Do You Have a Problem or an Opportunity?

Real Estate Agent with Maricopa Real Estate Co BR645115000

Your View Point Might Be Hurting You Ability to Resolve


In real estate, it seems that we are always running into problems. It is rare that a deal goes through without some type of hiccup. There are agents that can’t handle these problems and others handle them extremely well. So, what is the difference between these two agents?


I’m a big believer that is it due to how they each view the situation.

One only sees the problem, the other sees the opportunity.



Some of you know, that I spent 22 years with Home Depot and when I was a young department head, I had this problem vs opportunity concept drilled into my head. While I heard this saying often, the first time I actually “learned” the lesson, I was running the ceiling fan department. Not only was I in charge of the ceiling fan inventory, but also the regular oscillating fans. Being in southern California where we don’t always have air conditioning, we sold the crap out of these fans.


Now keep in mind, I was in a department of 4 people. Myself, an older gentleman, this young girl and a guy who felt he was always stuck doing the heavy work. LOL. The problem was, with so few people, we rarely overlapped and often worked alone. Normally, I knew what freight was coming, so I could plan and schedule accordingly.


So one day, I’m working and all of a sudden pallet after pallet of oscillating fans starts to show up. Big ones, little ones, square ones, you name it. The entire area was being over taken by these fans. If I recall, it was something like 46 pallets of fans.  All I could think about was what the heck was I going to do with all of these fans?


My assistant manager just happened to be there walking the plumbing department with that department supervisor. Now, keep in mind, I think I was 21 or 22 at the time, so in a panic I go up to him and tell him we have a HUGE problem. I’m sure I was rattling off how horrible it was, and how I had no idea where to put all this stuff and I was by myself, and going on and on and on. He just stood there staring at me.



Then calmly goes, Tammy, you don’t have a problem. You have an opportunity. Now, this wasn’t the first time he had told me this as I mentioned. However, I also remember thinking, you may think it is an opportunity, but to me it is a big Freaking problem. LOL



While I had no belief there was solution to this huge, crazy 40 pallet problem, what happened next, taught me two valuable lessons that day. My assistant manager, gathered a few other employees from around the store, came up with a gameplan on where all the fans would go and then we all built some end caps, changed out the seasonal swing area and made a few other homes throughout the store. Needless to say, by the end of the day every single pallet was taken care of.


So, what were those two lessons?

Lesson #1- A Problem is Like a Puzzle to Be Solved

Even after hearing my assistant manager say many times that we didn’t have a problem, but we had an opportunity, I never quite believed in my heart that this was true. However, after seeing how this huge problem went away, I started to realize there was something to his saying. Each problem really was just a puzzle to be solved. 


Now, when I’m faced with a problem, both personally or professionally, I look at them differently. Since I love puzzles, I start to think of the various solutions and how they might play out. I’ve been doing this for the past 30 years now and I realize, how critical this skill has been to my success through the years.


So, what was the second lesson that I learned that day?


Lesson #2 – Always Remain Calm During a Crisis

Remember how I was saying I was freaking out when I was talking to my manager and he just stood there calmly and helped me realize that we had an opportunity to solve this problem? His calmness and his certainty helped me calm down and believe that we would fix the problem.


I realized that in order for me to become a better leader, I needed to learn that skill. I needed to always remain calm during any storm that might present itself. And you know what? I think I’ve done a pretty darn good job on this one as well. Want to know what the trick is? Realizing that every problem was an opportunity. It gives you a calmness that everything will be ok.



So let me ask you? When confronted with problem, how do you see it? When your employees come to you with problems, how to handle their emotional request for help? When a loved one calls you up in a panic and doesn’t know how to handle a problem they have, are you the calm one that helps them realize everything will be ok?


Do you believe in your heart that you will find a solution?  Do you see it as a puzzle to be solved? If the answer is no to any of these questions, don’t you think it is time that you changed your approach to problems?


Trust me, once you make that switch to seeing every problem as an opportunity, you will make better decisions. They are more thought out and they aren’t emotional decisions.  You might not always like the solution but you will have the most well thought out answer.


So, my challenge to each of you is to step back and next time you are faced with a problem situation, pay attention to how you not only view the problem, but how you are handling it. Are you calm, cool and collected? Are you looking at the problem as something to be solved?


By the way, if you do see problems as opportunities, that is freaking awesome. Hopefully you are making it your mission, just like I have, to help others master this same skill just like my old mentor, Tim did all those years ago.



Originally Shared on my Podcast – The Local Small Business Coach



Posted by

-- ~~~~ 

Tammy Adams
Realtor®, Associate Broker, GRI (Graduate REALTOR® Institute), SRS (Seller Representative Specialist), ABR® (Accredited Buyer's Representative), ePro

A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa – Go Local!

The Maricopa Real Estate Company

21300 N. John Wayne Pkwy # 101, Maricopa, AZ 85139 
Cell: 520-233-8125  / 
Fax: (855) 271-7004







Listen to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast

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Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Great advice, Tammy.  Yes, I've come across a few big obstacles lately...and then, I did some problem solving and it helped.  I need to do that more often. You're so right about the calmness factor.

Apr 13, 2017 07:41 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

I find I make the best decisions and problem solving when I remain calm.  Clearer answers come through

Apr 13, 2017 02:31 PM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Great post Tammy! Challenges can be turned into opportunities if we are willing and able to see the positive.

