It is with some contrition that I note my latest post was precisely a week before teaching my first Code of Ethics class for the Windermere Real Estate organization last month. As it happens, I’ll be instructing a second group of Realtors® tomorrow. Keep this up and I’ll be posting once a month and only on the topic of ethics in my industry.
Not true! There’s plenty to discuss on the subject of real estate and I would be remiss to state I’m running out of thematic material. To the contrary: sometimes I’m uncertain what to write about because there’s simply so much going on at a national, regional and local level. At the end of the day, real estate is immediate, microcosmic. I can wax philosophic about this career choice or gloat that ours in the Northwest is still a relatively robust market, serving few on either count in the process. A risk always is the alienation of readers because I’m speaking about small business when it’s a homeowner perusing my posting to glean marketing ideas, or postulating on how to select the right listing agent when the last thing a Realtor® reading my blog from Las Vegas wants to think about is representing another seller.
As a teacher, today I’m a novice, having instructed briefly as a martial artist only in one-on-one situations; and as assistant coach this season of my twelve year old daughter’s newly formed, inexperienced basketball team. I took on teaching to grow and differentiate, not just through learning the material but by exposing myself to a new environmental dynamic in the process. Boy, did I shoot up like the first spring flower! I’d say for an initial effort, it was respectable, though I’s give myself a “C” at best.
First off, Code of Ethics is dry material, about as interesting as poking a dead squirrel with a stick for some. Secondly, my initial class consisted of mostly wizened agents, predominantly with broker or associate broker designations, many of whom have been in the business twice as long as I, or longer. To be sure, there are easier classes to teach. Still, I’m a glutton for punishment and never given to shying away from a challenge. Furthermore, I remind myself I have actually studied the subject and am probably up on it more than most of those I will teach.
My “instructor evaluations” were about what I expected, brutal to sanguine. For some, my style was best described as “excruciating, the worst in a career filled with seemingly needless clock hour classes”; others “delightful, informative and energetic”. In re-reading these comments today (not necessarily the recommended practice for rookie teachers) I am reminded of how reflective they are of us all. In small business, we are pleasers, service providers. Invariably, there is a much larger market to serve than any of us may hope to. In pursuit of our business, we encounter clients, customers, vendors of all shapes, sizes, personalities, wants and wishes. Can we meet all their needs? Absolutely not! How then, as a teacher, may I translate this recent experience to my real estate business? First off, let it go. Let go of the outcome. It’s improbable at best, likely doubtful I can or will please all my clients and I simply cannot take their opinions of me personally. Second – decide who I want my clients to be to minimize that risk. Unlike teaching in the classroom where I cannot control whom is in attendance, my clients I can pick. Third, be sensitive to different learning styles. Not everyone is right, left of muddle-brained. We all absorb information and learn differently.
I will continue to teach, to adjust my approach in accommodation of as many learning styles as possible. But I will also forgive myself the missteps, be they academic or professional. It’s not whether or not we make mistakes, rather how we chose to learn from and grow through them. I’ll let you know how tomorrow goes…..or maybe not, as I should probably take this opportunity to move onto another topic.