Last week, several of my colleagues and I attended a seminar at the Golden Gate Club in the San Francisco Presidio, given by Matthew Ferrara, a motivational speaker hired by The GRUBB Co. and its group of affiliated Real Estate partners. The talk was entitled "Igniting Growth; Mixing the Personal, the Professional and the Possible . . ." (Gee, that's an ambitious goal.)
Friday morning emerged as was one of those rare, warm, sunny, fall days in the city and truth be told, I wasn't exactly looking forward to another "self-help" class featuring a looong lecture on the merits of "social networking" and how to better "capture" your audience, while realizing one's full potential. (Who the heck wants to be "captured?" I was just trying to kiss-up to the boss.)
I get it: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, yada, yada, yada. Enough already! Aren't we all exhausted just trying to keep up with our own lives, let alone the comings and goings of others . . . ?(Let's just concede that your kids are ALL very darling in their Halloween costumes.)
Still I had signed up for the event, had offered to drive, and had already plunked down my share of the fee for Mr. Ferrera's "social media" workshop (my middle-class roots prevent me from wasting hard-earned dollars) so I was committed to going, but that didn't mean I wasn't looking longingly at Crissy Field and dreaming of a sun-dappled walk on the beach instead.
Here's the thing about commitment. Every once in awhile - and in spite of our inner cynicism and inherent grouchiness - the process of just showing up, allows some real magic to take place. That's what happened to me courtesy of a fantastic teacher and a timely message. (Thank you Matthew; I think we're on a first name basis now.)
Mr. Ferrara started off the seminar by relating a story about his own work, the roadblocks he had hit along the way, his less-than-seamless journey, and his ultimate destination, and then asked us each to answer a question for ourselves: "What are you really working for?" (Hint: If it's a 'commission', you've picked the wrong answer.)
As the morning progressed, he continued to engage us by encouraging the group to outline a "Personal Plan," BEFORE outlining a "Business Plan," and to develop a "Moral Compass." In other words, Matthew was asking us to truly embrace our "Emotional Intelligence" (EQ), not only in the world of business, but in life as well, and THEN merge the two in a way that is truly organic, and authentic to each of us, specifically. (In short, become a more fully realized YOU!)
Sounds like a VISION QUEST to me.
Now that I get; lightbulb Moment. . . This all might seem a bit touchy, feely for the world of Real Estate, but in fact, the act of purchasing a home is almost entirely about one's dreams, about the stories we tell ourselves, and about helping people transition from one chapter to the next - often under incredibly stressful circumstances. In short, it's about EMOTIONS!
If your Realtor's motivation is just the projected commission he/she hopes to earn, then your Realtor is certainly selling you short. With respect to selling your home - the emotional component is no less important. Undoubtedly, you have entrusted your Broker with the responsibility of guiding you from point A to point B on a path that's not just productive, but creative as well.
You are counting on your agent to bring you the best possible result and that's accomplished NOT by dissecting your house into the sum of its parts (as in: 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms, kitchen w/newer appliances) but by "telling the story" through words, photos, video, and especially, through emotion . . .
Finally, Matthew invited us to capitalize on our strengths and rethink our weaknesses, and he offered these alternative solutions instead: A) become adequate at your shortcomings, B) outsource them (what a concept), OR C) rid yourself of them entirely (my favorite). At long last; permission to let go of those skills we don't actually do so very well (or care to learn) and concentrate our attentions on the things we actually do! (This may be true love, Matthew.)
Listen, Real Estate isn't just a business, it's an art, and in my case, it's also a passion. But with respect to you, it's your HOME. Remembering that, first and foremost, and then developing a tool belt that not only provides success, but provides a happy ending as well, was well worth a morning inside, even if the sand dunes and the Warming Hut were calling my name in sea-breezed tones. By the end of the morning, it was clear that by integrating the personal with the professional (and adding a bit of heart & soul along the way) the possibilities are virtually unlimited.
What's your quest and how can I help you? (Hey, I'm coming up on Volume 300! I don't know if that's commitment or crazy! Look for a celebration of sorts.)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.