Erica Christoffer is a multimedia journalist and contributing writer and editor for REALTOR® Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Silver Lining of Failure
In business, not everything will go as planned. But sometimes defeat can lead to opportunity.
June 15, 2016
In business, you need a keen understanding of when to be prudent and when to take risks. Of course, some risks result in failure. But without losses, you may never gain valuable education, insight, and experience to forge ahead in this complex industry.
Adam Savage knows a thing or two about failure. He made a living at it by conducting trial-and-error experiments as a costar of the television show “MythBusters,” which just wrapped up its 14th and final season last fall. Savage spoke at the 2016 REALTOR® Broker Summit in Denver last week about how curiosity, critical thinking, and learning from failure can help your business. Here are three takeaways:
Get your hands dirty. The best way to learn is to do, says Savage. On “MythBusters,” this involved building concrete airplanes, flying a lead balloon, or slipping on a banana peel. “We demonstrated that science is a messy and creative,” he says. In real estate, this could translate into agents working with a seasoned mentor to learn a new market niche, brokers testing new technology such as virtual reality home tours, or a business owner venturing into another part of the city by opening a new office.
Surround yourself with good collaborators. Keep those who can teach you new things close — people who are willing to correct you and challenge you, whether they are agents, managers, or executives in your company or business peers. “When you have no one [challenging] you, you can lose track of the big picture,” Savage says. So no matter how far along you are in your career, continue to reach out to people you admire, and make connections with those who have strengths that are different from your own.
Plans change; be ready. When you create something, in business or in life, you have to understand that it may not be exactly what you initially envisioned, Savage says. In real estate, markets change; the economy, local developments, and even your agents are factors. You may break into a niche you never realized existed when you launched your business. And that’s OK, Savage says, because being nimble and responding to challenges or setbacks with flexibility will increase your chances of being successful in the future.