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Failure Keeps Success in Check

Shortly after I joined a residential real estate firm, I had breakfast with a friend whom I had not seen in over three years. We both used to be commercial real estate brokers.

When I last saw Doug, I was at the top of my game.

In 2012, my brokerage firm won a prestigious award. I closed one of the largest office lease transactions in NYC and Tampa. I made a lot of money.

I remember going to the bank to deposit a seven figure check into my personal account and thinking balloons and confetti would drop from the ceiling. Instead the bank teller said without any expression, “Is there is anything else?”

I responded, “Nope. That’s all I got.”

That was in 2012. Compare that moment to this one in 2016.

I was struggling to get a new business off the ground and needed to bring in some cash. Uber had just launched in New Jersey and I tried being a driver. I was in New Jersey and drove a customer into NYC. It was a long drive and I had consumed a large bottle of water.

After dropping off my customer I was on a frantic mission to find a bathroom.

I double parked illegally in front an office building on Avenue of the Americas and as I was closing my car door, a razor sharp corner of the door sliced open my elbow. I was bleeding profusely on the sidewalk.

People looked away and avoided walking near me.

I could only think of one thing. I better find a bathroom quick or else I’ll be covered in blood and piss!

I found a bathroom and a security guard bandaged my elbow.

I often juxtapose those two moments - depositing a fat check at the bank and bleeding on the sidewalk in NYC.

During breakfast when I told Doug about my new position in residential real estate, he laughed and asked me, “Do they know who you are?”

I said, “Yes, I’m a beginner.”


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