There was a rock sticking out of the ground on the hill you were speeding down. You tried to jump the wagon on a homemade ramp at your neighbors. Your big sister whipped you around a corner at high speed knowing full well that the wagon would tip over, spilling it’s contents – namely, you. I’m sure we all have stories of falling off the wagon. It hurts. Of course there’s the figurative “falling off the wagon.” That one involves a pretty large mess and although I’ve seen it happen to friends one too many times, I’m not qualified to talk about that one. I’ll leave that to the professionals.
This is a different kind of falling off the wagon – again figurative in nature, but this is a real estate site, so you can guess where I’m going with this. If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you’ll know I had a rough few months. I came off a high last year where I was cruising through contracts. Clients were clamoring for my time and I was having a ball. I was busy in that “I’m running like crazy, but this is what I was born to do” kind of way. I wanted more. I wanted to keep making everyday that exciting and profitable.
Then, the personal things cropped up, I’ve discussed that before and don’t want to rehash it, but it slapped me upside the head and left me in a bit of a rough patch. I handled it well I think, I’m sure it could have been much worse, but hey, I’m human and yes it did affect me.
As the Winter started to fade, I grew excited as our weather turned warmed (Spring in Texas starts a lot earlier than the calendar says it does). Problem was, it was quiet. The quiet, the lack of emails and phone calls, made me worry a bit, but I knew it would get better. It had to, right? Even though the Spring probably wouldn’t be like the “good ‘ol days” of real estate, I predicted good things in my market and I wasn’t alone.
So where was everyone? Why wasn’t I out there selling houses? Was there a reason I didn’t have a bunch of new listings? Must be the market. Must be the advertising. Must be anything but me.
Rewind to better times.
You’ve read about all of my self-exploration and critical thinking over what I can improve and what I am learning about motivation, but there’s a bit more to it all than that.
“The wagon.” For me, the wagon represented the fundamental basics of real estate business. The contracts and concepts – I’ve got that (I still have tons to learn, but that’s an ongoing thing for all of us – even the most experienced). No, this wagon was the other part of real estate, the one we all struggle with from time to time. Prospecting and keeping the pipeline full. I got so high on the business of working with clients, that I forgot I needed more of them to continue the wild ride. I let my calls and notes slip. I stopped looking for opportunity. I fell off the wagon and got my knees scraped pretty bad. I hadn’t just bruised my tailbone, I had bruised my ego.
As I sat there looking at my bloodied knees, I spent my time dwelling on the fact that the wagon wasn’t moving along at breakneck speed anymore. I wondered how I would get it rolling again. Instead of jumping in and continuing the exhilarating ride, I spent more time thinking about the crash.
Scraped knees and ice cream.
A scraped knee stings quite a bit, but usually, it’s just a superficial cut. Nothing an ice cream cone wouldn’t fix. I found myself reaching out to my broker and some of the agents I admire in the business. I found out that they had stumbled too, experienced problems like mine and deal with them in different ways. The difference between me (at the time) and them was simple, they hopped back in the wagon and had the wind in their hair again.
I turned my wagon over – back onto its wheels. I had sat there too long wondering what to do and not reacting. Talking to other agents, I got advice and some inspiration. So, I picked up the phone, I got back to writing notes, and I even starting keeping better notes and a calendar. I started talking real estate, thinking real estate, telling others about real estate. Guess what happened?
I took a new listing this week, I have another that we’ve been talking about, and a third prospective client has potential, we’re just working on setting up an appointment. I have more business. Things are happening around me. It’s not Spring. It’s not the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit. It’s not chance or luck. It’s me. Screaming at the top of my lungs as I fly down the hill, thinking of getting some ice cream when I reach the bottom – if only to recharge so I can get back to the top of the hill and go for another ride.
photo courtesy of Ronald Dean Photography