July 28, 2017 at 10:59 AM
Don’t let the naysayers stop you from achieving your dream, says Carol Greenberg Brooks.
Carol Greenberg Brooks, co-founder and president of CREC, a commercial real estate firm in Florida, started the company nearly 30 years ago with her best friend, Warren Weiser. “I knew less than zero about real estate,” she says. Brooks had just graduated from the University of Miami and was deciding what to do next when Weiser asked her to help lease two large commercial properties, Continental Plaza and Grand Bay Plaza. “I fell in love with transactions, negotiating and selling a dream to people,” she says.
Brooks helped start a company in the very male-dominated real estate industry and has never looked back. “It never occurred to me that being in a man’s world would be a difficult thing to do,” she says, in part because her father introduced her to accomplished and successful women when she was growing and in part because she has a third-degree black belt in karate.
We all have fictional notions of who we are that limit what we can achieve, Brooks says. “ Recognize that you can’t be whoever you want to be but you can be yourself ,” she says. For instance, Brooks admits she will never be a linebacker or a rock star but she was able to obtain a third-degree black belt. Whatever path you choose, there will be obstacles along the way, she says, but if you’re doing something that really matters to you, then those obstacles won’t have the power to limit you.
Find your authentic self
Think back to any point in your life when you felt the most peaceful, the happiest and most inspired and you will see a pattern. One way to figure out what is limiting you, Brooks says, is to spend some time in quiet reflection. “When you’re having a million thoughts at once and are stressed, that’s never the time to say to yourself, ‘That’s a brilliant idea,’ ” Brooks says. Our best ideas tend to happen in a place that is still and quiet.
There’s no substitute for hard work
“Whatever you decide you want to be, you have to practice, practice, practice,” Brooks says. When Brooks decided she wanted to become a black belt, she practiced six days a week for more than 15 years. “It was hard and scary but I never saw that as a limitation,” she says. “If it hadn’t been authentic as to who I am, I would never had endured the training. I would have seen a million limitation.”
Listen to your own voice
Once you know what you’re meant to do, drown out the naysayers with your own voice. “If your vision is authentic, you won’t be deterred by what people say,” she says. “If I had listened to all the reasons I couldn’t have a real estate company or be a black belt, I wouldn’t have endured.”