As she approached the starting line for the 2018 Boston Marathon, Desiree Linden could have looked back on a series of disappointments. She once lost the 2-hour race by 2 seconds. On several other occasions she’d finished in the Top 5.
She also could have bemoaned the weather. It was cold. It was raining. Temperatures were in the low 40s. And wind gusts had downed trees and power lines.
Instead, Desi became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years.
On one of Xperience Real Estate’s weekly partner calls, CEO Chris Suarez shared Desi’s story of resilience, collaboration, contentment, and achievement — and the lessons team members can apply to their lives:
The year Desi came in second place, she had publicly declared her intent to win the race. When she lost, she had to question what success really meant to her. She took several months off questioning whether she loved the sport and wanted to continue. Desi ultimately came to the conclusion that success was not about beating others; it was about maximizing her personal abilities. In a competitive profession like real estate, defining success is critical. Success is what it looks like when you maximize your personal abilities. It doesn’t mean you have to be No. 1.
Defining success gives you clarity, which allows contentment to show up. In nearly every interview with Desi, she’s made clear that she’s not defined by winning or losing. Asked what she craves most, her answer is disarmingly simple: Experiences. She wants to experience people, places, culture, and life.
“I’m a distance runner — patience is the story of my life!” Desi says. Distance runners train months for a single race. You develop patience by wanting a reward and accepting that it won’t happen overnight and that there is no guarantee you will achieve it. It’s like lead generation or converting a listing presentation. Patience is easy when you learn to love the process.
When the 2018 Boston Marathon started, Desi was convinced that the conditions were not right for her to win. So as a proud member of the U.S. Olympic Team, she decided to start helping other American runners get to the front of the pack. She offered to block the wind and rain to help her teammates achieve their goals. And a funny thing happened. As Desi took the pressure off of herself to perform, she actually positioned herself to win. By helping others, she helped herself. By embracing collaboration, she maximized her personal abilities.
“Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this,” Desi has explained. “Other days, it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day, I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got and try to be better.” Desi’s advice is universal: Keep showing up!
What We Can Learn From Desi Linden