Gary Keller's Parenting Advice
I met Gary for the first time at Keller Williams Family Reunion in 2005. I was in my last year of college, but played hooky for a few days to fly to Las Vegas with my then boyfriend, Mike, to learn about real estate (so I thought). Zig Zigler was the keynote that year and I was blown away. While I thought I was there to learn about real estate, I was presented with a whole new mindset of how to live life on my terms instead of following the path society has laid out. I hadn't really been on any kind of path of self-mastery, but after being immersed in it for a few days, I wanted more.
The first class I started with was Gary Keller's Quantum Leap. It was two days straight of planning your life. I created a mission statement, goals and visions that I didn't even know I had. The one thing that really stuck out to me is the way Gary plans his life. He always starts with his family calendar first and then plans his business life around that. Not the other way around, like the majority of people.
I've had the privilege of hearing Gary speak on several occasions and even ran into he and his son, John, at a Jack Johnson show in Philadelphia. He is someone Mike and I look up to in many areas, but especially parenthood. We are so honored he agreed to share his tips with everyone. Here they are straight from Gary Keller himself as featured in The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families. Enjoy!
Parenting Profile: Gary Keller
Gary is a New York Times best-selling author, real estate broker and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Keller Williams Realty International, the largest real estate franchise sales organization in the world with headquarters in Austin, Texas. Gary is married with one son, age 24.
Parenting Philosophy. Ultimately, our character is what defines who we are. As parents, I believe our most important job is to help our child understand and decide who he wants to be. Self-image is a part of that. Skill set is a part of that. Standards are a part of that. Creating standards starts with the small things. You don't lie. You don't cheat. You keep your word. As a parent, it’s important to set the tone of what the standards are going to be, so that at some point, your child opts in to those standards.
Best Parenting Tips.
- Put your family first. Probably, the simplest, most effective thing I did when our son was born was start putting all the personal things first on my calendar and then simply work in between. Literally, I plan my personal life first and I block in all the key dates from the holidays to the birthdays to the vacations.
- Be present. One thing that our son taught me early on is that you can't be with your child physically, but mentally be somewhere else. You can't be with your child playing dinosaur checkers and be thinking about business. That doesn’t work. You have to be fully present. My philosophy became “wherever I am – be there.”
- Curate your child’s relationships. As you’re helping your child find out who he is, what he wants to do, and what he feels good about, the people your child spends time with are important. I began to realize that one of the tactics that I could use as a parent was to put the best people I could find in front of our son. I began to curate them. I began to look for a really good, fun, coaches and teachers for him who also had good values, good standards, and good ethics. That way, our son was not only learning a skill, but was also getting parented by people he might listen to.
- Make your house a Welcome House. Our goal was for our son’s friends to feel like Mary and I were their second set of parents. So we made our house a Welcome Home. Today, our son's best friend doesn't even knock. He just walks in the house. We worked really hard for that.
Participate in individual sports. When our son was young I could see the value of team sports and I encouraged our son to play them. However, one day I realized as cool as team sports are, those who played them when they were kids weren’t playing them as an adult. The people that seemed to continue with their sport throughout their life were the ones who did the individual sports. And more importantly to me was I noticed that the individual sports would be the ones we could do with our son for a lifetime. And that’s how it worked out.
Build confidence. My observation is that the people that get the most out of life are the ones that have the most confidence. The question is how do you get confidence? I discovered we are either born with it or developed it. And since we didn’t want to assume our son was born with it, we worked at helping him develop it. The way we approached it was to help him become good at something and sure enough, that gave him confidence. That confidence then built on itself. The chain reaction of confidence building confidence building confidence is what we were working towards and we believed that no accomplishment was too small to ignore.
Parenting success story. Direct your children. A lot of parents say, "I don't want to influence my kid. I want them to make their own decisions.” But if you ask "Why is Bob Dylan's son a musician? Why is Tom Hanks' son an actor?" They made those decisions most likely because their parents pulled them into their world and helped them fall in love with it. I'd like to be in relationship with my son forever. I don't know what that looks like, but I decided I wanted to foster an understanding of business or some sort of affinity towards it to give us a fighting chance to be in business together someday. So I exposed him to books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad while he was growing up. My son eventually made the decision to be a businessman.
Final word. Allow yourself to experience the joy. Children naturally feel joy and that was one of the great gifts I got from being a parent. Kids just naturally behave with joy and find it in the simplest of things. As we get older life somehow conspires to knock some of that joy out of us. I learned that there's nothing wrong with being joyful and that finding it somehow in everything we do is important. That’s not always easy, but I’ve learned it’s in there somewhere. It may be big or it may be tiny, but it’s there. To know that it’s there and just find it is one of the great lessons I learned from being a parent.
I'm grateful to have met Gary and to have him as a mentor through his leadership and books. I'm grateful for Keller Williams and the impact it's had on my family. And I'm grateful for his contribution to our book. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Comment here or join the conversation in our Facebook Community.