As with life, everybody’s journey is different, but there is solace in understanding that others have faced similar challenges and found a way through.

Mark Lands is one of South Australia’s leading real estate agents; this is his story.

The Journey

Mark’s step into real estate was not a preordained path but a serendipitous detour. In January 2004, at the ripe old age of 18, he found himself at a crossroads. Originally set on pursuing a career in graphic design, Mark experienced an unexpected change of heart. With no prior interest and very little understanding of the industry, he suddenly decided to defer from his studies and plunge into the property world. The decision was met with support from his father, who had been independently running the family Real Estate business, Dove Real Estate, for over two decades.

The early years were marked by uncertainty and the daunting task of building his career from scratch. One of Mark’s most significant hurdles was the absence of a structured database or training protocols within the family business. This forced him to learn on the fly and seek out knowledge and resources wherever he could.  Mark upskilled in MS Access, implementing it into the business quickly to provide some structure and visibility over productivity.  He dived into helpful content shared by key industry players of the time like Lee Woodward and Mat Steinwede too.  “I didn’t know what I was doing for the first 5 years,” shares Mark. But, in hindsight, this resourceful period imparted invaluable lessons, principles, and skills that shaped Mark and his approach to his business today.

When his mother joined the business a few years later, the three formed a formidable team dedicated to growth. Integrity, commitment to service, and always keeping one’s word became the guiding principles and non-negotiables at the heart of their operation. Those values remain core standards within Lands Real Estate today and have been fundamental in distinguishing his independent agency from the crowd.

Mark’s dedication to his craft began earning him accolades and recognition within the real estate community. Including REISA’s Salesperson of the Year in 2013 and 2014 for North/North East and a finalist for the state in 2015. Around this time, Lands Real Estate transitioned from Marks’s personal setup on MS Access, which the business had now outgrown, to the leading real estate CRM, automation, and marketing platform, LockedOn.  Mark attributes this transition as a significant turning point for Lands Real Estate.  Operations and processes became streamlined, and the visibility over data and trends empowered Mark to make informed business decisions. LockedOn’s intuitive and robust features allowed Mark to focus on what truly mattered—building relationships and closing deals.  LockedOn prioritised Lands Real Estate, learning and adapting the technology as Mark’s vision and business needs became clearer.  “The system just made sense to my brain. It’s a great product and a key part of our business.  The efficiency it has created has been outstanding, and the support that comes with it is second to none,” shared Mark.

Lands Real Estate grew steadily over the next six years, going from a three-person operation working out of Marks fathers home to a 50-person strong agency in its very own commercial premises.  In 2019, the company’s succession plan was implemented, allowing Mark and his life and work partner, wife Rebecca, to step in as official Directors.  Unexpectedly, COVID took the world by storm just months later. Still, with that same fierce determination and grit that launched a younger Mak into the business world, the unbreakable couple rode the wave and survived the pandemic. In 2022, Mark received South Australia’s top award, REISAs South Australia Salesperson of the Year, a testament to his resilience, commitment, and unwavering principles.

Today, Mark and his business, Lands Real Estate, remain trusted leaders within the South Australian Real Estate Market.

Marks ongoing battle

Despite the ongoing success that Mark and Lands Real Estate experienced, Mark’s struggles with self-doubt have been intrusive throughout his entire career; “There’s the technical knowledge; as that grows, it just helps you be better at what you do, but so much of the game is between your own ears.”

The relentless inner critic who attaches to the what-ifs when results don’t go your way becomes the thief of confidence and inner peace – if you let it.   Early in his career, a well-established and successful colleague shared with Mark, “The best agents are the agents that recognise when they are not at their best, and they know what to do for themselves to get them back to their best.”  Mark invested himself deeply in this concept and embarked on a journey of self-discovery and accountability. Over the years, he took time to understand the obstacles hindering his peak performance and implemented strategies to minimise their impact. Identifying health and well-being as pivotal to his operating, he prioritises his time with his family, fitness, sleep, and work, which are the areas of his life that best serve his purpose of always operating at his best both professionally and personally.

Mark learned how to drown out the inner critic by implementing personal performance standards as a focal point instead of outcomes, altering his attachment when things didn’t go his way. “You’re not going to win every bit of business,” he says, reflecting and assessing the why only when his own personal performance standard has not been met.  He adopted a Kaizen-style philosophy into his world (the concept of continuous improvement, focusing on incremental changes and the pursuit of excellence over time), striving to being 1% better daily. Mark credits this combination of self-awareness and committed actions to overcoming the unrelenting mental game of real estate and sometimes life. He focuses now on imparting and instilling similar mindsets in his team, fostering a culture of self-development, well-being, resilience, and discipline.

Man in the Arena

The journey is ongoing, and the challenges are ever changing. But with an accountable and honest approach to himself, Mark has learned to comfortably navigate the ever-evolving landscape of his industry and his mind.  Mark Lands is a force to be reckoned with with his relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to continuous improvement. His journey serves as a reminder that anything is possible with determination, resilience, and the right tools. Just like one of Marks’s go-to favorites, “ The Man in the Arena,” by Theodore Roosevelt, you only need the courage to give it a go.

“Man in the Arena” by Theodore Roosevelt,

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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