I was walking with a friend earlier this week and through our conversation I was reminded of this incident that happened when I was just getting traction in my real estate career. I was working with a young couple with two small children that had outgrown their current home. One day I decided to take them to a new home community thinking that they might find something there that they liked. They found a home they loved and went back a few days later and put in an offer. Their offer was not accepted and they were told unofficially that it was because they had a realtor, if they wanted the house they should ask me to waive my rights to the commission, and if I agreed, the deal would be done. I was dumbstruck. On the one hand, I really liked this family a lot and we had been working together for long enough that I knew how perfect this house was for them and their needs. On the other hand, I felt angry that the builder would tell my clients to ask me to step aside and that my clients would do it. The wife said she was very sorry to ask, but was I really going to prevent them from getting the home they wanted? I acquiesced, yup, I know, dumb right? She was so grateful and happy. I, on the other hand felt terrible. You might think, why didn’t I just call the salesperson and negotiate? Well, that’s the thing about feeling “less than”, you are not at your best or smartest, you believe you are not worthy, and it’s like your brain stops working to help and instead reinforces the whole idea. When someone I was working very hard for saw my work as having so little value, I took their perception and made it my own. When my husband got home that night and I told him what happened, he simply said, “absolutely not.” He pointed out that I did my job, and I did it well, and that if I didn’t value my work then no one else would. It was a light bulb moment for me. I realized I let someone say that my work didn’t matter and I agreed! The next morning I called back my clients and explained I couldn’t waive my rights, even if it meant them not getting the house, because it would be like declaring that what I did for a living wasn’t of value. I knew for myself and all the other high-integrity hard working realtors out there that that was just plain wrong. But I did promise to do everything I could to get them the house anyway. The thing is, as soon as I realized my own value and stood up for it, I got creative and I could see my solution. I used my connections to bypass the salesperson and was able to escalate it to the VP of Sales. He agreed that this was not an ethical request, and they got their price and their house and I got paid. More importantly, I got that when you stand up for yourself, the dynamics of the situation change. You stop being the victim and your intelligence and creativity begin to work to help you. It’s not about being selfish or selfless, when you acknowledge the value of your work, everyone benefits.
A little story about self-worth
by Ali Schiller | Sep 20, 2012 | 2 comments
That’s an insightful story. My mom always told me, if i worked for free, nobody would think i was worth paying! After college, i did various projects for people that needed camera work or editing projects. At times, i was passive when it came to getting paid. In fact, i was so insecure of my work, on numerous occasions, i did the work for free! All the while, busting my butt to the best of my ability. And not for the sake of hard work, yet the act of professionalism. To be great. Obsessive perfection. At any rate, being assertive about fee collection was difficult for me. It made me feel my hard work was not valuable.
And a note about “wanting” : an old friend of ours, Keith Robinson, had told me years ago that, “wanting was way more fun than having.”
Those words always stuck with me. 🙂
Ali, i recently started a business with Dan Patterson, an old pupil of ours. We addressed a problem in an industry, and developed a solution. We have put together a prototype, and are moving forward with manufacturing. We believe we found a niche. One, in an industry that we have much experience.
And with all investments, the variables of risk are always a part of the equation. Fear of failure can not stop this action from being set in motion, but failure to commit can 🙂
Im glad i stumbled upon your blog. Most inspirational.
Doris was right, of course. If only we didn’t have to learn things the hard way! I’m glad to hear you are doing your own thing, that’s awesome Sean, I wish you the best in your venture, it sounds exciting!