A Middleton Elite Coaching collaboration with national speaker, trainer, author & founder of Rawls Consulting, Shaun Rawls


Opportunities abound in challenging real estate markets for those who actively seek and capitalize on them. Unfortunately, many real estate agents risk falling into a cycle of negativity, fatigue, and external distractions. In contrast, top-performing agents maintain a winning mindset and see accountability as an internal strength. They pair this inner accountability with a strong commitment to increased effort and skill improvement, creating an unstoppable combination.

Your choice of associates matters significantly. Middleton Elite Coaching is privileged to have our good friend and mentor, Shaun Rawls, as part of our network. Recently, we had the honor of participating in his mastermind for a collaborative session centered on self-accountability that provided valuable insights and left a lasting impact.

Among our real estate coaching clients, we’ve observed a spectrum of business performance in the current real estate market. Some are experiencing a slight downturn, while others are maintaining a relatively steady course. It’s no surprise to us that some are enjoying the most prosperous years of their careers. What sets these high achievers apart?

It was a blend of intention and perhaps a touch of luck for those who have reached new heights. They’ve been rewarded for their willingness and adaptability to take advantage of new opportunities. Many quickly recognized when adversity was on the horizon and took decisive action to navigate the challenges.

Yet, there are also those who, despite acknowledging the demanding market conditions, have not made substantial course corrections.

It’s a reminder that our success hinges not just on seizing opportunities, but also on our ability to adapt when the tide turns against us. In these uncertain times, it’s those who remain nimble and open to change that are poised for long-term growth and resilience. Whether it’s navigating uncharted waters or making calculated strategic moves, the path to sustained success often lies in our willingness to embrace change and make the necessary adjustments along the way.

Inward-to-Outward Strategy For Growth

Identifying the activities and tasks that will shape your future is crucial. This involves recognizing opportunities and holding yourself accountable for pursuing them, all in the context of personal development. It’s essentially an inside-out approach to accountability, where we’ve shifted our focus toward “who” instead of “how.”

Picture your business three years from now. Your first step in introspection should be, “Who do I need to become to successfully run that business or lead that life in three years?”

Then, consider, Who is currently not a part of my network but needs to be to bring my vision for my business or life in three years to fruition?”

This should be your primary focus and approach when recruiting or acquiring talent.


Charting Your Course (3-5 Years)

Many leaders understand that the outcomes we aim for today won’t typically manifest immediately. The well-functioning systems and processes we rely on today likely started some time ago.

We advise our clients to look ahead far enough to gain a clear vision of their desired destination. By taking meaningful actions today, they can ensure that three years later, they won’t be saying, “I wish I had done that.”

What we’re striving to encourage among our clients is planning for the near future. This means selecting goals that are distant enough to allow the launch of new initiatives and their subsequent maturation. It’s important to grant yourself some leeway regarding the precision of your predictions. Planning isn’t about pinpoint accuracy; it’s about looking far enough ahead to provide room for the development of new endeavors.


Anticipating Tomorrow in the Present

Not all exciting new ideas that emerge from future planning need immediate execution, nor should they consume an overwhelming portion of your energy. Your current business and profit goals remain essential. If you’re still in the business of selling houses, you can pursue a parallel path. On one track, you’re actively selling houses today, while on the other, you’re taking the necessary steps to kickstart your future plans. We like to call this approach “slowing down to speed up.” It involves a careful balance of tackling today’s tasks while building the groundwork for the future. What actions can you take today, tomorrow, or this week to achieve immediate wins and set the stage for your future success?


Turning the Lens Within 

Shaun raised the question, “Why do so many agents struggle to keep their priorities in check? And how can leaders effectively ensure that agents follow through with tasks they might not want to do?”

He believes that accountability is a challenge for most leaders. Shaun has had the privilege of working with some of Atlanta’s highest-performing agents, and a common theme emerges: prioritization and self-accountability are often weak points.

He poses a crucial question to them: “How much more successful could you be if you clung tightly to your priorities, never letting them slip away for anything?”

