Confidence and Humility--Get the blend right and the world will beat a path to your door

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Topkins & Bevans-etopkins@topbev.com

In Massachusetts, where I practice, we have been very fortunate in having excellent professional sports teams, with enlightened management. Only the Bruins, our representaive in the National Hocket League, has not won a championship in the 21st century. The Patriots have won three times, and the Red Sox twice.

Still, there are times of frustration for New Englanders as fans, and last night's Patriot's 34-35 loss to Indianapolis surely ranks as one of the most difficult pills for me to swallow as a sports fan. What made it worse for me was the rather blase manner in which Bill Belichick tossed off a bad decision late in the game, and never just said "I made a mistake".

That smug attitude in defeat got me to thinking about what I would have done in a similar situation. I have been practicing real estate law in Mssachuseets for more than forty years, and I have made many mistakes along the way. There was a time when I would make excuses for my mistakes, or, worse yet, blame others for problems I created myself.

Just about the time I started getting things done on time rather than making excuses why I had not, I realized that most clients would accept an honest apology, especially when it is coupled with an action plan to fix the problem. In fact, i have had some of my best triumphs after I started out in the worst of positions.

Americans are great "forgivers". They are ready to give people a second chance almost all the time. Keep that in mind when you are practicing your profession. Lying, or making lame excuses, is not the course of action for a person of integrity. Admit what you did wrong, and try to fix it. If you demonstrate humility now and again, you will endear yourself to those people who sought you out because of your confidence and talent.

There is a balance there, and we should seek it every day. Coach Belichick should have just said he made a mistake. We all do, and with his track record, he is entitled to a few. So are all of us.

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  1. Donald Bradbury 11/16/2009 09:21 PM
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Rainmaker
1,372,564
Ron & Alexandra Seigel
ra@napaconsultants.com - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Marketing

Elliott,

What a wonderful post...You have explained the essence of true confidence, everything else is arrogance!

Nov 17, 2009 09:27 AM #30
Rainmaker
232,537
Elliott S. Topkins
Topkins & Bevans-etopkins@topbev.com - Boston, MA
Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty

Great somments everyone. keeppracticing real estate with integrity and sensitivity. In the long run, you will win!!!

 

Elliott Topkins

eee.topkinsandbevans.com

Nov 17, 2009 10:04 AM #31
Rainmaker
401,971
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Elliott:

Wait just a minute - You're an attorney and you take out your checkbook when you make a mistake?This is something I have NEVER seen.  Rather, I have taken out my checkbook at closings, to pay for mistakes made by attorneys, and it has really angered me.  I applaud you, Elliott.

 

Nov 17, 2009 10:16 AM #32
Rainmaker
232,537
Elliott S. Topkins
Topkins & Bevans-etopkins@topbev.com - Boston, MA
Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty

Claudette- It happened last week. The Buyer, who had been difficult all along, came to the closing demanding that my Seller, who was bringing more than $15,000 to the closing, pay an additional $250 to replace a garbage disposal, which was not working when the inspection took place. Rather than spend hours arguing with the Buyer, I told the closing agent that our side would pay $125 to make the matter go away. I requested that the listing agent split the $125 with me, so we could get the deal done. She refused saying "I don't do this type of thing". I wrote the check for the $125, and it was the best money I ever sprent in my life. The deal closed, and the Seller did not have to pay even more.

As far as the realtor who wouldn't help, she has made me into a "foe for life". I would walk across the street to tell someone never to use her for any transaction. That doesn't really mean that much, but if I can steer a client away from one deal with her, she has lost a lot.

By the by, I would really like to work with you, on either the Buyer or Seller side. I am not that far away, and I pride myself on giving the type of service you apparently render.

Elliott Topkins

www.topkinsandbevans.com

Nov 17, 2009 10:42 AM #33
Rainmaker
401,971
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Elliott:

Maybe other Realtors reading this will be as amazed as I am over this.  In many cases I have had attorneys suggest - no matter whose fault the problem was - that the money comes out of the broker's commission because we "are making so much money."  It never ceases to annoy me. 

This is the first time I have ever heard of an attorney offering to pay for anything at a closing.  You get a gold star, Elliott! (Not just for the feature.)

 

 

Nov 17, 2009 10:55 AM #34
Rainmaker
1,262,947
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Can I salt that wound?  Belichick showed total disrespect for the Colts and he got what he deserved.  He was classless at the end of the game.  New England Patriots are confirmed cheaters; just like they cheated my beloved Raiders in the Snow Bowl.  The Patriots have surpassed the Steelers as a hated team in my book.  I remember the Patriot players used to whine that the old coach Parcels was too tough on them.  He took them to the AFC Title, they are a bunch of wimps.

