“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
-John Calvin Coolidge
I had an interesting experience recently. As I was checking out at my local grocery store I was greeted by the store’s newest employee. As I stood in line, I kept thinking about how familiar her face looked, her mannerisms, her expressions, even her voice. When my turn came to ring up and I looked at her nametag it all came rushing back…
When I first entered this crazy real estate business (in the mid 90’s) the market was very similar to how it is now. Bright eyed and bushy tailed I had just passed my exam, went through my obligatory, Broker sponsored, two week “Everything you need to know to be successful in real estate” class and was settling in my new desk when a head popped over my cubby pony wall.
Little did I know that I was just about to meet my friendly, professional rival, no, my nemesis. She quickly informed me that I could not market all these different areas that I was looking at on a map because “they were her areas.” Never mind that I lived in the area, and I had never seen anything from her, nor had she taken a listing there in the last 30 listings, nor that the manager had assured me that we were in an “open farming office.” So it started. It was actually one of the best things for me and my new real estate business. I have always been the kind who is up for a fight. And fight we did as we took it out to the market place. We both did well, although I, like the father in the movie “A River Runs Through It” who out-fished his sons, simply was a bit more blessed in the ongoing struggle for dominance on the sales board.
As often happens in life, our lives diverged as my life took a turn into the Broker side of the desk in another market area, and hers went along “greeting” the new agents and selling homes and condos to her friends and family.
I hadn’t seen her in at least 10 years. And here she was, checking my groceries at the local market. Smiling – but not really. Her husband was well, her kids fine (her daughter a bit disappointed, because she wasn’t going to be able to go to the college she wanted because “mommy didn’t sell houses this last year.” She resolved that she was going to be back in the game soon, but I know differently. I know the down markets separate those of us who have chosen this field as our profession, from those who are in it for the fair weather. I’m not criticizing those that have to get some side work to put food on the table, but do it in a way that doesn’t cannibalize your business. I’m all for the stormy periods, because I know at the end of the journey, I’ll be left with a bunch of Pros.
As my wife, kids and I climbed in the car we talked about how our decisions make all the difference. We talked about the importance of delayed gratification, we talked about the importance of pressing on when times are tough and we talked about the truth in Coolidge’s quote.
To all of you who are hanging tough, not because it is easy, but because you don’t have any other choice – I applaud you, I respect you, and I am with you.