I recently chatted with Jim Allen, an engineer and founder of the Jim Allen Group, a nationally recognized real estate firm in Raleigh, NC. Winner of numerous awards, his firm is built on one simple, solid truth: Customers are the #1 priority. He shared the many ways that building relationships in the workplace has given him more opportunities for success.
With decades of experience, Jim isn’t anywhere near ready to retire, and his words inspire us all:
“I’m not ready to stop, I don’t believe that we are supposed to retire. It’s all the way until the end.”
As he looked back over his career – and to the future – Jim shared his thoughts about different aspects faced in the home building industry.
A Unique Path to Success in the Homebuilding Industry
Jim expressed his gratitude to those that have been patient with him when he got in his own way. “They let me learn how to be me and to not always get in my own way,” he explained.
Jim now gets the opportunity to help others arrive at a place they don’t know how to get to yet. “Most people just need confidence in themselves – self-belief,” admitted Jim.
When someone says, “no,” Jim explains that the person just doesn’t understand the question.
“It’s limiting not to believe that you can turn a page and do something a different way. A stumble just means you haven’t looked for a solution long enough.” Taking a step back to re-energize and return to the issue oftentimes brings a new outlook.
Jim has a basic motto he’s always followed:
“I take the “I can’t” out of my language.”
Just like a blueprint for a home, God has a plan for all of us, said Jim. “When we get more in line with that plan for ourselves, the luckier we become.”
And even when we get “there” to reach success, walls still remain. Walls never go away, explained Jim, we just need to get better and better at climbing them.
True Leaders Learn to Give – with Love
For those trying to teach others and help them get through hard times, choose love as your approach, suggested Jim.
“Push people to be their best and love them through it.”
Helping others to grow and achieve is a heart-felt goal for Jim.
We should always strive to help others improve their lives if we can, Jim said. Explaining he used to attend conferences to get what he could for himself and his team, now he goes to give.
“People seem to need more,” noted Jim. “More hope and help to improve their lives. They’re not broken, they just haven’t found their path yet.”
Embrace Leadership Challenges: Learn Resiliency
In challenging times, Jim says we must remove “I can’t” from our dictionary. It puts up a roadblock to success.
“People too easily look for an excuse for why they can’t do things, not for how they can.”
“When you work hard, the accomplishments mean so much more. Challenge yourself even when it’s easy. The work is what prepares us for when things are hard again. That’s how you will get back up when you get knocked down.”
Jim recalled that each and every time when he was knocked down, he came back stronger. I can relate!
Sometimes we think we’ve got it all figured out, Jim acknowledged. We let ego take over, when we should realize we have so much more to learn. During these moments we need to reset and stop being so absorbed in ourselves.
3 Questions to Ask When Something Comes into Your Life
We may not know why someone or something has come into our life, said Jim, but we will discover the answer one day.
“What you think and what is true may be very different from each other.”
We need to ask ourselves some questions:
- How is this a gift for me?
- How was this supposed to affect me?
- What would this teach me if I allowed it?
And remember: Don’t second guess yourself…trust your instincts. They are never wrong.
Yes. No. Maybe. How to Choose?
But how do you determine what to say ‘yes’ to – and what to deliberately choose to say ‘no’ to?
“If it’s unhealthy for someone else, then it’s a no for me,” explained Jim. “If you are tempted to say no, use it as an opportunity to guide and mentor toward the yes.”
Everyone has a light bulb moment and with focus, it can work. You may just need to go back to the drawing board with the focus needed to get closer to the yes.
Focus is Key – in Business & Life
Jim explained that people quit because nobody helped them stay focused – nobody taught them that it’s a journey, not a get rich quick scheme.
Some crucial ingredients to incorporate in your leadership journey, according to Jim:
- Forming relationships – vital to success in anything in life.
- Discernment for wisely choosing your direction.
- Redirection, when it is necessary following failure.
- Focus – to avoid getting distracted by shiny objects.
- Commitment to the long-term goal. Stay the course!
Today, distractions undermine our focus. That’s when we make those familiar excuses like:
- There’s not enough time
- I ran out of time
- I’ll need more time
“It’s how you allocate your time that matters. We all say we don’t have enough time, but in reality, we don’t use it effectively,” Jim shared.
Reflections on a Successful Homebuilding Career
What has Jim learned about himself in this journey?
“How flawed I am,” he admitted. “How imperfect I am and that we all are. But I don’t use them as my fault or excuses, I use them to go find what I need to do it.”
What does Jim attribute to the longevity and loyalty on his own team? A few key things:
- Appreciating his team every single day.
- Allowing his relationships with them to evolve.
- Helping each other to be better people.
- Giving each person the chance to hold themselves accountable for mistakes, so everyone can learn from a person they relate to.
- Mentoring and recognizing each person’s place in the world – to show each how they are necessary and valuable to the team.
Looking back over his career, Jim’s biggest learning opportunity was getting through difficult economic times.
“I wish I could have prepared my clients and partners better for what was coming in the Great Recession,” explained Jim. “I supported many who had supported me along the way…I had to make hard and careful decisions for who I could help, and I regret to this day that I couldn’t help all of them.”
But out of difficult times came good ones. “We solved problems by banding together at that time. Helping everyone more as you gain, because every time you help somebody else, you will be abundantly provided for your needs,” explained Jim.
How Relationships Form Success in Today’s Homebuilding Industry
Working from a scarcity or protection mindset closes you off from the rest of the world,” explained Jim. “You make those things more important than your relationships, and you will risk that which you are working so hard to protect.”
Don’t demand or expect everything right now. Why? Because it doesn’t allow you the full appreciation for each and every accomplishment that it deserves.
Building Relationships at Work
Jim’s advice for those starting their careers in this world:
- Listen first.
- Form relationships with everyone you can around you.
- Create reciprocal relationships.
- You are not on an island. Surround yourself with more, not less.
- Create goals that are your own – not someone else’s.
Jim’s suggestions for achieving goals:
- Write down your goals; post them somewhere.
- Measure those goals!
- Every problem and solution is in the mirror 😉
- Your biggest lessons in life will be learned from your own ways, so pay attention to yourself by looking in the mirror.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks.
- Reinvest your money, resources, and energy back into yourself in ways that can propel you forward in your life, not into things.
- Remember that making money and creating success is no different than riding a bike. You will get scraped and bruised at first, but once you know how, you don’t forget.
The Future of Jim Allen Group
As a leader, Jim admits the future is less about him and more about his team.
His goal is to continue to create a team that works together for what each level of experience and knowledge has to offer.
Not content with status quo, Jim intends to keep big goals ahead to avoid becoming complacent. “We aren’t going to relax and get out of shape,” he laughed.
What fuels Jim’s success, what’s his why in life?
“My kids,” he quickly responded. “Being the best Dad I can be to my kids.”
Jim has a genuine desire to help others as they journey the road on the career path.
“I want to help others create their why, to help others open their eyes so they can see. I want to appreciate God for the blessings I have in my life and help create the same for others.”
Wise words from a very wise man!
Back here at Strive Coaching Studio, we specialize in helping those in the homebuilding industry achieve their biggest goals & go after their loftiest visions. Our proven success enables us to assist each and every step of the way.