Climb Every Mountain: Stephen Bock

Writing $1 billion worth of property over his 20-year career isn’t enough for Stephen Bock. To push himself a bit further, he climbs mountains and flies planes in his spare time. Azal Khan caught up with Stephen to find out more.

Having been in the industry for almost 20 years, McGrath Manly agent Stephen Bock has been in a variety of team structures – so he knows a thing or two about effective leadership and goal-setting.

His personal goals (he’s preparing to climb Everest again) take him away from the business for months at a time, so creating a supportive team and planning ahead is key.

Stephen has a benchmark for measuring himself as an effective leader: when those he leads become better than him.

“My personal philosophy on leadership is to, in a real and honest way, help people grow and reach their own capacity. I’ve had clear focus on helping people do better than I have and help them along that path.”

He prefers to steer clear of the limelight and enjoys helping other people get exposure.

“If you look at the last 10 years or so, for me it has been about other things in my life. I’m off busy running [my] speaking business and enjoying doing other things. If you have a good team of people, it creates opportunities.”

In true Stephen Bock style, the team he leads operates in a structured way to maximise productivity and hit their goals. The team of four meets on Mondays to discuss existing properties, inspections, key buyers and progress on properties for sale. Tuesday is set aside for future opportunities and prospecting. Just don’t expect Stephen to sit back and let the team do the heavy lifting – he likes to ‘roll up his sleeves’ and help on the front line.

“I’m there to help guide and coach, and I get called out into various meetings; I might have someone out doing door-knocking of properties that might not have sold with other agents, or I get called into vendor meetings.”

The team has already set their goals for 2018. Stephen says that as a benchmark planning should take place 90 days ahead of any goals to get into the headspace.

“We already have a framework of what 2018 looks like for us, so we go into Christmas with a sense of clarity on what our key objectives are, and we use that time to get recharged and focus on those things.

“The work you’re doing now is relevant to 2018; that’s the prospecting which will set us up for the first quarter and whether it is a winning quarter or not. We like to have properties for February ready by November so we can unwind in the break.”

Stephen climbs a mountain every year and is now working his way through the Explorers Grand Slam – a challenge to reach the North and South Poles and the seven highest summits in each of the continents. He’s ticked five off that list and has the South Pole and Denali in Alaska left. He has climbed Everest once and is preparing to climb it again via the North East Ridge from Tibet.

Why mountains?

“Mountains are incredibly humbling. There is no white noise, no distractions we have at sea level. You get the opportunity to review your life with clarity.”

When he is not climbing, Stephen is an aerobatic flyer and has competed on state and national levels.

“Flying isn’t dissimilar to mountaineering. You must give it all your attention. You can’t be thinking about anything other than being focused. In both sports, it’s very humbling and you’re never good enough. It’s a continual growth journey.”

Stephens calls himself a ‘creature of discipline and routine’, which is a factor in his drive and success.

“I get up at 4am and I run through some personal development training and review my goals at 5 in the morning.”

In that early-morning window, Stephen goes through his goal list. He has a yearly goal list, which is broken into financial, personal mountaineering and aviation goals, and then a ‘100 things I want to achieve in my life’ list.

“For the yearly list, I have a series of laminated pictures which I review every morning, particularly before a big climb. The phone’s not going off, the emails [are] not going off; it’s my quiet time to think of my life journey, where I have been… mentally every morning I retake ownership of those goals and things I’m heading towards in my life. I find that helps me.

“Real estate can be a challenging business at times, so this visualisation can snap me back quickly and get me back into energy and keep moving forward. Those things that drive us and keep us passionate may not be sitting in this industry, and real estate for me is just one piece of that puzzle.”

After his hour of goal reviewing, Stephen knocks out one-and-a-half to two hours of training.

If he is training for a mountain climb, that can mean hill climbs with heavy packs plus strength work. Other goals require him to run 20 to 30km then a 50km run once a month.

What does Stephen believe is the secret to his success? In one word: Attitude.

“I don’t care what other people think about what I’m going after; I pursue my dreams and passions with integrity.

“I think it’s important that people understand what drives them and what they’re passionate about, and go for it. When you’re on the right path, your life has purpose; you’re going after those things that scare you the most. There’s a sense of energy that comes with that.”

So does that mean 4am starts for everyone?

“I recommend having that structure and routine in what we are doing, but it’s got to come from within. If you’re rubbing the sleep out of your eyes and pressing the snooze button three times and not excited and motivated for Monday morning, you haven’t got the reason to wake up that early. You must do some soul-searching and understand what your life is all about.”

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Azal Khan

Azal Khan was a in-house features writer for Elite Agent Magazine.