Very very early in my career and many times since, my father, who preceded me in the family real estate brokerage, would say to me: take notes, someday you may want to write a book. Save for these articles, I have yet to heed his advice. Having had the fortunate opportunity to observe the habits of professionals for almost 30 years now, some recurring themes begin to emerge. And while my observations are generally of the real estate industry, they probably ring true for any profession. An abbreviated, unsubstantiated, non anecdotal summary of the habits of the successful – (and not so much) l- would include the following:
Tell the truth. Not many people view themselves as dishonest. Honesty is like common sense in this regard – everyone seems to believe they possess it in greater degrees than anyone else. (Of course, common sense tells us this cannot be!) Where the trouble starts however, is when the truth becomes difficult to relay. Your furniture is ugly and the carpet smells like cat pee may be the truth, but not always the most successful way to earn business! The honest among us will tell the hard truth. The dishonest will tell their friends. The gifted manage to relay the information as though it were a compliment. It would be great to be both honest and gifted. But if I can only be one – Ill be honest. It can be difficult to deliver bad news quickly – but imperative. Expedite the inevitable- Kevin Plank (Under Armour founder and CEO)
Learn from others. Training, is a multi billion (yes, that was a b) dollar industry within the sales field, and many look to be trained as though it were a magic bullet. It isnt. If I want to be successful, I should find a way to learn from the best. If the best are not available, learn from the second best. After all, as Bill Nye (the Science Guy) opined, everyone you will ever meet knows something you dont. (as an aside, I feel the need to mention Herb Neumann says it too!) If, by some misfortune, I lack access to both the best and second best – Id be well served to observe the habits of the unsuccessful. Then, do the opposite.
Its me! Its not always easy to accept our personal shortcomings. If someone is more successful than me, I can reconcile our respective positions on the ladder of success in multiple ways. I may choose to believe that they cut corners. I may assume they undercut their competition. I may like to think that they have cheated, or lied their way to success. The most difficult and uncomfortable conclusion to reach however, is that perhaps they are simply better than me. It is also the likeliest possibility. My general observation has been, that when a very successful person is beat, they look for a way to improve themselves. The rest of us, to varying degrees, look for a reason that points to someone other than ourselves.
The level of advice that flows from us is unfortunately too often in direct inverse proportion to our achievement. That is why our classrooms and work meetings are often dominated by the wrong voices (When that happens, refer to point two above). Unfortunately, I have probably already proved that maxim beyond a doubt, and with that, Ill bring my musings to an end. The book will have to wait for retirement, and perhaps released posthumously. Everyone is smarter when theyre gone.
Thanks for reading,