Moody Younger in D CEO: Life Lessons From The Farm
The Younger Partners co-founding partner says his father’s “off your ass and on your feet” advice is resonating more than ever.
BY MOODY YOUNGER PUBLISHED IN COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE AUGUST 6, 2020
Obviously, it has been a weird year thus far. I don’t think that I am alone in finding it very frustrating. It seems that as we begin to gain momentum, something happens to stop it. Overall, I have been pleased with our company’s performance throughout the uncertainty of the current market conditions. However, I have days when it takes an extra cup of coffee to get me going.
Growing up on a farm in the High Plains of Texas just below the Panhandle, we faced constant uncertainty from the dramatically unpredictable weather, insects, and the inherent randomness of farming. One year we lost a cotton crop due to defective seeds.
I worked on the farm with my dad since I was old enough to remember. There are a couple of things he used to tell my siblings (there are four of us) and me that have resonated with me quite often recently.
The first was, “It’s always something.” He used this phrase anytime any of us complained about unexpected changes or outcomes that we didn’t think were fair. There may be more ‘somethings’ this year, but there is always ‘something’ if you choose to focus on the negative. By saying, “It’s always something,” his message was for us to basically shut up and keep moving forward. Focus on what we could do to improve things and don’t waste time thinking or talking about the ‘something’ that is always there if you choose to make excuses. Excuses were never acceptable to him, and he used all kinds of other witty phrases to establish this position. “It’s always something” was the most passive of the bunch.
The other phrase that has been resonating with me is the one he used in the morning to get us up or if he ever saw us sitting around, not doing anything. It was “Off your ass and on your feet, out of the shade and in the heat!” I am not sure where that phrase originated. My dad’s father was in World War II and grew up during the Great Depression. I expect this was a phrase from that era. For Dad, it didn’t just mean that you were going to work, and it didn’t just mean that you were going to work hard; it meant that you were going to work hard and fast. We didn’t get to walk to get tools or anything on the farm, we ran!
Why are Dad’s phrases resonating so strongly with me now, and how does this relate to the real estate business in Dallas? As real estate brokers, we are salespeople. COVID-19, riots, elections, misrepresentation of facts; “It’s always something.” Staying home, not engaging, lack of in-person connections, missing social interactions that lead to collaboration, that lead to creativity, that lead to deals: “Off your ass, on your feet, out of the shade and in the heat!”
I realize that COVID-19 is very dangerous for people that have significant underlying conditions, and people with those conditions should take all the precautions they deem necessary. However, if you aren’t one of those people, and you plan to be successful in our industry, I strongly recommend that you get “off your ass and on your feet, out of the shade and in the heat!” Because in our industry, “It’s always something.”
As a company, we have had to decide whether to prepare for growth or move home into isolation mode. With the positive influence of our partners and Dad’s phrases bouncing around in our heads, Kathy and I chose growth. We are pursuing new ventures in retail acquisitions and corporate services, expanding our office space by 32 percent, and recruiting new brokers to our platform. Our region of the country is very resilient, and we are incredibly optimistic about its future.
My father passed away in 2002, but if he were here today, I can guarantee that viewing Dallas from the High Plains of Texas, one thing would be apparent to him. The winners next year—when all the pent-up demand emerges for our market—will not be the people hanging out at home complaining about the events of 2020. The winners will be those that are fully engaged in pursuing the tremendous opportunities that will soon emerge for us in North Texas.
Moody Younger is one of the co-founding partners of Younger Partners. To see it in D CEO, click here.