Active Rain September 1, 2010

That Which Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stronger

OK, maybe Nietzsche is a little bit heavy for breakfast, but the theme of many blog posts I have read lately from my colleagues around the country is that this industry, which was never a walk in the park, is a real test of endurance, strength, and fortitude on both a physical and mental level.

When I was on the college rowing team we had a race with Princeton University, which was a far higher calibre of program. They were Ivy League, which is the top of the heap in crew. We were a club. The race was at Carnegie Lake in Princeton, New Jersey, and we got pasted. This was not unexpected. What I recall even more vividly than the whooping we got was the message on the bright orange T-shirt every Princeton oarsman wore that day: 

That Which Hurts Me Only Makes Me Stronger

Our T-shirts said things like “Villanova Basketball” and “Nike.” Our coach was furious with us after my boat’s race, not because we lost, but because we didn’t row well. And instead of going straight back to campus, we stayed on that nice lake and had a rare, post race practice session. It hurt. Our boat made the finals of the Dad Vail Regatta (small program championships) later that spring, where we missed a bronze medal by a few feet. In doing so, we beat several other crews whom we lost to earlier in the season. Not bad for a club program. 

Hopefully, that is a lesson that will carry over. 

We work long hours, fight more buyer resistance, seller grief, and lender red tape than probably anytime in modern history. Transactions are mine fields, not the rocky, negotiable paths they once were. We are travelling that field of peril  while multi tasking with new regulations, new technologies, and unpredictable news which can scuttle the already fragile mindsets of those whose cooperation we desperately need. Some clients are unreasonably obstinate; other are paralyzed with fear; getting both buyer, seller, lender and two lawyers to cooperate in a transaction is like conducting a symphony on a high wire these days, yet we have to keep our cool. 

The industry was already one rife with rejection, competition,  and the odd unscrupulous agent. Now we have, thanks to layers of meltdowns, burst bubbles, collapse of massive institutions, recessions and a shell-shocked public to deal with an unknown frontier to conquer. And you thought getting a real estate license was a good idea. 

Anyone who can survive and thrive in this environment will prosper incredibly when stability (and, I’ll whisper: prosperity) returns. They also have my respect. 

If you are a consumer, consider these things when choosing your advocate.

If you are a licensee, take heart. 

This too shall pass, and we’ll be the better for it.