The Secret to Small Successes

Scott CostelloAll, Blog, Probate Investing 13 Comments

pingpongOne important lesson I have learned from reading blogs from people like Steph Davis (, Shae Bynes (, Kelly (KellyFlippinCali) ,Nick Johnson ( and many many others (I think I’m going to write a post about all the blogs I read one day soon), is that small successes are essential to every accomplishment.

These successful steps forward aren’t always obvious at first and sometimes even need to be pointed out by a friend.  The best way I can explain this is with a video game, lets take Wii Sports Resort’s Ping Pong…

When I first played the game I got killed by Lucia(computer player) every time, it wasn’t even funny.  She would toy with me, hitting spinning shots that would seem to defy logic.  My paddle was on the wrong side of the table more times then not.  The first 12 times I played Lucia I lost 6 to 0, didn’t even come close to scoring a point.

If anyone knows me, they know I’m as competitive as anyone.  I’ll race my wife to see who finishes brushing our teeth first! So I started experimenting and trying to figure out some of Lucia’s tendencies.  I first found out if I role my wrists over I could put top spin on the ball and make it curve and dip (Wii motion plus baby!!).  I still got my ass kicked by Lucia but I would have her hitting a defensive shot once in a while (small success).  Then I learned to put back spin on the ball, which slowed down the pace of play.  This allowed me to recover or gain some control over the point (small success).  I started getting a point here and there, but still losing spectacularly.

After about 100 matches I started to notice something, Lucia liked to follow up a forehand smash with another forehand smash and the same with back handed shots.  This was huge because she would always turn me around , but now I’d anticipate her next shot (small success).  At this point we were having epically long volleys, 10, 15, 20 hits, yet I still couldn’t get the ball by “Quick Hands” Lucia (I had another name for her, but that is between me and my dog Jack).  I was so close to beating her I could taste it!

Without even noticing, my reactions had really quickened, I was spinning the ball like it was second nature and I started being able to really direct where I’m hitting the ball.  Match 106 it all came together, I completely controlled Lucia. I Had her going from side to side, diving for the ball and one volley after another I’d see my opening and smash one by her.  I won 6-2!  I felt like Barney Reed Jr. (haha, I just looked him up on google.  No idea who he was before now)

Why did I tell you that long drawn out experience?

I told you all of that because that is exactly how it’s going to be, for most of us, sending out these probate letters and talking with the sellers.

First bunch of callers: we are probably going to feel stupid, sound stupid and pretty much mess them all up.

What we will learn: This is ok, we are learning, learning valuable tendencies.  We might not realize it at first because of our nerves, but we are learning.

Second bunch of callers: We will have relaxed a bit, be able to answer the callers basic questions about what we do but might stumble on deeper probing questions.  I’m anticipating that I will confuse the heck out of quite a few of these callers because I’m explaining to much, I.E. digging myself a whole I can’t get out of.

What we will learn: Keep is Simple Stupid! At this point we will start to fine tune our delivery and towards the end of this batch of callers, we may get a few appointments to see the house!

Third bunch of callers: Still some nerves but we are confident with the phone conversation now.  We are starting to tell who is motivated and who are the tire kickers.   We have got canned responses to the “How does this work”? and “How much will you offer?”.   Getting the appointment to see the house is becoming easier.

What we will learned: At this point we will start experimenting and testing different things.  Small word changes, like saying “If we can agree on a price that works for the both of us, will you be able to sign the agreement that same day?”, as apposed to “If we can agree on a price that works for the both of us, will you be able to sign the contract that same day?”.  I learned this from an ebook by Bill Guerra.  Contract is a scary word, while agreement is more comforting.


Just like Wii Sport Resorts Ping-Pong, we are going to struggling at first with the phone calls.  Over time, however, we will have small successes that will take us closer and closer to our first deal!

if you want to get motivated, Read Stephani Davis’ from beginning to end.  You’ll see her struggling for a long time.  What you may not notice at first is that she gets closer and closer and closer with ever deal she tries.

Scott Costello
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Comments 13

  1. Great post! Thanks for mentioning me again. I really appreciate that.

    You've got a really good point though in your post and I think you pulled it all together perfectly.

  2. I was playing the Wii the other day and it all hit me, haha. Funny how you can relate two completely different things to one another so perfectly.

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  4. I must be a total loser because I don't play video games 🙁 I've never even played the Wii before. I always read with my free time, maybe that's why the wifey calls me a book nerd LOL!!!

  5. I hadn't played video games in about 5 years until we got the Wii. I only play the simple games like Wii Sports and Wii Sport Resorts. Helps get some of my pent up energy out. I am going to be cutting out the TV and begin reading as part of Steph's Book of the Month Club.

  6. No, not at all. My whole family loves video games and we do family game night every week…sometimes we play board games or card games and other times we play video games. We buy the multi-player games that all of us can play at one time. It's a lot of fun!

    As for my personal free time (not family time), I choose to read outside on my patio!

  7. Hey Scott- thanks for the shout out!

    And you're absolutely spot on with this post- it takes some time, but if you're willing to keep taking steps forward towards your goal, you will eventually get there. I have to remind myself of that quite often. 🙂

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