It was the fall of 1978. He was 27 years old and looking for a career. A recent transplant to a vibrant Sioux Falls, real estate sales looked promising. It was different then, no cell phones, no internet, no email, no social media, and only three major television stations.
A business of sales without customers would be a big hill to climb, and especially for someone who knew a small number of people. The journey began with optimism. It was a time when trust, kindness, civility, and traditional principles were popular; people responded favorably to the young agent long before he had earned it.
He was one of the lucky ones. Not only did he survive the initial mountain of obstacles but also the waving movement of natural economic cycles. The winding road was full of speed bumps, which occasionally got him off track, but his desire for success continued. Always looking for answers, he got to the other side with a marriage of 42 years, two adult children, a handful of grandchildren, 27 years with a real estate partner, a personal sales team with nearly 5000 transactions performed, and a helpful hand at creating the largest real estate company in South Dakota’s history with more than 250 agents and staff.
As one looks back on the dusty road, with worn shoes, a philosophy of how to live develops. It is unique to that individual, yet hopefully common enough to pass on to the next generation.
That young man is me. I am humbled and grateful for the abundance in my life, and realize contribution has always been my driving force. With that knowledge, a motto evolved from agent training sessions that I taught. It was originally for them, and now I believe for everyone. I’ve been encouraged to share it, so here it is, may you find a nugget of inspiration.
“Your life is only as big as your contribution; which is defined as doing something that makes another person’s life better. No one truly succeeds alone; yet, it must begin with you. There is little gain without effort, and we are usually paid in direct proportion to what we give first. Stay focused, believe, and keep one foot in front of the other; counting each step as progress…not to worry about perfection or too much about the outcome. All will come to you if you do the right things first. Above all, remain grateful, share your knowledge, continue to learn, embrace humility, be respectful, stay in curiosity and out of judgment”
The journey continues…we invite you to call or text. 605.359.4100
Tony Ratchford, Leader of the Tony Ratchford Group and Co-Owner KW Realty Sioux Falls.