Apr 13, 2017 07:58 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

you are so right!

Apr 13, 2017 02:32 PM
Zurple Marketing Team
Zurple - San Diego, CA
Zurple, Client Generation Software for Agents

Thank you Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster for sharing this positive post. We will definetly keep your 2 lessons in mind the next time we encounter a difficulty. Have a great rest of the week.

-Zurple Marketing Team

Apr 13, 2017 09:10 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

Thanks. Go Team Zurple!

Apr 13, 2017 02:32 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Tammy great story!  It's all an opportunity to me and has been for a long time. It's so much fun figuring 'puzzles' out and enjoying the fruits after it's accomplished.  And....the staying calm thing is a bid element in our business. My very first broker (30 years ago) was always cool, calm and collected and I learned that from him - thankfully!

Apr 13, 2017 10:53 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

Those mentors were so critical to our early development. Glad you had a great one too!

Apr 13, 2017 02:33 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

I have both everyday ... every. day.  The problems are turned into opportunities for learning, growth, and patience ... lots and lots of patience.  

Good old fashion opportunities are everywhere ... just need to take them! 

Congratulations on the Feature!

Apr 13, 2017 05:01 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

Thank you. And you are right they are!

Apr 15, 2017 09:18 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good Evening Tammy - that is a great story and one that I relate to.  Yes, I had my management start as a division manager for Sears.  We learned that we had opportunities.

Apr 13, 2017 07:57 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

Retail can teach us great lessons for this real estate world

Apr 15, 2017 09:19 AM
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

Surprised to hear that AC in Southern California isn't standard! I was under the impression that AC in California is a necessity (yes, this is coming from a "country" gal in Maryland. In our world, "problems" can often be turned into "opportunities" to resolve the situation. 

Apr 13, 2017 08:03 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

Depends on the area, but most of the time you open the windows and have a great breeze.  :-)

Apr 15, 2017 09:19 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Tammy,

That is funny! I bet, you sold those fans in no time. Hot & customers are encountering a fan at every turn; the perfect impulse purchase. Related to real estate, you are right too. If you saw every hiccup as a problem, you would get heartburn in no time. I love how Margaret Rome approaches all her unique properties as "special" instead. 

Apr 13, 2017 08:15 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

That we did. Probably why they sent us so many LOL. Yes, Margaret is great with that theory

Apr 15, 2017 09:20 AM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Great post. Indeed, every challenge presents an opportunity but only to those who are fearless, confident and immensely proud of their ability.

Apr 13, 2017 11:58 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

you go it!

Apr 15, 2017 09:21 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Awesome story and great lesson! Yes, I am pretty good and usually the voice of reason when it's someone else who freaks out. I need to work on my reaction when it's me confronted by the problem/opportunity however.

Apr 14, 2017 04:23 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

Way easier at times with others vs ourselves. LOL

Apr 15, 2017 09:21 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for sharing a great lesson from your personal experience. We can all gain from you.

Emotion is a killer of clear thinking.

You were being taught to don't let your emotions take over so your mind can function to find a solution to the situation at hand.


Apr 14, 2017 07:30 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

Yep. If emotion is in the way, you have to step back

Apr 15, 2017 09:21 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Great blog!  And what a smart manager you had!  Going to remember this phrase. Take a positive outlook and tackle the 'problem'!

Apr 14, 2017 07:11 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

Love it!

Apr 15, 2017 09:22 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

An important lesson Tammy, the ability to see opportunity where others only see problems is at the heart of most great successes.

Apr 14, 2017 11:22 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

You are so right!

Apr 15, 2017 09:22 AM
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
Serving Coastal San Diego, Veteran's & Seniors

This seems to be a common theme amongst the successful people we interview on our Podcast too Tammy. They all seem to see opportunities where the average see problems.

Apr 14, 2017 11:45 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

A fellow podcaster. I'll have to check it out!

Apr 15, 2017 09:23 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Great story on your leaning experience. We have to flip that switch right awy to be sure we are going in the opportunity direction.

Apr 15, 2017 05:45 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

The key is knowing you need to switch lol

Apr 15, 2017 09:25 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY

Good morning Tammy,

As a problem is like an equation; it is turned into an opportunity by those who will take the time to solve.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Apr 15, 2017 05:45 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

I like that!

Apr 15, 2017 09:25 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster This is a business where you always have to remain calm and not let your emotions guide. This is a business and there is always an opportunity around every corner.

Apr 15, 2017 07:22 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

You are right. Often we are keeping the other side calm and to realize everything is fixable

Apr 15, 2017 09:26 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Great great stuff, as always Tammy!  Thanks for the post.

Apr 15, 2017 07:58 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster


Apr 15, 2017 09:26 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Burlington, MA
Metro Boston Homes For Sale

Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster - It's the mindset that we have developed over time.

Successful people term this 'event' as the opportunity which slips off the hands of people who considered the same 'event' as a problem.

Apr 17, 2017 09:16 PM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Wow Tammy

You have really be putting out some greats posts which are receiving gold stars, many likes and comments, your post has been featured to the group:


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Apr 23, 2017 06:45 PM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster

Ahh, you are to kind Robert Vegas Bob Swetz !

Apr 23, 2017 07:35 PM