There’s always something to howl about

On work, busywork, hard work, and how to tell the difference

A revelation: At this moment in time, my business is exactly where I want it to be. Is that weird? I don’t think so, as I’m getting exactly the business I’ve earned. That’s not to say it’s the business that would make you happy, and it’s not to say it’s the business I want in six months or six years, even six weeks from now, but today, when I stopped to think about it, my business is in direct proportion to the amount of work I’ve put into it.

I’ve been busy over the past few years, but I haven’t always been busy on work. Some of that is my own fault, I’ll own that, I always have owned that, but the fact remains that the business I’m getting is exactly proportional to whatever I put into it, and that’s the good news for the day, because I know that whatever I put in, I’m going to get out.

I haven’t talked about my dad in a long while, but everything I know about work, I learned from him. I think you’d like my dad- he’s a Bloodhound. He grew up in a hardscrabble part of town, in a Catholic orphanage where the nuns let him be as much as they could. He is a kinesthetic learner. He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, but not in a bookish way. He can teach himself any sort of thing, but only if he does it and the nuns allowed him to follow the plumbers, the maintenance people, the doers, around. He’d ask them questions about what they were doing and hand them tools when they asked. Other kids were off playing pick up games or getting into neighborhood fights, Dad was learning, always learning stuff.

When he had a family to support, Dad became a salesman which allowed him to get out and talk to people. A desk job? No thanks. My dad needed to live unchained, so he headed out- an independent sales rep for tool manufacturers. It wasn’t an easy life for him, but he was used to that. He loved to work, can’t sit still, to this day he can’t sit still.

He once told me about his early days on the road as a sales rep. When things were really tough and he had no money, he’d pull into a motel parking lot and sleep in the car. Back then, when a motel guest was checking out, they’d leave the room key in the door as a signal to the maid to come in and clean. If things were really tough, Dad would sit in the parking lot and wait for a guest to leave, run in and quickly use the shower to clean up. That’s kinda gross to think about, isn’t it? Yeah well, it’s also hard work and what needed to be done and the way he survived, and it fed me and my brothers. Fortunately, that didn’t happen often and he didn’t live that way for long because hard work pays off and he began to earn business in exact proportion to the amount of work he put in and eventually he was able to put four kids through college. Dad can look back at those times and smile. They now represent an extraordinary marker of how far he has come- how hard he worked and how much his hard work paid off for everyone in his life. You and I have our own markers of success.

I bring this up because I’ve been thinking about different real estate markets around the country and how there must be agents in booming parts of the country who didn’t have to work too terribly hard on their business the past 10 years. I’m assuming, tell me if I’m wrong, that in a boom town, with people moving in, you might could work in real estate without having to work too hard at the business side of real estate, and perhaps today you are looking back at the past few years wondering what happened? Business isn’t where you want it to be? Easy come, easy go, but I’m here to give you a nudge to get to working, seriously working, because the good news for me is also the good news for you- whatever you put in, you will get back and it while it probably won’t take long, it will take work. My dad would be proud.

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