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  • Maj-Britt Johnson

Racism, real estate, and failing forward

I am very excited that Keller Williams International, the biggest real estate franchise in the world, has made a decision to evaluate its own internal structures in regard to racial and other forms of inequality. On the national, regional and local levels it has put in place teams to address systemic inequality in our business. I've been appointed our firm's "social equality ambassador," and our first regional convo (NC and SC) is next week on Zoom. More will be revealed!

But here's what I'm musing on today regarding the confluence of real estate work and anti-racism work. At KW I have learned how to fail with gusto, rather than my former reluctance. Yeah, yeah, I used to say, I know I can learn from failure, that doesn't mean it feels good. Yeah, I know failure is essential, many people have taught us that, Michael Jordan perhaps most famously. And yes, failure teaches us humility, if we embrace it. Humility basically means being teachable. I can't learn, or be taught, if I'm not willing to fail. So failing is good.


In the KW culture they take the idea a little further. I have these words on the wall next to my desk: "Fail often, fail fast, fail forward." What that says to me, is that when I jump into the flow of try, fail, learn, move on, try, fail, learn, move on, I emerge from the cloud of fear into the realm of actuality. Dreams happen.

If I am going to try something difficult, whether that's cold calling a potential seller, or working to make the world a more equitable place, I will fail. Often. We will fail. In this work of justice and fairness-making, momentum comes from failing often and failing fast. Not letting the failures get us down means not giving up on our dreams. We move on. We eat crow if necessary. We grow. Growth, and change and transformation = failing forward.

Forward together!

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