Inman founder Brad Inman kicked off the inaugural Inman Connect Miami on Tuesday with a heartfelt keynote on friendship, community and optimism amid real estate industry challenges.

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Between stubborn mortgage rates, slowing home sales, the National Association of Realtors Sitzer | Burnett verdict, and a steadily growing list of commission lawsuits, there’s plenty to worry about in today’s industry.

However, Inman founder Brad Inman skipped these topics during his inaugural Inman Connect Miami keynote to focus on something more personal — the recent passing of a dear friend.

Brad Inman at Inman Connect Miami.

“I’m not going to talk about interest rates,” he told the assembled audience on Tuesday. “I’m not going to talk about commission lawsuits, I’m not going to talk about declining or increasing transactions, cooperative compensation. I’m going to tell you something quite personal. One month ago, one of my dearest friends Pedro, 60 years old, died in his sleep of a heart attack.”

“I don’t mean to be a downer, but bear with me,” he added. “There are so many lessons from his friendship that I want to share with you.”

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Inman took a few minutes to talk about Pedro’s demeanor — gracious, humble, supportive, resistant to jealousy, generous, humble and selfless. Pedro, he said, was someone who always focused on the upside of life; a skill that can be hard to maintain during difficult times.

“When you were having a bad day and couldn’t get on a smile, he had a smile he never took off. He never took it off,” Inman said. “The bottom line was that he was a giver and not a taker. I’m going to channel the spirit of Pedro and tell you what he’d want.”

“He wouldn’t want you to have a closed transaction very soon,” he added, garnering a few laughs from the crowd. “He’d want you to have a moment of peace from all the craziness that is in the real estate business. He’d want you to have a sense of normal again, and less chaos. He’d want you to be a doer and not a damner.”

Although the current market requires agents to dig deeper than ever before with their business skills, Inman said it’s equally important to create deeper bonds with your personal and professional community.

“The industry is challenging right now but we always get through it,” he said. “I’ve been through so many recessions, so many downturns. Those that stick through it, those that fight and don’t flee, they always come out as winners.”

“Open up and don’t close down,” he added. “Now, more than ever it’s important to stick to the facts and listen to the wisdom that’s all around. This is the time to be more of those people that are closest to us. Share some of that anxiety and get it off your shoulders.”

Inman ended his keynote by encouraging attendees to use Inman Connect Miami as a place not only to learn and network but also as a place to build community.

“I want you to take the time when you see a colleague or see a friend, give them a hug. Embrace them. Show them off,” he said. “And always be of service whether it is your customer, your family, a waiter or whoever might be in need.”

“So in the spirit of Pedro, go and grow.”

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