Carpe Diem. Carpe Noctem.

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Someone once said that the best way to learn is to teach.

This sounds like a very nice, but very subjective quote to me. The vague platitude kind we would find in someone’s Linked-In or Facebook ‘info’ tab, right next to the other half-dozen Einstein or Jefferson nuggets of wisdom. Many inspiring, no doubt, but the lessons implied can certainly be polar opposites depending on who is saying them to you. We have to know that these lessons that influence us or the mistakes we learn from might derive from simple pilot-error and on-the-fly preaching, rather than true mentoring.

Beware someone who is eagerly ready with advice before you even ask your first question. They might not be ready to listen to you yet. And it might not even be important or necessary for them to listen to you at all. Teaching is not always being a mentor any more than getting pregnant is being a parent.

“Two nerds.. rack ‘em! Slap the Senator! Molest the toast & Water-board Anita Bryant!… Oh, and biscuits and gravy!” Yup.. You better learn the lingo quick if you want to be a good short-order cook! And that’s exactly what we turn into if we don’t have a good mentor showing us the ropes. “Hector, could you cover that client meeting and just drop off the contract?” “Hector, could you meet the appraiser and let them into the condo if the doorman isn’t there?” “Hector, could you pick up some continental breakfasts on your way in tomorrow, for my new client presentation?… oh, and biscuits and gravy too!”

Sure I believe in paying your dues and learning to appreciate hard work, but if you’re going to search for a good mentor, it’s almost mandatory that you apply some critical thinking from the very beginning. Spend time asking and learning about what NOT to do and the consequences resulting. Be patient. Expect evolution. Work hard. Sometimes it’s easier to start your business plan with what you want to avoid instead of starting with a wish list. Your checklist should work backwards too. If it does, that will reveal itself on its own soon enough!

And, every bit as important, if you are asked yourself to consider mentoring someone, then you should be as willing to learn as you are willing to teach. Things change all the time. We can show someone all the valuable lessons they have ahead of them to learn, but we will need to learn how to use the new teaching tools if we are to expect them to pay attention.

Sometimes the best way to teach is to learn. Only then can we be a half-way decent mentor.

About The Author

I made a choice to enter the real estate field early while considering pursuing a career either as an architect, psychologist, musician or an active duty U.S. Marine. Starting as a full time Realtor and a top agent in my first office, I quickly realized I had to expand my knowledge and education into the commercial market to better serve both my clients and customers. Experience through a varied background in many aspects of the business is what I have earned since 1987, including studying abroad for partner market investments, active memberships with National Real Estate Associations, local Equal Housing committees, and neighborhood Chambers of Commerce. Continuing education has proven to me that the industry is ever changing, and we all must meet the needs and demands of our previous and future clients and customers on local, national, and international scopes. Being proud and very grateful to have worked with the most successful and professional companies in Chicago such as Prudential, Coldwell Banker, and Rubloff only re-affirmed that the most important professional relationship in my industry is, and will continue to be directly between each Realtor and each individual client and customer. The real estate industry has changed and evolved dramatically, at the fastest pace ever in only these past few tumultuous years. Today, again I have made a choice to position myself to best use the myriad of resources available to me, to first and foremost, benefit my clients' needs above any franchise or companies' business strategy. I have been presented many Real Estate awards throughout my career. But one that I hold in high regard is a professional QSC designation with an almost 100% rating for referral, satisfied, and repeat clients. My work and reputation within the Real Estate community, business referral partners and fellow Realtor colleagues is also an indelible part of my business practice. As a Chicago Bucktown / Wicker Park resident and property owner, I greatly appreciate being able to invest personally in this market and donate a small portion from each of my closing commissions to the Chicago Mercy Home for Boys and Girls organization assisting abused and homeless children. I have always sustained and invested in my real estate career, and will continue as long as I am able to be productive, make a positive difference and truly enjoy it. It is important to me that my clients, customers and collegues enjoy it as well!

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