Quick question: When was the last time you disappointed yourself? A few weeks ago, I wrote my pastor a quick note to express bit of disappointment in a few things, but nothing major. I even felt odd in voicing the least bit of criticism- as I love my church, love the pastor and love everyone I've been fortunate enough to fellowship with. I've come to expect a great deal from my church, though- and with higher expectations comes a greater opportunity for disappointment. That's not always a bad thing, though, because those rarely disappointed are those that have simply set their goals and sights too low. It was my church a bit ago, but myself today- as this story's "bad property manager" is me and the rent check that might bounce is my own.
We all make choices in our lives- in our professions and in our private lives. Some choices turn out well for us and some don't. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, but we have to take ownership of our failures as we do our success and accept the personal responsibility for our actions and endure their consequences.
Me? I've looked to be a good steward of my finances for the most part- save a brief period in the '90's when I got out of the Navy and into a software engineering job that paid me more money than I deserved. As the saying goes, it was more money than I knew what to do with- and I indulged myself with sports tickets, alcohol, women and alcohol for women. But it's a slippery slope when you act as if money will never run out. My choices then were ones I wouldn't make now- but if foresight were hindsight (or vice versa, don't know which way it's best said) I trust many folks would be better off today.
The software engineering world left me before I could leave it in 2001, and I joined a brokerage in Alabama where my sister and mother still work. My sister's been there since '94 and my mother since '98, and if I hadn't moved here to Orlando I'd still be there as well. I chose the property management profession- the good side of it's flexibility, but accepting that it's paychecks aren't consistent and it's often tough to anticipate rough or rougher times.
I have furniture purchased in the mid-'90's, stereo equipment I've had since '89 and a '98 Chrysler Sebring with 194,000+ miles on it. I also have a '06 Grand Caravan I use for work and put too many miles on- one I bought used in early '09 to help cart around my step-daughter's volleyball team. I'm awakened every day by an electronic alarm clock made by a company called Lloyd's Electronics that's surely long gone- received for Christmas '85.
All said, times are still tough. I hustle every day and hope I'm doing mypart in building a portfolio of rental properties to manage here, and I travel all over metro Orlando in my quest to show properties to prospective tenants and earn lease fees when and where I can. My fiancee and the young lady I call my stepdaughter will live separately until we're married as my Lord wishes, and I have a commitment to my stepdaughter she has no idea about- that I'll pay whatever it costs to keep her supplied with whatever that Proactiv stuff is she puts on her face. The choice to disconnect my cable TV to do that is one I wouldn't have considered some years ago- but one easily made today.
Am I optimistic? Dang straight I am. I'm a survivor- resilient and strong. Sitting on the edge of my bed Sunday mornings and asking myself "How much do I tithe today if I lost money this week?" will soon be but a memory. My portfolio will expand as the busy season for our business rolls along, and I'll be back on top in no time. I plan on ending this year much better than the last, and next year better than this one- all with my Lord leading the way and me in the co-pilot's seat. Any day I'm vertical is a gift, and there are many things He has planned for me that I can't yet imagine!
I've been a good bit optimistic all of my life, and I don't plan on changing because times happen to be a bit tough right now and my choice in a profession hasn't led to an Escalade (yet). The past few days have been tough as I've bounced a ton of thoughts around in my head and gone through the old "I need this, I want this" evolution- all the while disappointed in my circumstances and the decisions I alone have made to place myself in them.
Now, back to the question...When was the last time you disappointed yourself? If it hasn't been that long ago, you're not setting your sights that high.