What the Tough Mudder Taught Me About Teamwork


Would you brave an ice water bath, walking on fire and 10,000 volts of electricity – in honor of others you’ve never met?

Nearly 20 of ERA Real Estate’s elite from across the nation gave new meaning to mudslinging when they got down and dirty at the May 18 Tough Mudder in Jacksonville, Fla. Their goal was simple- to give back to those who have given everything for our freedom: our U.S. soldiers.Photo May 18, 8 27 30 PM (1)

Just in time for Memorial Day, the ERA Mudders! raised more than $7,500 for Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that deploys combat stress recovery, benefits orientation and employment assistance to our returning military.

In the process, they also gained a new perspective on teamwork and leadership. Here’s what some of the Mudders learned during their experience.

  • Check your ego at the starting line: “A group of leaders came together and functioned as a team with a commitment to one another. No egos. Everyone found their role – from pacesetter and advisor to coach and cheerleader. It is a unique experience when you work as a team by offsetting others’ weaknesses and fears with strength and determination. The truly successful teams set individual egos aside and find a sense of commonality, shared values, integrity and camaraderie.” – Kirk deViere, ERA Strother Real Estate, North Carolina
  • Surround yourself with the best: “You can get much more than expected with a strong team not just behind you but more importantly, around you. During the Mudder, I found encouragement and inspiration watching teammates beside me power through mentally and physically challenging obstacles. Those were the same teammates that would help you get up when you fell – putting finishing as a team ahead of their own personal accomplishment. If it wasn’t for teammate Kirk deViere circling back and dragging my lifeless body from the Electro Shock Therapy, I’d still be there.” – Gus Grizzard, ERA Tom Grizzard Realtors, Florida
  • Draw from inspiration: “There were several times I wanted to be done with this race. But, watching my fellow team members conquer goals and crush their fears inspired me to do whatever I could to push through to the finish line. I have never seen such determination, strength, and camaraderie explode from such a small group of elite business professionals. It was inspiring on many levels. I hope to brig that camaraderie and teamwork back to the office because without it, you’ve got nothing.” – Renee Oteri, ERA Waterside Realty, Florida
  • Accept help: “In my leadership position, I’m always heading up the team. The Mudder taught me that it’s OK not to have it ‘all together,’ and that sometimes leaders need to rely on others for help.” – Stephanie Bellanova, ERA Central Realty Group, New Jersey
  • Push one another: “For me, this experience solidified the value of teamwork. There is no way I would have been able to complete the course without the encouragement as well as a lot of ‘pushing and pulling from TeamERA!” – Jeff Riber, Vice President, ERA Real Estate
  • Stay strong: “I learned to persevere. When you think you’re down and out, surround yourself with a good team and you can accomplish anything.” – Eric Gregan, ERA Blanchard & Rossetto Inc., Connecticut
  • Just try: “Even though you may not be 100% ready, going ahead and giving the effort is what really counts. If you fall on your face (in this case, literally), you will learn how to improve and worst case – you’re successful. It’s better to start something than never to start at all. Because then, you will look back and wish you had just done it already.” – Michael Gonzalez, ERA Evergreen Real Estate, South Carolina
  • Take a leap of faith: “As my fortune cookie read the other day – the greatest risk is not taking one.” – April Kearney, ERA Tom Grizzard, Florida
  • Don’t hold back: “Similar to what Michael said, doing something and taking action is often better than over-analyzing and doing nothing at all. If you put effort into doing nothing you are wasting your time, as well as that of your team.” – Brian Neubauer, ERA Neubauer Real Estate Inc., Florida
  • Embrace your Team: “I discovered that there was so much more that I could accomplish as part of a team, than I could ever have hoped to alone. When I was struggling, I din’t have to ask for help and support, it was already there! Being part of this team was one of my proudest moments in my business life.” – Douglas Van Nortwick, Owner, ERA Sellers Buyers & Associates, Texas

Photo May 19, 5 12 14 PM (1)When your next big project develops, call your best team players into action. Together, you can test your mettle, conquer challenges and achieve great things. The reward is best summed up by Grizzard: “You will never forget what you accomplished and who you accomplished it with.”

As Memorial Day approaches, please join ERA Real Estate in celebrating and appreciating the men and women who serve our country and make the ultimate sacrifice. They are the true masters of teamwork and inspiring leaders.

Photo Credit: Tough Mudder.com

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A writer at heart, Tara holds more than 17 years of marketing and communications experience. Previously a travel industry professional, she recently hopped the fence to gain a better understanding of real estate and to hone her Public Relations Skills. A mom and avid traveler, Tara tackles topics ranging from what to feed your kid to the next generation and great housing market locations. In line with her love of snowboarding, Tara’s next must-go destination is Sun Valley, Idaho – not for the celeb watching, but for the terrain and scenery.