A commentary by Bob McKinnon, Director of Leadership, EXIT Realty Corp. International

One of the more popular books in 2010 was Darren Hardy’s, The Compound Effect.  The thesis is that great things happen and change over time, not with one or two major breakthroughs, but rather things compound with the slow accumulating effect of hundreds of little steps, consistently repeated.  Remember Darren’s example of the magic penny when he asked if you would rather have $3 million in cash right now or one penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days?  Well on day 31 with the penny you would have $10,737,418.24 – more than three times your $3 million. Maybe that is why the genius, Albert Einstein, said that the most brilliant invention ever was “compounding interest”.

Last week after a wonderful Leadership event hosted by Bill Pankonin’s Upper Midwest Region, my wife, Shari, and I took off on a road trip north from Brainerd, MN to visit Itaska State Park, the head waters of the mighty Mississippi. Yes, that is me standing four inches deep in the not-so-mighty Mississippi River only 30 feet from its beginning place as it trickles out of Lake Itaska.  From this point the river descends 1,475 feet in elevation some 2,552 miles before it pours into the Gulf of Mexico.  From this small creek to New Orleans, the river gains in volume until it finally pours 700,000 cubic square feet of water every second and deposits 145 million metric tons of silt into the Gulf every year.  Imagine that! They told us that day if you spit in the creek at that point it would take 90 days for it to reach the Gulf…look out below!

Patience is not one of my strong suits and I have always been driven by the frustration of making things happen bigger and faster.  That has not served me well, how about you? Looking back on five decades in business I see clearly that I am blessed beyond measure with a long and amazing career; a career that has brought me to this very special place in my life that surpasses success and moves to significance.  I am a blessed and happy man. When did that happen?  Not in just a few moments in time, I assure you, but because of many hours, days, months and years of practicing solid principals of improvement over fifty years.

Where are you on your real estate journey, or for that matter, your health, your finances or relationships?  It is critical to take stock and to know where you are and where you want to be next.  Life seems to me to be a string of pearls we build one gem at a time over a long period.  Like the mighty river there are twists and turns and hazards that can wreck you.  After all my years my best advice comes in five thoughts.

  1. Always keep your focus on your goals. As you go along your goals will enlarge and change and that is maturity taking hold. Your dreams will always provide focus and motivation.  The bigger the dream the more excited you become to get up in the morning.
  2. Stay true to your best values. Value people first over yourself.  Value your reputation and standing.  Value honor and the code.  Value hard work, don’t skate or cut corners and always give more than the average person so that you stand out in any crowd.
  3. Expect setbacks. There is no such thing as a life without hurts and failure.  John Maxwell advises us to “always fall forward”.  We get mad and frustrated when we face roadblocks but just like water there is always a path over or around the block.  Be resilient and never give up and you will become stronger.
  4. Constantly improve yourself. The best investment you will ever make is in yourself.  I love seeing people attending Ambassador Training for just that reason.  I see people investing and reaping the dividend of increased confidence immediately and it warms my heart to see their growth. Constantly seek to become the next best version of yourself.
  5. Love and celebrate each new level and victory. Each new plateau is a reason for pride and joy. Do not miss the journey for that is the true joy, not the destination.

In conclusion, like the mighty Mississippi, start with a trickle and gain momentum in small ways every day and you will become a mighty force in real estate and in life.



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