Maher said Hiban, seeking book-writing advice, was "persistent and relentless, and called me incessantly, all in a good way."

He said he's not surprised Hiban wrote the book and shepherded it onto bestseller lists.

"As soon as Pat said that he also wanted to be a best seller, I had no doubt that he would be," Maher said.

Hiban's determination also has taken him to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and other world-class peaks. In the book, he tells the story of his brutal Kilimanjaro climb. He suffered altitude sickness and wanted to quit, but forced himself to take five steps at a time.


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"Your goal doesn't have to be something outrageous (although it can be!)," he writes. "All you need to do is keep affirming that this is something you want and something you will achieve, and then keep working toward that goal."

About 10 years ago, one goal for Hiban was to work fewer hours. He struggled to overcome his belief that self-worth was tied to hard work, and fought his urge to do things himself, instead of delegating.

He now takes off more than 150 days a year, and says it has been years since he went out house-hunting with clients. Instead, he manages the Pat Hiban Group with partner Mike Sloan, invests in real estate, travels, and enjoys family time in Clarksville with wife Kim and their two teenage daughters.

Sloan, a Columbia native who graduated from Oakland Mills High School in 1990, joined the Pat Hiban Real Estate Group in 2002. He said Hiban surprised him by writing a book, but conceded, "I also didn't think he would climb Kilimanjaro."

Once Hiban sets his mind on something, Sloan said, "He goes and finds people who will help him do it."

Finding those people is clearly important to Hiban.

"If he has something he wants to do, he finds somebody who has already done it, and he will contact them," Maher said. "It doesn't matter if it's Joe Blow or Donald Trump."

Well-known for ads

Locally, Hiban may be best known for his television commercials, which include the line, "I'm not bragging, I'm applying for a job" and tout his "sensible listing program," which involves "flexible commissions and the freedom to cancel at any time."

One ad is a spoof of home makeover shows, and another shows children dressed in oversized suits, saying they're Hiban.

Hiban began running TV ads in 2001, after hearing of an Arizona agent, Russell Shaw, who was having success with them. Hiban cold-called Shaw and asked for advice.

"Russell not only helped me write my commercial, but he also helped me rehearse the script on the phone before I actually shot and produced it," he wrote.

Once again, Hiban had reached out to a mentor, and once again the mentor had come through.

With his new book, Hiban hopes he can be the one providing the advice.

"I don't mind if other people use my ideas," he writes. "People call me all the time and ask for a disk with my commercials on it, which is why we simply put them on YouTube. They're now easier to find ... and copy."

Pat Hiban's six steps aren't complicated or surprising, but following them takes determination. They are:

• Set goals and affirmations.

• Track your progress.

• Find mentors and masterminds.

• Act.

• Build on it.

• Invest.