BC119: Jamie Yaman – Strategies for Success from Nation’s Top Real Estate Agent

In this episode, Brian talks with former UMass Lacrosse player Jamie Yaman as he shares fascinating stories from his career as well as how playing collegiate lacrosse was the perfect preparation for a successful career in Real Estate.

 You will learn about…

  • The parallels of college Lacrosse and Real Estate
  • A great story Jamie tells about one of his first interactions with his coach that taught him a lesson on mental toughness
  • Jamie’s morning routine and why it sets him up for success each day
  • A unique breathing and visualization exercise Jamie uses
  • Jamie’s answer to “The Million Dollar Question”


  1. To learn more about Jamie, please visit JamieYaman.com.






Yaman:  If you get the opportunity to play or to coach in that type of setting right now, I’m not quite sure that there is anything greater, especially for a young man and young women, to be developing not only their athletic skills but most importantly their life skills.

Cain:  Hey, how are you doing?  Brian Cain, your Peak Performance Coach here, with the Peak Performance Podcast. Today’s guest, Jamie Yaman, was a standout lacrosse player at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and led the Minutemen to the NCAA playoffs in three of the four years that he was on the team.  They made the quarterfinals twice and in 2006 competed in the NCAA National Championship game.

During his tenure with UMass Jamie was awarded the 2004 UMass Lacrosse Hammer Award and the 2006 UMass Lacrosse Goose Garber Award, signifying the most unselfish player with the best attitude on the team who demonstrated the qualities of their late coach Dick Garber.  Jamie graduated from UMass with a BA in Real Estate Management and Development, emerging as a motivational leader with unrivaled capabilities as a team player.

In this podcast Jamie shares the mindset, the personal development strategies that he uses to become one of the most successful real estate agents in the nation, leading Yaman Real Estate, Central New York’s premier real estate agency.  To learn more please contact Jamie at [email protected]

Please welcome to the podcast Jamie Yaman.  Jamie, thank you for joining us.

Yaman:  Brian, it’s an absolute pleasure.  Great introduction by the way.  It might be hard to live up to that.

Cain:  No man, you’re going to crush it.  I’m fired up to have you on here.  Would you first kind of give us a little bit of your transition from UMass – you’re crushing it on the lacrosse field and now you’re crushing it in the real estate agent world, in the real estate world.  What are some of the parallels that you see from palying in collegiate athletics – as the people that are going to be listening to the podcast, Jamie, are going to be mostly coaches and athletes.  What are some of the parallels that you learned in lacrosse that are also making you successful here in the real estate world?

Yaman:  Well, Brian, first of all I just want to thank you for having me on your podcast.  It’s a real honor to be able to speak to your audience, be able to speak to you.  I really admire what you’re doing in the world and making a big difference.

So regarding the transition, I’ve always looked at athletics as a metaphor for life.  Of course, your athletes and your coaches can probably attest to the same thing.  I remember one time when I was in my senior year we were looking down the Garber Field – we were playing at UMass – I think it was January 20.  I remember this day very vividly.  I was looking down the line.  We were doing our last sprint my senior year for the winter training and I was about ready to puke.  The other guys were barely able to stay up on their two feet.  I think the temperature was about 20 degrees. Part of me just started to get so damn excited about what it was that I was doing and that really caught me off guard.

I went back to my locker room after that and just asked “what the hell was that all about?”  I realized that when I was looking down that line this was not something that any normal person would really enjoy doing.  No one would want to be out there in 20 degrees running their ass off, sweating, getting ready to puke, and then all of a sudden have this incredible passion for what it was that you were doing out there with 40 guys coming through.

So applying that principle to the business world, there are going to be a lot of things in life in general that you are not going to want to do. Having the experience that I had playing at UMass, going through all the athletic experiences that I had and really applying them to the real world, gave me this sense of being able to push through anything that came to me that might have been uncomfortable.  It just gave me a sense of an experience I could turn back to and know that if I can get through this I can get through anything.

Cain:  Jamie, that’s awesome.  You can be as colorful and animated and real as you want on the podcast for sure.  So you have this experience in college lacrosse.  You played for a good friend of mine and friend of yours – Andy Shay – who is now the head lacrosse coach at Yale, one of the most successful in the country.  Andy will be a guest on the podcast as well here.  What are some of the things that you learned from your college assistant coach at the time that have kind of stuck with you?

