Disclaimer: This is not a blog post about social media. Although, I have to give a shout out to Benn Rosales for his eye catching headline: Why Real Estate Passion is Dead. It got me thinking about this new emphasis on passion. I think it used to be called liking what you do.
“Gimme a ‘P’…Gimme an ‘A’…
Everyone from Tony Robbins to Guy Vaynerchuk have latched onto this passion thing. Life is not worth living, it seems, unless you can live it full out, throttle wide open with a smile on your face and a zippedy-do-dah on you lips. Anything less and you might as well finish off that bottle of Valium and chase it with a half fifth of Jack Daniels and check on out.
It reminds me, in a way, of the time when I was but a wee grasshopper sitting at the feet of the kung fu real estate masters. There was an agent in my office who loved showing houses. I mean, she really loved it. So much so that her clients begged her to stop showing houses and help them buy one. I guess her clients didn’t quite share her passion.
I also see, quite a bit, this passion in marketing blurbs about how agents have this passion for real estate or for exceeding their clients expectations or whatever. In fact, I’m thinking that passion is becoming the substitute for experience. Don’t get me wrong. I know there are tons of people out there with lots of experience that could use a little passion or, at least, enthusiasm about the j-o-b but passion only goes so far when the ink is barely dry on your license.
“Gimme an ‘S’…Gimme Another ‘S’…
Yet, I find myself becoming more and more cynical and jaded with every passing year. During my wee grasshopper phase, I was the naive idealist who thought I would be able to change the perception of real estate professionals as slightly better than Congressmen but worse than Used Car Salesmen. I was going to really, really help my clients achieve their dreams and help Raise The Bar, to boot (even though I didn’t know what Raising the Bar meant, at the time).
I even got dressed up for settlement. Sometimes the full blown suit, other times a nice sport coat and tie. After all, this was the Big Day. The culmination of months of work. The time when the buyers got the keys or the sellers got the big check (back then sellers got a check). My clients showed up in flip flops and sandals with shorts and t-shirts. It didn’t take me long to figure out it didn’t freakin’ matter if I showed up or not.
Then I realized that contracts are really just “guidelines” with dates and time frames that were missed more than met. There were rarely any adverse consequences for default or breach. Brokers — recruiting propaganda to the contrary — did not go to the mat for their agents for procuring cause or broken Buyer’s Broker Agreements. Independent contractor meant “you’re on your own” . Other professionals in the transaction from other agents to lenders to title company people would regularly ignore pleas for communication or updates…or lie.
“Gimme an ‘I…O…N'”
So I became a good technician with some empathy. Yes, I do care about the outcome for my clients but I am under no illusion that they care about me. I still try to keep an open line of communication and I want to believe the other real estate professionals in the transaction but now I “trust but verify”. And I no longer bounce out of bed every morning with breathless anticipation about what the day will bring.
Some people (Tony Robbins? Gary Vee?) would tell me to quit and find my true passion and then monetize it. To them, I say, pay my mortgage.
Sure, it would be nice to feel really good about what I do every day to earn an income. But money trumps passion every time.