February 6, 2011 2 Comments
Shortly before I was leaving on a vacation to spend time with my family in December, I received an advanced copy of a new book by Stefan Swanepoel. I had come to know Stefan when he was the featured guest speaker at REALTOR® leadership conferences. I looked to his annual Trends Reports for how I should be trending. The relationship grew as a result of ongoing communication through social networking. I packed the book away thinking I would have some vacation reading.
As the departure date for my vacation was approaching I had much anxiety about leaving. After spending the last eighteen months re-establishing myself as a selling agent after managing for a few years, my business was back on the sales track but something appeared to becoming to fruition that could derail me. The rumors about the brokerage company I had been affiliated with that had been stirring for the last few months seemed to be coming true. Long waits for commission checks, many bouncing, talk of fraud and escrow violations. I knew I had to disassociate from them but where do I go? Would my clients follow? Would my groove get disrupted? How did this happen? I never imagined that I would have ended up being associated with people like that. The company was a well respected brand internationally now tarnished locally. I had to make an immediate move.
Choosing a brokerage in this economic environment was difficult. So many of the brokerages, including the big brand franchises are under funded and over leveraged. They took on too much debt acquiring companies, expanding and/or are under capitalized. There are also several firms where the companies and their principals are facing a variety of lawsuits which if they lose, will impact the firms financially leading to necessary restructuring or sale. I wanted stability in an unstable atmosphere. I just wanted to focus on listing and selling and not be concerned about if the company had the wherewithal to withstand the next few years of turbulence.
On the only day it was warm enough while I was in South Florida to sit by the pool, I took the book out of my suitcase and settled in poolside. Being that I know Stefan Swanepoel as a leading expert in the Real Estate industry, I was not sure what my expectations were as a starting reading this fable, just as the visitors to the Serengeti did not know either. Then as I read further the light went on. It was about the ongoing journey and surviving.
Surviving Your Serengeti: Seven Skills to Master Business and Life is a quick but captivating read. The story of this American couple and their journey through the Serengeti of Africa gave me perspective. I was at a point where I needed to step out of the place I was in and look at myself and my surroundings. What do I need to do to survive? In my case it was what did I need to do to move myself and my business forward? The fable gave me the vantage point to determine what I needed to do for myself to survive and succeed in the world I am in.
What Animal Am I? Each of the animals in the Serengeti possess characteristics that we find in people. Different ones come across differently in each of us. Some are stronger. I won’t use the word weaker for the other end. I choose less dominate. So now it was time for me to take the test. I am the enterprising crocodile. It is a great reminder of why I have achieved success as a REALTOR® as well as other paths I had previously gone down professionally.
I wish to share this story with all. It is not about real estate sales skills. It is about business skills. It is an ongoing process to use the characteristics and instincts that we possess and adapt. Not just survive but prevail.
It has been about six weeks since I first read Surviving Your Serengeti and four weeks that I have been at Coldwell Banker. Exclusively of cleaning up some loose ends with my former company and waiting for the new office to be up and running, it has all been good and even some days great.
I thank you, Stefan for allowing me the privilege to preview the book. It was a gift of guidance that arrived just at the right moment for me to figure out where my journey needed to take me.