work my tail off, you got to tell your best story. So here’s what’s fascinating. There are new agents and I love it when things hit me upside the head, I’m looking at installations and awards and things like that, as they pop up on Facebook. And people that are assuming leadership positions within their local realtor associations. And even you know, some of the NA rep and WCR, and I go, oh my gosh, little Sally, the brand new agent is now the president of that group. And I went back for a wedding in October. And an agent who was brand new in the business is now one of the top producers and she’s actually speaking and training. And this is not unlike watching your kids grow. You know, I think for me now, and I don’t have children. But for me now to see my friends who not only have children aren’t now driving. And I remember when we were just rocking them, but also that are having children of their own. That’s, that’s the same in business, nothing stays the same. There’s an evolution, it’s never too late to start the people who are getting in the business now. And they say, if only I had done this five years ago, 10 years ago, and you look at the market. In 2008, the market crashed. And now I’m looking back at 2012. And thinking oh my gosh, that was the time to be buying up every piece of real estate you can possibly put your hands on. But it’s always so clear in the rearview mirror. So the bottom line is, there’s it’s never too late to start. The people who are getting their licenses today are going to be our top producers of the future. And it’s here’s what I love about real estate. And I was thinking about this before I called you. In sports. It’s all about age, right? You have to get at this age. I mean, people ask Tiger when he won that last year intimate, you know, at your age, and I think what is he, 42? At your age, can you believe that you can do this and he said, you know, it’s all this nutrition? This is what I love about real estate has nothing to do with age, it doesn’t matter if you’re a new agent at 70, 60, 50, 90, I don’t care pick a number. It’s there is nothing going to prohibit you from being wildly successful at what you do because it’s not kept by that one milestone of age. So it’s never too late to start. If this is your passion, if this is what you want to do if this is where you’re going to stake your claim, then go out there and do it. And I have to tell you, I wish I knew what it was what the secret sauce was for success. Because I have to tell you, I’ve seen people that got off to a slow start that absolutely knocked it out of the park and their top producer. I’ve seen people who got off to a fast start and then crashed and burned. It really is. And this is why I people like you Justin are so important. It really is what’s going on here. And what’s going on here that’s going to allow you to achieve all your dreams in this industry.
Justin Stoddart 23:09
Yeah, no, I totally agree. It’s interesting, I the regular opportunity of sitting with newer agents, and I can feel how fast they’re going to get started in the industry, you just feel it. If there’s a lot of hesitation and charity, I hope this works. Boy, I’m really hoping this works. You know, I hope it does for them too. But I’m not overly confident is going to happen quickly. But those that come in and say look, I’m going to make this work, I have to make this work, or I’m going to like there’s a certain confidence that emanates from them. That as if I were a buyer or a seller, I would feel that and I would either want to entrust that person with, you know, one of the largest purchases I’ll ever make or not right. And so I think having that and again, it’s hard to fake that right you can for a little while. But ultimately it comes down to growing yourself because as you grow yourself as your thoughts, get more confident, get bigger, get stronger, your actions tend to follow, right and people can feel that about you that they’re in good hands, because you’re confident you can be able to take care of them.
Michelle Lenahan 24:11
Justin Stoddart 24:13
So much wisdom Michelle and and you already answered the signature question. So I think I think that’s a wrap. I want to thank you so much for pouring so much value into me and into this audience that think the real estate audience I adore you and I’m so grateful that we get the chance to associate and work together.
Michelle Lenahan 24:31
Absolutely. Thank you, Justin, I’m a huge fan. Keep doing what you’re doing. It makes a difference.
Justin Stoddart 24:35
Thank you, my friend. All right. Hey, for those of you that are tuning in today, and you’re want to give some love back to Michelle for the value that she added please share this out. Give her some appreciation for what she’s done in the show that happens because of people like her. So please give it a share and even tag people in it. You think this would be valuable for them to hear. So thanks again, Michelle. Appreciate it.
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