The Art of Cultivated Resilience

Baseball Picture

I have been knee-deep in client work lately. As the number one priority IN my business, there is no doubt that my clients deserve undivided attention. But it’s a tight rope to walk because on the flip side of that same coin, I know that my ability to produce content [like this article] is the lifeblood OF my business.

IN vs. OF … it is the constant battle. The ongoing internal debate.

I find that when I put the blinders on for too long — when I use one as a convenient excuse to neglect the other — it usually doesn’t take long before I start to feel the subsequent tremors.

This, made all the more clear to me earlier this week. Tuesday afternoon I was powering through my priority list when I picked up a puzzling email from a prospective client. This email, from a gentleman I helped buy a home in Cedar Park about five years ago. A successful business owner who has referred me to co-workers, moving in from out of state, in the past.

He originally called a couple weeks back, to let me know that he and his wife were interested in selling the Cedar Park home and buying one in Round Rock. That type of exchange is right in my wheelhouse, as just shy of half of the homes that I help clients buy and sell are in those two areas. Furthermore, managing both sides of that transaction sequence is an area in which I excel.

We met late last week, to discuss the logistics of the move. As is common practice during a brief initial consultation, we walked through the home together. We made a mental punch-list of things they could do to enhance the value of the property, prior to listing. We discussed scheduling a walkthrough with my staging consultant. We hinted at the projected list date.

“My goal is to get top value for this house, ” He proclaimed.

“Until someone instructs me otherwise,” I told him, “That’s always my intention too.”

We shook hands and I departed. It seemed to me, we were all reading from the same sheet of music. That was, until Tuesday . . . when the subject of his message stopped me dead in my tracks: Switching Realtors.

Ryan — We’ve discussed our upcoming move to Round Rock. We’ve decided it would be best for us to use a Realtor that [my wife] has worked with in the past. I really appreciate the [referrals] you provided and meeting with us. I’ll continue to refer you to anyone needing a professional Realtor. Respectfully, . . .

Email From a Prospective Client

That was it. No further explanation given.

Listen after almost eleven years, I have no fantasies that I am going to bat a thousand. These things happen. And to be fair, no paperwork had been signed. No ethical lines crossed. No malice intended.

You see, I don’t do “traditional” listing presentations. I do not pressure clients to “sign the dotted line” before I’ll leave the house. I’m not into holding clients hostage. Quite the contrary. Until the sign post hits the front lawn, I prefer to do business on a handshake. That feels natural to me.

While the instances are rare . . . from time to time that approach will backfire. And it stings. But I’ve learned over time to take ownership, regardless of the outcome. I look for the lesson. I accept it as a growth opportunity and I move forward.

I’ve learned over time to take ownership, regardless of the outcome. I look for the lesson. I accept it as a growth opportunity and I move forward.

I’ll liken it to an experience I had during my first year of playing professional baseball. I started off the season well enough … maybe scattered one run across my first four or five outings. I felt strong. Things seemed to be going according to my plan. Then one night everything came tumbling down. Six runs crossed the plate before I managed to get three outs. My earned run average ballooned to a nine-point-something.

As an impressionable minor league rookie, it was a humiliating experience.

Clearly, that outing would alter the trajectory of my first season one way or another. I could allow the uncharacteristic hiccup to send my season into a tailspin. Or I could buckle down, go to work and let some air out of my bloated ERA, one outing at a time. The decision was in ultimately in my hands (or head).

I chose the latter. I climbed back atop the mound with a renewed sense of urgency. From that day forward, I strung together 24-consecutive scoreless innings which, in turn, led to a mid-season promotion.

Josh Waitzkin calls them “mini earthquakes,” these random, unexpected events that afflict our days and fracture our vision of the path ahead. I am currently listening to his audio book, The Art of Learning, as I work out in the mornings.

“In performance training,” he writes, “first we learn to flow with whatever comes. Then we learn to use whatever comes, to our advantage. Finally, we learn … to create our own earthquakes so that our mental process feeds itself with explosive inspirations, without the need for outside stimulus.

To further illustrate his point, he shares an ancient Indian parable that he says has had an important influence on his perspective in life.

“A man wants to walk across the land but the earth is covered with thorns. He has two options. One is to pave his road, to tame all of nature into his own compliance. The other is to make sandals. Making sandals is the internal solution … It doesn’t base success on a submissive world or overpowering force but on intelligent preparation and cultivated resilience.”

Inevitably, life will throw us a curveball or two, from time to time. To test our resolve and resilience. To see how we will react.

Inevitably, life will throw us a curveball or two, from time to time. To test our resolve and resilience. To see how we will react.

Will the nasty ‘hook’ cause our knees to buckle . . . cause us to hang our head and drag our bat back to the bench? Or will it inspire us to dig in, choke up, refocus and put the next ball in play?

Fortunately, I’ve stood in a few batter’s boxes in my day. I’ve faced some pretty nasty curveballs. And this week was just another offering. A perfect reminder of why not to deviate. Because every time you stand tall and foul one off, you have a much better idea about what to look for the next at-bat.

If you enjoy reading the articles & content on this website, please join our group of email insiders. Each Friday, Ryan sends out an email sharing new articles, insights and updates – with clients, friends and family. The stories are often uplifting and rarely focused, exclusively, on real estate.

Ryan France

Ryan France is a native of Austin Texas, father of two, super-early riser, avid reader, admitted podcast junkie & bulletproof coffee addict. In a past life, France was an aspiring professional baseball player. Today, Ryan is an entrepreneur, author and relentless innovator of the real estate industry. Read more on the "Who is Ryan?" page.