…but this isn’t about pointing fingers.
When I became an agent, I thought I was insignificant as far as the larger world of Realtors® went. Seriously, who was I compared to the juggernaut that is the National Association of Realtors®? Heck, who was I even in the San Antonio Board of Realtors® realm? Or even just my broker’s office? An absolute nobody. The new guy. An agent who still had wet ink of his license and a head full of finance, appraisal, and contract information that is hardly useful today, because they’ve changed the rules fifty times since I passed my exam. The world of real estate changes quick and it all seems a lot quicker when you’re just trying to figure out the basics.
I paid attention though and took what I could from agents I hoped to be like someday. One of the things I took away was involvement. I’ve never had a problem opening up my mouth and giving my opinions, right or wrong, but in the world of real estate I felt intimidated at times. Not because anyone pushed me around or called me stupid, but because I wanted to be the best at what I do and there were plenty of people who knew way more than I did.
With the recent articles and comments revolving around Todd Carpenter and Greg Cooper, I kept a lot of my personal opinions to myself. That’s not to say I didn’t have plenty of them, but in this case, I was more interested in watching things unfold and seeing what I would take away from them.
Realtor® vs. NAR vs. Realtor® vs NAR
It’s no secret that there is often dissent in the ranks of the NAR membership. There always will be. Get over it and move on. There will always be an us vs. them mentality, even if NAR became exactly what every individual agent dreamt it was. As long as there is money flowing out of the pocket of the Realtor® to pay for NAR, there will always be some vestige of us vs. them. I think it’s the natural course of paying any dues to an association. Maybe in other industries it works better, but I bet they have the same problems all the time.
The best way to combat these frictions? Open your mind and your mouth. Greg took issue with something he felt strongly about and he did both. “Right” or “wrong” in the manner he did it, Greg took the time to state his case and for that I admire him. I also admire Todd for the same reason, whether “right” or “wrong”, Todd has always been willing to speak up. (Please note, “right” and “wrong” are used in a very loose sense here – not as “absolute obvious correct answer” or “outright how-could-you-be-so-stupid false answer.”) I don’t wish to argue who was right or who was wrong, who went about it the correct way or who went about it all wrong. I wish to see it for what it was…an opportunity.
Advice I was given.
A long time ago, a wise sage gave me some advice. It was slipped into the comment section of one of my posts here at AgentGenius and I looked it up while I was writing this. I was going to link to the article, but I thought I’d just reprint the quote right here:
My advice; listen, listen, listen, think dimensionally, present patiently, eat your Wheaties, keep the faith, have fun.
Most of you can probably guess who said this just by the way it was written, but in case you’re stuck, it was Ken Brand. Read it again. I’m not sure what you take away from the quote, but I received a clear, strong message that day.
It’s not going to be easy; so listen carefully, digest, and speak your mind. You may run into a wall more than once – don’t get discouraged. P.S. Bruce Jenner had cool hair in the 70s.
Maybe Ken didn’t mean to make me dream of Bruce Jenner’s hair while discussing my recently fulfilled goal of gaining committee membership at my local board, but the rest of it I’m sure was his intention. I’ve joined those committees and am now working my way into the “system.” I’m not there to subvert it, I’m there to make it. I’m there to change, evolve, and improve it. I’m there to be a part of it and learn a thing or two. Do I think I’ll solve the world’s problems over the course of the year? No way. It’s not going to happen. I won’t even solve all of them before I leave the world of real estate. Perhaps though, I will be able to lay the foundation for the road that has yet to be built. To help pave the way for a guy like me many years for now. To set up the shot, but not necessarily score the goal. To me, that’s what this is all about. We know things don’t change overnight (or over years at times), but change is inevitable – sometimes it’s not for the best, but even that “wrong” change will adapt and evolve over time. I’m sure many people at NAR laughed at the thought of communication over the computer – look at them now.
I have only myself to blame for sitting by and not speaking up. I wish I had started sooner. Speaking up involves work, and sometimes, that work seems out of reach or too daunting a task to take on. But do it we must. If not, we have only ourselves to blame. I said I didn’t want to point fingers and I certainly don’t want to point them back at myself for failing to take the risk of trying. Sitting idly by and letting things happen to my Association is certainly not the answer. Get in, get involved.
There is nothing wrong with putting yourself out there and being shot down. There is everything wrong with not trying. You have only yourself to blame if things remain stagnant.