Winning is not a sometime thing. It’s an all-the-time thing.
– Vince Lombardi
Death, Jail, and a Will to Win
I’m going to tell a story I’ve shared with very few people.
I’ve spent almost two decades committing to making people around me better. I made a decision to dedicate a large portion of my life serving in the military. The key word is decision, a choice in time given my circumstances.
Those circumstances and that decision is my will. An unquenchable desire to succeed, doing the right thing, regardless of the obstacles.
After reading Vince Lombardi’s speech and hearing Tony Robbins talk about the will to win, it dawned on me. It was my life circumstances that brought me to the military and eventually to the real estate community, creating my will to win.
This isn’t some sad story or grab for sympathy. It’s simply my circumstances.
I grew up with six brothers and sisters – only a few of us have the same two parents.
My mother had significant mental health issues and my father spent his days working 12-16 hours in a factory. I was raised by my step mother until she was fed up with my fathers’ nonsense.
I found my mother dead in her apartment at 17 years old. I limped my way over the high school finish line graduating near the bottom of my class.
A year later, I ended up in jail for a serious offense – over petty teenage nonsense.
This is where my life started to change.
It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.
– Tony Robbins
A second Chance
I was given a second chance by a judge that graciously allowed me to join the military in 2004, at the height of the Iraq war. This is where I learned the meaning of a will to win.
I served in what I would consider mild combat along the Iraq-Syria border and in central Iraq along the Euphrates river. This experience was certainly mild when you talk to our greatest generation who stormed the beaches of Normandy.
Nonetheless, it added to my circumstances. It drove me to be disciplined and laser-focused. I continued my military career surrounded by the best leaders this country has to offer. I was encouraged to go to college and completed a degree (with honors!). Not because I’m smart, not because my parent provided me with all the resources, it was because I developed a will to win.
The easy answer is to live in the status quo. Blame your circumstances and complain about why you can’t win. I realized a long time ago, things worth having and things worth doing – are usually hard.
Focus on the things you can control. The rest is noise that will keep you in the exact place you are now.
Do you want to grow, be better, and win?
Know what you want, set a clear vision, turn that into goals and ruthlessly work towards winning. Own it. Own the bad things that happen because of you (not to you) and the good things that happen because of you.
This mindset is tailor-made for the real estate community. Many of the millionaires created from real estate have a story. Their circumstances are a part of the journey. Many of them didn’t go to an Ivy League college or inherent a truck load of money. They simply have a will to win.
Be clear, have a plan, know your story, know what drives you and ruthlessly execute your plan.