At Douglas Elliman’s inaugural Altitude Summit in Snowmass, we had the pleasure of hearing John O’Leary tell his motivating story of tragedy, love, faith and redemption. John was burned over 100 percent of his body, lost all of his fingers and bears the scar tissue from the accident. Understandably, he is self conscious. John does not like to be away from his wife and kids in St. Louis, but here he is in Snowmass speaking to a crowd of 150 Elliman brokers.

In delivering his message, it was clear that John was not just giving the same story he has been telling for years.  He took the time to attend other sessions that were held earlier in the day. He paid enough attention to get the general theme of the conference. He even reiterated a few key points that had been made by one of the panelists of another session. John was engaged. He stepped into a room of 150 real estate brokers and cared enough for all of us to craft his message so it was relevant.

John’s message is about changing our mindset to see the great opportunities we have instead of focusing on the negative. For me, his story was more powerful because I saw him living out his message in front of us. After he finished speaking, he welcomed all of us to introduce ourselves to him one on one. He stood for an hour and greeted anyone who was interested. He hugged almost all and shook every hand (without the self consciousness of one with no fingers). He looked each person in the eye and said, “Hi I’m John”. Funny considering he was just the featured speaker and we knew who he was.

I see in John the powerful traits that make a great broker.  Yes he was inspiring on a higher level; that’s what motivational speakers are supposed to do.  But after the inspiration lingers, and it does, I saw him model a life well lived.

  • Study your audience.
  • Look deeper into your client’s situation.
  • Speak their language.
  • Be true to who you are, not who you think you should be.
  • Care for people for who they are, not what you can get from them.
  • Don’t be in a hurry, be willing to engage.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit your weaknesses.  None of us are perfect.
  • Success happens in community not isolation

This is a fast and inspiring read.  I think you will find it offers a wonderful change in perspective in your daily life.