Some years ago, when I was having an extremely impressive time in Real estate a colleague of mine gave me a Cup, it read “I’m the greatest, just ask me.” She laughed as she presented it to me, but I didn’t suspect they were trying to tell me something. I sat down with my wife later that night and I asked her “am I really like that?”.
“Yes” she said with a smile, “that’s who you are. But you are in Real estate and that’s expected. It’s not who you are with me”. I appreciated her honesty, but it kicked me in the guts with the truth. You see the one trait that I think a person needs to learn, and grow, is to be humble.
I lacked humility, was competitive and had to win. When I won, I was a dick. I would let everyone know of my achievement, and I would dance around full of pride. I asked my best friend at the time, and he didn’t hold back. “yes, you are making some money, and think your top shit, and you have started rubbing my face in it”. I was hurt, more so because this person knew me since I was a toddler and I was isolating my friends.
I had prided myself on being the expert in my fields. I have had some amazing success, but for anyone to keep growing, and to remain relevant they need to be a humble student. Humility is the virtue that allows us to recognize, and learn from our mistakes. When I worked in the Casino industry, I made heaps of mistakes, but I made them fast, and quickly, and I didn’t repeat them. It led to promotion after promotion in quick succession.
In Real estate I listed 7 properties in my first month and sold 5. My timing, method, and ability all seemed to line up, but it led to me thinking I was better than what I was. I had entered the industry with a fresh, investigative mind, I knew numbers, and I used that knowledge to build a farm, and was successful. But over time I lost my humility, and became a jerk. Being a jerk, can only lead to failure.
One of the ways a person maintains character is by failure, it is how easily a person is able, to learn from losses, and bounce back that creates success.
I was fast becoming a fool and the world has a special way of showing you, how much of a fool you are. I actively started reading, and spending time with my clients, and hired Personal assistants to help me spend more time on personal growth. I knew I had a problem. But as I started to change, and become more caring, communicative (verbally), and consultative, I also became less financially successful. Why? Because I was still too prideful and I wasn’t allowing the adversity to teach me, and I was failing to learn. I had the right idea, but I was still not letting go of my pride. I would still blame others, I would deny my failures, I was insecure, but I was making a lot of money so I didn’t have enough leverage to change.
Then within a few years the major failure I had spoken about came in quick succession. I lost my adopted Nana Whitton due to illness, my brother in-law due to suicide, my mentor Les Loy, then due to third party proximity, I experienced the destruction of my marriage and a major health scare. My character was tested and I succumbed to my inner demons, and became a very highly, functioning alcoholic. My income continued to be high for a period, I went to the gym, I dated and I was a on at least 3 bottles of red wine a day. My PA’s became my sober drivers or I got lifts with some random I picked up the night before.
I did eventually hit rock Bottom.
This is where I learnt the greatest gift I could ever have, I remembered how to be humble.
I will not justify my actions, they were in my opinion deplorable.
I’ve since my fall had an extremely successful career in several industries including owning my own successful real estate company. I remarried, have an amazing wife have 4 beautiful children, a sense of financial security and ability I have not had before. I have a growing network of advocates, friends and partnerships, creating a more sustainable future. I volunteer because I want to give back for all I have been given. I pay it forward.
When I was full of pride I spent so much time concerned about who is right. Now I care more about what is right.
I am not perfect, I make mistakes, but I learn from them. I used to be extremely judgemental. Now I get disturbed by the behaviour but love the person. I am no longer so concerned about the financial rewards, and have declined several advancements as they would take me away from those I love.
I spend a moment everyday showing gratitude, and appreciation to those I love, and send out a little contribution every week.
I am so thankful for the gift I was given so many years ago, I wish I could have learnt the easy way, but it wasn’t to be. I appreciate the love and lesson she tried to share with me.
I have created a set of question I ask myself and get someone else to answer about me as an observer every 3 – 4 months.
• Do you tend to believe you know it all?
• Do you tend to think you should be in charge?
• Do you sometimes believe the rules don’t apply to you?
• Do you believe you shouldn’t fail?
• Do you tend to believe you get things done better all by yourself?
• Do you think you are as important as—or more important than—you community?
I won’t tell you that I don’t get bouts of pride every so often. I have an ego and when people cater to it, sometimes I succumb. But I have put in place some tools to keep me growing and learning and created a team of friends, loved ones and confidants to keep me authentic along the way.