Christian’s success in residential development is built on lessons he learned while training as a professional golfer. From mentors like Hank Haney and ‘Psycho Dave’ Esterbrook, he learned how to set and achieve goals, practice with intention and how to work hard. His professional golf plans were shattered due to a back injury when he was 28 years old. In this interview, Christian shares his journey to his current and very fulfilling life.
Passion is the result of a good life design, not the cause.
Bill Burnett & Dave Evans, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
I knew that Christian’s story would be interesting because while he was building his residential development business he also finished a Masters degree in Transpersonal Psychology at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. This all came on the heels of an existential exit as a professional golfer as a result of a career-ending back injury. Let all that sink in!
He now owns and operates Christian Chernock Properties, a design + build firm in Dallas that focuses on the revitalization of historic and conservation districts. His intellect and focus on sustainable and future-focused design pushes the edges – and some local residents’ buttons, too!
Christian’s background as a high performing athlete and his ongoing commitment to ‘leave it all on the field’ have been instrumental to his success.
Designing a Life:
Unbeknownst to me, there is a term for putting intentional thought and then creating a strategy for realizing it: Lifestyle Design. Tim Ferris coined the term in his book, The Four-Hour Work Week. I have always called it ‘visioning’ and do ‘visioning’ work with individual clients and with teams and organizations. In fact, clarity around what one is expending time and resources towards is important, especially as it evolves.
Stanford professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans have written a fantastic book that applies design thinking principles to life and career: Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.
Self-awareness means that you are conscious of various aspects of yourself: your thoughts, your feelings and emotions – including emotional and physical responses; your moods; your capabilities; your beliefs and biases; and the impact your behaviors and actions have on others, and more.
Self-awareness is a foundational skill in development and change.
Finding Flow, or Timeless Awareness
When faced with the rest of his life ahead of him and previous plans shattered, Christian asked himself where he found passion. Since childhood, he would get lost in designing and building things, first with Legos and then through architecture classes in high school.
Breaking Down Goals
Christian’s description and examples of breaking down a vision into smaller goals may be the best I’ve heard.
Luck and wishful thinking don’t make extraordinary achievements happen. We’ve heard of the saying, An overnight success that took 10 years. Look at any level of sustainable achievement and a process like his goal-breakdown and some semblance of deliberate practice underlies it.