Our own Worst Enemy

Our own Worst EnemySeptember always seems to be that month of the year when suddenly we realize that Summer is nearing its end and looking and planning for the cold months ahead.  For some reason those darned real estate tax bills have to be paid by the end of this month. I’m sure many business people brace themselves for a lean October due to all the outlays during this month starting with likely their 3rd quarter estimated Federal and State income taxes, possibly some semi-annual insurance bills, and of course the semi-annual real estate taxes.  I’m sure some feel like turning into squirrels and begin gathering their “nuts” these next months before the hard frost arrives and stays for the remainder of the winter.  I’ve always smiled to myself whenever people talk about how hard their hourly or salaried jobs are at times when most have absolutely no idea what it takes to keep a proprietorship running smoothly. Looking at some of the homes that were built by businessmen around the turn of the century tells us those who were the most successful were those who took risks and built their businesses from the ground up and in their later years and had grand homes constructed as a sort of gift to themselves for their being diligent in growing their businesses.  Today we find somewhat a bit of the opposite.  Many business owners live in more modest dwellings while upper management of companies including doctors are those living in the grand homes.  I wish them all well but the odd thing that’s different is that the risk taking proprietors are in third or fourth pews while those under corporate umbrellas are in the second and first.  The old saying went that if you punched a time clock or worked under someone’s direction, you’d never get ahead.  Well it looks like that’s been disproved.  Many times when speaking with young people about breaking out a bit and starting some small money making venture, they all seem to think it’s too risky and too costly.  Perhaps they’ve not considered that all things are hard in the beginning, as well to be remembered that good and lasting businesses take months and years to build.  I’m of the belief that too many of us have only short term vision as to where we can possibly take ourselves.  Instant gratification is alive and well in our midst and sometimes I believe it’s here to stay.  We must continue to push aside our fearfulness and embrace more closely the mindset of fearlessness when venturing into new endeavors.

Someone asked me several days ago what I meant when I mention in my articles that most of my closings having “soft landings”, so I guess I really must clarify myself.  A soft landing with a closing is similar to when an airliner comes in for a landing.  There’s no last moment bumps and dips and rattlings, but rather a smooth transition from being in the air to being on the ground.  Unexpected surprises in those last days and hours before a closing on a home gets everyone excited and usually cross words are exchanged and feelings hurt.  I’ll never forget as long as I live an out of control woman I dubbed the “dragon lady” on the other end of the line screaming at me to the point my ears were ringing while absolutely refusing to listen to what I had to say. It all started with the day before closing final walk-thru of the buyers of her home.  I represented this woman and her husband on the listing side and another agent on the buyers side.  In their final walk-thru, the buyers discovered a light fixture missing in the kitchen.  The sellers never told me it was reserved and not part of the sale.  The screaming jag she had, blamed me and everyone else involved for trying to take her grandmother’s light fixture.  Well, after hanging up from her audio blitzkrieg, I made several more calls and the situation was more calmly resolved between myself, the selling agent, and the buyers.  When at closing, the crazy screamer was as calm as a cucumber and acted as though nothing had happened.  Even after the finalization, she never even attempted to apologize for her unwarranted verbal attack on me. Believe me, my ears were still ringing from her screaming at me to the point most would think she were being slowly murdered.  That closing was a classic example of a landing that was definitely not soft. Several years later her husband divorced her.  I can only imagine what went on behind closed doors and guarded windows in their household.  She finally moved out of the area and I’m sure she still remains one of those who’d never consider the idea that sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.

Joe Chodur

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