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What agents can learn from the Olympics

01 September 2016 Andrew Cocks
Andrew Cocks

Were there any lessons for real estate professionals in Rio 2016, and could they make you a better agent? 

Entertainment value aside, the Olympic Games brought into focus the many personal qualities required to make it to the top of any endeavour. Hard work, perseverance, natural aptitude and above all, a willingness to take risk.

To become an elite athlete or reach the pinnacle in any field, you need to break through your comfort zone.

Every athlete at Rio took a risk of some kind. In devoting the hours needed to be at the top of their game, they had to neglect other priorities – career, family and financial security. That’s a risk in itself, especially when the outcome is not a certain thing.

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The gymnasts who seem to fly across the beam or the floor would have taken innumerable risks before perfecting some of those gravity-defying twists and somersaults.

There’s a difference between rash behaviour and carefully calculated risk-taking, but what they have in common is an acceptance of the possibility of failure. If you never take a chance, it’s unlikely you’ll taste the bitterness of failure but equally life will be full of missed opportunities and the eternal question, “What if?”.

Across our network, we have any number of brilliant individuals who chose to back themselves and put their abilities to the test. Each one of them had to weigh financial risk against the potential reward of being master of their own destiny.

Real estate is a business that comes with enormous risk largely because the forces that determine the level of business activity and profit are outside our control. A downturn in economic sentiment can cause transaction levels to fall, shifts in international money markets can cause a drop in values and encroachment by new competitors can affect market share.

But the rewards for the risk-takers are immense, although of course that depends on how you measure success. On the winners’ podium at the Olympics, the body language of the silver and bronze medallist was an interesting study. For some, it’s obviously the pinnacle to have metal of any colour slung around their neck; to others anything less than gold is a fail.

And then there are those who will never step up to the podium, yet on every measure come away from the Olympics winners in the best sense of the word.

Runners Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino, whose inspiring display of sportsmanship after a tumble during the 5000 metre heat, went home as national heroes. Their actions, in helping and supporting each other, demonstrated that it is possible to be both competitive and kind.

They were worthy winners of the Pierre de Coubertin medal, awarded only rarely for demonstrations of the Olympic spirit. Few people can win an Olympic medal but we all have it in us to follow in the footsteps of Hamblin and D’Agostino.

What agents can learn from the Olympics
andrew cocks
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Andrew Cocks

Andrew Cocks

Andrew Cocks is the owner and managing director of Richardson & Wrench (R&W). Prior to acquiring the network, in 2009 took on the role of executive director and transformed R&W for the 21st century. In that time he has instigated a total brand overhaul, restructured the management and operations, re-engaged the network and added 25 new offices in NSW and Queensland.

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