Sunday, November 21, 2010

Standing Tall in Adversity

Even the most fortunate of us go through some tough times.  Sometimes it seems like you cannot win for losing.  Yet it is in those most challenging moments that we actually find out who we are.

My wife and I are very fortunate, but since my exit from Apple in 2004, I have worked far harder for less money than I ever have.  I feel no bitterness for having to work hard.  I actually feel great pride in my ability to work long hours.  I am proud deliver creative work that makes a positive contribution to the world.

My first career after college was that of cattleman selling purebred bulls and cattle to others raising cattle.  I long ago learned that your reputation was worth far more than any quick sale.  I have never tried to trick anyone into a sale.  I have always prided myself in walking away from potential business if the business would not be a good thing for both parties.

Over the years of selling farm equipment, computers, email services, ultra high speed networking, and real estate, I have seen no reason to change the way that I do business.

I try to help people achieve their needs.  If you have people's best interests at the forefront of your mind, then you really do not have to worry about having enough business.  People will find you eventually even in tough times like today's real estate downturn.

We recently had clients who commented that I was unlike any real estate agent they had ever worked with in their lives.  They were surprised that I did not try to pressure them to buy a particular property.  They were very pleased that I tried to present all their options objectively and without bias.

That is the way I operate, but there are plenty of others who treat people just like I do.

I sometimes feel sad that people distrust sales people.  When I am trying to buy something, there is nothing that I would rather have than a really good sales person who knows their product inside and out.

The last four years have been very tough for real estate agents.  Even the well established agents have felt the pressure.  I have found that getting a real estate career going during a down period in an area where you know few people is almost an impossible challenge.  However, I have never let the near impossibility of it stop me from trying or from doing an outstanding job.

I have managed a few real estate sales in each of first few years, but I also supplemented my income by writing a blog for a real estate company.  I had to be very careful to not draw clients to me personally.  The pay that I received was about what I needed to cover my real estate expenses.

This summer the company made the decision to discontinue the blog.  It was an immediate loss of income to us, and a fatal shot for my real estate career.  However, I made the decision to buckle down and work even harder.

I had been working extremely hard to deliver Internet traffic to the company.  I had links from all of my many websites flowing to my company.  When they gave up on my blog, I pulled all the links and focused them on delivering traffic to me.

Three months after seeing the blog cut, I am getting more leads than I ever got when I was writing the blog for the company.  I have resurrected the blog on my own site, and I finally feel like I am on the way to building some momentum in real estate.  Unfortunately real estate is still a career where financial success looks to be too far away.

So perhaps the fatal blow has turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.  I could have moaned and complained,  but I just refused to let the bad news pull me down.  I have worked harder than ever, and the web results that I am seeing have convinced me that I have talents which can make be successful once again.

With that in mind I will wind down my real estate career within the next year.  It is the right move for me.  It will take time, but I will get to that next success.

I think it was Dennis Waitley, a famous motivational speaker, who once said, "Bad news is opportunity riding a dangerous wind."

I have taken the position that I am responsible for my own success or failure.  It will be my efforts that lift us back to success.

It helps to be living in a wonderful place like the Southern Outer Banks where the weather and the people make life much more enjoyable than it would be in a big city.  I can draw strength from my natural surroundings and the people around me.

A bad day never seems as bad after a boat ride on the river or a walk on the beach.

Firmly believing that who you are is much more important than what you are or how much stuff you have will pave our road to success.