OK I got that out of my system.  Have a great day!  :)

Nov 17, 2009 10:55 AM #35
Rainer
17,000
Joey Arce
NUllennium Realty/NUllennium Lending - Huntington Beach, CA

You are dead on with this one! If you make a fist, the other side will make a bigger fist! But if you humble yourself and say I'm sorry, I made a mistake and will fix it, etc., the second it discovered, you take the wind out of their sales and surprise them. You show that your are human and not arrogant. This goes along way for most americans. Those one's that like to forgive quickly and move on. Don't forget, GOOD OR BAD OUTCOME, THEY WILL TELL OTHERS. How do you want that free marketing to affect you? Good posting!

Nov 17, 2009 11:32 AM #36
Rainer
50,876
Tean Wong
Centre Realty Group - Newton, MA

Elliott,

After reading some of your post, I can't wait to work with you.

Nov 17, 2009 12:37 PM #37
Rainmaker
331,851
Judy Jennings
508-209-5000 - Plymouth, MA
Sales Director

Elliott - Great way to let off steam after a very surprising loss! Your point is very valid and true. We are all human and each and every one of us is capable of making a mistake. Owning our mistakes, and learning from them is what makes us better individuals.

Nov 17, 2009 12:43 PM #38
Rainer
47,971
Dianne Hicks
HomeSmart Real Estate - Temecula, CA

 Both are admirable qualities to have, especially when blended well for the right balance. Great Post!

Nov 17, 2009 02:24 PM #39
Rainmaker
115,959
Chrysti Tovani
Sacramento, CA
Graphic Design/Photography, Wordpress, Real Estate

Plus, when you make excuses you just dig a deeper hole and it makes it more difficult to gain back that trust or to come up with a good plan of action to make things right. 

Nov 17, 2009 03:03 PM #40
Rainmaker
351,538
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

Elliott....you are so correct, Americans are great forgivers....oftentimes to good!

Nov 17, 2009 04:53 PM #41
Rainer
20,462
Inez Meehan
Keller Williams - Torrance, CA

OMG my husband and I were talking about that after the game---"blase manner in which Bill Belichick tossed off a bad decision late in the game, and never just said "I made a mistake".  He needs to check the meaning of " humble" and accepting his mistakes.  Thank you for sharing.  Great game by the way!!  Make it a great day!!

Nov 17, 2009 06:16 PM #42
Rainmaker
232,537
Elliott S. Topkins
Topkins & Bevans-etopkins@topbev.com - Boston, MA
Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty

Inez--great minds think alike--LOL

Thanks for the comment

Elliott Topkins

www.topkinsandbevans.com

 

 

Nov 17, 2009 07:02 PM #43
Rainmaker
191,803
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

I feel that you are right on.  It is important to own up to our mistakes and let thme know what we are going to do to fix it.  Whatever it takes.

Nov 17, 2009 11:15 PM #44
Rainmaker
128,113
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

I know I've got the confidence part down.  Now if only I can get the other.  Now I do admit my mistakes.

Nov 17, 2009 11:55 PM #45
Rainmaker
153,212
Margaret Mitchell
Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty - York, ME
Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate

Hi Elliott - Really great post.  The balancing part is the tough part.

Nov 18, 2009 03:37 AM #46
Rainmaker
818,788
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Homes

Yep, I agree. It also speaks from maturity. It's just an all around better way to do business. We need more humility here in the rain sometimes.

Nov 19, 2009 11:06 AM #47
Rainmaker
570,044
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Elliot, Terrific remi9nder that accepting the results of our own actions is the basis for personal growth !  Did you hear that the Detroit Lions just released a memo on how to count to 16 ?  Oh and one, Oh and 2, Oh and 3,...

Nov 19, 2009 03:11 PM #48
Rainer
117,198
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

yes, you are so right. most people don't have a good combination of confidence and humility. sometimes, it's the way you say you made a mistake that does it, or doesn't do it...and, then what action from you follows immediately thereafter. i just listened to the news as the secret service said they made a mistake about letting the 'crashers' in the state dinner. apology accepted, but it's not enough and that better not be all that's done. okay, off topic...thanks for the post.

Nov 27, 2009 08:05 PM #49
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Rainmaker
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Elliott S. Topkins

Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty
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