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Bradley Brown: Sharing his wisdom cards

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Your life is like a book, and you're the author of that book

Grit is about the ability to try again, and again, when things don’t go according to plan. Bradley Brown, the master of true grit and a legend in real estate circles is a man who understands the power of discipline and tenacity. For more than 14 years, the US native has been a Director and CEO of Melbourne based Fletchers, and he has overseen the complete transformation of Fletchers into one of the most successful real estate companies in Australia.

Eager to share his wisdom, struggles and his dogged, determined grit with emerging industry leaders, Bradley has reflected on the rivers and mountains of his life and created this year’s most compelling read - A Good Man, a Great Dad, and a Loving Husband: Every Man's Guide to a Brilliant Life. It’s a departure from typical management texts, because not only is it deeply personal it is also a holistic examination of what makes a good life. Bradley says, “I think that when you can learn and grow by other people's experiences, you can rapidly improve, and change, and grow much faster than if you got to do it by trial and error”.

Bradley’s mission is to make young leaders live life consciously and to share with them the wisdom cards that have made his life better. He says, “I want you to think about where you want to be and how you are going to get there; to make life happen rather than let life happen to you”. He adds, “Your life is like a book, and you're the author of that book. You have an opportunity write that book, and whether it's an exciting adventure or it's a dull read that you just want to put back down is entirely in your own hands.” He believes that whether you're 30 or 45, there's still plenty of time to ensure that you achieve your potential and there are always opportunities for fine- tuning and reinvention.

Bradley overcame adversity and learnt the value of struggle and grit from a young age. With a father with a history of mental illness, Bradley was five when his father first entered a mental institution. Bradley says, “He was like a zombie if he was home, because of the lithium and everything else. It meant from a very young age that more responsibility was pushed on me than on my friends. I knew what was going on. I had visited mental institutions. I was aware of my mother trying to keep my father's business alive. I was helping her with some of the numbers, and I remember adding up in my head as a five, six, seven-year-old all her bills, and doing those for her. I became president of my first grade class at the age of six, and I was president of every class all the way to the end of primary school. I was very sort of worldly and mature for a five-year-old”.

A few of Bradley's wisdom cards

1. See your life as a sum of parts

Bradley believes that the foundation for creating a brilliant career and a brilliant life is being a good person, maintaining meaningful relationships and having a holistic view of life. He says a good person is, “About yourself, your character, your competence, your ability to function in our society. You can't create the environment you want for your children, or for your partner, if you yourself are not fulfilling your own needs, your own sense of destiny, of what you're trying to be, and achieve. In our life, we just encounter so many decision points. We are constantly having these decision trees, every single day, and I think the difference between really successful and less successful people is knowing, when they're there, how do I have a framework to make the right sort of decisions? How do I know it's a big one? This is a big intersection, and how do I recognize it, and make sure that I give it the due attention?”

For Bradley he always wanted to have quality relationships with his children. He says, “I really didn't have a father, so to speak. My older brother was the closest thing to that, and he was an excellent substitute, but not around a lot, as he was older and going to university, and all those things. From the time I was very young, I thought, well, when I get older, I want to be a dad. I want to be a great dad. To me, that was always my number one job, and I turned down some really interesting and kind of amazing opportunities along the path because it would've taken me away from what I felt was my first occupation. That was being a great dad, being there for my kids, being able to go and see them play their sport, going to their school plays, going to their dance recitals, being around on the weekends to be with them. You're raising someone who's going to spend most of their life as an adult. Four-fifths of their life will be spent as an adult, so our job as parents is to make them as successful as possible, as successful as they want to be, as adults. I've tried to pour out as much as I knew about doing that, and create fun and magic along the way”.

Bradley also believes that a quality relationship with a partner is important too. He says, “I do believe it's the hardest thing that you have to do in your life is to have a successful, sustained relationship with someone. We all change and grow so much. We feel so many pressures on us, family, money, career, health, constantly. If you don't plan anything, if you have no goals, you probably won't achieve very much. If you have a successful relationship, you'll have successful family, and you'll probably have a successful business life, and income earning life. If you don't have a successful marriage and partner, all of it can fall away”.

