By Gino Blefari
This week my travels find me in Palm Springs, CA for the 2016 Real Living Connection conference. The meeting has been an incredible opportunity to connect with the Real Living brokers who work hard in markets across America and I must give kudos to Bob McAdams, president of Real Living, for putting together such a powerful and inspiring event. I’ve been having a great time participating in the conference activities, and even biked almost two miles in the 95-degree sweltering desert heat yesterday to compete in an Amazing Race-style team-building event. (Hey, it’s all about commitment. Remember, if you’re INTERESTED in being successful, you do what’s convenient but if you’re committed to being successful, you’ll do whatever it takes.)
After Palm Springs, I drive to Los Angeles where on Saturday I’ll be giving the commencement speech to the graduates of Woodbury University, class of 2016. Putting together this speech has been a real exercise in motivation and history, taking me back to when I was a young, 20-something trying to make my way in the world after I graduated San Jose State University and was appointed General Manager of the Cherry Chase Golf and Swim Club in Sunnyvale, CA. What would I tell my younger self about what it takes to succeed? What lessons have I learned or what knowledge have I acquired that my younger self needs to understand? THOSE are the things the Woodbury University graduates must hear and now, days before I deliver the speech, I want to give you an exclusive preview of what I’ll tell them, my “7 Secrets to Success” …
- Play full out. Do whatever it takes. Put your whole self in the job and know that you have to want it more than anything or anyone. I began my real estate career with just a dollar bill in my pocket. I figured if I had that one dollar bill and took a potential client for coffee—at the time a coffee only cost 75 cents—then I could at least afford to pay for my own cup.
- Have a good morning routine. You have to get something positive in your head at the start of every day and the best way to do that is with a regular routine. My routine involves taking my M.E.D.S. … Meditation, Exercise, Diet and Sleep. This routine helps me with my keystone habits that create small wins. I know this helps prepare me to have a great day.
- Be humble. Have fun. Smile. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Remember what I said in my last Thursday Thoughts: Smugness comes before arrogance and arrogance is the pre-cursor to disaster.
- Build a great team. I always say I love what I do largely because I love who I work with. Great teams are important blends of personalities and talents, where everyone is working for the betterment of all. Think about the game of basketball. For a lot of people, it’s about making the basket. But really, the assist is just as critical, maybe more. I believe the person who passes the ball to the player scoring is the most important player. Ultimately, no matter who scores, what really matters is that your team wins the game.
- Provide extraordinary customer service. Do you know what the single, toughest thing for the competition to duplicate is? Not just ‘service’ but extraordinary quality service, convenience and value. And do you know why? Because extraordinary quality service, convenience and value requires the most effort. And you know as well as I do that most companies and most people are not willing to put forth the extra effort. Do you know why? Because it’s hard. But it’s the hard that makes you great. It’s the willingness to do the hard that makes you great. It’s the willingness to do the hard that separates you from the competition.
- Read. Make a commitment to read for one hour each day. I did this in my first three years in real estate and became widely known as an expert. Reading allows you to see old things in new ways by viewing them through the lens of another thinker with experience and knowledge that varies greatly from your own. This is how you’ll innovate and this is how you’ll achieve.
- Always work to continuously improve yourself. One thing I learned since leaving school is: You perform how you see yourself and that is precisely why you have to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. You are a constant work in progress. Never stop growing, never stop learning and never hide your talents. Remember, when you are through changing you are through. If you’re silent, you’ll be forgotten. If you don’t believe in yourself that will make it unanimous. If you do not advance, you will fall back. If you walk away from any challenge today, your self-esteem will be forever scarred and if you cease to grow even a little, you will become smaller. Reject the stationary position because it is always the beginning of the end.
So what’s the message? Well, here’s the one I’ll be telling Woodbury Graduates on Saturday: Some people think when they graduate college or grad school that their education is over and it’s time to get serious and focus on a career. Well, that just isn’t true. A degree is great, wonderful, an incredible achievement but it’s just the beginning. For though these graduates may no longer be official students at Woodbury University, they remain now and forever students in the school of life.