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Are You a Champion?

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If We Stop Now…

For all we have accomplished, for all that blogging and new media have done to change the real estate industry, we have done nothing if we stop now.  If we rest, satisfied with what has been achieved, if we think that everyone else isn’t going to catch up, then we are in big trouble. 

If you want proof of this, look no further than the American Olympians.  USA Basketball can tell you better than most what happens if you believe that what you are doing works, so just stick with it, no need to improve it.  On the other hand. . .

Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals at the Olympics last week.  He won more gold medals in a single Olympic games than any other athlete ever.  He won more gold medals than some entire countries.  He stands alone at the pinnacle of athletic achievement. 

He didn’t get there because everyone told him how good he was.  He didn’t get there by sitting at home and watching everyone else swim.  He didn’t just rely on his physical talents. 

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He worked.  Hard.  Every day. For years. 

It Wasn’t Easy

It wasn’t always comfortable for him, it wasn’t always easy, but he was willing to put in work when others weren’t.  He was willing to commit himself to excellence. 

Still, after all that training, after all that hard work, after everyone telling the world that he was the greatest physical specimen to ever enter a pool, he won the 100 Butterfly event (his strongest event) by .01 seconds.  Basically by the length of a pencil eraser.  A guy named Milorad Cavic, a guy who most folks had never even heard of (unless you are a close follower of swimming), took Michael Phelps all the way to the wall.  Pushed him harder that anyone thought was possible in an event that most people thought Michael Phelps would dominate.  No one saw it coming, but it did.  Everyone thought the result was a foregone conclusion.  But it wasn’t.  Now, every swimmer who gets in the pool with Phelps knows he can be beaten. 

So What Now?

So what does Michael Phelps do now?  Does he go home, content to put his record number of medals in a trophy case somewhere?  I mean, he is already almost indisputably the greatest Olympic athlete ever.  That works, doesn’t it?  Isn’t’ that what he was after?  Can’t he just let it ride?


Micheal Phelps is going to take a few months off, and then he is going to begin training again, for the 2012 Olympics in London. 

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Champion Behavior

See, that’s what champions do.  Even when they seem unbeatable, they compete against themselves.  They continually strive for more.  They make themselves uncomfortable because they know that it is through discomfort that new breakthroughs are made.  They know they are never nearly as good as everyone thinks they are.  They continue to push and raise the bar higher and higher, until they can reach no further. 

USA Basketball had to learn this lesson the hard way.  While the entire program was busy enjoying their international success, the rest of the world was busy working hard to defeat them.  While USA Basketball was listening to how great they were, believing that their past results would ensure their future success, the rest of the world knew better, and was willing to work hard to prove it.  USA Basketball had to have the glory stripped away, heads hung in shame, in order to understand that striving for excellence is an active, continual process.  Now, they will have their shot at redemption.  And this time, if they are able to stand atop the medal stand, they will, no doubt, appreciate it a little more; and they will work a little harder to maintain that level of excellence.  I doubt they will ever take it for granted again. 

And Now About You

And so it should be with you.  Don’t be satisfied with what you have done, because you could do more.  When you look around, and everyone is doing what you are doing, do more.  When you look around and no one is doing what you are doing, do more. 

Real estate has been an industry that has pulled, almost dragged its members forward.  This should not be.  It is time to start pushing, pushing hard, demanding more from ourselves than we have ever demanded before, more than we ever thought we could do. 

But it starts with you.

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Written By

I'm a REALTOR, basketball referee, happy husband, and Community Manager (in no particular order). I have a passion for the real estate industry and officiating, a passion that I try to turn into inspiration on my blog, The Real Estate Zebra. I am also the Community Manager at Inman News. When I'm not blogging here on AG or the Zebra, you can usually find me on Twitter.



  1. Chris Shouse

    August 22, 2008 at 11:56 am

    You are right Daniel we can never stop learning and growing and sharing and building. I want to think I am a Champion with no finish line in sight:)

  2. Drew Fristoe

    August 22, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Daniel this is an amazing article and I agree completely. Coming in as a new guy, I thought I had to play catch up but now agents in my office are coming to me for help. but where I am now does not satisfy me, I want more and I am working on it. Once you sit back and start to relax someone else will come and take over. Great article!

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    August 22, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    This is a very well timed article for me. I’ve been struggling with months for “what’s next” “what’s the new prize?”

    I’ve also been focusing on what blogging intention is for me. I don’t list and sell any longer, so I am not trying to get clients. I blog to hopefully put a different view on things, to educate and hopefully challenge some folks.

    But, what does everyone think is the next level for industry blogging? What do you think our next target should be. We’re getting the transparency and the voice that most people started off with. We’re seeing some changed attitudes…. so what direction as a group are we to take?

  4. Missy Caulk

    August 27, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Daniel, how can you really be satisfied with all the new things exploding every day? At least I’m not.

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