As is probably the case for most of you, my relationships with the people closest to me are what define my life. And of course no one is closer to me than my wife.
She knows me better than anyone. If you asked her what my main strength is, she would probably tell you I listen with the intent to understand and deeply connect. And before you even asked, I am sure she would probably offer up my greatest weakness, too: overconfidence. It would probably take both to explain how I got here, as the new People Editor of SUCCESS.
My wife and I met in college before I started my career as an entrepreneur—a real estate agent. And fortunately she was with me when things went sideways a few years later. As the real estate market tanked in 2007, along with the economy, I had to pivot my business to survive. It was a new world. I went from door knocking and targeting the buyers closest to me to online leads.
By 2011 I was buying online leads from Realtor. com, and I got really good at converting them—so good, in fact, that Realtor.com invited me to present to an audience of 20,000 agents in 2013. That year I began to speak nationally for it and I created an online community for real estate agents where they could gather and ask questions and get free education. I called this community Lab Coat Agents.
It didn’t take long before agents, brokers, real estate tech companies and mortgage brokers began to gravitate toward Lab Coat Agents because our team was offering quality education from the top industry influencers around the world. It was clear that people were attracted to the value we were providing, and they came to us in
As we continued to grow the community, I would have to say my great strength—listening for deep connection and understanding—paid off. I got to know people at Facebook and Instagram, and we created a strong partnership with them for the real estate world. I learned so much from the tech founders that flocked to us with investment opportunities. The things that have kept our community growing and changing quickly are my curiosity about people and my sense of urgency to work with them. Over the past few years, I’ve had to shift quickly to be able to keep up with the demanding world that entrepreneurs live in to continue to drive value.
Those are the simple keys to excelling with other people: Try to understand what they need and serve them. This works with clients, co-workers and family members.
Back to my wife. For 24 years, she has been my rock and my advisor. She keeps me grounded and moving in the right direction. She has the same instincts for serving others as I do, and those are the kinds of people you need around you. I also know that I was blessed with amazing parents who cared for me and loved me and instilled strong values in me that I still use today. Passing those values on to my kids is one of my greatest passions.
The one big challenge I’ve had to overcome over the past few years is being able to grow fast enough to keep up with the opportunities that have come my way. I’ve turned to reading a lot more, along with finding the right people, to help me in these transitions.
Being able to interview best-selling authors, billionaires, athletes, leaders and executives from all over the world has given me a quick education over the span of five years, and I’m excited to do the same in partnership with the SUCCESS team, not only here in the magazine, but in the new podcast we’re putting out together and in the online community Achievers.SUCCESS.com—it’s free, and you’re most definitely invited.
I’ll see you there. Let’s connect and find out how we can bring value to one another.
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo courtesy of Tristan Ahumada