Real estate is important. We travel to the corners of our planet to see with our own eyes the unique way the ocean washes up on a pristine beach. We climb its tallest peaks for the dubious pleasure of standing—five minutes, perhaps, or 10—on an inconsequential knob of land geodetically determined to be higher than anything nearby.
Earth’s boundaries and geographical terrain shape cultures and determine livelihoods. We’ll spend significant sums of money just to visit a tucked-away village filled with archeological ruins. We marvel at what mankind has been able to build on it—whether it has existed for 5,000 years or five days.
In the end, it’s the center of our lives, where we gather, where we raise our kids, where we rest, where we laugh, cry and rejuvenate. It’s about … home.
And as inconsequential in the grand scheme of life as it may seem, at this moment in time and space you and I have the distinct and honorable role of guiding people through the transfer of the most important piece of their lives.
This is often overlooked, or when said, it is in a tone of reflexive platitudes or bumper sticker slogans. And this is one of the problems our industry has had in the past—we forget how important of a role we play in society, which has tainted the lens through which our craft is viewed.
Sadly, after we sell a few dozen (or hundred) houses, we start commoditizing homes into transactions, people into contacts, and before you know it we devolve into being driven by leads, units, strategies, tactics and the hopeless pursuit of more.
When our motivation is reduced to the lowest common factor of more, we get disconnected from the path we chose and the remarkable role we are able to fill in our communities. And when this happens, we inevitably commoditize not only the people we’re supposed to be helping, but we commoditize our time and, sadly, our lives.
Life Outside of the Box
Disconnect from our profession in real estate for a moment. Let’s explore some data together and appreciate our opportunities. When you give some pause to consider the big picture of what it means to work in the world today, it becomes easy to fall in love, all over again, and be grateful for the path we’ve chosen.
Certain career choices are fundamentally incompatible with living in all of the beauty life has to offer. Think about it. The reality of our economic system is that we’ve produced an environment that pushes people to their breaking points with little or no balance. Only 10% of the population of the United States takes a full two weeks off per year. It is a crushing reality that in our precious lives we often chase an ideal, only to later discover it was all a mirage.
There are, quite literally, millions of people leading lives of quiet desperation, working long and hard hours in jobs they despise in hopes of being able to do what they really want to do … someday. And that someday doesn’t come for too many people.
The bottom line is that if you don’t design your life, someone will do it for you—and you may not like their idea of balance, joy and living.
Clearly, that’s why many of us got into this business in the first place. We learned early on that we’re here for a short time, so if anyone should be dictating how we are going to live, it sure as hell better be us. And THAT awareness is our opportunity— but it also comes with responsibility.
Real estate is different. We’re in control. We can shape our own destiny. We can define and create a dream life, but we have to build the right foundation. We must stay committed to the basics. If approached with the right attitude, philosophy and habits, we can create the space and flexibility to fuel a wonderful life that will make most corporate executives, lawyers and even doctors drool.
Are you falling in love yet?
Is Music Just About the Ending?
In music, do we fast-forward just to hear the last few seconds of the song? If that were the case, the best artists would be those who played fastest, and there would be composers who specialized only in finales. People would go to concerts to hear the one final crashing chord.
Thankfully, this isn’t the case. So why do we live our lives this way?
That’s How We Were Trained
Most of us have been through a system of schooling that seems designed simply to fulfill an end—often somebody else’s end—and not the journey of life itself.
We’re put into the corridor of this grade system. You go to kindergarten, and when you finish that, you’ll get into first grade. And then first grade leads to second grade, and eventually high school, college, grad school and so on until you’re ready to join the “real” world.
You inevitably end up in some “job” where you’re selling widgets—real estate, insurance, investments…. it doesn’t matter because whatever it is, you’ve got a quota to make.
And all the time, this thing is coming, somewhere out there on the horizon—that great thing, the “success” you’ve been working for. Then, at around 50, you wake up one day and proclaim, “I did it! I’ve arrived! I’m there!” Yet you don’t feel very different from what you always felt—and you still have quotas and that horizon is still in the distance. And there’s a slight letdown, because you feel you’ve been duped by a hoax.
And there was a hoax. A dreadful hoax.
We thought of and lived our life as though it was a pilgrimage, which had a “reward” at the end. That “success,” or whatever it is, must still be waiting at the finish line.
But we missed the point the whole way along. Life is a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing, or dance, while the music was being played. A career in real estate gives us this. All we have to do is fall in love.
Dave Crumby is author of REAL: A Path to Passion, Purpose, and Profits in Real Estate. The book is one of the top selling books in real estate and has contributions by the CEOs of Better Homes & Gardens, GoodLife Real Estate, 1000Watt and many other leading doers in real estate. For more information on Dave, visit davecrumby.com.