When Your Life is at an Intersection
When I think about it now, I either was very confident or terribly naive when making decisions as a young adult on what to do for a living.
I changed careers numerous times after high school starting out as an accounting clerk for a local chartered accountant while studying at night by correspondence for a diploma.
One intense tax season convinced me to become a banker instead; which within 6 years turned into an adult educator role within the same organization.
When we decided to raise our children close to their grandparents, I applied to become a chief executive officer of a new regional home care program; a position which eventually morphed into leading a much larger integrated health care organization.
Three years later I stepped out of my comfort zone and became self-employed as a management consultant, a career I thoroughly enjoyed but unfortunately success in it kept me away from home over 150 nights per year.
Not a healthy circumstance for me or my family and frankly, quite tiring to do when one lives at least two hours from the nearest airport.
One year, I drove to Regina, Moose Jaw, or Edmonton at least once per week to work with clients.
By this time, I was in my late 40s’ and decided to settle in on real estate as my “sunset” career and strive to keep it in balance with my responsibilities in a growing family livestock operation.
The reason I tell you all this is to point out there are “intersections” all through life, where one must decide to go right, left, or straight ahead.
Sitting still means you are likely in somebody else’s way or at risk of being run over. A dozen times per week I am asked “is this the right time to sell / buy?”
Most of the time the person is wanting to know what value they can expect for a particular property.
But more and more, the discussion turns to the reason for the question in the first place.
And there are so many reasons for trades in real estate; all of which have really very little to do with price.
Relationship breakdown, a couple starting out together in life, births, death, change in employment, retirement, health issues, the list goes on.
I have been guided throughout my life by pursuing a more strategic course, instead of worrying about the tactical “how”.
This personality trait could be considered a weakness I guess, especially by those who have never doubted their role in the world.
For example, many of my friends from high school never moved farther than a few miles from where they grew up and as it turns out, staying on the family farm has proven quite lucrative for them, especially with strong commodity prices experienced in the past few years.
So, I was quite surprised the other day, when one of those gentlemen said to me that he wished he had taken a different path than the obvious one beckoning to him upon graduation.
“What did you want to be?” was my response.
“A helicopter pilot” said he, “like the man in your last column who sold his trucking business and now flies scientists into remote locations at the North and South Poles”.
“My dad thought I should learn to captain a tractor instead. He never doubted I would continue the family farm established by my grandparents.”
This conversation got me thinking about the choices we make in life, and what guides us.
Do I have regrets about some of my choices? You bet.
Did those experiences shape me? Yes.
I was in Calgary last week representing the Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission at a retirement function of a prominent member of the industry.
There were a hundred or so people in the room. I knew only two at the outset.
So, I did what I learned when consulting. Walk over with a smile to the group having the most fun, introduce yourself, ask gentle questions, listen closely to the answers.
It’s amazing how many connections you can make if you are interested in what people have to say.
So, if you are at a crossroads please don’t sit too long. Put yourself in gear and move ahead with confidence.
At the very least, activity will absorb anxiety!
Vern McClelland is an associate broker with RE/MAX of Lloydminster. He can be reached at (780) 808-2700, through www.vernmcclelland.com or by following the Midwest Group Lloydminster on Facebook.