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It’s important to do what you love, but does it matter that you love what you’re doing? Until you understand the difference, you might be sabotaging your own success. Here’s why.

These days, if you’re sticking around in the real estate industry, you really must love the business. The people, the potential for unlimited income, controlling your own hours, you name it: Now is not the most fun time to be in the housing industry. So it’s love of the business that comes first.

But does that mean you have to love everything you must do to be successful in this market? No, it does not. In fact, if you were only to do those things you loved doing – or even liked – well then you’d probably just sit in a conference room all day waiting for closing checks to fall from heaven. Until that happens, you probably have to do lots of things you don’t like, if you want to be successful.

As one of my favorite business authors Larry Winget says: It’s called work for a reason.

For a long time, I’ve heard too many agents, too many managers, too many brokers sabotage their success by saying one phrase: But I don’t love doing that. What they often need to hear is:

Too bad. Suck it up. Now do it.

Sarcastic? Maybe. Truthful: definitely. Why should real estate professionals get a “pass” to decide whether or not to do what needs getting done in order to reach their goals? And to satisfy customers? Oh, they can say they’re independent contractors (funny how many of them rarely execute a contract independently, but I digress). Or they can say protest that the things they like doing always worked for them in the past, and are still good enough today. Maybe. If you consider working harder and earning less than a school bus driver a standard of success.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this: If you simply dismiss doing things you don’t love doing, you’ve set a limit on your own achievement. You’ve capped your opportunity based not upon markets, technology, education or customers, but your stomach. Your gut grumbles that you don’t like doing something. Just imagine how it will grumble when it goes hungry, too.

I don’t like doing videos, so I’m not going to use them in my marketing. I don’t like firing non-productive agents, so I will let them linger and corrupt and pollute the workplace. I don’t like using technology in a listing presentation, so I’m not going to buy an iPad. I don’t like confrontation, so I won’t ask my agent why he didn’t show up for the office meeting. I don’t like Twitter, so I’m not going to do social networking.

The biggest limits we encounter are most often set by ourselves.

It’s not about training: Apple offers tons of free and ridiculously inexpensive training to master your iPad. CRS and CRB and WCR and lots of other great organizations have offered training in , , brokerage for decades. It’s not about having enough time: you make your own schedule, after all. It’s not about money: It’s thrown down the drain every day.

It’s about doing the work that needs to get done. It’s about leaving your “comfort zone” at home, in your comfy chair, and coming to work to actually work. It’s about loving your hobby on the weekends, but doing the tough stuff during the weekdays. It’s not even about loving the people – oh, the cliche! – but doing the right thing for them. Does anyone really think surgeons “love” cutting deep into flesh? Gross, huh. But at least real estate sales isn’t a hospital emergency room.

I guess the last piece is this: Do you really want to be successful? If not, that’s fine, but imagine if you put that on your business card. A byline that said: I don’t like using an iPad, videos or Facebook. Or telling recruits up front: It’s ok if you don’t attend meetings or file a business plan; we don’t really fire anyone. Seems absurd, but often we act that very way.

Reaching our goals requires us to do the unpleasant work. For our clients, and for ourselves. If you really love what you’re doing, you’ll often do the things you don’t love to do. It’s not a paradox. It’s the secret to success.