Candidly, I (Bill) acknowledge that as a coach, I am not the best at enforcing accountability. Interestingly, many clients approached me with the same request: “I need more accountability.”

However, I question whether it’s truly accountability they’re seeking. If it were, they might have already found it elsewhere. I believe they truly desire a partner in the trenches with them. While accountability plays a role, it’s just one piece of a more comprehensive puzzle.

There is inherent accountability in a business relationship when both parties genuinely care about each other’s success. What has set Middleton Elite Coaching apart from competitors from its inception is the focus on coaching the whole person, not just their business. 

I credit my life experiences as an athlete and a businessperson to great coaching. I recognize that the best coaches knew me intimately—what motivated me, which buttons to push, and which buttons not to push. Most importantly, these coaches cared deeply about me, establishing a trust foundation.

This foundation also welcomes healthy conflict. This is only possible when both parties believe they’re in the trenches together, caring for one another, with the relationship taking precedence over business.

Shaun shares that at his first coaching appointment, his coach asked, “What do you think of when you hear the word accountability?” 

“Well…” Shaun said. “I think of you holding a saddle and sneaking up on me, and when I’m not looking, strapping on, getting on and driving me like crazy.” 

She started laughing. “I think you have the most warped sense of accountability I’ve ever heard. So you don’t trust me. Right? What I hear is, you don’t trust anybody that would hold you accountable. What if you could trust me? What would it look like if we take the word accountability out of it. What if I really did care about you? What if I wasn’t trying to sneak up on you and do something to you? What if I was in it and helping you succeed and I was on your team? What if you saw me as a partner?”.


And that, Shaun says, was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. 

Within our organization and for our clients, foundational trust in the relationship leads to healthy conflict and willingness to have difficult conversations. We all have at least one person in our lives who cares enough about us that they would tell us what we need to hear, regardless of whether we want to hear it. This type of relationship usually takes decades to build- and in a business relationship, how do you accelerate that trust? 


Balancing Act: Navigating Internal and External Accountability

Understanding your relationship with accountability is not just an insightful exercise; it’s a practical necessity for finding the most effective accountability mechanism that aligns with your inherent tendencies.

In Gretchen Rubin’s best-selling book ‘The Four Tendencies, she delves into the theory that we all have a relationship with accountability on two distinct fronts:

1. Inner Expectations:

What we expect from ourselves. The internal drive pushes us to set goals, make plans, and strive for personal growth.

2. Outer Expectations:

These are expectations placed on us by other people. These include work deadlines, societal norms, and commitments to friends or family.


Let’s look at the ‘Rebel’ tendency as an example. Rebels have an innate aversion to being told what to do, often making holding them accountable challenging. Successfully guiding a Rebel requires a very specific type of individual and a foundation of trust in that relationship. Only under these circumstances may a Rebel be open to receiving accountability from someone else.

Working with a Rebel can be a unique challenge from a coaching perspective, but it doesn’t render them uncoachable. Instead, it highlights the importance of finding the right coach whose style and approach align with the Rebel’s distinct tendencies. While compatible coaches for Rebels may be fewer in number, the right match can lead to remarkable growth and success.


This is good news for the Rebel in you.


Drifting Away From Our Intentions

We often face two common challenges in accomplishing our intended tasks: fatigue and distraction. Taking an inside-out approach to identify the factors contributing to our fatigue, such as sleep quality, nutrition, hydration, stress, and alcohol consumption, can be enlightening. Remember, there’s no judgment here; we’re all on a personal journey. Create a list of factors you know that drain your energy and work towards addressing them.

By doing this, you’ll notice a significant increase in your overall energy levels, leading to enhanced productivity. Picture waking up with a full 100% battery life instead of just 75%.

Similarly, look closely at the distractions in your life that may keep you at an 8 out of 10 when you could easily be at a 10 out of 10. Sometimes, this list may include minor, seemingly insignificant things. Curiously, stopping these distractions can enable you to accomplish more. We refer to this as “addition by subtraction.” In Shaun’s book, ‘“F”-It Less,’ he refers to this as the ‘Stop Doing List,’ or the ‘Not To Do List’. 

