Work hard and smart, says former pro hockey player turned commercial real estate broker
Success is not a final destination so much as a journey of self-improvement. Hard work is a given but it takes a certain strategy to channel that effort into something meaningful that fosters personal and professional growth.
Joe Rullier, Senior vice-president with Colliers International — Private Capital Markets Division, knows a thing or two about peak performance. The former NHL player turned commercial real estate broker is among the top performers in his field, brokering multi-million dollar development deals, and still manages to find time to go to the gym every day.
What’s Joe’s secret? It’s not much of a secret, really… just three simple rules for living with intent and “finding a sustainable, attainable success”, he explains.
No matter the objective, structure is the roadmap that will get you there.
“In order to succeed in life, you need a path,” said Rullier. “I know I have to do cold calls in the morning and maybe I don’t feel like doing them that day; discipline is creating a structure, a pattern, that keeps you on track — not because you’re a slave to routine but because it is working toward something you believe in.”
Once you begin this process, creating structure fortified by consistency, deeper patterns begin to emerge; a sort of three-dimensional image of what success looks like. He likens it to working out and how staying in shape is so much more than just pumping iron.
“If you’re only going once a week, then you won’t see results any time soon. But even if you go six times a week, it still won’t be as effective without the proper diet and lifestyle. Success is about putting these pieces together to see the bigger picture, and that comes with structure. Discipline is the ability to adapt your structure as you learn and evolve.”
New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle famously stated, “it’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you’ve been playing all your life.” We’re always learning, and that drive for self-improvement is central to the pursuit of personal greatness.
Rullier describes it as “adding value through perspective,” an indispensable advantage in a field as competitive as his. Whether he’s identifying market trends or searching for creative solutions, Rullier is always looking for ways to grow his knowledge base beyond the confines of his comfort zone, even recently completing an online booster course with Harvard University on Negotiation Mastery.
“In my field, too many brokers are just phoning it in. They get their mandate, don’t negotiate price with the vendor, there’s no strategy in place for the buyer and on and on without any sort of forethought or design. Being ‘Value Added’ means being a student of the business. You have to understand the math behind every transaction; you need to research solutions, perfect the art of negotiation and educate yourself… Every year, I set my goals by asking myself, how do I become a better broker? Little things like this can make a big difference in the long run.”
Of course, none of this matters unless you truly love what you do; hard work means nothing without passion and emotional investment.
“If you don’t have the passion, then you won’t put in the time,” said Rullier. “There is no effort or discipline without genuine love for what you’re doing. I’m up and at the gym before the sun rises, then it’s straight to the office. Once I finish my calls, I go back home for breakfast with my family, then I’m back at the office until 9pm or later. This is five days a week, and I even sometimes work a bit on weekends… If I didn’t love what I do, then I wouldn’t do it; there is no way I could pull those kinds of hours with being deeply invested in my job.”
Equally important? Balance, stability, and knowing when to take time for yourself.
“Don’t work yourself to the brink of burnout,” he added. “You need to disconnect, hit the ‘reset’ button and take a day to let your mind calm down. The older I get, one thing I’m learning is the value of taking one step back to take two steps forward. Don’t be afraid to take some hard time off; you may think you’re losing ground but it’s the exact opposite. Rested and recharged, you will return more productive than ever.”