More often than not, looking at leaders that have created a fruitful career can leave us taking their success at face value. What we see is the destination: the high production volume, GCI, number of businesses owned. But, there is more to success than meets the eye.
In celebration of this month’s Keller Williams book-club pick, Angela Duckworth’s Grit, we spoke with real estate leaders to explore the building blocks of creating careers worth having, businesses worth owning, and lives worth living. Each journey is vastly different from the other, and we thank the leaders who spoke with us in a candid, vulnerable manner about their experience.
In this installment of “Stories of Grit,” speaker, entrepreneur, investor, and KW Capital Properties co-founder and principal broker Brandon Green shares the role that grit played in helping him build a successful career in the industry, and the motivations that keep him coming back every single day.
For Keller Williams agents, Green needs no introduction – he founded and grew a real estate organization in the heart of the financial crisis in 2008 with sales now exceeding $2 billion. Not only that, but he serves as principal broker for seven market centers, holds title ventures, a home staging and designing business, a hospitality business in the works, and a coaching and consulting company. For more information on his achievements and to get in touch, visit https://brandongreen.com.
What Is Grit?
In her book, Angela Duckworth describes grit as a combination of passion and perseverance. Through his own lens, Green views the term as a strength to keep going, and an understanding that reaching your goals is a marathon, not a sprint. “When I think of grit, I think of resilience and your ability to take a hit and immediately get back up and keep going without taking that hit personally,” he says. “I also think grit is about having time perspective, and being able to acknowledge that immediate results that are worthwhile rarely come. Instead, we have to plant many seeds, wait a long time, and do a lot of work in order for things to come to fruition.”
While Green’s work ethic yields itself naturally to the real estate industry, his journey starts in the arts. As a teenager, he toured the world with music and dance group “Up With People,” and, upon his return to the States, landed a sales role for an IT staffing company in the Washington, D.C. area. As Green began realizing that he did not find cold-calling fulfilling, he was itching for a change.
“I was looking for something else, but didn’t know what that was,” he shares. Then, during what he describes as a ‘random moment of inspiration,’ Green dove headfirst into the real estate business with no plan B. “One day, I saw an infomercial about buying real estate with no money down, ordered the course, and ended up buying a piece of property six months after,” he says.
The Keys to Success
On page 42 of Grit, Duckworth notes: “Talent – how fast we improve in skill – absolutely matters. But effort factors into the calculations twice, not once. Effort builds skill. At the very same time, effort makes skill productive.”
Armed with fundamental sales training, Green mapped out a doorknocking plan that would land him listings. “I figured if I knocked on enough doors, someone would eventually agree to sell their property with me, so I came up with a ratio – knocking on 120 doors would get me one listing,” he says. “I kept really focused on that and didn’t get distracted.”
In his career ascension, the correlation between effort and success is evident. He credits the majority of his early day success to simply working hard: he often spent 60 hours per week prospecting and an additional 20 hours servicing. “I had an ability and willingness to do more activity than other people seemed to be doing,” Green says. “Other agents would go out and doorknock for an hour and be done for the day. I was out there six to seven hours, canvassing the neighborhood. Those early moments were critical to my success.”
Later in his career, Green describes another critical moment: Dealing with burnout and questioning whether there was growth to be experienced in the real estate industry. As it turns out, for Green, this roadblock paved the way for the second surge of growth.
“To deal with the burnout, I took a trip to Argentina. While in Buenos Aires, I noticed that within that culture, it was customary for wealthy Argentines to hire people to wait in line at the utility companies and pay their bills,” he explains. “This was the first time it occurred to me that I could hire someone in D.C. to help with growing business, and when I came home, I immediately started to look for a personal assistant. The act alone recharged my energy around the business.”
In order to stay within an industry for the long haul, it’s important to find reasons to keep showing up on a daily basis. On page 50 of Grit, Duckworth explains: “Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going.”
For Green, that means attributing meaning to his craft. “Real estate is an intersection point in people’s lives that is incredibly impactful,” he says. “Synchronizing where you live is just about as high-value work as one can do, and that’s kept me interested all along.”
Ultimately, Green attributes his success to an ability to shift gears and keep a long-term outlook – although he admits to being impatient in the short term (“Over the last 20 years, I’ve been able to calibrate that in a way that’s mostly beneficial,” he confesses). “I’m grateful for my ability to pivot, learn, and take on new perspectives fast,” Green says.Join the ‘Grit’ Book Club