Fathom Guiding Principle 2: Service

March 16, 2021
8:00 am

We believe in the principles of servant leadership. By truly serving others and placing their needs first, we believe our service will be rewarded with excellence, growth and goodwill.

Not Just One But Two

Comedian Steven Wright is known for his non-sequiturs such as, “I went to a restaurant that advertised they serve ‘breakfast any time’ so I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.” Funny how apropos this is because the service industry, which includes real estate, can be so contradictory. Let me explain.

Lackluster service occurs all too often — the condescending hostess at that trendy restaurant, the inattentive sales clerk at the high-end department store, the unpleasant experience at a government office. Wherever it was, and whenever it happened, it is fascinating that those experiences stick out in our memory.

On the flip side, we all remember those occasions when the opposite occurred. The coffee barista that calls us by name and remembers our preference for just a “splash” of half and half. The manager that took the time to research our phone number to call, and inform us that we had left our wallet at the store. Now THAT’S service! We even have a colloquialism for that kind of service: “going the extra mile.” 

Centuries ago, the Roman ruler Caesar Augustus instituted a law stipulating that a Roman soldier could compel citizens at any time to carry their gear, which could weigh upwards of 100 pounds for exactly one mile. When commanded, citizens were required to drop whatever they were doing and obey or face flogging. Consequently, it was common in that day for Roman roads to have mile markers similar to the mile markers we have today on our Interstate highways, making it easy to know where each mile started and ended. I can only imagine how many times someone who saw a Roman soldier approaching might have quickly reversed directions or hurriedly turned down a side road.

To be asked to carry that gear was humiliating. It was labor forced upon the citizen for no reason other than heritage or ethnicity. This practice was especially despised in Israel because, at that time, the Jews were under the control of Rome. Within this context lies the origin of the aforementioned phrase, “If someone asks you to go one mile, go with him two.” This encouragement is recorded in the Bible as counsel given by Jesus to his followers. And knowing the background helps us to grasp the truth and depth of the meaning. 

Usually, we view going the extra mile as difficult, inconvenient, or burdensome. But if somehow we could change our perspective and see it for what it truly is — an invaluable opportunity to experience one of the greatest joys of life — then possibly serving others would morph from being a burden to a blessing or a drudgery to a delight.

So what does going the extra mile look like? What emotions are stirred when we consider the phrase within the context? For me, two revelations come to mind. The first being that serving is not about aptitude but about attitude. It reminds me of the words of Zig Ziglar, the late motivational speaker, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” And second, being a leader doesn’t necessarily make me a servant. On the contrary, being a servant indeed makes me a leader. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed it so profoundly when he said, 

“If you want to be important, wonderful.
If you want to be recognized, wonderful.
If you want to be great, wonderful.
But recognize that he who is the greatest among you shall be your servant.
That’s a new definition of greatness.
It means everybody can be great,
Because everybody can serve.”

Will “going the extra mile” really make an impact on our real estate business? You bet your bottom dollar it will. That’s a no-brainer. As a matter of fact, a 2019 survey conducted by NAR asking why buyers chose a particular agent revealed that 69 percent listed characteristics that would describe a servant (community involvement, accessible, timely communicator, caring personality, good listener, family friend, agent’s reputation, honesty, and trustworthiness). So the real question we should be asking is this: If serving is attitudinal, what can we do to foster that mindset? Here are two thoughts for your consideration. 

  1. Don’t despise small beginnings. Begin by performing two small acts of kindness a day. Seeds sown today will reap a future self tomorrow. 
  2. Don’t forget the old adage: Feelings follow footsteps. You have to start somewhere. So just start serving! 

I’ll allow you to connect the dots between “going the extra mile” and how it can profoundly affect your production as you relate to your clients and business associates.


William “Billy” Nunez
Director of Culture, Fathom Realty
Florida State Broker