5 Lessons the Olympics Teach You about Life and Business

The Summer Olympics come around just once every 4 years, and the older I get, the faster those years go by. It’s an exciting time for the athletes, their family and friends, and the 3.6 billion people watching.

Watching the events this year reminded me that the Olympics can teach us all a few things about life and business – especially in real estate. So without further ado, here are my top 5 lessons (plus a bonus!) as learned from the 2016 Rio Olympics:

Lesson #1: Everyone has their own definition of success

Take swimmer Cody Miller for example, he was ecstatic when he won bronze in the men’s 100 meter breaststroke – celebrating in the water even more than the gold medalist! Some might say, ‘But it wasn’t gold’. So what? Other athletes with their sights set on gold may have been disappointed with a bronze, but Cody wanted to medal, and he did just that.

Maybe you’re a new agent and just want your first listing within 6 months of getting your license? If you accomplish that, what a great success! Pat yourself on the back and set another goal. Pay no attention to the agent across town who is closing 35 deals this year. Success means different things to different people and depends on where you are in life/business.

Lesson #2: Celebrate everyone’s success

Take the US women’s soccer team who got eliminated from the Olympic Games much earlier than anticipated. There’s a lot of pressure on a team who’s projected to win based on outcomes of the past (they won gold in the past 3 Olympic games), but when the games are all said and done, it’s okay for them and their fans to be happy for the gold medal winners (despite what their goalie may think) – even if that means they were disappointed.

In real estate, this can happen a lot. You won’t win every listing, even if you have a great track record – so if another agent gets your listing, oh well! You’ll get the next one and it’s okay to be happy for them even if that means you may have “lost”. It’s a good experience to learn from and see how to improve for next time.

Lesson #3: Be a team player

Swimmer Ryan Lochte competed in two events at Rio: one individual, and the other a relay. In his individual event (the 200m IM), he was competing directly with Michael Phelps, yet could still work with him as a team in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay.  

Say you work at a brokerage with 100 other agents competing for your same business. Embrace it! Competition is a good thing, it pushes you to get better. Remain a team player and support your fellow agents regardless of what that means for you.

Lesson #4: Find a coach

Think Michael Phelps could have achieved his level of success without Bob Bowman? It’s probably safe to say that’s a no. While it is unusual for athletes to stay with the same coach throughout their careers, this athlete/coach relationship exemplifies the importance of how they impact one’s level of success.

Everyone needs help every now and then, even in business. Often it takes an outside eye to bring things to light that may have been holding you back. Seeking a real estate coach is not a bad thing. Their purpose is to help you improve and reach your goals.

Lesson #5: Hard work will pay off

It’s one of those sayings you can never hear too many times, but “the secret is, there is no secret”, even swimming legend Katie Ledecky says it. She encourages everyone to enjoy what they do and put the work in.

After being told repeatedly that she wouldn’t make any money in real estate in the first six months of business, April Kass proved them all wrong by closing 9 listings in her first year. If she’s not living proof that hard work and persistence pays off, then I don’t know what is!

Bonus Lesson #6: Even if you fall, get up quick and keep going

Mo Farah took a tumble in the men’s 10k race early on, but got up, kept going, and went on to win gold! An amazing race to say the least.

Real estate mogul, Barbara Corcoran, explains that the difference between those who will succeed and those who don’t is the amount of time it takes them to get back up after a setback. She says, “turn your setback into a bounceback!” – and that’s exactly what Mo Farah did, so you can too!   

Now go out there and stick your double layout with a half twist! I mean, your next listing presentation.


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