Last week Barbara Todaro wrote a blog titled "What Will I Do When The Market Changes & The Well Is Dry?" Barbara's blog automatically reminded me of a little book I read several years ago with a message that has been embedded in my mind every since. The title of that little book is "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson, M.D. If you have read this book you know why I automatically thought of it as I was reading Barbara's blog. But for those of you who have not read it, let me give you a quick summary.
"Who Moved My Cheese" is about four characters Sniff & Scurry and Hem & Haw. Sniff & Scurry are two little mice, who are not very smart, and rely on their senses to survive. Hem & Haw are two special little people who are no bigger than the mice, but have very complex brains that enable them to analyze everything.
All four live in a Maze in which there is all sorts of cheese stored. The four of them found a part of the maze that had so much cheese it seemed it would never run out. All four settle into a very comfortable daily routine, getting up in the morning and going to their pile of cheese. All four expected the cheese would always be there, and they were set for life. That was until one morning they went to eat some cheese and it was all gone.
Now Sniff & Scurry, the not so smart mice who relied on their instinct, had been noticing the huge pile of cheese had been slowly disappearing, and figured they would have to find a new pile of cheese soon. But Hem & Haw with their complex brains, who had just taken for granted the cheese would always be there, had not. So when each pair arrived one morning and noticed there was no more cheese. Sniff & Scurry quickly moved on to find a new supply of cheese. They explored new parts of the maze until they found another supply. But Hem & Haw did not, they just sat around complaining their cheese was gone. They were unprepared for what had been slowly happening, and were unwilling to explore and find new cheese.
At this point it should be very clear the connection between Barbara's blog, and the message in "Who Moved My Cheese". This business is constantly changing, and we need to change along with it. The seemingly endless cheese days when we are in a triving market, are not endless, and we have to constantly prospect for new cheese in order for the supply to continue.
Those who are like Sniff & Scurry, recognize their cheese is moving, make adjustments to their business plan, and continue to find new cheese. Those who do not recognize their cheese is disappearing, will just sit around complaining like Hem & Haw that they do not have any more cheese. In both cases they will start out asking "Who Moved My Cheese?" But in the end, one will realize they needed to go find new cheese, while the other will only complain about it, and hope new cheese finds them.
If you are reading this and were in the Real Estate or Lending Industry in 2005/2006, when the cheese was plentiful, you must be one of those not so smart mice who trusted their senses, and followed the cheese. You searched for new ways to mine the cheese, you took advantage of new technology, and learned how to use it. On the other hand those very smart Realtors, and Loan Originators with complex brains, are probably not around anymore to read this blog, They sat around waiting for the phone to ring, and complaining they had no more cheese.
Following the cheese is an everyday task. If we stop looking for ways to find it, it will disappear. If your phone is ringing, then you need to keep on doing what made it ring, while at the same time finding new ways to make sure it does not stop ringing. We have to keep looking for a new supply of cheese each and everyday. So when our supply starts to dwindle, we know where to find the next stack of cheese.
We all have a choice, will we be like Sniff & Scurry, or like Hem & Haw? Will we move on like Sniff & Scurry and find a new source of cheese, or will we be like Hem & Haw, and just sit around complaining about it? What choice have you made? Are you sitting around complaining, or are you making sure you are continuously prospecting for more cheese? Have You Found Your Cheese?