Recently, my brother, sister and I orchestrated an eightieth birthday party for my father. It was a big success, as he later shared with us. Seeing my dad surrounded by scores of his friends, both old and new, was very special. Personally for me, it was even more special, as this was the first time I was ever in the company of all three of my mentors.
Each mentor has provided me with significant life and business lessons that have served me well throughout my career. I have attempted to pass on these lessons to my children and colleagues, but only time will tell if they are appreciated and applied.
I thought I would share 1 lesson of success from each of my mentors, as each is extremely successful in their own right. Not that I believe I have achieved “success”. Success is an elusive term. I tend to focus more on what I need to achieve next, rather than any results that may have been accomplished along the way.
The 3 Key Lessons
1) My earliest mentor was my high school lacrosse coach, Joe Cuozzo. Coach Cuozzo is a National Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee. He is a legend in the sport and retired as the winningest high school lacrosse coach in history. Other than my father, Coach Cuozzo was the first to provide me with the most valuable asset of all: opportunity. He gave me the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. He gave me the opportunity to understand hard work and resulting rewards. He went on to give me the opportunity of being recruited by several division one universities and assisted along the process. Even 30+ years later, I have the opportunity to call Coach whenever I wish.
2) My first business mentor, again, other than my father, was Bruce Lauer. Bruce taught me many valuable lessons, which I still apply to my commercial real estate profession and more specifically, my team. When Bruce started his second brokerage firm, CLW Realty Asset Group, he needed a runner, a “gopher”. That was me. In addition to having me perform countless hours of analysis and research, he quickly taught me the lesson of empowerment. Bruce empowered me to get my CCIM. He insisted on it. He insisted I attend Toast Masters to work on my presentation skills. Like Coach Cuozzo, he insisted I work hard. More so, however, he empowered me immediately to work on institutional deals, to negotiate major leases (with his oversight of course), and to develop business. Bruce continues to be an icon in commercial real estate brokerage and now holds the position of Vice Chairman with DTZ.
3) Last, but most certainly not least, are the lessons I have learned from my father. There are far too many to mention in this blog, thus I will stick to the #1 rule of all. It is so easy and, at times, tempting to forgo this lesson. However, fairness is the basis for all relationships, and it’s the relationships that make a difference in both business and in life. Above all else, always be fair.
These 3 lessons have served me well. Regardless of where you are in your career, how long you have been in the profession, or how much success you have experienced, there is a place for these lessons in your future. Think about it. If you give others opportunity, empower the people around you, and above all else, always be fair, you too can have an eightieth birthday party surrounded by those you positively impacted throughout your life. Now, to me, that is a pretty fair measure of success.