Widgets Driven Off the Assembly Line of Life?

Picking up where we left off last week…(go to tombrezsny.wordpress.com if you missed Real Estate of Mind)

ImageBuying or Selling a home often serves as ground-zero for people trying to push the reset button and create some semblance of balanceamidst all the challenges, struggles, lessons, opportunities that life invariably offers the living.

Home is our biggest asset.  And Home is also that ineffable thing we can’t quite describe in words. The mysterious place that nurtures our hearts and souls at the same time it puts a roof over our heads and four walls around our bodies to help keep us warm.

Think: refuge, sanctuary, privacy, safety, shelter, comfort.  Then mindfully repeat the word  “home.” (Sounds a lot like the spiritual mantra of “Om” doesn’t it?)

Is there anything else so tangibly interwoven with daily life, that holds the power to touch our deepest emotions, more readily than buying or selling a home does?  Engulf our passions? Activate our fright and flight mechanisms? Confuse and defy our best logic?Tape-loop our most poignant memories?  Incite civil wars between our left and right brain selves?  Conjure endless litanies of pre-imagined what-ifs?  Drive us so completely, utterly, certifiably bat-s__ crazy.

Early in my career,  I kept noticing that lots of people were  distracted. They weren’t always able to concentrate on the intricate details of the real estate process because there were other issues going on in their lives.  They didn’t always say much about those other issues. And I didn’t always ask back then.

As time went on, I found it more and more difficult to have meaningful discussions about people’s real estate options without digging deeper into the nature of the personal goals they were hoping to achieve.

Sometimes the actual houses themselves, didn’t even seem like they were the real end people were seeking.  Often the houses felt more like they were projections or representations of some broader desire people had for change in their lives.

Slowly but surely, I began to realize that this real estate gig wasn’t going to be as simple or easy as lining up contacts and selling tons of homes to ready, willing and able consumers.  Pushing them through an automated process like widgets driven off the assembly line of life.

At the time, I was pretty green and there were a gaggle of real estate success gurus running around out there reaffirming every possible negative used-car stereotype of the Bad Realtor. Using memorable pitches like “sell the sizzle rather than the steak” and “buy this house or get the hell out of my car.”

They are still out there of course.  Offering new and improved techniques for persuasion. Tricks of perspective.  Rhetorical twists and neuro-linguistic slights of hand.  Tapping into different levels of fear and greed.  I’m happy to say I’m less impressionable now.

As I became more conscious of clients as people rather than simply Buyers and Sellers, I soon realized that every transaction I worked in, every house I listed, every showing of a home, was really about someone going through a major life transition.  Without exception.

Marriage. The birth of twins. Divorce. Job loss. Promotion. Family. Health. Aging. Death and dying. You name it.  Up-sizing. Down-sizing.  Starting out.  Retiring. All the biggies.

Selling a home is never just about selling a home.  There’s always a story behind it.

And it’s the collection stories over time that becomes the most fascinating and rewarding part of the work.  The real pay-off.  The opportunity to feel the pulse of the culture that is taking place inside of all those life changes.  Something that’s very difficult to see on the outside, from a distance.


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