Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper… he should sweep streets so well that all… will pause to say ‘here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”
King was talking about excellence. Walt Disney had a similar quote: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”
Everyone from Aristotle to Abe Lincoln has opined on the value of striving for something greater. Whether it is just because you—and the world—deserve more than mere mediocrity (“Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better” –Gordon B. Hinckley) or as a means of survival in a competitive world (“Change before you have to” –Jack Welch), excellence is hailed as the goal to strive for in work and life.
I don’t read a lot of self-help books, leadership books or build-a-better-business books, but any time I do, I am struck by a central theme in all of them. Any book you read that purports to help your work, your life or both, will, subtly or not so subtly, try changing your attitude first. Perhaps it will help you see things from a different perspective. Take a deep breath. Step back. Try to see the forest and not the trees.
Once your view changes of the landscape ahead of you, you’ll sometimes see the problems you face in a different way, and your attitude about the smaller things will change along the way. Sometimes those problems fade in importance, and some will come to the fore. But in all these experiences, you’ll probably see that being the best, or at least doing your best, is more important than all the small day-to-day problems that seem to consume all our time and mental energy.
Rising above the quotidian annoyances to strive for excellence, and perhaps to achieve success, is difficult. It’s not easy to think big when so many little things are calling for your attention. After all, the bills must be paid. But those who seek excellence, and certainly those who find it, do so by taking time to change their perspective, and then to attack problems and set goals with a more productive (usually a more positive) attitude.
That’s the kind of thing that I strive for every day. In the grand scheme of things, real estate and street sweeping aren’t much different. Neither task is likely to change the world, and in a thousand years I have about as much chance of being remembered as a street sweeper. But what if I worry more about the world around me, and try to change it for the better while I’m here? As Dr. King said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” Approaching any challenge with a deliberate goal of being the best I possibly can be is what helps me do real estate with excellence.
When choosing an agent to help you with the largest investment you may have ever owned—perhaps the largest one you may ever own—wouldn’t you want someone involved that has that macro vision of the process, of your satisfaction, of your mutual success? There are lots of agents out there. More than 10,000 licensees in Washington, D.C. alone. And there are even a lot of us with a focus on excellence. But with all the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is not always so apparent who has that commitment to quality, to constant improvement, and to exceeding your expectations.
Take a moment for yourself. Extract yourself from your daily annoyances. Gain a new perspective, and then evaluate what you need in your next transaction. If excellence is important to you, demand it when you consider your next Realtor.
David Bediz is an 11-year veteran Realtor and the founder of the 12-agent Bediz Group, LLC team. He currently serves on the boards of directors of GCAAR and DCAR, the local and state level associations of Realtors, and is proud to be a nominee for Best of Gay DC for the third year in a row. His group can be reached at bediz.com or 202-642-1616.