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I lost my cool

being a professional May 04, 2024

lose my cool sometimes. I am human, I am fallible, and boy do I get upset when I get upset!

Yesterday was day one of a three-day workshop (not a real estate event) where I am one of 24 other participants. We started at 11 am Eastern and went until 9 pm’ish. We were gathering our things to head out, and 4 or 5 of us were making small talk. In the group was a couple who were sharing about the rental property they just signed a contract on in Florida.

They said, “You’re in real estate! What do you think about...”

The same as whenever we are out and about and people ask, “How’s the market?” Or, “What do you think about ____?” It’s also the same trick when we are on a listing appointment and the seller says, “You’re the expert, what do you think the price should be?”


And I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker.

They were asking about real estate commissions and BAM - I was firing away. About 2 minutes in, I knew I was in trouble. I was emotional, irritated, and trying to convince. Worst of all, it was late, and I was tired.

This is why I have office hours. This is why I never discuss anything important late in the day. 

More importantly, it is also a reminder that sometimes we get caught off guard. When we are caught off guard, we are more likely to get trapped, or simply have ineffective conversations. This was one of those times.

I felt myself falling deeper and deeper into a hole. 

Then the wife said, “I can represent myself better than most of the agents we have hired. I will simply go to the listing agent and have them do the paperwork.”

Boy was I triggered. 

“Let me tell you why agents...”

“A great agent is worth...”

After a few more minutes we had all had enough and went our separate ways.

When I got back to my hotel room I was super pissed. Not at the couple - they did nothing wrong. I was mad at myself for allowing myself to be so dumb. I know better - way better - and I totally acted like a shmuck. 

The point of this story:

  1. We all make mistakes. When we do, give ourselves some grace.
  2. Don’t engage in emotional or significant conversations when we aren’t fully prepared - especially in our ability to be calm and detached.
  3. Remember that the goal of any conversation is not to be right! Being 'right' means somebody else 'lost'. I was going to lose that conversation the moment I started. 

By the way, when I say ‘lose the conversation’ - I mean not being my best self. I did not bring compassion, caring, understanding, or empathy. I simply wanted to be right.

People only judge us based on our communication - what did we say, how did we say it, and how did those two things make them feel. I was making those people feel stupid, when in fact, I was the one being stupid. Being right is a sure-fire path to being unfulfilled. 

I spent much of my life trying so hard to be right. Twenty years ago I knew the difference but it made no difference. Over the last 7-10 years I’ve actually worked on not being such an asshole. Maybe the last 3 years I have made a fair amount of progress. Yet, sometimes I screw up. Sometimes I act like a jerk. (Ask my wife.) 

As Ted Lasso said, “Be curious, not judgmental."

He was quoting Walt Whitman in that episode. Except, Walt Whitman never said that. You can read about that here

“I exist as I am, and that is enough.”

That is Walt Whitman, from his poemSong of Myself.

However, the lines that spoke most to me:

“In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,

And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them.”