How do REALTORS® learn to fail forward?

Brad Allen ~ Failing Forward
by Kyle Malnati (easy to read: 2.5 minutes ~ 507 words)

As a REALTOR® I communicate with other real estate agents every day. I have become enamored with figuring out how some agents are just more successful than others. I often wonder, “is it just their natural ability?”

30 Under 30 Reunion July

Brad Allen is pictured (seated, 2nd to the right) along with other REALTOR® Magazine “30 Under 30” honorees

I have learned that so much of what real estate agents need to succeed is based on their mindset far more than their talent. Success really comes down to how you react have when things go wrong… failure.

Therein lies a follow up question, “how do you properly handle failure?”

None of us wants to fail, but unfortunately, it is part of the necessary process towards success. Within every mistake, misstep, and mishap there are golden nuggets of knowledge… called “experience.”

On a recent phone call with South Carolina REALTOR® Brad Allen, I asked him a question that I have become intentional about asking, especially when corresponding with top producers.

Brad reminded me that failure is essential and necessary for learning. Brad used the term, “failing forward” which was coined by legendary author John C. Maxwell in a book that Maxwell wrote a few years ago. Brad told me that he is always failing forward. He furthered his point by mentioning that the very act of walking is a sequence of falling where you catch yourself.

Have you ever watched a toddler take his first steps? It’s beautiful to see as their chubby little legs wobble, and they struggle one shakey step at a time. The very term, toddler, is defined as “one that toddles (to walk with short, unsteady steps).” Most importantly no one condemns a toddler when the inevitable happens; they fall.

The act of falling is a required part of their process of learning to walk. Any good parent knows this fact and would be bonkers if they scolded their toddler when they fell while learning to walk. With that in mind, why do we react differently when adults fail while trying something NEW? (Heavy emphasis on the word, new. I will address “repeat offenders” in a later article.)

With falling toddlers in mind, I want to encourage you to try leaning into something new and keep trying when your results don’t work out as perfectly as you planned. Author Rachel Cruze has some great advice that furthers the point:

“Like anything new you start doing, [it] won’t feel normal at first. The most important thing is to keep at it. And know that it will get easier with practice.” ~Rachel Cruze

Now think back on that one mistake that keeps bothering you, and remember that rooted within every failure is a lesson to be learned. There is a reason that you didn’t accomplish your goal the first time. What happened and how can you make adjustments to get a better result next time? The most important part of the process, as both Bradley Allen and Rachel Cruze describe, is the practice. Keep swinging and you’ll hit your target in no time.


Kyle Malnati is a commercial REALTOR® specializing in multifamily and investment sales. In addition to his sales career, Kyle is also blogger, speaker, and aspiring author on the topic of real estate success. He is an award winning real estate agent, which includes numerous local accolades, and was nationally recognized by REALTOR® magazine in 2012 as “30 Under 30.”

Kyle and his wife, Courtney, reside in Centennial, Colorado. They have three children: Charlotte, Amelia, and Henry.

You can hear more from Kyle on the Kyle Malnati Show. Learn more about Kyle by watching his real estate show on YouTube.

Connect with Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.

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