“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you have to keep moving” – Albert Einstein
I am no Einstein, but I definitely subscribe to that wisdom.
I remember a friend of mine who was a psychologist and still working up into her 80s. Her office was in a building next to a nursing home and out one day she looked out as some of the residents were sitting outside taking in the sunshine. “‘Will you look at those poor old souls,” she said. “If I ever stop moving I think I might rust!”
Don’t get me wrong, self care is critically important – especially in the stressful times that we have been going through over the past two years. However, it is part of the balance. Work hard, then work a little harder and the rewards come.
I used to struggle a little with trying to get everything done, and found I burned the “midnight oil” – sometimes to the point of running out of fuel.
I can’t say for sure if an actual light switched on one day, or if it was a gradual realization, but I learned that I can be in two places or three places at the same time. No, I have not cloned myself, or been having “out of body” experiences, but I have discovered the value in utilizing effective, reliable people. I am an independent Realtor in a relatively small market who is averaging approximately two sales per week. We all know that the paperwork and process alone for this level of work would be nearly impossible for one person to manage on their own. I have found a team that shines. My executive assistant is exceptional. We have an excellent relationship, yet I have never met her. She lives in the Philippines and works while people in my city sleep.
I have another person working with me who is off to Mexico for a few months, and I know that he will be just as valuable to our work with warm winds and sunshine as he is here in the chilly winter and spring. And I also have remarkable people here with boots on the ground.
This has allowed me to freely give my experience, mentor younger staff and share remarkable growth and success.
But it has been much more than simply finding good people. It has really been about finding hard-working, honest people and then introducing them to systems that I have developed that allow things to operate like a well-oiled machine. With 32 years in real estate, I have learned many things. One of them has been about surrounding myself with strong, decent people; the other is the design of functional systems that allow for fluidity and success – from administration and marketing to sales and closings.
Once my team has been trained on our operating systems, they align and we work as one cohesive unit. I have often joked that I could be teleported to Mars and the team and system we have in place would continue to function for a week before anyone knew I was gone.
My success as a Realtor does not necessarily come from outworking people, or being more astute, but I think from pivoting with the times. For example, I am relatively tech-savvy compared to many other people my age, but I knew that in order to achieve greater success and make things easier for everyone, I needed to find people who knew more than me about certain things – like designing technology-based sales through virtual viewing layouts, implementing digital documents and more efficiently utilizing contemporary social media platforms.
I recently sold a home to a woman who came to an in-person viewing. She said, “I love this house. I must have walked through it 100 times.” This puzzled me at first, as it was our first face-to-face meeting, until she told me that she had visited the house online several times per day for the previous two weeks, and knew it was going to be home.
Back to balance. My life is active and fulfilling. I am a full-time city councillor, active on committees and boards, make time for my partner, my family and my friends, am enrolled in an MBA program, have a series of speaking engagements and an upcoming book launch. Oh, and I may not have mentioned, I am a committed full-time Realtor.
I have experienced highs and lows in life and in real estate but have to say that despite the pandemic and challenges that the world is facing, I have found balance. It has come from prioritizing tasks and time and from recognizing and utilizing my talents and the talents and expertise of others. I am energized from within, but also from the dedication of those around me.
I have committed to writing an article here each month for the next year and will be drawing on life experiences and how they have influenced my career in real estate. I will be sharing my thoughts on some of the following topics: virtual sales, stumbling blocks, operating systems, relationships with clients and colleagues, and tapping into new resources.
I will do my best to infuse a little wit and wisdom along the way. Here’s to sharing ideas and living our best lives.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Debbie Hanlon wears many hats (and sometimes a cape)! She is the award-winning Realtor, owner, broker and creative driving force at Debbie Hanlon Real Estate, based in St. John’s, NL. Debbie is also a very active city councillor, keynote speaker, published author and children’s entertainer. In her spare time she is completing an MBA and enjoying an active, happy life with family and friends at home in historic St. John’s. Contact her by email.