Book: Think Bigger
Author: Rebecca Donatelli
"Rebecca Donatelli, ABR, SRS, C2EX is team leader of The Rebecca Donatelli Team with McDowell Homes Real Estate Services in Cleveland, OH. She was honored in Realtor Magazine's 30 Under 30, Class of 2019, and was The Lake & Geauga Area Association of Realtors (LGAAR) 2020 Realtor of the Year. She serves in leadership on the local, state and national levels within the Real Estate Industry, and will serve as the LGAAR 2022 President. Rebecca launched RD Seminars & Consulting in 2019, and has traveled nationwide to help other Realtors build their brands through the power of social media."
1. When did you begin to “Think Bigger”? And what’s the story behind wanting to share this ideology with others?
I was inspired by a very unexpected path into leadership, and journey within my career. Growing up I skated by on mediocracy – managing to maintain pretty good grades in school without working that hard, and never going above and beyond for much of anything, aside from my competitive fencing days.
When I was 28 years old, 3.5 years into real estate, I was honored in Realtor Magazine’s 30 Under 30, class of 2019. It was one of those things I thought was SO out of reach, it almost didn’t seem real. I reflected on what I had accomplished to be honored for such a prestigious award, and realized if I could accomplish my goals and do big things, anyone could.
I wanted to spread the word that the sky's the limit. You are the only one stopping yourself from doing big things, and that it was time to start thinking bigger.
2. Explain a little bit about what got you into real estate and what has being in the real estate industry taught you about yourself?
My journey into Real Estate was completely unexpected. I went to college to become a high school math teacher (I am a total math nerd) and realized my senior year that teaching math wasn't my path. After working retail as an assistant store manager and taking a job as an account manager for an insurance company, I took a few months off to figure out what I was supposed to do, and my mom suggested I consider real estate.
It was very unexpected – at the time I couldn’t even tell you the difference between a colonial and a ranch. But it just worked. I quickly fell in love with the clients, the industry, the houses, and the insane work ethic necessary to be a successful realtor. And when I discovered the leadership side, I fell even harder.
Being in real estate has taught me an astronomical amount about myself, both personally and professionally, a lot of which you will learn about in “Think Bigger”. If I had to sum it up, I’d say being in this industry has taught me to keep all doors open, you never know where they will lead.
The fact that my path from start to finish has been completely unexpected makes it that much more exciting, and makes you realize how capable you are of what you put your mind to.
3. If you could summarize leadership style in one word, what would it be?
Hands down, inspirational. To me, leadership isn’t about being autocratic or transactional. It’s not about having a title, being bureaucratic, or delegating to others. It’s about leading by example, being persistent and innovative, and not being afraid to take massive action on the things that mean the most to you, even if they aren’t successful the first time around.
4. What are some qualities that make up a great leader? And who are some leaders that you admire today?
I am fortunate enough to have become very close with industry leaders around the country who are all doing incredibly big things. Too many to name, but I name drop a few in the book. The beautiful thing about those friendships – each one has taught me something different about being a great leader. Being open-minded, passionate, innovative, daring, vulnerable, accountable, a good listener and communicator are just a few.
5. What was your first “big” thought?
Damn, I can’t believe I was able to do that. What’s next?
6. You are uniquely able to handle both book promotion and a career in real estate among many other things. What is your daily motivation?
Big wins and hard losses are really the driving forces behind my daily motivation. I learn from them, celebrate them, grow from them, and do more because of them. I’ve found there is really something to be said of owning up to your mistakes and falls. In fact, they are the most powerful motivator for taking massive action towards my goals.
I am also incredibly goal driven. I create daily, weekly, monthly, and BIG yearly goals based on my vision statement (I go into detail on writing a vision statement in my book) and keep those goals with me every single day.
From those goals, I create could, should & must lists (also noted in my book) so I can stay prioritized and organized. The combination of that drive, organization, with a little coffee (or in my case, a lot of coffee) mixed in, get me up every morning, and keep me motivated every day.
7. Overall, what do you hope readers take away from this book?
I had one overall goal in writing this book. Inspire. When I first sat down to write this book, I wrote the word “inspire” on a post-it note and kept it with me every time I sat down to write for the entire almost 2 year period it took me to complete (I still have the post-it.) I told myself that if I could inspire at least one person with this book, I’ll have done my job.
This is not just about leadership. It’s about inspiring others to step up and own their goals. Understanding it’s ok to fall, and be proud when you get back up. And let me tell you – there is no better feeling than having someone reach out to you and say that they read your book and were inspired by it. No better feeling.
8. What was your writing process like for this book?
To be honest, it was a bit of a mess. I sat down to write this book with the title already picked out, which never changed from start to finish. I began by writing down some thoughts that I knew I wanted the book to be focused on, from sentences to chapter names, and even some words that stood out to me. I hadn’t researched “how to write a book,” and frankly had no idea what the process would or should be like. I just wrote.
The book took much longer to publish than I had anticipated, as in the midst of writing it I went through team changes as well as a very tough divorce (both outlined in my book.) By summer of 2020, over a year after I had first begun writing “Think Bigger”, I decided it was time to get it done. I made it a point every day to write something, whether it was a full paragraph or small thought.
The other point I will add, was that this book was not written in the order of which you are reading it today. I wrote down my thoughts as they came to me, and put them together in the order that made sense at the very end. The beautiful thing about writing a book – there is no right or wrong way to do it!
9. What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
Happiness should be self-reliant. So many people become so focused on what they think will make others happy, and forget about themselves. They also become so focused on what others are doing and find themselves trapped in a comparison. Learning to focus on yourself, your wants, needs, drive, ambitions, and self-love are key in finding true happiness.
10. Do you plan on writing more books in the future?
Absolutely, in fact you can expect my second book this year :)
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