What An 86 Year Old Man Can Teach Us About Procrastination


I want to tell you the story of Hank.

I work in the Real Estate industry in San Antonio, TX and in our community, Hank is considered The Lion of our business. I train, coach, and teach real estate agents how to become better at what they do. Hank has been doing that for 40 years, he puts me to shame, and that is after a whole other career in The US Air Force where he served hazardous duty, posted all around the world, and protected The President of The United States.

If I ever feel myself getting cocky, all I have to do is look down the hall and see Hank, and I remember that I have a long way to go.

My Business Hero

An elder statesman now, Hank could kick back. He could rest, play golf, collect stamps…….But not this man. At 86 years young he works a full day every day at our brokerage and then often teaches real estate courses at our local school at night. I often joke to new agents that I am hiring that he will never quit, he will not go quietly. The truth is, he is my business hero and I would be heartbroken to see him not here.

Hank sat in a chair in my office yesterday, told me he felt “Like Crap” and that is sucks getting old. This has become our ritual. I am a crazy morning person, comes with having small kids that have to be at school before the rooster crows, which means I usually beat him here. He will walk into my office, sit down, and we catch up. Sometimes it’s nothing more than small talk, sometimes its much larger issues. The truth is I could speak to him all day.


Don’t hustle. Don’t try.

His demeanor and his attitude about the world are outstanding to me. I have never once heard this man say “What’s in it for me?” Do you know what he complains about? Not having enough work! He so wants to share his knowledge and passion for real estate that no matter how many agents I hire, it’s not enough. And he is heartbroken every time I hire an agent and then they don’t amount to much. Don’t hustle. Don’t try.

See these are foreign concepts to Hank. It just isn’t in his DNA. Why would you choose this job, or any job, and not give it all you have? Think about it like this. Hank does not work for the money. He has a very comfortable retirement. But he out works and out hustles people half his age, or less, who do need the money. These people have families to feed and bills to pay, yet he works harder than many I know. Why?

This is not to say that we do not have outstanding agents in our brokerage, we do! I am biased but I think we have the best team in the industry. This is more a symptom of the industry as a whole. It isn’t what you see on TV. For the most part, it isn’t glamorous, and it certainly isn’t easy.  Sometimes there can be big bucks……..sometimes, but often you are fighting for all you have, especially in the beginning. Some agents go on to have wonderful, fulfilling careers, and others flame out. Most never even really get started. If I knew the answer as to why then I would be a billionaire. I would have bottled it and sold it time and again.

Why Then Did I Succeed and Others Do Not?

I never set the world on fire as an agent, but I was successful. I hustled every day ( most days ) and fed my family. I was proud of the job that I did. When I think about it though, I had no special training. No secret was given to me when I started. I am not any different than those students sitting in real estate school right now. I had no special knowledge or hidden insight, yet I had a career I could be proud of and now I am happier than I have ever been in my life. Why then did I succeed and others do not?

If I had to guess I would say that I succeeded simply because I refused to procrastinate. In the beginning, I rarely knew what I was doing but I did something. Maybe I learned this from Hank. This is his life every day. If I didn’t, then I am sure that I re-learn it from him on a day in and day out basis. He is a role model to me of how a man should behave, and treat others.

Each time I write an article for LifeHack, I give it to Hank to read before I submit it to my editor. He never fails me. He always likes the content but doesn’t like the way I wrote it. I can completely respect that. There is never any BS when it comes from Hank.

Yesterday, in my office, he told me the next time I write, it should be on procrastination. So we can get these agents off their duffs and get them hustling. I completely agree and thought what better way to do that than to remind them and the world…………that this 86-year-old man is cleaning your clock and shows no signs of slowing down.

These lessons are not confined to the Real Estate industry. Not by a long shot. Each one of us can use Hank as a model for how to go about our daily lives.

Hank, of course, is not his real name. I have never asked but I am sure he would tell me that writing about him is useless. I think, however, that his story needs to be told.

Let me leave you with this, though:

If Hank is the exception and not the rule, then what are you? After all, you decide. Procrastination is a choice.

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