Last night, just before sunrise, the house across the road from us caught fire. It was hard to tell what was burning, but it turned out to be the thatch lapa (a South African term for an entertainment area), and the results were spectacular. 

The politics of the situation are going to be even more spectacular: the owners of the house are now living in Australia, and they have rented it out. But they didn't rent it out to the people who burned down their lapa. Instead, the real-estate agent simply gave the keys to a group of people who have been living (and partying) there, without a signed contract, and without a down payment. Last night, the whole thing went severely south. 

These are the days of our lives. 

One can only imagine what the repercussions are going to be for the real-estate agent. At the least, I'm assuming they will lose their license to practice. At worst, they may face jail-time.

Most of my Monday Motivators are about how to go from relative competence in an industry to peak levels of performance and preeminent public perception. Today's edition is different. It focuses on the idea that stewardship is binary. It is a yes or no. Pass or fail. 

There are many things a real-estate agent can do to elevate his or her career. But when it comes to stewardship of someone's home, the level of responsibility implied genuinely does result in a pass or fail. 

As you strive to become the greatest in your game, keep this simple idea in mind: When it comes to responsible stewardship, it is possible to disqualify yourself from an industry entirely, in one go. 

Stewardship and responsibility are necessary basics. They are always non-negotiable. When anything is entrusted into your hands, take it seriously. With that, you set the foundations for becoming the greatest in your game. 


Douglas Kruger is a professional conference speaker, and the author of several business books for entrepreneurs. He presents on innovation and expert-positioning. See him in action at