So, what steps can you take to optimize your body and mind, ensuring you have the energy and focus needed to accomplish more of what truly matters to you? We recommend you start by challenging your comfort zone, removing what is bogging you down to make room for productivity. 


Unpacking Challenges: The People First Approach

When asked about our coaching clients’ primary challenges, the answer predominantly revolves around people-related issues, particularly recruitment and retention.

Several of our real estate coaching clients have encountered the unexpected departure of high-performing agents from their teams, leaving them puzzled and prompting discussions about the necessity of ongoing talent acquisition systems and processes.

Rather than reacting to departures by hurriedly filling vacant positions, we advocate for a proactive “recruiting mindset.” We encourage our clients to consistently nurture a talent pipeline, ensuring a steady influx of highly skilled individuals. It’s always an opportune time to align your business with the right people. We’ve been actively involved in recruitment efforts for many of our real estate coaching clients, and we’ve observed that the current talent pool boasts a growing number of high-caliber candidates.

Macroeconomic trends indicate that individuals are transitioning from fields like real estate, mortgage, and law due to layoffs, while others are relocating from different parts of the country, no longer able to work remotely. This presents a particularly advantageous time to expand your business with the right people.

Simultaneously, we’re discussing navigating this challenging market with our clients through a leadership lens.

Our guidance emphasizes distinguishing between elements within your control and those beyond it.


Control In A Challenging Market

We fundamentally believe there are three things you can control:


  1. Your mindset/attitude
  2. Your effort
  3. The skills with which you make that effort. 



The simplest trick to maintaining a healthy mindset is to stop burning energy on things you cannot control.  You cannot control the real estate market.  Any time you find yourself complaining about the market, stop it.  That’s energy that you could be using elsewhere.

Consider starting your day by setting an intention around your mindset/attitude.

Today, I will focus on the opportunities.

Today, I will shine with positivity.

Today, I will bring out the best in myself and others.



There is no substitute for effort.  If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting, chances are you’re not putting in the appropriate amount of effort.  


Ask yourself:

Am I putting in the effort needed to achieve my goals?

Am I as focused as I need to be to hit my goals?


Minor adjustments can compound into major results.



My first year in real estate was in 2008. (I know, right?)  For my first 6+ months in the real estate business, I was what Zig Ziglar used to refer to as a motivated idiot – putting in the effort and not doing it the right way.

Most real estate agents grow their skills through experience, trial and error, and the school of hard knocks.  In today’s real estate market, that’ll put you out of business before you can get started.  Speed is your friend.  Here’s the recipe for improving your skills quickly:


Role Model

  • Pick and study the models that work and the people who do it best
  • Study the macro and local market conditions and understand how to explain them well.  


Role Play

  • Practice, practice, practice.  
  • Practice your scripts, practice your presentations, and get incrementally better every day.
  • Stop practicing on your prospects.  The cost of errors is too high.


Real Play

  • Implement what you’ve learned.
  • Immediately following your appointment, analyze what went well and what you could do better.
  • Get to a Level 8 out of 10 as fast as possible.


Once you get your skills (in all areas) to an 8+, it’s time to focus on incremental improvement.


Final Thoughts

In the dynamic world of real estate, success is not just about transactions; it’s about the transformation of mindsets, the embrace of leadership, and the unwavering commitment to accountability. Remember that the journey toward excellence is an ongoing one. Your mindset shapes your reality, your leadership inspires your team, and your accountability propels you toward your goals. In the ever-evolving landscape of the real estate industry, those who cultivate a growth mindset, lead with purpose, and hold themselves accountable will not only thrive but also leave an indelible mark on the industry. So, seize the opportunity to lead, inspire, and excel – your future success awaits.

As the renowned motivational speaker Jim Rohn once stated, you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. We’re grateful that our clients and influential leaders like our friend Shaun Rawls choose us to be among those five.


Stay Elite!

Bill, Debbie, & The MEC Team


All the smart parts of this article were contributions by Shaun 🙂