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How my Kids Taught me to Thrive in Real Estate

five kidsI have five kids. Yes. You read that right. Five. 

I owe my mad skills in real estate to these kids. Everything from effective communication to keeping my word. 

My son, Sam, really taught me to ask for what you want and if that doesn’t work, ask again in a different way and always with a happy spirit. 

It’s 10:00 in the morning and they are all out back playing. Sam, my seven-year-old son, comes in while I am looking through a cookbook trying to figure out what to make for dinner. It was the first moment I’d had to myself and I was enjoying it.

“Maw? Can I have a cookie?”  He asks. 

“Nope,” I said. 

“Okay, thanks, Maw.” He responds cheerily and skips away.

About 7 minutes later he comes back. “Maw? Can Josie have a cookie?” He asks hopefully. 

“Nope,” I said. 

“Okay, thanks, Maw.” He says. 

I hear him whistling while he runs to the backyard.

Four minutes later. I was prepared. I will be tough.

He points to the window, “Maw, can Emma have a cookie?”  Peeking through the window in anticipation was my cute little blond-haired, blue-eyed, three-year-old, Emma.

Man, I have to admit, he is good. He is really playing hardball. I’ve got this! I say to myself. He will not win on this one today!

“No Sam. I reply sternly. “No cookies!” There! I did it, I thought to myself. I held strong. 

“Okay, Maw, thanks.” 

I could see his head of displaced curls poking in through the back door and he was waiting like he was thinking of yet one more thing he could pull out of his bag of tricks. Then he yells, “Hey MOM? Maybe we could have cookies after lunch?”

I yell back, “YES, YOU CAN HAVE COOKIES AFTER LUNCH!”  Finally, this little fiasco is over and I won and so did he. It is perfect! This would give me an hour or so to myself. I felt happiness wash over me. 

Two minutes later, Sam again! Arg!

“Hey, Maw? When’s lunch?” He hollers from the back door. 

That’s it. I’m tapping out. I roll my eyes. I give up. This is not a hill I want to die on so, I calmly walk to the panty, grab the bag of Keebler cookies and reach in and grab a handful for myself. He is standing there wide-eyed wondering what exactly I was going to do with those cookies. I have to admit I was a little unpredictable at times. I look him in the eye while holding both a bag of cookies in one hand and a handful in the other. I smile. I do a little dance and hand him the bag smiling I sing, “Woo hoo, cookies for lunch!”

His face lights up and he does a fist pump. “YES!” He says and runs out the door with bag in hand. Mom gave us the whole bag! I hear the tiny voices outside squealing with delight.

My kids also taught me to consider every single scenario and to be prepared for anything. Anything. 

My car is now equipped with a bag with wipes, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. 

Why? I learned this lesson when my five-year-old had to poop on the way to Mount Rushmore and there is no bathroom, of course, we pull over and when he poops right into his Spiderman under duds, you better have wipes, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. Oh, and plastic bags always come in handy. Yes. Be prepared.

Oh, oh, what about the time Josephine, my seven-year-old daughter, fed the family dog a giant bowl of cat food? 

We were road tripping in the rain to Telluride. Do you know what happens when you give a dog cat food? First whining. Then diarrhea. 

Do you know what happens when you pull a 15 passenger van off the side of the road that has no shoulder, in the rain? Let’s just say, it’s a slippery slope. 

Thank God I had wipes, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. 

How did this help me in real estate? I find my clients have appreciated these items too.  Especially in the down market when the bank owned homes had no water turned on or no place to go to the bathroom. You also never know when something will be spilled in the car or we are in a vacant house with no toilet paper. 

Thank God I had wipes, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. 

There are many more lessons my kids taught me that supports me in selling real estate. Most of the lessons were really just situations that caused me to rise up to the occasion and take care of business. I had to reach in somewhere inside and grab the right tools, tools I already have inside myself, tools you have as well. You know, like we did when the market tanked.

Once I grabbed the right tools, I could face the challenges head-on and be the problem solver. There were no giant problems before me. Cleaning up poopie pants while on the road doesn’t take any special talent. It does, however, take the strength of character to glean the lesson in it. It takes the strength of character to respond vs react.  To be gentle with my little son and recognize he too was stressed about the situation. To be kind and make light and laugh with him, not at him. To recognize living a perfect life isn’t one that is perfect.

Lastly, I come to gratitude.

Yeah, it may not sound sexy but I am grateful for these experiences. The small problems are opportunities. Just like in real estate. There are opportunities to be kind. Generous. Engaged. Present. There are opportunities to be grateful for the ordinary days. To check in and sell with a happy spirit. Just like Sam. And sometimes it’s okay to have cookies for lunch and to dance a little.

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