A few years ago the real estate market in St. Charles tanked. Badly. In May of 2008 I had about $25 million in listings and nothing under contract. I took it personally, because if you take your previous success personally, shouldn't you take your pending failure just as personally? I started looking for ways to change: I signed up for some coaching and transferred my super-demanding builder to a team. I started working with buyers. Sometime in 2009 I started poking around online to see if anyone else did things differently. That, my friends, was quite an eye-opener.
I'm with a great brokerage with a long tradition of success. But once I looked outside our walls I saw that many brokerages and agents did many things differently, from prospecting to listing presentations to doing open houses. My ActiveRain blog chronicles that journey: activities that I assumed were standard practice, like pop-byes and open houses, were considered the sure marks of a dinosaur.
So I set out to change: clearly, what I had been doing wasn't working, so I needed to learn and do other things. But I confused doing different things with being a different person. Like a starry-eyed teenage girl who makes herself over for each new boyfriend, I shopped and bought and tried on new identities. I would become an uber-tech-savvy agent.
Recently I realized that this change thing has consequences and not all of them are good. I've continued to sell a lot (even in that disasterous year in 2008), and I've definitely changed my business, but I haven't been very happy. The problem with looking outside yourself is that you can start to find fault with everything, including your teammates, your staff, your service providers, your clients. When you try to change everything, you act a lot like the teenage girl who needs a new wardrobe for each new boyfriend.
About six months ago I realized that too much change (and doubt) is as bad as no change. Part of this personal, because my babies are growing up and I want to be more present in their last few years at home. (The tragedies that some people I know have experienced, such as losing a child, have played a big role in this new found clarity. I grieve for each of you.) In terms of the business, I finally realized that complete satisfaction does not exist. There is a constant flood of new technology and new techniques and new ideas. My "new" filter needed dialing up, so that I can better evaluate whether the "new" fits into what is already working well for me and our business.
To me, it's an important change in attitude but it feels right. It's impossible to be perfect and no amount of trying will get you there. Everything can be improved upon, but nothing can ever be perfect. In my twenties I would have considered this giving up. Today, I see this growing up.