My wife and I are preparing our house for sale. We’re remodeling, painting, cleaning and downsizing. We’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money to make this house appealing to potential buyers.
But the closer we get to selling, the less I want to sell. We liked the house before, but now we love it. It’s so clean, fresh and organized.
Why don’t we live like this?
So I’ve been thinking. Why don’t we live like this? Why do we give our best work and effort for someone else to enjoy?
The most common reason is competing priorities. There’s work, school, family, and hobbies, just to name a few. This is often referred to as the tyranny of the urgent.
We spend our days jumping from fire to fire. We let our task list dictate our choices rather than our choices dictate our task list. And we allow other people’s priorities to take precedence over our own so they’ll leave us alone.
Soon the non-essential becomes aspirational.
The gift of no
But one of the greatest gifts you can give or receive is the ability to say, “No.” I’m not suggesting you be rude, inflexible or unreasonable, but we all need to set boundaries.
Boundaries are the backbone of any strategy. You have to say no to something, so you can say yes to something else.
It’s funny how we can make time for something if we think there is enough value, i.e. more money, more fun, more freedom. And the sooner we get the return on our investment the better. So we focus on things that net short term returns rather than long-term. Many companies make this mistake during an economic downturn. Rather than looking for a better water storage system, they continue to fix the dike that’s tired and full of holes. But eventually the dike will break.
Personal growth is also a long-term investment and that’s why it’s often neglected or ignored. Because we don’t see immediate results, we focus on things that provide more immediate gratification.
I recently realized I’ve been so consumed by this house and daily routines, I’ve fallen into the trap of neglecting to invest in my own personal growth. This neglect eventually surfaces in the form of exhaustion, frustration, fear, doubt and a host of other soul-sucking emotions. To get back on track, I realized I need to look at myself as an investment property and view myself from the perspective of a potential buyer.
When potential buyers give me a walk through, will they consider me:
- Insulated (efficient)
- Odor free
- Bright and well lit
- Priced right (based on value and market conditions)
Or will they see too many faults and flaws and move on to the next property?
Always for sale
When talking about careers, I often counsel people to act like they are always looking for a job. Treat people and situations in life, and business, as if you’ll be looking for a job tomorrow. This prevents you from making some short-sighted decisions.
We also need to make time to keep our property in shape. I know there are seasons when we need to refocus our energy, but we need to get back on track as soon as possible.You never know what will happen.
Every day people who think their job is secure, get a notice about a restructure that changes their whole direction.The only way you can secure your future is to constantly build your skills, network with peers and invest in other people. In other words, invest in yourself.
So take some time and ask yourself if you’re ready to list yourself for sale today. If not, look for areas in your life and personal qualifications that need painting, remodeling or refreshing.
For starters you might consider:
- Are you developing new skills?
- Are you preparing for change mentally?
- Are you networking with other professionals?
- Do you have a backup plan if your job disappeared today?
It’s never too late to start.