what you do.”

The top performers at the Duke University seminar were the best in the county or on their way to becoming the best. Each of these “eagles” paid thousands for training by the nation’s premier coach in their lucrative specialty. For the fifth time the guru pounded his point home:

“What you know does not matter. Clients only care about and benefit from what you do.”

This blog is not to impress you, but it is to impress upon you one distinctive behavior of people seeking elite-level success. Each participant had worked hard to gain knowledge, to understand details that our competitors lacked. I sat on a panel with the nation’s most highly compensated broker, whose team did almost 20 times our volume.

The guru was Rod Santomassimo, author of two best-selling books on excellence in investment real estate brokerage. He understood technical mastery and superior people skills were prerequisites to this training. His team focused on our enhanced success.

We were expected to prepare before the session and participate in discussions. Preparation must proceed the spotlight. No professional wants to look like a fool in front of their peers. You may not be intimidated by that kind of pressure, but it certainly kept my attention.

Each of us had already learned how to ride a bike and to drive. We had all been embarrassed when we fell off the bike or the car’s bumper kissed a pole. We all have learned by doing. You make a mistake; you get up and try again. Maybe you make the same mistake or maybe the next one is different. You need to get up and try again. And again, and again, and again.

That executive level session was harder and more valuable than I expected, like summitting Africa’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro. We learned a lot, but one concept seemed most important.

“Only what you do matters.” Few investors act on that principle. Often achievers engage our team help them attain higher levels of success. Most investors talk a great story. Many are justifiably pleased with their achievements, knowledge, skills, and wealth. Yet frequently, they pull their punch, making only a halfhearted attempt to achieve their next big goal.

Fear of success blocks many people from the gold medal that they seek. A subset of psychological training aims at diminishing self -sabotage. As a reader of this blog, you know that the road to success is always under construction. JFK challenged America to go to the moon “not because it is easy, but because it is HARD.”

Everything worthwhile is hard. It’s hard to be a loving spouse, a superior worker, a terrific parent, or a responsible citizen. Many easy things are fattening, unhealthy, or dangerous.

Life is hard. Lackadaisical efforts make it harder. Many accidents, bankruptcies, and relationship failures could be avoided with a little effort and attention. We know to look both ways, to thank the hostess and the job interviewer, and to ensure that the software works correctly. We know the right things to do and to say. But just knowing is not enough. We must do them.

Have you ever dissipated energy on trivia or stopped in front of low hurdles? The beau who never asked his sweetheart’s hand, may discover that she said yes to somebody who may have loved her less, but who asked her. Too often investors who recognize an asset is worth $2 million will only offer $1,800,000, and then regret for decades that another investor captured the prize for a price they would have paid.

To win your mate and keep your mate, to attain your ideal job, to capture the best investment, to earn the bonus, to raise great kids, to be a peacemaker, you need to show what you can do. Knowing the right thing isn’t enough. You must perform.

A fellow learner had this phrase, “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.” Although I have no illusion of walking on water, the point makes sense. The hyper effective people in my arena are all in. They don’t pose. They go for gusto for a few big goals.

Friend, for us to have a lasting beneficial impact, our actions need to show our motivation. Knowledge is necessary but not sufficient. We benefit others and ourselves by what we do.

Rod Santomassimo puts it this way in his most recent book.

“Don’t KID yourself. Knowing Isn’t Doing.”

Remember a time when you acted based on your knowledge? Please share it with via email or phone.


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

Click here and find out how Terry and his team can help you make the most important financial decision of your next decade.