2. If someone invites you to an Elvis concert say yes

Life a life of no regrets and don’t wait for your real life to begin. Start now!

Bradley learnt this young and it is a lesson that has stayed with him for the rest of his life. In 1977 when he was at university, working and studying hard he says, “A friend, offered me two tickets to see Elvis. I thought about it for a minute, and I had a whole night of study ahead of me, and I said, "Aw, you know I'd love to see Elvis, but ...I just can't afford the time." That was one of Elvis's last public concerts, and he died shortly after. It was this massive regret that I could've seen Elvis, and I didn't, and it changed me at that point. I was 18, and I said to myself, "I am never going to live with regrets again. I'm not gonna have any." He decided that he was never going to sit around waiting for his real life to begin. So he got living.

He says, “That Elvis message really taught me that, hey, you might get just one shot at this, and if you don't do it, you're going to have a regret. When I make a decision, it's because it's what I want to do, and if I want to do something, I'm going to do it. For example, I always talk to business people in lounges, and people I know, they go to Sydney, and you see them coming back through the gates in Melbourne. You say, "How was your trip to Sydney?" and they say, “I flew in and out of the airport. I went to a hotel. I had a meeting left. Didn't really see much”. I've never had that approach. If I'm going to Sydney, which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, I'm going to spend a half a day on the water. I'm going to go to some really nice restaurants. I'm going to do something in Sydney that hopefully I haven't done before. I'm going to catch up with a good friend that lives there”. Life is for living.

3. Kick goals

We’ve all heard it time and time again – the people who set personal and business goals are the ones who achieve them. Bradley says, “Your goals should make sense. They should be smart. They should be something that is a stretch, but obtainable. You should be able to put into the detailed steps behind it to make it work, and if you actually achieve those goals, or get close to achieving those goals, you're going to be super happy. The goals need to be in bite size chunks. They need to be in time frames that make sense, and I think a lot of people are just not realistic. For example, I love to travel, I love to see the world. I've done all seven continents. I've done over 50 countries now. I've hit 40 states in the US. I've hit every state and territory in Australia, and I'm going strong. Antarctica was a goal for me since the time I was 30, but I wanted to do it right, and I wanted to do it when I would really appreciate it. I set the goal to be 55 when I went to Antarctica, at 30. I started researching it when I was 53, and at 55, my wife and I had an incredible trip to Antarctica”.

Bradley also sets goals for his business. He says, “I told our directors in around 2010 that I wanted to two and a half times our level of revenue at Fletchers by 2015. It was like, wow. How are we going to do that? I said, “These are the ideas I've got. This is how I think we can do it”, and we hit that by around 2014, and have subsequently gone on, and now we're three times that figure that I had originally set the goal for then, where we were at that time. Setting the goal drove me. I had to do this”.

4. Find your inner Clint Eastwood

Bradley believes that the holy trinity of taking responsibility, meeting adversity and having grit are the cornerstones to having a successful life. When you find your grit and you fire it up, it sees you through. It helps you climb higher, surpassing those who may be smarter but not as prepared to work. Taking responsibility is key. Bradley says, “When people take responsibility for their actions, and they accept the feedback being given, and they accept it in an intelligent way. They don't just say, "Yeah, I hear what you're saying. I agree with that." They actually think about it. They digest it. They might even come back to you later. Those sort of people grow and develop”.

Taking responsibility helps you get back up when adversity strikes you down and grit makes you keep going. Bradley says, “You're going to hit that T intersection, and there's going to be adversity. What do you do? Do you just turn your car off, and sit there, and wait, or do you take a left or right turn? Do you have the sense to analyze, what's the best path that's going to get me with the least resistance to where I want to go? I've certainly spent a lot of time on that in my life, and I've certainly helped a lot of people who have had their own adversity, and we all do. No one's has a charmed life where everything goes well.”

Learn from the man who has mastered the power of discipline and tenacity. As the American President, Calvin Coolidge once said, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence”.

 

 

 

 

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