Yaman:  Andy recruited me to go to Yale from our hometown which we both lived in.  Obviously, Andy is a lot older than I am.  The first experience that I had with Andy at UMass it was raining and we were just starting Fall ball, and I came in, and I came in to the coach’s office – and Andy was there – and I said, “hey, coach, if it keeps” – and I was excited.  It was raining so I’m like, “hey, coach, if it keeps raining, maybe we can practice indoors.”  And he looked at me and all of a sudden I could tell in his eyes this was not the guy that first recruited me.  The guy who first recruited me was this super warm, super fun-loving guy, he really wanted to build rapport.  And he looked at me like I was ****ing crazy.

He said, “you know, Yaman, it’s pussies like you that have made this program what it hasn’t been yet.”  I was like holy shit!  He goes, “we’re going to be ****ing outdoors today and we’re going to be outdoors every other day.”  That was what he said to me in that moment.  I went back to the locker room with my tail between my legs.  That was the moment that I realized what real warrior training was going to be like.

At UMass it was a real blue-collar program.  As I mentioned, there would be times where we were out in the field and he was shoveling off the lines (where there were six inches of snow on top of it) so that we could see what the boundaries were.  The entire time he was looking down our schedule throughout the course of the year saying Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, North Carolina, all these guys – Syracuse guys practicing in the dome, North Carolina practicing in their field house, Johns Hopkins practicing in their field house.  We didn’t have a field house.  We had Garber Field and we practiced on that all year round.

So with Andy it was that moment that was really one of those defining moments in your life where I could have easily just said, “this guy is ****ing nuts and this is not the program I signed up for and I want to just go to college and have a good time and party and play lacrosse on the side and do school even more on the side.”  But that was a real wake-up call and that is what Andy’s all about.

Cain:  Andy is real.  I think that you probably from that moment forward probably grew a lot in terms of your mental toughness and your ability to handle adversity because that is a lot of what lacrosse is – is adversity that you’ve got to overcome, you’ve got to get comfortable being uncomfortable, and I’m sure that’s translated well for you to the real estate world.

Yaman:  Oh completely.  And how to go through that process with a bunch of guys as well.  At any given time you are going to be wavering in your own commitment and you’re going to be wavering in your own determination.  You’re going to be wavering in your sense of “can I do this or not.”  There are going to be 40 guys next to you who are all in varying degrees of them wavering or not wavering as well.  So going through that process and being able to rely on your brothers and that sense of camaraderie –

In fact, I just got off the phone earlier today with a guy over in Germany that I really have developed a close relationship with, a good buddy of mine.  We’ve done a bunch of weekend retreats together, men’s weekend retreats, and we’ve talked about that sense of camaraderie.  I told him I haven’t felt that sense of camaraderie that we’re now creating with our own group of men as much as I have – the last time I felt it was well over a decade ago when I was playing at UMass.

So that time, that four years, if you get the opportunity to play or to coach in that type of setting right now, I’m not quite sure that there is anything greater, especially for a young man and young women to be developing not only their athletic skills but most importantly their life skills.

Cain:  Jamie, talk a little bit about mindset, whether it’s on the lacrosse field or in real estate – you run personal development seminars.  I want to kind of transition this podcast now to your mindset and some of the things that you do in your life for personal development that the listeners to this podcast could start doing in their life to help them continue to grow.  We’re always talking about you’re either growing or you’re dying, and the key to being more successful than you are today is to continue to grow.  You’re either going to go through the motions in life or you’re going to grow through the motions in life.  What are some things that you do to grow and to help build your mindset?

Yaman:  There are a lot of things.  I’ll talk about some of the foundation of what I do.  I believe in discipline, what you’re setting yourself up to do every single day.  For me when I wake up in the morning – and I like really tangible things.  I can give you “do this” or “do that” but if I’m not doing it, I could just be a talking head and that is not what I want to be for you and for your listeners.  I’ll tell you what I do and I actually get the results from.

In the morning I like to wake up real early (I’d say around 5:00-5:30).  I have found over the past decade that meditation is a way for me to just kind of get centered into my body, kind of open up to the universe, open up to god, open up to love, whatever your belief is.  So I typically sit for 30 minutes, have a hot glass of lemon water in the morning.

I try to get my body as aligned as possible, not only in the morning but throughout the entire course of the day.  So I’m very careful what I eat.  I’m very careful what I put in my body – very little alcohol and no caffeine.  Not because I’m on this strict diet; it just doesn’t make me feel good.  I tried to get into coffee, I tried to get into sports drinks that amp you up, but honestly my body speaks to me otherwise.  My body says “this is bullshit” and typically ends up shutting down.

