5 Life Lessons from a Billion Dollar CEO

Hi guys, Franklin Cruz here – REI Drill Sergeant and Mentor …

So as most of you guys know, I served in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was at this time that I learned lessons that would serve me a lifetime, and I had the honor of being an aide to General Summerall, whom I truly admire.

Now let me explain the level of responsibility that comes with being a General in his position… It’s equivalent to being a voted-in senator. Not only is he responsible for running a billion-dollar corporation, but this corporation is the Army. He is assigned billion-dollar assets to control, along with all the logistics involved and the people under his care.

Lives depended on his decisions and his leadership.

Working for him, I was amazed and wondered:

How is one person in charge of so much and not pulling out his hair?

So while aiding him, I made it my (side) mission to learn critical lessons that have made me the real estate entrepreneur that I am today…

Life Lesson #1: Commit to Routine

This man was disciplined. First thing every morning, he worked out. He knew that to perform up to your ability, you have to be in good health.

The General also knew you had to stay organized and keep a routine. He kept 3 calendars that all had the same stuff written on them (this is before iPhones and the technical advances we have now). He had one calendar for his wallet, one 8 x 11 in a plastic holder for his desk and another that fit in his daily planner.

Every day he would look at them and know exactly where to go. In fact, he even had his routes planned of how to get there and how long it would take.

Life Lesson #2: Have Systems in Place

The General had systems in place to make sure stuff got done and done correctly. Every morning he had meetings to discuss what was to be done that day and how it was going to get done. Every evening he had a debriefing to talk about the issues that had been taken care of and what needed to be done the next day.

I incorporate this into my own business today. I meet with my acquisitions manager every morning and every night to talk about what actually happened and upcoming plans of action.

That is what high performance looks like. High performance means you have effective communication.

Life Lesson #3: Presentation is Key

Don’t get me wrong, when you first start real estate you think it’s going to be amazing because you can dress how you want and be on your own schedule and be your own boss and everything else…

But what I have learned from the General is that people see you before they hear you.

In the military, it’s all about how you wear it. How are your shoelaces tied? How well are your clothes ironed? How tightly is your bed made? (Game of quarters, anyone?)

People make a judgment before they hear you open your mouth.

Life Lesson #4: Check your Emotions at the Door

It wasn’t like he isn’t a caring guy, he is extremely caring…

But when you are running this type of organization, it’s very easy to get your feelings hurt if you wear them on your shoulder.

Never create a story for what happened. Give a high-level account and move on.

If someone fell and broke their knee, tell me someone fell and broke their knee. Don’t tell me the whole story around it. I don’t need to know that you were with a guy named Billy, and Billy tripped over an oak tree limb and blah blah blah. I don’t need to know all that to know what to do from this point forward...

Life Lesson #5: Integrity is Everything

The General had ginormous integrity. He would never lie about anything and always keep his word.

This is something you either have or you don’t. It’s that simple.

We both worked 7 days a week, together, for a very long time. During this time, you really learn what a man is made of…

And the General never broke once.

These are the reasons why I admire the General and the life lessons this amazing man taught me including what it takes to run a demanding business and to perform at a high level all the time. For that, I am thankful.

Kind Regards,

Franklin Cruz
PS. Got a Mentor?

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