I have to have difficult conversations. It is part of my role. If I had a job description it would be on the list for sure. In the past ten years I’ve grown my real estate business from being just me as a solo Realtor in a large firm to opening our own company and starting out two people to now leading a team of 9 members. I started out on my own and my first year I had 17 closings. This year so far we’ve had 110 closings and we’ll likely finish 2013 around 150 closed transactions. Not only have I had difficult conversations with our team members, employees and vendors as a business owner, I’ve also had hundreds of difficult conversations with clients. Buying and selling a home is a stressful process and to create positive experiences for our clients we absolutely are in the trenches with our clients.
My perception is that some conversations are difficult. And typically that means that they are uncomfortable, involve conflict of some sort and have a negative thread. That would sound like something that an entrepreneur in the real estate industry would enjoy. However, I’m the peaced out, love bunny with rose colored glasses that is very optimistic and positive. Life is always good. And I’m also always up for a good challenge. One of the best challenges I’ve learned to master is handling difficult conversations with Grace and Love.
I don’t mind difficult. Difficult usually means that there is value in the result. I think of all the people out there that talk about doing something and I know that only a handful actually do it. I always want to be in the group of people that follows through and does the difficult. I like living an amazing life and I’m not scared of difficult if it will keep me on that path. What has been mind bending for me is this concept that it can be easy. That life and all the good yummy stuff that comes with a life lived well is easy. The Universe is conspiring to fill my life with magic, miracles and all things wonderful if only I can open my eyes to see it. It sounds too good to be true.
I have recently been tapping into my intuition more and more and I’ve been practicing being aware of the magic that already happens in my life. There have been some wonderful surprises. I notice that when I tell myself something is going to be hard and it feels heavy and yukky I have the option to turn that around and say, ‘nope, this is going to be easy peasy lemon squeezy.’ The right person will come along, the right solution will present itself…just allow. Just watch and go with the flow.
As a control freak, that is almost funny because it sounds insane. And yet it totally works. Here is where I’m at in processing this new concept. We have two offices. One on the East side of town and one on the West side of town. We know we don’t want to grow in numbers (when we opened the second location we added more agents and thought we wanted to be bigger). Over the past couple of years we’ve discovered that we like the small boutique model. That means that we only need one office. It is silly to have two offices for a number of reasons. As Carlos and I discussed this over the past couple of months we started to clarify what is important to us and we realized that at some point it will be important to consolidate to one location. We played with the idea. We had fun playing with the options. We didn’t make it difficult. We didn’t stress about it. There were issues with one location being better but too small and the hardship of having only one office for our agents for convenience. Then we found out that more space was coming available in our West side building (our preferred location). As we put the thoughts out into the Universe she worked her magic and delivered a solution. We are able to add space to our ideal location so we all fit.
Now begin the difficult conversations. And again, I’m challenged with the opportunity to turn that thought around and know that it doesn’t have to be difficult.
– How will closing an office be perceived by our agents? By our clients, the consumers, our community?
– Will we look like we are in trouble? Will people think we can’t make it?
– Will it cause our team to feel unstable and concerned for the strength of the company?
Those were all the things that made me feel like talking to people about this, and specifically talking to our team about this, would be difficult. In the past week I’ve had the opportunity to see what really takes place in having the conversation and in the power of choosing ‘easy peasy lemon squeezy’. Our first conversation was with our Office Manager. He is our rock and has helped us in so many ways. We absolutely adore Eric. The location of the East office (the one we are proposing to close) is closer to his home. He has a great new office that he just moved into that he loves. I was not looking forward to his reaction. I enjoy, actually, I LOVE seeing Eric happy and I was afraid this would not make him happy. Surprise! He admitted that he always thought it was unnecessary to have two locations with our size company. At one point I was talking (a bit too much) about the reasons why this made sense and he actually interrupted me to say he thought it was a good idea and he was on board. Consequently as I talked through the idea with people on the team I got the same reaction from many of them. One agent did not respond so well. The conversation got difficult. I stayed open, I practiced bringing love and grace into the conversation and I watched it unfold.
Where the conversation gets difficult or yukky I perk up. Something isn’t right. It doesn’t have to be difficult. If it starts to feel difficult I know it isn’t coming from me. When I bring grace and love into the conversation and it is rejected by the other person I’m aware that they are the ones that are creating the negative and making it difficult. And I know, in my heart, that it doesn’t have to be difficult. I have had what some people would consider difficult conversations with people and when both of us allowed the grace and love into the process, the conversation was rewarding, we were able to understand the others’ perspective and there was flow.
Typically this is most common in a healthy marriage. You get into an argument with your spouse and later talk openly about it to come to a place of agreement and understanding. Perhaps you agree to disagree, with love and grace. It doesn’t have to be difficult if there is respect. When there is full commitment it is easy to do because both parties know that they are deeply invested and the goal is to make it work. That can break down when you are dealing with someone that you think is a passing person in your life. The customer service rep, the flight attendant, the cashier at the grocery store. Somehow when I practice this concept in those situations it works magically too. I have learned to stay neutral to the negativity and notice that if it comes into the conversation, I can diffuse it with love and grace. And if the other person insists on going to that ugly place I don’t have to go with them.
I can stay in my pink bubble of love and grace. I can feel empowered by the magic. Thank you sweet Universe for the opportunity to practice this gift.