I started in Real Estate age 17. My boss then, George Margolis, became one of my mentors and a great friend. We celebrated his 90th birthday in June.
George always started the day with a quote or a joke (mostly naughty or politically incorrect, even then). When I arrived at his 90th birthday he shook my hand and said 'the optimist invents the aeroplane and the pessimist the parachute'.
Never thought of it that way. Of course some may argue the pessimist in this case has a plan B. It all depends how you look at things I guess.
We certainly had a great day. Lots of reminiscing…
Having lost my father at age 8, mentors have been very important to me. I have several along the way that I'm proud to say have been on the journey with me for over 25 years. I am not just referring to business, I also mean in disciplines such as Toogoolawa school, yoga and health.
Young people often ask me what they should do when they finish school and how do you find out what you like. I often recommend to look for the people you want to be around and those you aspire to be like when you’re older; then surround yourself with those people, follow their every move, follow their advice. The other thing is don't worry about what you’re doing, when you get good at it, you'll like it.
George taught me very early on “learn to like your dislikes - do two things every day you don't like doing”.
As a 17 year old in the 1980s I hated getting up early and knocking on doors to get listings. Today I get up before 6am every day and still knock on doors, albeit in China, corporate or government, regarding the school.
I'm very much indebted to my mentors. This probably explains why, whenever I meet someone over the age of 25 in business, I always ask them who their mentors are. It amazes me how few have one – that’s a real shame. What you learn off mentors are habits. It's your habits that will carry you through the inevitable tough and challenging times and also keep you focused when things are going well.