What is Your One Thing in 2021?

Each year I chose a Word, or Theme that will guide me in my decisions. It allows me to be very intentional, stay focused and follow my plan for the year.

At every conference I always ask people, “what is the one take away that you will implement in your business? “

So, does this sound familiar to you? You return from the conference excited by all the great things you heard. You are motivated to implement new ideas. But…what ends up happening? You get sucked back into the daily routine of being a business owner and another year goes by and not one of those great ideas gets implemented. It’s frustrating and to be frank a waste of time, energy and money. There is no ROI in this scenario. If anything, it is detrimental because you are left feeling stuck.

The adage “Sticks, and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…” is sooo NOT true. Words are powerful. They can inspire us and can sabotage us. The little voice in our head that is telling us, “we aren’t good enough, or if I increase my pricing or add a new service my clients will leave, or it will never work…” I challenge all of you to control your mindset and pick a word that resonates with you for 2021.

2020 might have been the year of Perseverance, Pivoting, One Step Forward Two Steps Back, Will Power, Tenacity, or Grit, but we get to choose what our mindset will be for the day, the week, the month, and the year. What we think is who we are and where we focus is where we will go.

2021 could be the year of:

Intention – to focus on what is truly important in your business. What forms will you implement this year? What career development plans will you create with your employees? Where will you spend your marketing dollars? How many new owners will you take on and more importantly how many owners will you let go this year? These are all good questions that revolve around intention.

Think Before You Leap – maybe this year you will slow down and make decisions with both eyes wide open evaluating the pro’s and cons of the decision at hand. Just because you have an opportunity presented to you doesn’t mean it is your opportunity to grab. It just might be the right opportunity for someone else.

Say No Often – many of us fall into the people pleaser or want everyone to like us camp. There is nothing wrong with saying no maybe it is coming up with a way to say no that feels right to you. The reality is that we only have 24 hours in a day and successful people have learned to be extremely protective of their time. If you say no to more requests and commitments, you will have more free time to say yes to the things that matter to you and that will move the needle on your business.

Clarity – this seems like an easy thing to execute but when I ask coaching clients, “What do you want? When will you know you have reached your goal? and What does your life and company look like a year from now?” many say, “I don’t know.” Clarity is the key to your success. If you don’t know where you want to go how will you find your way let alone lead anyone? There is no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of being honest with yourself about what you want for your business and your life. We often become paralyzed with the opinions of experts around us and we stop listening to ourselves.

Keep it Simple – what processes can be eliminated or simplified? Is your onboarding of new clients difficult? Is your website easy to navigate? Do your employees know where to find things if you aren’t around? Simplicity is not easy to accomplish but is a goal that can be measured easily. My lease was 40 pages and use to take over an hour to create. It was frustrating for staff when the busy season hit. So, we found a way to simplify the process and what took on average an hour and a half decreased to thirty minutes. Owner statement day in 2005 took 4 days from start to finish and after many years of revising and simplifying, we got it down to 4 hours total. What could you and your staff do to make things easier for everyone?

Focus – maybe you decide you will stop multi-tasking and just focus on one task at a time. You will try out some time management tricks such as batching work, calendaring tasks in blocks of time such as client appointments in the afternoons, or one-hour blocks of time to focus on large projects by breaking it down to smaller steps such as customizing your policy and procedure manual, working on leases or new management contracts.

Listen – this is one that I have worked on for many years. Truly listening and asking questions before jumping in to solve or fix the problem is a learned skill. Yes, I am a recovering fixer. Active listening is a gold mine of ideas from your clients, tenants, vendors, and the public at large. Fortune 500 companies spend thousands of dollars on focus groups and surveys. If you prioritize listening you will understand the needs of the people you serve and you will come up with new solutions, programs, revenue streams, easier ways of doing business and meet the needs of your clients at the same time without spending thousands. It takes a humble person to listen and take to heart the feedback received but the rewards are worth it.

I encourage you to find your own word, phrase, or mantra for 2021. I have shared a few to get you started but the real question is What is Your One Thing? Once you know it write it on a post-it-note and have it in front of you throughout the year. Calendar weekly, monthly, or quarterly to check in with yourself and see how your word or phrase is showing up in your business. Are you accomplishing more? Are you feeling more motivated? Is your goal for 2021 clear and you are hitting your milestones?

I will share with you that when I check in quarterly and review my goals for the year, I always find I have 90% of them done by mid-year. How awesome is that! Now I can decide to double down, increase the goal, or add something new. Words are powerful and they will fuel your success.

So, What Is Your One Thing?


Kathleen Richards, is the owner of PM Made Easy and The Property Management Coach. With her 13 years as a broker/owner of a property management company she speaks from experience. Kathleen authored, Property Management A-Z and teaches regularly at community colleges and conferences on property management topics. She is active in her field and holds professional designations as Master Property Manager (MPM®) and Residential Management Professional (RMP®) and her company held the coveted, Certified Residential Management Company (CRMC®) designation from NARPM®. She is currently a National Instructor for NARPM® and is honored to be sharing best practices with other NARPM® professionals. Kathleen has served at the local and state level on the boards for NARPM® (National Association of Residential Property Managers)