Back in the day, I used to be a pretty competitive tennis player. I became interested in playing tennis seriously in junior high school, and by the time I graduated high school, my performance on the tennis court was a very big part of who I was. One of my biggest influencers as a young man was my high school tennis coach, Coach Whitlow. He was one of the coolest teachers I ever knew. He could crack the whip of discipline with ease, and he could tell jokes and poke fun at us kids even easier. I rarely got dressed for school without making sure that there wasn’t something about my appearance that Coach Whitlow could make fun of because if he could, he would. I loved Coach Whitlow for always reminding me that I was capable of being better than I was. Regardless of how tired or lazy I was, he wouldn’t let me linger there. And I always found myself wanting to push myself harder under his direction.
One of the greatest friends in my lifetime has been Mark Brown. Mark and I met in the 7th grade and we played on the basketball team together throughout the following years, and we ultimately ended up as doubles partners on the tennis court. The more we played, the better we got. And during our senior year we found ourselves playing in the state championship tournament some two hours outside of Atlanta.
Coach Whitlow drove us to the tournament, and during our drive he talked to us continually about our mindset and our perspective. He knew us both. He knew that we were skilled enough to win; he also knew that we were probably too immature to let that happen. As Mark and I joked and talked about our opportunity to play in the state tournament, Coach Whitlow listened and took it all in.
“You boys have put in a lot of hard work to get here,” Coach said. “It’s going to be a shame to drive all this way and come home without winning.”
“What do you mean, ‘without winning’?” we asked.
“You’re not focused on winning.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Because you are acting like this is your first crack at a state championship, and you’re just happy to be here. You’ve already lost if you’re just happy to be here. And I think you’re both just happy to be here.”
As it turned out, Mark and I lost that day. It was one of the most disappointing losses of our career together on the court. To say that we were mad would be an understatement. I was mad at not playing to the level of which we were capable, but I was even “madder” at the fact that Coach Whitlow was right. We were so excited to play in that tournament that we were, in fact, just happy to be there. And in less than two hours, we were back in the car with Coach Whitlow, heading for home. I’m not sure if any of us spoke on the way back. Mark and I sat there, stewing over our regret while Coach let the lesson sink in. And it did.
Fast forward to today. It’s 2013. More than 25 years have passed since that day. I, along with my Realtor friends and family, have successfully battled through the toughest 5 years that our industry – and our economy – has ever seen. And now we find ourselves in a rebounded market, ripe with the opportunity to re-succeed in new, yet familiar market conditions. For many, the next several years may be no different than my trip to the state tournament. If you survived the past five years, you could be at risk for just being “happy to be here” in a market with momentum, anxious only to ride the economic tide to wherever it takes you.
If, in any way, you resemble that remark, then I’d like you to take your right hand and slap yourself across the cheek right now. You can’t afford to sell yourself short like that. As Mark Willis recently reminded me, “The infinite power of the universe does not exist for you to be average.” The universe provides a lot of things, but it usually provides answers to the questions we ask, and nothing more. In the Aladdin Factor, we learned that the size of our questions determines the size of our answers. If you don’t like the answers that life is giving you (the amount of money you receive, the quality of the relationships you have, the level of stress you live with, etc.), then you need to ask bigger questions that beg for bigger answers in your life.
The past 5 years has created a detrimental mindset of “survival” for many people, particularly for people in the real estate industry. And if you give more power to your memory of the past than you give to the opportunities in your future, then you’re going to find yourself wallowing in regret that’s reminiscent of my loss in the state championship years ago. Quite simply, it’s time to clear out your memory and re-set your hard drive.
What would phenomenal success and happiness look like over the next 5 years? What could you do TODAY that would be a great first step in that direction? What do you need to do to solidify your resolve to win? Do you have the right people around you who make you want to do and be better? Are these people modeling success for you, leaving clues for you to follow? What’s wrong with your thinking that’s always been wrong with your thinking? And what do you intend to do about it? Now is the time to answer these questions and get serious about building a career worth having, a business worth owning and a life worth living. Later is for losers. “Now” is how you need to roll. Now is when you need to go, to be, to do, to have. Now is when you need to live into your future with your actions. “The infinite power of the universe does not exist for you to be average.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready. I’m ready to be better than I’ve ever been. I’m ready to win this match. The market of the past five years has only given me more experience and more confidence to succeed in any market, and I’m going to make the best of the best conditions we’ve seen in years, and I want to help you do the same. I’m asking that you join me, that you take a stand and declare your intention to get your unfair share of what is yours for the taking. I’m asking that you ask for greatness and work relentlessly until you find it for yourself. Will you? Won’t you?
“Together Everyone Achieves More.” Losing out on a great future by settling for average is not an option that we should consider. Let’s win this thing.
Your #1 Fan…
OP – Keller Williams Realty – The Rawls Group – Atlanta
RD – Keller Williams Realty – NY Tri-State Region