Sometimes, as much as I prioritize self-awareness and looking inward, I still manage to surprise myself with a struggle I don't see coming. My recent focus on building up my Real Estate career has shown me some flaws in my perception of work, and specifically my own self-worth regarding the type of work I'm doing.
I make stuff; welding and metalworking, woodworking, I make furniture and fixtures, I repair machinery and motors. I absolutely love it. What brought me back to Real Estate and drives me to keep at it is its ability to let me hold on to all those things I love as hobbies. I find that supporting my family by building things doesn't allow me to take joy from it like I did before I went into business for myself. Enter Real Estate, it fulfills my need to help people, and it satisfies my creative and competitive itch enough to keep me going and keep me improving.
But, here's my struggle. The nuts and bolts of it; contracts, deadlines, laws, ethics, and negotiations are easy enough. My surprise came when I was having trouble with the personal side of it, making connections, building a sphere of influence, networking, and just generally putting myself out there.
So what's the problem? Well, after poking around my own mind for a while I realized part of the reason I've been building things is because I use those items, whatever they may be, as receipts for my self-worth. Basically it's, "here's proof I'm worth something". In building a real estate business, making a call to expand my sphere, or cold-calling, for example, I don't get that receipt that I can use as proof to my ego that I'm worth a damn.
Perception is reality, and my perception of the value of my work needs to change. So what do my real estate efforts have in common with say, me making a table? When I make a table I have a set of plans, my tools are sharpened and honed, each step in the build process is as important as the others because I'm a craftsman and that's how I ensure my table will be around for many years to come. The parallels to real estate are obvious now, but I was completely blind to them until I looked.
The plans are pretty obvious, it's the care I take in drawing them that makes me a craftsman. The tools in real estate are my own mind and ideas, I keep them sharp by always learning and applying those lessons. The process too, a craftsman's process is what ensures the tools and plans make something wonderful to behold. Through the eyes of a craftsman there's no difference between a perfectly constructed table base and a perfectly executed cold call because the approach is the same. Both are done with care, thought, and with the knowledge that a piece of the builder goes into each step in the process that results in the end product, whether it be a dining room table you can eat your dinner at or a conversation that was enriching for both parties.
I had fooled myself into believing the craftsman's ethos I cultivated as a builder wasn't applicable to real estate, and realizing that it was as important to real estate work as it was to building things made me also realize my own self-worth as an agent. Once that clicked into place my struggles became a matter of just drawing up new plans and honing my new tools, which is just part of the process, after all.Posted by Kyle Schrader on