So getting back to the morning routine.  Having a hot glass of lemon water, and the first thing that I do is I just sit down.  I’ve got a nice little meditation space for me in my house and I sit for 30 minutes.  Right now I’m getting into Zen meditation.  I got actually a UMass buddy out in California – Craig French – who is starting a company called Cricket Jaw and he has been getting into Zen meditation for a while.  I’ve always done my own type of meditation but he is getting me into this type.

Then after I sit for about 30 minutes and just kind of collect myself, center my breath, I start doing some tai chi.  I’ve got a guy out of New York City who puts out some great DVDs.  His name is Robert Peng.  He releases some kind of at-home tai chi practices that has been something I have been doing ever since I went to India about 12 years ago.  So tai chi has always been a part of my practice.  After that I do some stretches.  That whole process takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.  I walk my dog in the morning.  Then I typically go and work out.

In my office I come in and I spend most of my time in my real estate office.  I have a standing desk.  I do my trampoline.  I’ve got a little – I forget what it’s called but it’s just a little home trampoline.  I’m always trying to keep my state in a resourceful state.

Brian, before the podcast you and I were talking about Tony Robbins.  I’ve gone to a lot of Tony’s events.  I’ve been a part of his leadership team and I’ve gotten really into that world so I’ve known the real importance of state management.  I could be doing all my stuff in the morning but if I’m not maintaining that throughout the entire course of the day, I become less resourceful, my work becomes less productive, my relationships suffer, my company suffers – everything just kind of collapses if my body collapses, if my mind collapses, if my emotions collapse.  So it’s really finding ways to keep myself as expanded as possible.  I mean that spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally expanded as I can possibly be.

For me I’ve also been really focusing a lot on my breath.  Everything is going to follow your breath – how successful you are in anything you do, your emotional state, psychological state, your spiritual state, your relationship state.  If you have a shortness of breath, if you’re not breathing deep into your balls, Brian, if you can imagine – and for women I don’t know.  I can only speak to a man’s experience.  But, women, you know a lot of men.  You could probably help them do this.  It helps them be a lot more present for you ladies, which is, I’m sure, what you are ultimately looking for in your men.  If you can imagine a big cylinder from your throat down to your balls and just imagine it goes all the way up to your throat, all the way down to the bottom of your balls.  Now imagine that it’s starting to expand, it’s starting to widen, and it’s starting to lengthen.  So it’s starting to widen out and lengthen up.

While you’re imagining this, begin to picture yourself breathing at the bottom end of this cylinder all the way down at the bottom of your balls.  If you can focus on three spaces (your throat, your heart, and your balls), each breath you’re noticing that the cylinder is expanding and that these three areas are softening and expanding.  Your throat softening, expanding.  Your heart softening, expanding.  Your balls softening and growing.

I would say probably a couple dozen times throughout the course of the day if I feel that I’m starting to get up and out of my body, up and out of my mind, up and out of my emotions and I’m not grounded, this is a great way to exercise. I’ll just sit no matter where I am.  I can even be in a meeting.   I’ll just start imagining this cylinder within myself expanding.  I’m just more present of where my body is in that space, more present where my body is in the room. That’s a great tool just to bring yourself back into that moment, ultimately bringing your power back into that moment.

Cain:  That is outstanding.  I love that.  That’s beautiful.  Let’s continue down the path (if you would) talking about meditation.  It’s something that the guests on our podcast mention.  You’re doing a great job of actually giving us a strategy for meditation from your throat down through your heart to your balls.

You talk about Zen meditation.  What is the difference between Zen meditation and say where you’re just sitting and counting your breath?  Some of the simple meditations we’ve shared through the podcast or in seminars would be like – using the app Headspace is something that people can use to get started or using the app Calm.  Do you use those apps?  What’s the difference between that and Zen meditation?

Yaman:  I use an app by a buddy of mine called Grounded Mind.  I think it’s www.GroundedMind.com.  That is great. Those are more guided meditations.  I’m working with a coach right now who we’re kind of holding ourselves accountable to 30 minutes of meditation every day.  I was at one time – and still am really – but I was big into astrology and I have a guy (his name is Rick Jarow and if you Google him you’ll find some of his work) and I asked him. This guy spent a lot of time with Ram Dass.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with who Ram Dass is but he wrote a book Be Here Now, one of the great kind of self-help books/spiritual books back in the 60s.

I asked Rick, I said, “Ricketman, you’ve been to India countless times, I almost consider you like a guru.”  When I talked to him he had spent a week with Ram Dass at Ram Dass’ house out in Hawaii, just the two of them.  If there is anyone that knows about meditation, it’s this guy.  He is a religious studies professor at College and just an amazing man.  I said, “what is the best form of meditation, what is the best technique?”  I was asking him all these questions kind of geeking out on meditation and he said – he was probably in his early 60s.  He stands about 6’4 and he’s got this big goatee.  Almost like a Merlin figure.

