My best friend called me this week. “Val, she said, I have to tell you about my new part-time job! You’ll never guess what it is!” Now let me tell you a little story about Mary. In high school a small group of us got together every weekend and baked cookies. We would take them to school and peddle them in what we called “The Underground Bakery.” Thinking back, we weren’t really too “underground” because we actually sold some to teachers, but they weren’t ratting us out because those cookies were pretty darn good! But, Mary was a talker . . . maybe one could even call her a chatterbox . . .and virtually every week she forgot at least one batch of cookies while busy yakking and burnt them to a crisp! We both laughed when she told me her new job is in a bakery! Luckily, and even she will admit this is for the good of the bakery’s bottom line, she ONLY has to mix up the muffins . . .no baking for Mary.
Yes, I told my friend, that is probably the last job I would have guessed, but then I paused a minute and said, “But who would EVER have thought I would become a Realtor?” You see, I was quite the opposite of Mary. I spent the first eighteen years of my life speaking to few outside of family and a couple of close friends. Every report card, no matter how good, had a disclaimer at the bottom “needs to speak up more in class.” The quote under my junior high picture said something like, “Speak louder please!” I was beyond shy. I was painfully shy.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say. As a child I was an avid reader and quite the little philosopher. My mind was bursting with ideas and I constructed complex imaginary worlds in my head. But, I didn’t trust anyone enough to share them. Even writing was a challenge because teachers required us to read our work out loud. Because I knew I would have to do so, I censored my own writing to make sure it conformed to what was expected.
After high school I went to college and encountered someone who changed my life . Anyone who has gone to college may be horrified when I say that an assistant professor in English 101 was my savior. As any undergrad knows, 101 classes are rarely inspiring experiences! This professor assigned rather philosophical, thought-provoking subjects for our essays. They were topics that stretched us to think outside the box. He would ask for volunteers to read their work. No way! He never forced me. Finally, about the third week of classes, he said he was going to read an excellent piece by an anonymous contributor and he read my essay out loud. No one laughed. The next week he publicly asked my permission to read another. The world didn’t crash in around me. It progressed from there. Before the end of the quarter, I was empowered to share on my own.
In that English class I learned to trust not only my peers, but also my own ideas. I discovered my commonality with those around me. I married a man whose job took us all over the country and learned to make friends easily and converse with random strangers. I discovered that no matter how different people were from me, we always had something in common.
Looking back at my childhood, I wouldn’t trade the child I was for one more out-going or personable. I might have missed out on so much that has nothing to do with speaking. At an early age I connected with nature and learned to read her subtle signs . . . dark clouds that forewarned of the coming storm or the patches of lawn that drew in the honeybees ready to sting my little feet. And I watched people. I learned to read body language and determine the intent of those I encountered . . . to let down that guard could be disastrous for a child who never wanted to be the center of attention. But one young professor taught me that a little crack in my armor could lead to good things as well. He showed me that trust could mean the difference between existing in my own world or being part of something bigger . . . I took it from there.
So, here I am today, a Realtor. Talking up a storm to strangers. Asking buyers to share intimate details about their lives in order to help them find the perfect home. Listening to sellers with heartbreaking stories of life gone wrong or grandiose dreams of where the future will take them.
Some of these clients are full of trust and ego and have no problem sharing whatever I need to know to help them and then some. Others are more cautious and require encouragement. I don’t think they question my qualifications. It is their own ability to make the right choices that is frightening. To them, buying or selling a home is like taking non-pilots to a lot full of used airplanes and telling them they must choose the one that will fly them across the ocean. They want to take the journey but fear making a decision that might not result in a good outcome. So, they seek someone to educate them.
My job is to teach people about the real estate process and do so at their speed so they are comfortable every step along the way. I give them the facts. I let them know what their options are. I introduce them to experts who educate them even more. We spend as much time as they need to reach a point where they are knowledgeable and confident enough to make the decisions that will have a lifelong impact. . . they have learned to trust themselves!
This post is a submission to the ActiveRain / Adobe EchoSign Trust Contest. I could possibly win a prize. You can find out about the contest by clicking here
If you need someone to help you understand your options for buying or selling a home in the Spokane area, contact me! I would love to help you learn the ins and outs of the real estate process!
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