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By Kim Ades

RISMEDIA, August 30, 2007-Itzhak Perlman. An extraordinary violinist. An amazing virtuoso. He walks with the aid of two crutches, both legs braced as a result of procuring polio as a child, but with the touch of his bow on a string he ignites sheer brilliance at his fingertips. Here is a story I recently heard about him.

One night he was performing at Lincoln Center in New York City. His audiences are used to his slow and painful entrance on stage, waiting with an inspired silence for him to play. On this occasion, after a few pristine bars, the unmistaken sound of a string snapping brought a hush over the concert hall. The audience sat in silence. They anticipated the sure need for him to replace the string.

He took a moment. The audience watched him carefully, expecting him to slowly and painfully leave the stage, replace the string and then return. Instead, he closed his eyes, and signaled for the orchestra. He picked up the piece where he had left off. With beauty, passion and power he continued playing with only three strings. With the last magnificent notes he brought the audience to a silent reverence followed by explosive applause.

When the audience quieted, he humbly stated, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

These are indeed incredibly humble words from a music icon who has overcome significant hurdles in his life. I think the audience that night witnessed “the secret” in a very articulate way. Itzhak Perlman believed that when he needed it, his music would be there. He had complete trust in his gift, and complete confidence in its loyalty. He had absolute conviction in the silver lining.

How do we apply this to our real estate careers? Is this a big leap of faith?

No, because what we can extract from this amazing story is the strength of being able to bounce back, the strength of recovery. That’s what he did. And this is what top performers do. Over and over again.

Something unexpected happened to Perlman that night. A broken string during a prestigious concert could have had many different outcomes. But Perlman chose to continue with three strings. He knew deep inside that he could still create music.

Could you still create music in adverse conditions? Where would you find the strength to conquer adversity, switch tracts, and continue with brilliance?

The ability to do this is what top performers count on. They have developed, practiced and tuned their skills to such a high level of performance that they can count on them to be there when they need them. This is called flexing the “mind muscle”-the ability to react quickly and get back on top when things don’t go your way.

Your goal as a real estate professional is to be able to still make music even when you lose a string; to know with certainty that if you lose one sale, another will be coming up quickly, and if the market is poor, that you can still make music with what is available. Like Perlman, everyone has “crutches” of one kind or another that have the potential to slow them down. And, like Perlman everyone has the ability realize greatness with what they have, to cast aside the crutches and accomplish miracles.

Kim Ades, MBA, president of Opening Doors, is launching a new coaching program called Frame of Mind, based on the principles of thought management. For more information, please e-mail