CRE Opinion

The Three Questions Kaizen CEO Derrick Evers Asks When Determining The Next Steps in a Deal

CRE Opinion: In the business world we are not in total control, and the illusion of anything to the contrary is fictitious.

I had this fantastic, informative, and insightful plan of spreading the gospel of our Real Estate industry and our Dallas market–but as life often does, my spirit was thrown a curveball, so I’m just going to run with it.

As the recent tragic news of the nine passengers aboard a helicopter in California hit the wire, I found myself to be very reflective. (I felt the same way when our friend Steve Thelen, Gina, and eight others left us all too soon last year). In times like this, I often start in prayer and then asked a lot of questions about “what’s next.” One quote that struck an accord with me was:

“Every day when I wake up, my goal is to outwork my potential” – Kobe Bryant.

My life experiences have taught me that many of us have aspirational goals–with most of them fading into thoughts about what could have been.  How many times have you figured out ways not to try something for reasons known and unknown? Maybe you convinced yourself it was market conditions, or lack of capital, or perceived lack of experience–fill in the blank with the excuse–but you get the point.

But maybe if you were honest with yourself in those quiet times, you would realize it was just fear.

When I left the big firm, and we started our first company back in 2008, I can recall all the reasons we shouldn’t have leaped. The market was horrible with the DOW at 6600, it was my first time serving as a CEO, we had no visibility beyond 18 months of cash flow, and everyone doubted our delivery approach to Real Estate.

I remember meeting with one of my mentors at the time, and he challenged me by saying, “Yes, those are true statements, but you are also getting a chance to try something many don’t get the opportunity to try–so consider going for it, because you can always come back if it does not pan out. But I have a feeling you won’t fail.”

In hindsight, it was not the idea of a safety net–instead, it was one of the great gifts I ever received that motivated me. It was the “Gift of Doubt.” It kept us sharp; it kept us motivated, it kept us hungry, and to this day, I continue to be thankful for those that doubt us–and it can be the fuel that empowers you as well!

Image what you could achieve without the fear of failure? Not just professionally but also in your relationships.

We all have seasons in our life where we lose focus; we say things we don’t mean, we make decisions that we would take back, we sit on our hands when we should stand proud. But what if you chose the more bold path instead??

I had the pleasure to be part of a great conversation with former Notre Dame great Lou Holtz one evening.  A question was asked about dealing with pressure to which his reply was, “90 percent of people don’t care about your problems, and the other 10 percent are happy you have them, so you may as well not worry about them.” After an initial chuckle about how witty the statement was, I realized that he was right.

In the business world, we all try to time the market, review analytics, create risk-adjusted transactions, etc.–but at the end of the day, we are not in total control, and the illusion of anything to the contrary is fictitious. Accept it, take your shot, and exhaust yourself in being ethical, trustworthy, and hardworking.

We have learned through trial and error always to choose passion over polish.

When determining the next steps in relationships or deals, I would whole-heartedly ask yourself three questions.

  • Can I trust you? (Because without trust, you’re done!)
  • Are you committed to excellence?
  • Do you care about me? (Don’t just say it–Are you authentic?)

I’m now living my best life–Are you?

Derrick Evers is the managing partner and chief executive officer with Kaizen.

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