Once upon a time, in a previous life, I had this job working for one of the largest investment firms in the nation. I would create marketing campaigns to try and direct focus on what to do in the event of a disaster situation. A crucial part of this was understanding the difference between mission critical and secondary. Fortunately, this particular company placed an emphasis on mission critical being defined as family first – then your role and attempting to preserve one of the largest investment firms in the country. No pressure here. It was during this time that I had the best experience and leadership.
Unfortunately, I never told this particular person how much I appreciated and valued her guidance. This job changed me and certainly for the better. Living a life believing that stuff happens to other people is a real false sense of security. Because nothing happens that way. Bad stuff happens to all; learning that your reactions determine the overall effect and destination of your future is the key.
In real estate, stuff happens. It happens all the time. And when you have clients entrusting you with their most precious investment, it is sometimes difficult to weigh who gets serviced first. We are human after all. As Brokers or Realtors, if we are doing our job, it is likely we are working with several buyers and sellers at the same time. This can be a challenge. It is not like you can select whose issue is the most challenging or rather, mission critical, because they all are. Simply saying – “Your issue is important, but not as important as”. This would never do. So what do you do? How do you decide who gets served first, after all, each house is mission critical? Unfortunately it is always a new recipe with one main ingredient; empathy.
I remember one of the hardest and yet most educational moments in my work for the company I spoke about. I would fly to wherever was on my quarterly schedule, conduct the training and after each session, I would be required to submit a survey to each one of the participants. These surveys would judge my performance as their trainer. In a class of maybe 30 participants, I could get 28 excellent reviews and 2 that were bashing. I would cry. And I mean CRY. I would instantly feel the doom of failure.
I remember calling into the office after one session, and my boss answered. I probably sounded like a 2 year old, huffing and puffing and certainly not understandable, after reading one of the reviews from a participant. To say I was upset was an understatement. This particular attendee was obviously not pleased at all with my performance. I remember talking with my boss, and it was almost as if she had been there, in my shoes, and knew exactly what to say. She asked me how many reviews I had. She proceeded with asking me how many had a negative response. I told her, “just the one”. And then it was like the Angels sang as her words came across the phone. It was so obvious, but it took her saying it and me separating myself from the devastation I was dwelling in. “So, you have all those positive reviews, and one negative. I get it.” And she proceeded to relate and understand my current disaster. “It was not his day”.
“It was not his day” was her way of saying – we all have bad days. If you have 29 people out of 30 people tell you “you did great”. – They score you with above average and yet that one that scored you below the dirt, possibly it was not their day. For that particular person, I could have had dancing monkeys and talking horses, and the outcome would have been the same. It is just not their day. Of course, she didn’t use that exact explanation, but that is what I walked away with – dried my tears and found excitement in the 29 positive reviews.
This is a lesson I would like to pass on. This lesson has truly helped me in so many ways throughout my life. Every person has their good days and bad ones. Sometimes we react in ways that we would not under normal circumstances. Everyone has issues that are important, and none is more important than the person next to you. I believe with all my heart that just listening to someone can 1) help you find the encouragement to help them find the answer they need and 2) energize you to move forward with renewed enthusiasm.
Having gone through similar situations as the one described, I can see how I would modify my reactions should I ever be faced in that situation again. I would let him/her know he was heard. Ask how I can help, and be the support that could change his entire day, or outlook. Being heard – it is an amazing thing. Learning that you may not have all the answers, you can’t solve all the problems, but you can listen – that, is determining what is mission critical.
How it applies from there – well in my case learning the appreciation of empathy and escaping my “in the box” mentality of “it’s all about me” was a true advancement into my skills in problem solving. In real estate, this is my most used asset. Understanding where people are or just knowing the value of the current situation to the affected person, allows me to respond or react in a productive and methodical way. Granted there have been times where this has been challenged and those times repeat themselves all too often, but thank goodness for the new day and the opportunity of renewal and awareness.
Just a random thought at a random hour – 😀