Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 29, 2004
My Meeting With Larry
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 29, 2004 – I frighten myself. I arrived at the office today for my meeting with Larry, armed with one of my signature three ring binders. Instead of the usual five dividers this one had ten. Larry was bound to notice – at my last meeting with him nine years ago I had a blank sheet of paper.
We chatted about my real estate business – my worry level (which is constant), the fact that I have no life outside my career and that I think I should always be working. When I’m old and gray I’ll have a sheaf of newsletters, a wayward client or two, a website full of pictures, a debt-free financial profile and precious little else. That’s what happens when you work to the exclusion of having a life.
It’s not healthy, it isn’t any fun and I’ve become a grumpy gremlin. We sat and chatted about my marketing ideas, what I do well, where my approach to business is weak, the fact that I’m tired all the time because all the hormones have left my body (sort of like Elvis leaving the building) and what I can try to do to get back on track.
True to form, Larry had some great ideas. Similar to the advice he gave me in 1995 – he suggested that I start small. Take “baby steps” – make minor changes. Start by doing something once a week just for me. I immediately chimed in and said, “I need to be doing something for myself every day”. To which Larry replied, “What are the chances that you will go from non-stop work to doing something for yourself every day?” I know he’s right and it made me sad and tired just thinking about it. I have given “the Protestant Work Ethic” an entire new meaning.
I’ve also come to realize that my work is a great place for me to hide away from the world. I’m not even sure I know any more what I like to do. If I had no worries in the world and an unlimited supply of cash – how would I like to spend my days? The only answer that springs to mind is “sleeping”. Wow, I hardy like to spend time with myself, no much wonder that I have no time for a dating life. When I was younger I’m pretty sure I had a hobby or two. Things that spring to mind are photography – running – roller blading – travelling – gardening – the gym. I remember taking a cooking class or two, going to lectures, concerts, plays and symphonies. Somewhere along the line I’ve misplaced my “joie de vivre”.
Larry suggested that I speak to a real estate coach – a guru – a motivator to end all motivators. A veritable Goliath of great ideas – goodness and gladness. I balked. Larry didn’t insist – he thought it would be worthwhile. We also talked about the new WebSite that I’m developing and the planned changes to my existing site that are in the works.. His advice – keep building on what already works for me.
Forget every “should” in my mind – focus instead on my business strengths. It’s always a terrific idea to toss ideas around with someone else – especially when that person understands the matters at hand. Larry has been in the industry for over twenty-five years, he is unquestionably the best broker in Toronto, and it’s a privilege for me to work for him.
As our time drew to a close, Larry suggested that we meet again next week to finish discussing the rest of the points on my list. I’m going to take him up on that offer. “His Larriness”, as I fondly call him, is one of the good guys in a very difficult business. I respect his knowledge, integrity, professionalism and his honest, objective comments about my business. The winds of change are blowing through my life and a shakeup is coming. It’s not a tornado, as it probably should be, but it’s stronger than a summer breeze. With any luck, the wind will be at my back, and my course will be steady and strong.
Change, at any age, is so darned hard. In part I’m sure, because I think of it as threatening instead of exciting. I wonder if I’m up to the task. Do I have what it takes to move forward? What if I fail? Well so what? It wouldn’t be the first time nor will it be the last. If I’d never made a mistake in my life, I wouldn’t have learned a thing. I’m sure that as I near the end of my life, whenever that may be, the things that will stand out as victories will be the times that I challenged myself – not the occasions during which I stood on the sidelines and watched as life passed me by.