My biggest fear in life is wasted potential. If you’re not giving it your all, then why bother? Go home. Get a handout. Complain. I’ve failed countless times, but my all-or-nothing attitude is the very reason I succeed in business and in fitness.
Many people know me from the show, ‘ Million Dollar Listing’. They see the big deals, the fancy suits and the fame, but what they don’t see are the years of hustle it took to reach this level of success. The start of my real estate career began in 2008, shortly after I was fired from my role in ‘As the World Turns.’ For years, I pursued acting as a passion and believed it was my calling. But my plans had other plans. There I was in the middle of New York City with no acting prospects, no steady income and no game plan.
For me, the idea of settling while my big dreams slipped away was the worst possible outcome. So, I did something unexpected. A friend of mine had been pestering me to get my real estate license. It was the last thing I wanted to do but it sure as hell beat the alternative. I got my license, joined a firm, and from there the struggle began.
Beginnings are uncomfortable; they push us. But fighting through that initial discomfort is the only way to get results. My first year in real estate was anything but easy and straightforward. I didn't know a single thing about the business and I didn't have a network of people to tap into for clients. I made $8,000 that year while others were making at least a million per transaction. But I couldn't complain. What would complaining do? Nothing. I hustled 18 hours a day, and when I finally closed my first deal, $8.3M, I realized persistence pays off in a very big way.
Fitness has always provided me with a base; it keeps me grounded. It's my religion. There are times when I do everything right for a deal, and it doesn’t pan out. With fitness, I have full control over the outcome. Because I put in the work, I get amazing results.
Regardless of how busy or tired I am, I don't miss workouts. When I was younger, with far less responsibility than I have now, I’d finish my day with a workout. That was my version of a nightcap. Now, with far more to do during the day, I make it a priority to workout very early in the morning. It invigorates me and gives me the adrenaline I need to power through any obstacles at work. Saying you're too busy for fitness is like saying you're too busy for your significant other. There's always time. What you're really saying is that you don't place fitness near the top of your priorities. Sure, you may not have time to go to a gym, train, shower, and get to work. But can you go for a walk during a conference call rather than sit in a chair? Can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? You can always find a way.
Every goal I have–whether it’s work related or fitness related–I write it down. Just as a deal isn’t official until the contract is signed, a goal isn’t real until it’s written out. If I don’t deliver on it, I set a penalty. But when I do hit my goal, I reward myself and set a new one–a bigger one. With each big goal I hit, I realize the last one wasn’t so crazy. Remember those big goals you had as a kid? Winning 5 back-to-back races of Super Mario Kart to get that gold cup seemed like the biggest goal in life when you were 8, but it doesn't sound so intense now, does it?
Whether you’re an aspiring athlete or someone trying to make it in the business world, you must find your ‘why’. Why are you waking up at 4AM for a workout? Why are you at your desk until 1AM? Your ‘why’ is the sum of your goals, your fears and your desires in life. Know your ‘why’ and embrace it.
I said earlier that my biggest fear in life is wasted potential. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have the ability to rise above challenges, to set goals, and to make our health and fitness a priority. It isn’t always easy to find the motivation to be better, but believe me it’s worth it.
Ryan Serhant is a workout junkie, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker and star of Bravo’s Two-Time Emmy-Nominated “Million Dollar Listing New York."Ryan runs the #2 Sales Team in New York as ranked by Wall Street Journal Real Trends 2016, 2017.
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