AFTER WATCHING one of Tom Panos’ famous Sunday night rants, Transform 2017 winner Leanne Druery took on board his five-second rule of decision making. At the time she had been contemplating returning to her career as a sales consultant after the tragic loss of her husband three months earlier. Feeling there was nothing to lose and everything to gain, Leanne entered the competition and has proven there is no substitute for heart and courage, as well as a community that is behind you all the way.
Firstly, Leanne, tell us why you applied for Transform 2017?
Straight after one of Tom’s rants, I noticed an email from Elite Agent promoting the Transform Challenge. After losing my husband, Tony, to pancreatic cancer in December, I decided to apply because I needed a new focus and purpose. I felt it was time to go back to the job I loved, but I also knew there would be so many new challenges ahead. I had nothing to lose, but everything to gain. I was driven by this great quote of Dr Seuss, “You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.”
What were you thinking as you created your application video?
I was really nervous making the video because I felt so vulnerable and raw. To share my darkest hour with complete strangers who didn’t know my journey was a huge leap of faith for me. The voice in my head kept saying, ‘Leanne, give it a go. Imagine the opportunities…’ When I go back and watch it, it still brings tears to my eyes.
How did you feel after that first session with John McGrath?
I felt very honoured to have sat opposite John, who is such a humble man. He spoke about what we needed to do to get to the ‘Promised Land’; that we needed a vision and should not be afraid of dreaming big. We needed to plan our trip, which involved strategies and discipline, and finally, he taught us our road map to success is dependent on certain behaviours. And that sometimes we may need to cut mooring lines if they are holding us back.
Do you start with ‘why’ now? What is your ‘why’ and how do you find it motivates you?
I have three strong ‘why’s’ which drive me on a daily basis and they are the fire in my belly.
Financial Security My parents divorced when I was 16, so I decided that I would always be financially independent. This desire led me to support myself through university. Now a widow at 44 years old, I am glad I know how to stand on my own two feet!
Family First Both my babies were 10 weeks premature and both weighed just 1,500 grams. They had really tough beginnings. My daughter Grace had a very bad brain bleed and as a result our neonatologist thought she may never walk or talk. However, she survived and defied the odds. I have a polaroid on my desk that a nurse took ‘just in case she didn’t make it’. Every morning I see it and it reminds me not to sweat the small stuff. Family must always come first.
Choice and Legacy My final ‘why’ has come as a result of losing my husband. Now more than ever, I understand the importance of choice and legacy. Life is full of obstacles and we can choose to play victim to our circumstances or we can choose to “get up, dress up, show up and never give up”, as Samantha [McLean] pointed out. I want to be a great mum and role model to my teenagers and the legacy I leave is perhaps about helping others in their darkest hour to see that we all have the ability to turn the light back on. Sometimes from our darkest hours can come some of our brightest moments. I can’t achieve that sitting on a couch, eating chocolate, wearing black and feeling sorry for myself!
Reflecting back on your journey from where you started, how far do you feel you have come and what specifically is different now?
The transformation has been phenomenal for me.
I have gone from someone who was vulnerable and sad to a woman on a mission.
Grief throws all sorts of emotions at us; however, with the support and teaching of my coach Tanja [M Jones], I have come to accept this is my new chapter in life. I’m allowed to revisit the previous pages for a while, but I’m not allowed to get stuck there because I have new chapters to write and I am in control of my masterpiece.
Professionally, I have loved learning from the experts in our field and every day I am implementing their teachings to be an elite agent. The program has been like a Master’s degree delivered by the best trainers and coaches in Australia. I still pinch myself that the ‘girl next door’ was chosen to be a part of this incredible ride.
What does your usual day now look like?
I am now part of the 5am club. I have learnt to jog since Transform and set a personal goal of 5km. Tom said in one of our sessions to try and achieve your yearly goal in 30 days, so I had a crack at 8 km and did it. What I’ve learnt is you can’t run and cry at the same time and any exercise is the best therapy. I even run in the rain now!
Mentally and emotionally, I fully appreciate that a lot of our success is based on our mental strength – 80 per cent mindset and 20 per cent skill. As Tanja puts it: turning on ‘Soul FM’ and turning off ‘Shitty Ego AM’ and not letting disempowering thoughts get in the way of us achieving our potential. I am now mentally and emotionally stronger than ever before.
As a full-time agent, a mother of two teenagers now doing it on my own, daughter, sister, auntie and friend, I’m not sure if I’ll ever have balance. Samantha [McLean] advised me that balance is more about ‘tilting’, and that’s a better analogy for me. We tilt in the direction that’s needed the most on a particular day, and that’s OK.
How has a listing consultation changed for you now?
Some parts of my listing consultation I haven’t changed. I’ve always presented my marketing presentation with a beer, wine and chips and a note to say, ‘My shout whilst you take a look at the information within’. I fully appreciate that my clients are selling their biggest asset with me and I want to acknowledge this. I personally like giving before I receive also.
My very first appointment in the sales appraisal is when I build rapport and ask lots of questions. By nature, I am inquisitive and I love learning about people and what they are trying to achieve. It is really important for me to build a connection, so I make this consultation about them, not me.
How did you feel at the end of ‘Challenge Day’ and the listing presentation with Monika and John?
I will admit just before I was about to sit opposite Monika and John for my consultation, I became extremely nervous. I had to walk away from everyone and play my song by Silverchair – Walking in a Straight Line. This was the tune I chose throughout the challenge to keep me on track, to remind me to trust my wings and do things Leanne’s way. Sometimes it’s not easy when you are sitting across from someone with 25 years’ experience in real estate, like Darin [Butcher]!
However, when I sat with Monika and John, I showed them that I genuinely wanted to help them, that I know the blueprint to success in Mackay, that I won’t discount my commission because I believe in my value. It was one of the most memorable 15 minutes of my life.
What are your specific goals now?
In all honesty, I am still navigating a part of my own Transformation. After sharing over 22 years with Tony, and creating some wonderful future plans together, it would be fair to say that I am still re-adjusting the sails.
However, in the next 12 months, I would like to be the ‘Elite Agent’ of Mackay and be a great mum. To do this I’m aiming to expand my team to include a full-time buyer’s consultant and a full-time PA.
Leaving the Transform classroom, what do you think your biggest challenge will be in the future?
The juggling act has been a challenge at times, so it’s really important for me to prioritise and accept that I can’t always move mountains in one day!
Also, perfection is something I have always strived for, but I have since learnt from Transform that it is better to just start. One step in the right direction can be the step that changes your life.
What advice would you now give to someone starting in real estate?
Be authentic, build relationships in every part of your community and never stop learning. Find yourself a good mentor or coach who can help you achieve your potential and who makes you accountable. We all have the ability to succeed, but it comes back to how much we want it (the work ethic) and controlling the mind (do you have a positive attitude or one of fear or excuses?) It’s also important not to let real estate control you, because if you let it, it can be all-consuming. Make sure you continue to invest in your health and your personal relationships – because a million bucks can’t buy this back.
Watch more Transform here.