Oh the Madness: How the diligence and discipline needed to succeed on the court translates to CRE

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BreslinFrom Roger Breslin
Senior Vice President, Downtown Brokerage Team

March is one of my favorite times of year. Not because Spring has finally sprung (because in Boston it really hasn’t), but because nothing compares to the thrills of March Madness. When the Middle Tennessee State’s of the world can out-hustle perennial powers like Michigan State in the opening round, and 10-seeds like Syracuse can ride their defense and grit to the Final Four, you can’t help but be drawn in to the madness.

And while most people get to only ever experience the NCAA Tournament as a fan, I had the distinct privilege of getting to experience it as a player. My senior year at Holy Cross we made the Big Dance as a 13 seed after winning our conference tournament. While we ultimately lost to Arkansas in the opening round, it was a phenomenal experience none the less. From the media attention to the outpouring of fan support to getting to travel to a new place, it was an all around great experience that I will truly never forget.

It’s also an experience that I’ve carried with me into my professional career in commercial real estate. I don’t consider myself the greatest athlete, but I was a guy that had good skills and really had to work hard to get myself strong enough and quick enough to play at such a high level. The way I look at it, this industry is very similar. The hardest thing we do is get new business and you need a diligent, disciplined approach like the one I acquired as an athlete to see successful results. On top of that, you need to be prepared for failure, be it on the court or in the professional world. In college basketball, there is one team left standing at the end of the year and when we’re making a pitch for new business, there is one firm ultimately chosen. In both instances, the odds are low that you’re going to be victorious, yet you need to be able to pick yourself up, learn from it and move on.

It’s because of this that you often find many former college and professional athletes embarking on a successful career in commercial real estate, a la the likes of Cowboys great Roger Staubach. From a personality standpoint, the confidence and people skills you need to have to be successful in athletics seem to translate really well to this business. And of course, as I touched upon, you really can’t do anything at a high level unless you’ve experienced failure and applied it, and being a competitive college or pro athlete prepares you for that better than anything else can. What we do on a daily basis as real estate brokers is a grind, and experiences like playing in the NCAA Tournament only help to prepare you to overcome that grind and come out on top.

I for one can’t wait for this weekend’s Final Four. I’m sticking with North Carolina in case you were wondering. Feel free to contact me if I can assist with your commercial real estate needs or if you just want to talk hoops.

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