He said, “Jamie, the best form of meditation is just sit down and just follow your breath.”  That’s it.  No music.  No ****ing cymbals.  No chimes.  You don’t have to put your hands necessarily in a specific spot.  Your back doesn’t have to be at a specific angle.  Zen meditation is very strict about posture, breathing, where your hands are, but everyone is going to have their own thing, Brian, so I think that especially in today’s culture what people are being so distracted by is not a lack of information.  There is information out there on anything and there are people successful in doing it in a lot of different ways.  It’s really just sitting down and putting the things that you know into practice.

I would say to your listeners if meditation is something that intrigues you, just start with the simple practice of sitting down on a pillow, on a couch, in a chair, standing up, it doesn’t matter (you can lay down as long as you try not to fall asleep) and just begin to put your awareness on your breath.  On the inhale.  And on the exhale.  Not trying to necessarily change your breath, not trying to influence it, not trying to make it deeper or more profound, just putting your awareness on your breath and then noticing what your experience is.  Noticing how your mind wants to try to take you away from that awareness of your breath.

Notice how you might start to fidget.  Notice how all of a sudden itches might start to come to your body.  Just see if you can maintain that stillness.  Start for five minutes.  Start for a minute, shit.  Just start.  Start for ten minutes.  Just continue to bring yourself back to that place.  It’s going to be ****ing hard at first.  Even people who do it for 67 years it’s still a challenge.  But the idea is that consistency.  The more you come back to it the more you’ll just start to notice that what used to bother you in your life, what used to hook you, what used to distract you, all of a sudden it’s not hooking you so bad.  It’s not distracting you so much.  It’s not creating such a disturbance in your life.

I’m a huge believer in meditation.  If I don’t do a meditation in the morning, my life and life in general tends to smack me around most of the day.  I’m not quite sure how there can be such a relation between not doing meditation and really noticing that holy shit my life is almost kind of out of control today.  If anything, it gives me an opportunity just to kind of check in with myself and almost to say to life “I’m here, I’m present, I’m aware, I’m ready, I’m open, I’m quiet” and then allow life to move you throughout the course of the day.

Cain:  Jamie, I think that’s great, man.  You talked a lot about the consistency – consistency being the hardest thing, consistency with the meditation – and if you’re not doing it in the morning, life is kind of smacking you around a little bit.  We talk a lot about the importance of routines and routines that keep you consistent.  You’ve developed one of the top real estate agencies in the country.  You must have routines that you do in the office as well  – not just in your personal develop side in the morning but in your performance on a day-to-day basis – you must have routines and all that that you do as well.  Is that accurate?

Yaman:  Oh absolutely.  Absolutely.  I mean everyone has routines.  Some routines might serve you well.  Some routines might keep you average.  Some routines might help you to surpass your competition or surpass what you thought was your ultimate goal.  Everyone has got routines.  Everyone has standards.  Everyone has disciplines.

If I were to look at ten people who were listening to the podcast right now or 100 people listening to the podcast right now, I could tell you if I could see their bodies – you and I both, Brian (we don’t have to get a degree in this) – we could both know just by looking at their bodies how often do they work out, what is their diet like, how much water intake do they get.  How do we know that?  Well, their body basically is just evidence of that.  It’s living evidence of how they treat their body.  What is the routine that they have?  What is the discipline that they have?  The body is a great way of just externalizing someone’s routines and someone’s habits.

When it comes to relationships, when it comes to running a real estate office, we all know that you can come into my office or you can go into any office and basically see what is the quality of their routines, what is the quality of their disciplines.  For me, real estate is a people-based business.  It is incredibly important that my staff is inspired to be here.  If they’re not inspired to be here, anyone with any degree of sensitivity when being around someone else is going to know that those people that work in my office are not happy to be here.  So as the leader of the office, I need to really exemplify that on a daily basis.

I have a huge sound system here in the office that during every one of our staff meetings – which is quite a few times a week – we kick up the music and the first thing that we do is just set the tone.  Right now I’m talking to you on a ridiculously expensive set of headphones that I have invested in to help me with my state, to help me get into my routines in a more effective way.  I could go into what is the routine of a real estate office, but really it’s what are routines that get us into the right state to do what we want to do, which is to live a passionate life and to be of service to others.

Cain:  Jamie, you’ve talked a lot about getting into a state, whether it was the trampoline or music.  What exactly is a state?  I think sometimes when I mention trying to manage your state people get a little bit confused.  What is a state and how do you teach that to people for the first time?

