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“How Extremely Busy Executives Make Time to be Great Parents”, with Dr. Ely Weinschneider, Ryan Serhant & Emilia Bechrakis Serhant

She’s still so young, but as she grows I plan on teaching her that there are so many opportunities for her. The world is so big and the possibilities are endless. Now I hope to inspire her by reading to her, talking with her, and helping her gain the confidence she needs to conquer any […]

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She’s still so young, but as she grows I plan on teaching her that there are so many opportunities for her. The world is so big and the possibilities are endless. Now I hope to inspire her by reading to her, talking with her, and helping her gain the confidence she needs to conquer any challenges life throws at her.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Serhant and Emilia Bechrakis Serhant are best known as stars of BRAVO’s hit show Million Dollar Listing NY. In addition to appearing on BRAVO, Ryan is one of the top real estate agents in the country, best selling author, and has the #1 selling online real estate course to date. Emilia is a children’s book author with her first book To The Moon and Back for You available in March 2020. She also is a lawyer. Together they are busy parents to daughter Zena who will be a year old in February 2020.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?
I was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Topsfield, Massachusetts on the North Shore of Massachusetts. My father, John Serhant was the Vice Chairman of State Street Global Advisors, and I credit him for teaching me the value of hard work. He was constantly teaching my brothers and me lessons about finding solutions to hard problems on our own, and to not give up even when the solution was not in plain sight. There’s no doubt that working hard is in my blood.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?
Like a lot of “theater kids” I had big dreams of going to NYC and becoming an actor. I got a few gigs here and there and eventually tried hand modeling for a while, but no Blockbuster movie contracts like I had hoped. I decided to give real estate a shot. I wasn’t very successful at first and even got my credit card declined once when buying a yogurt at a bodega. That low point was actually the turning point for me. I remembered what my parents taught me about not giving up and I persevered. Because no one around me was offering advice or even sharing a few helpful tips, I had to figure everything out on my own. I decided to do real estate my way. I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the past ten years and everything I’ve done up to this point are the reasons for my success today. And because nobody helped me, I decided to make an online real estate course to help others. It is the #1 best-selling online real estate course ever!

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?
My day starts around 4:30am. I immediately hit the gym, read my emails, kiss my wife, play with the baby, eat some breakfast and am in my office by 7:30. From there I get some work done while the office is still quiet and then meetings start around 9am. Throughout the day I meet with my team, have private showings with buyers, meet with sellers and try to get home for a quick visit with my wife Emilia and our baby. Sometimes they come to the office during the day for a surprise visit, which is really fun. At any given time during my day and week I am interviewed for major media outlets regarding my real estate business, the show I star in on Bravo, Million Dollar Listing NY, or guest hosting on a show or podcast. My day is insanely busy from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep at night. I love coming how at the end of the day to read a story to Zena, play with her and tuck her in. It makes whatever stress I’ve had during the day just fall away.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?
I haven’t done much research on the topic, but I can imagine that the more time you spend with a child, the better they develop. They need the love and support and social engagement of the people who love them. They say it takes a village and I do believe that when the parents can’t be there, grandparents and other family members as well as good friends are a very close substitute. Children need to be loved unconditionally and know they are cared for at all times.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?
As I mentioned, children need to know that they have a strong support system. They need to know they are loved and cared for unconditionally. Children look up to their parents and can learn from them starting from a very young age. I make time for Zena because she’s simply irresistible! She’s adorable in every way and I would spend every minute of the day with her if I could. Making time for her during the day, evening and on the weekends shows her that, although I’m very busy, I love her very much. Everything I do is for my family. They are the reason I work this hard.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?
Spending time with Zena is as simple as reading to her and getting down on the floor and playing with her, to taking her with us when we go out for dinner or travel. I travel a lot for work and we love taking her with us on vacation. She’s been around the world with us. She’s such a good baby and I think that has a lot to do with the amount of time and care we put in to raising her.

From Emilia Serhant: I am very lucky to be home with the baby all day and am so grateful for the time I get to spend with her. We also have my mother living with us, which not only helps with childcare, but is great for Zena to spend quality time with her grandmother.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.

In my line of work, deadlines are everything. A buyer could change their mind in a matter of minutes, so I have to be available for them at any given time. When I’m with Zena, I am fully present. I give her all of my attention. If I’m pulled away, I take the call somewhere else. I don’t try to do it all at the same time. When I pay on the floor or crawl around with Zena, my phone isn’t in my hand. I’m present, and that is important for both of us.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

There is not a clear definition of this. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, and I think most first time parents are sort of winging it. I try to be a good parent by being a loving father, great husband, and spending as much time as I can with my family.

From Emilia Serhant: I think you can say anything to your child but at the end of the day they’ll model what you DO. So leading a truer life, an honest life, a kinder life, a more present life, a calmer life, will all speak volumes more than words and verbal lessons. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. That too is a great life lesson for our children. We are all human beings and we make human mistakes or fail or struggle. It’s how we react to situations that will impact our children the most. As parents, we have the biggest job to take these delicate beings their delicate minds and hearts and shape them into balanced people.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

She’s still so young, but as she grows I plan on teaching her that there are so many opportunities for her. The world is so big and the possibilities are endless. Now I hope to inspire her by reading to her, talking with her, and helping her gain the confidence she needs to conquer any challenges life throws at her.

From Emilia Serhant: I believe the generation of my parents had these dreams for us growing up to be successful, to be educated to exceed what they provided for us.

When I became a mother my dream for Zena was and is that she becomes a healthy individual , that she exceeds us in life in mental wellbeing and balance, that she find a true passion, that she is present in her life, that she is authentically compassionate and that she has peace — peace with who she is just as much as peace with who others are.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?
To me success means always pushing towards the next thing. I like to say “What’s next?” Is it another book? Another online course? Another tv show? Success to me means not sitting back but constantly embracing new opportunities and fearlessly going for them.

From Emilia Serhant:
My measure of success is not only material success or financial success. I constantly search for how I can grow as a person, evolve, learn new things about the world around me and how I can use my skills to help others as well as create something useful to others. As a busy mom, the time I spend away from Zena is devoted to many of the philanthropic organizations we support, including pro bono legal work and on business ventures that I’m truly passionate about.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Believe in yourself. Parenting is hard, and life is hard, but if you believe in yourself and honestly try your hardest every day, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. Also remember, that it’s okay to ask for help. Your children need to see that it takes a lot of people to make great things happen. Nobody can be good at everything, but networking and learning from each other makes us all better at the things we do. And better as a society in general.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

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