By Phillip Greenberg

I became an avid reader as a child, a habit that I still have today.  Sure, as a kid, I was outside playing when I had the chance.  But there was no Xbox and I had no interest in watching soap operas and game shows when I got home from school, so if there was nobody to play with, I’d get lost in a book.

Thirty years later, in the 1990s, I was reading books to my daughters, hoping to instill in them the same love for books I developed as a child.  And one day, reading to them from one of my favorites, I discovered that so many children’s books teach not only great life lessons, but great business lessons.  Let’s take one of my all-time favorites, The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster.  The Phantom Tollbooth is a story of a little boy who has so much to do that he doesn’t know what to do first, so he does nothing (sound like you at the office?).  He never had a plan, and never really did anything.  One day, he got a gift of a tollbooth that took him into a new set of lands, where he learned the value of managing one’s time, setting goals, and making things happen.  Today, I coach people on doing the same thing!

There are a couple of quotes from the book that I find highly poignant.  “It’s bad enough wasting time without killing it.”  I love this one.  Time keeps going, and we all have to live by the same standards.  There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day.  It’s the same for every person in every part of the world.  Why are some people more efficient and effective with their time? Because they manage the way they use it!  Time is the one commodity you cannot replace, cannot buy more of, cannot turn into something else.  Use it wisely by having a plan and working the plan.  Don’t kill it!

Another great quote: “If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you’ll never have to worry about the important ones, which are so difficult.”  This is an easy one to demonstrate: one of the hardest jobs in Real Estate is prospecting.  However, if you don’t prospect, you won’t have to worry about being busy because there will be no business!  To be successful, you MUST make an hour per day to prospect.  Business starts with the difficult parts, not the easy and fun ones.

Finally, one more quote: “Expectations is the place you must go to before you get to where you’re going.”  If you don’t have a business plan, written goals, and a set of expectations, your business is going to stand still, or just keep going in a circle.  Your business is a boat and the plan is the rudder; no rudder, and you’re at the mercy of the wind; no plan, and your business is at the mercy of the wind, as well.

Most parents want their children to live by some of the great advice they get from children’s books.  Maybe it’s time we all took those lessons seriously for ourselves.


Phillip Greenberg is a Coach and Consultant for Corcoran Consulting and Coaching.  He has been in the Real Estate Industry for over 25 years and coaches dozens of very productive real estate teams.