Yaman:  Well, your state basically is how you’re showing up at any given time.  How you’re showing up to the world at any given time.  I can show up physically.  I can step into a space.  But my body doesn’t act independently from my mind.  My mind doesn’t act independently from my emotions.  My emotions don’t act independently from my relationships and how I’m bringing all of that – or my spiritual life.  I’m bringing all of that into this present moment. This present moment is how I’m showing up and what my state is.

When someone says “I’m in a resourceful state, I’m in an unresourceful state, I’m in a state that can breathe success, I’m in a state that is sure to breed failure,” it’s basically (like I said) how you’re showing up physically, how you’re showing up emotionally, how you’re showing up mentally.  Mentally are you clear?  Are you foggy?  Are you tired?  Are you clear?  Emotionally are you clear?  Are you optimistic?  Are you compassionate?  Are you angry?  Are you seething under the surface?  Physically what is your posture like?  Where are your shoulders?  How is your breath?  Did you get your workout in the morning?  Is your body feeling good?  So state is everything.

If you’re showing up in a state that is not going to serve your life, it’s going to be damn hard – damn hard – for you to get through your life and to build and inspire a path for yourself.  Yourself or your organization, whether it’s your team, those who are on your team.  That is the best way I can explain state.

Cain:  Jamie, I appreciate you making time and jumping on the podcast here.  My last question for you is, what is it that you know now – having been a big-time lacrosse player at UMass, played in a National Championship, run one of the most successful real estate groups in the country, attended Tony Robbins’ events, running your own events, and just absolutely crushing it in life – what is it you know now that you wish you could go back and you could say to yourself going into UMass to be a college athlete for the first time?

Yaman:  Well, that is a great question.  I honestly wouldn’t say anything.  If I could go back to myself, there wasn’t a thing that I really regretted, Brian – and I feel that the path that I took to get here, even though there were some real difficult times and certainly a part of me wishes I could go back and do it again, and if I could I might do things a little bit differently, but then I wouldn’t be who I am today.

By no means am I going to come across as somehow expressing that I was perfect or that I had it all together.  I was far from it and still am very far from it.  I’m always going to be a student – student of life, student of anything that I’m doing – but I would probably just go back into the room.

If I could go back to my 18-, 19-year-old self and just kind of look at myself through my eyes and through just acknowledging my presence in that room with my 19-year-old self, I would just let him know, “hey you got this, you got it, just do the best you can and you’re going to do great.”  But I don’t know if I would say anything, man.  I would just look him in the eyes and kind of nod and then step back because he’s got to go through his own journey.  That journey is what shapes who we are.

Some people who are listening on your podcast, you might have some things that you could go back and say, “****, if I had just known what I know now when I was 18, I’d go back and tell my 18-year-old self” but my question to you is “did you not grow?”  What you would tell your 18-year-old self would probably be how to do something better or how to show up better, but did you not grow from learning the hard way?  Did you not grow from the experiences that you had?  And the way that you grew, has it not served you incredibly well in your life right now?

So would I go back and rob myself of the experience of learning?  No, I would never do that.  I would never do that.

Cain:  Great answer, man.  Jamie, that’s fantastic.  I appreciate you being on the podcast.

For our listeners that want to learn more about you or want to get more info, is there a Twitter handle or a website that they can go to to get themselves some more Jamie Yaman?  I know I need some.

Yaman:  Yes, actually my website right now is under construction.  I’m working with a grade A team down in South America who took my website down – the one that I currently had up – and are building it back new.  I would say check back in a couple months, www.JamieYaman.com.  In the time being just e-mail me if you want to chat.  I’m always looking for people to connect with, people who are inspired to live life and just share ideas.

Like I said, this morning I spent an hour on the phone with a guy out of Germany.  This is a guy that I just check in with and we kind of hold each other accountable.  This is a guy who lives life in a beautiful way.  So check me out on my e-mail address.  You can find me on Facebook.  My cell number is 607-423-1369 – shoot me a text, give me a call.  I’d be happy to talk to you and your listeners.

Cain:  I appreciate you, man.  You’re one of the few people who are of service mind enough to be willing to give out your cell phone to the 50,000 listeners or so who are listening to this.  Hopefully, they’re blowing you up and hopefully you’re able to make an even bigger impact in the world than you are currently already making, which is pretty massive.

Jamie, thank you again for being on the podcast.  Best to you.  Looking forward to having you again.

Yaman:  Alright, Brian.  My pleasure.  Thank you.