Upon returning from our 14th EXIT International Real Estate Convention where stories of leadership were shared, it was realized leadership is developed by the storms of life. Those of us that wish to lead a personal or business life of value will need to endure the storms that shape and mold us and instill strength and resiliency. The timing of hearing so many powerful stories was impeccable, as I returned to New York at the start of Hurricane Sandy. Sandy released her fury on the Northeast and devastated many. After sending messages of encouragement to those who were affected, I noticed the beauty of mankind in the responses I received. Very few were thinking of themselves, instead I received an outpouring of sincerity searching for guidance. Nearly everyone wanted to help but didn’t know how. So we immediately banded together as a company, creating the EXIT Relief Committee and in less than 48 hours collected truckloads of donations and gathered teams to volunteer as clean-up crews. We headed down to Staten Island, NY to offer whatever was needed. But, this isn’t about what we did, it’s about the lesson learned on this day. As I toured the devastation, the sun was shining, the ocean was calm and beautiful. It was hard to imagine it any other way. This scene reminded me of who we are as individuals. As we talked to people on the island, it was kindness that exuded from each of them. And, just like the calm ocean, I couldn’t imagine them any other way. Often it is the storms of life that bring out the best in us. Like a tree we saw standing amidst the rumble and brush as if the storm didn’t rain upon it. This great tree survived as if it was untouched because it probably went through other storms in the past. Storms that shook it’s branches, winds that beat it down and rain that drenched it’s roots. Due to these experiences, this tree developed rugged fibers to protect it, sunk it’s roots down deep for strength and became flexible in times of trouble for resiliency. It is the winds of adversity that provide each of us the opportunity to be great. The beauty of who we are shine brighter after a storm, just like the clear beautiful day we spent on the island in the aftermath of Sandy.
As I compare this storm to life, it becomes clear there is a distinct difference in those who face the storm of life and business with strength and resiliency and those who look for the easy way out. In our real estate business, we see some who seem to be like that tree, appearing untouched, moving forward toward success as if they are lucky. What we don’t see are the experiences that shook their branches and drenched their roots to create who they are today. It’s much easier to do nothing but dream and play victim just to survive. But it’s the one who pushes through, develops strength, bends with the wind and faces adversity head on, learning valuable lessons that thrive in personal and business situations. Be a tree of strength and resiliency.