In 2015 I celebrated my 20th anniversary in real estate! And by celebrated I mean mentioned it to my family over corn dogs and french fries. We exchanged fist pumps and high fives and someone may or may not have asked me if that made me feel old. The 20 year mark is a biggie. It’s pretty much half of my life! Anniversaries that end with a zero seem to cause my brain to go into over drive. That’s a lot of life lived. To help me process what I have learned I have come up with a list of the good, the bad and the ugly. I thought I’d better identify what I did wrong so I’ll stop doing it and what I did right so I remember to keep doing it. These are not lists of tactical do’s and do not’s that will make or break a real estate deal. These are attitudes that can make or break a heart, a family and a career. Let me start with an honest look back at my mistakes.
- I thought it was about me. There. I said it. I took people’s business decisions personally. If they didn’t list with me I thought they must not like me. I
obsessedwondered what it was. Am I not credible because of my age or inexperience? It is my personality? Did I come on too strong or did I not seem assertive enough? I made it all about me.
- I allowed my career to crowd my life. God first, then family, then career. Right? Right! Easy? Not a chance. Early in my career could I not discern between providing exceptional customer service and
allowingencouraging people to walk all over me. I had entered a profession that I thought required me to sacrifice my personal priorities and boundaries. Thank goodness I was wrong.
- I would get caught up a scarcity mentality. I would listen to the chatter around me and agree that there were not enough buyers for these listings. A few months later there were not enough listings for these buyers. I would think that there was not enough business for all these agents to make a reasonable living or there was not enough supply… not enough demand. There were certainly not enough commission checks with my name on them!
Whew….that was rough and it’s not even close to an exhaustive list. Writing it may have been exhausting but be sure …the list is incomplete. Admitting mistakes is not that much fun but it is so freeing! Now…let me pour a fresh cup of coffee and list what I think I did right.
- I did not quit. This one is self explanatory. I keep showing up. When things are good I come to work, when things are horrible, I come to work. When business is slow, when business is wild you will find me at work. This can’t be over-stated for those who are self employed. The temptation to “call in sick and tired” is real.
- I do the hard stuff first. Procrastination is the single most draining aspect of life. The weight of the world is on my shoulders when I have 2 or 3 things I am putting off. My thoughts constantly wander to those tasks. The unfinished business acts much like a short circuit in my brain. I have learned to do the hardest task of the day first and it gives me a bolt of energy. 3 challenging tasks completed before 9:00 am and I feel unstoppable.
- I have a Vision. I believe my passion to help people with their housing needs stems from my own childhood. I moved around a lot and felt the stress of moving which often includes job changes, school changes, leaving friends, packing everything you own into cardboard boxes and losing all sense of familiarity. I also have felt the joy of knowing that HOME comes with you when you move. There is something very powerful about establishing a home, a refuge from the world, a safe place to fall. This motivates me to provide critical assistance to people with all types of real estate needs.
- I’m a student. I LOVE education and I made it a top priority. I discovered early on that it energizes me. I have implemented a large portion of what I have learned. I do not just put my notes from my classes away in a file. I love getting fresh perspective from leaders in the industry who understand the realities of this business.
- I have steered clear of debt. I’ve operated my business on minimal debt since day one but there was just enough of it hanging around to cause heartburn when cash flow was not flowing. A few years ago we took the plunge and decided to operate on cash. It felt risky which is counter-intuitive. Debt carries risk….not vice-versa.
- I do not make fear based decisions. I’m a moderate risk taker. I’m not one to go all in on a hunch but I also believe that nothing ventured is nothing gained. I will take a risk if I’m aware of the worst case scenario and can deal with it. Then…anything better than worse case is a bonus and fear is not a factor.
- I learned it is not about me. I know I am stating the obvious here but this was a huge life lesson for me. I believe God expects me to be a good steward of the time, talents and resources he has given me. He expects me to learn from my mistakes but the outcome is His.
- I know I have not arrived! Having 20 years in real estate or having reached certain level of productivity does not mean that I have somehow arrived at a destination. I am happy to share what I know with others and I am energized by continuing to learn. The industry changes, the market changes and I change so I will never be done learning and growing.