I can still remember my first Summer Olympic Games — as in, the first games that made any impression on me.
It was 1988, and I was away from home at a weeklong overnight camp. Every afternoon during free time the counselors would roll a dining cart with a humongous TV outside, trailed by a 30-foot extension cord. In between soccer games and pool cannonballs we would collapse in front of the TV and see who was making history.
Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson made all the headlines, world records and scandal — a lot to take in for a 9-year-old. Ever since those games, I have been in love with the Summer Olympics: the spectacle, the athletic prowess, and the idea that if only my parents had tried harder and encouraged me more, I, too, could have triumphed on the uneven bars. Parents.
Nowadays I watch the Summer Olympics holding my breath. From 8 p.m. until way past my bedtime, I can hardly inhale or exhale naturally. And all night long, I dream of floor exercises and iron crosses.
While the jury is still out on whether or not I have what it takes to be a Proctor & Gamble mom, there are some Olympic truths I’ve learned that can be directly applied to a successful real estate career.
Expect the unexpected
Gymnast Jordyn Wieber did not earn one of the two positions in the women’s all-around competition. Oh man, I cried with her! Especially after I saw how she hung on that balance beam with her toes. Did you see that? Unbelievable. I would have given her MORE points for that. But, those pesky judges dinged her instead.
Then, in the men’s gymnastic team competition, John Orozco fell apart. Instead of recovering and mentally pushing through to the next event, he carried the weight of one failure over to the next apparatus and disintegrated there, too.
What’s my point? Well, don’t go buying that new ski boat on account of that no-fail million-dollar listing and those solid buyers you met last week. Until it closes, ain’t nothin’ for sure. All you can do is work through the moment and have a contingency plan for the fail-sales and walkaways.
Preparation is paramount
It goes without saying, right? Olympic athletes prepare. The first example that came to mind: the Chinese platform divers. Holy cow. Their precision is just … intense. You can only imagine how many hours of jumping headfirst off of three-story buildings that takes.
So I ask you: Are you prepared? I mean, really prepared? Olympic-level real estate? This includes having contracts on hand in the car, in the briefcase, at the office, in the drawer, at home. If asked to perform, you’ve got what it takes, right?
You also have a plan for referral clients — whether giving a referral or receiving one. And those buying clients you just met outside of Petco? You’ve already provided them with valuable market data. Olympic preparation wins.
Ryan Lochte is one confident dude. He talks a big game! And, he believes in himself. Both qualities I admire. But I’ll be honest, I’d rather take swimming lessons from Missy Franklin. She smiles a lot. And has fun. And seems to effortlessly love what she does.
How do you project yourself as a Realtor? Are you the super-confident powersuit whom others might describe (purely in a moment of unthoughtfulness) as arrogant? Or are you the get-it-done gal/guy with the big smile? Image really does matter. Personally, I think every Realtor needs a little bit of killer instinct and natural charm. You just can’t let the pendulum swing too far in any direction.
This year I had the pleasure of watching the Olympic track and field trials at Hayward Field in my hometown of Eugene, Ore. It’s the closest I’ve come to seeing the Olympics firsthand and, I must say, the athletes are even more impressive up close. So much bigger than the 4-inch Carl Lewis I watched run the 100-meter dash at camp! And so much more real.
I ask myself: Am I an Olympic-level Realtor? Are you? In order to change the oft-negative perception of our profession, you and I must start to "wow" our audience with skill, preparation and professional imaging. And we should also guilt our parents a little for not signing us up for more specialized camps.
I’m not flexible now, but I could have been. Mom?
Alisha Alway Braatz is a buyer’s broker for Coldwell Banker Advantage One Properties in Eugene, Ore., and a real estate humorist.
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