Active Rain February 25, 2009

Are You Losing Your Soul or Your Sole?

A rather interesting homophone arose in the comment thread of one of my recent postings that I thought merited some commentary. A “homophone,” by the way, is a case of two words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. For instance, “bore” (to make weary by being dull) and “boar” (wild pig) make a homophone. Remember? Probably 4th grade language arts. I studied English. I dig that stuff. Somebody has to.

The market is tough around here. Some of our profession have had to make awful decisions, between car note and house note, between remaining in real estate or getting out, and, sadly, between declaring bankruptcy or giving it another month. One attorney I do business with told me that his largest pool of bankruptcy clients is licensees. This is very sad but not unexpected. Some of us have been fortunate to adapt. Some of us are in incredibly foul moods (have you noticed?).

The choice we have to make is whether the damage sustained from new challenges is absorbed by our soul-our attitude, our outlook and mood, or by our sole- our willingness to hit the metaphorical pavement and wear out our shoes getting to work. It is tempting to succumb to anger and frustration when a buyer is indecisive or a seller kvetches to us at 9pm when we’d rather be putting our children to bed or relaxing.

Just yesterday I reached out to the buyer agent on one of the deals I have pending. He picked up his phone. We chatted briefly, and when I asked if we could conference in another principal, he refused, telling me it was his day off (why did he answer the phone?). Here was a chance to invest 10 minutes into expediting an $8,000 commission. It was more important to be off. Fair enough. I am all for balance, but I’ll never squander an opportunity in this market when it lands in my lap.

Sometimes the answer to adversity is that we have to work a little harder for a little longer. We had a period there when there was lots of low hanging fruit. Many of us looked smarter than we really were. Now the cream rises to the top. When this slowdown is over and the market recovers, those of us left standing will be lean and mean. We’ll have far more resilient souls and far more worn out soles.