You may have noticed that both Linda and I tend to approach our careers in real estate with a pretty positive attitude. We share a world-view that allows for positive outcomes. I don’t know about Linda, but I do know that I have received criticism for maintaining this perspective while so much that is going on in the world, particularly in the current economy, is just so terrible. Because we are beginning a New Year, and I intend for 2009 to be a great year, I thought this would be a good time to share with you where I learned my positive attitude.
For those of you who know me, you also know that my mom was a Realtor before me. She was my mentor and role model not just in life, but also as a Realtor. And she is the one who taught me to have a positive attitude. She taught it by example. Her story is really quite remarkable.
My mom, Audrey Slater, was 24 years old the summer of 1954. She lived here in Lake Oswego and was the mother of a young child. She was one of 8 people who were residents of Lake Oswego who contracted polio that summer. For such a small town, it was considered to be an epidemic. 3 of those 8 people died. My mom was one of the lucky ones. She wasn’t killed by it. But she was paralyzed from the chest down. At that time there was no vaccine to prevent polio and there was no proven treatment. Fortunately she was well cared for. The nurses and doctors wrapped her in hot, wet, wool blankets and regularly moved her to help prevent muscle atrophy. When she recovered her future was uncertain. She was told she could quite possibly never walk again. She absolutely refused to accept that possibility. She spent the next several years of her life regaining her strength and learning to walk all over again. She went from her bed to a wheel chair and then to crutches and finally to walking on her own. She went on to be the mother of 3 additional children, including me. I clearly remember her overcoming many challenges that being a polio survivor brought, and foremost in my mind I remember her on-going insistence on maintaining a positive attitude.
This was the era of Norman Vincent Peale. The author of “The Power of Positive Thinking”, he spread a message of hope and good living through books, letters, and his work with people.
My mom took it to heart. She used it to overcome so much. Today, after raising a family and being a very successful Realtor here in Lake Oswego for 28 years, she is such a fine example of a life well lived and a life that has been lived to its fullest, despite tremendous challenge.
Are these times hard? Sure they are. Do they amount to the sum of our human existence? Absolutely not. This is a moment in time: a moment in history. And, frankly, there is much to be hopeful and optimistic about. It is our challenge to choose how we approach the day. Are we going to make it a good day? Or are we going to surrender to negativity and allow it to become a bad day? Will we allow news reports to keep us from moving on with our lives? Will we allow fear to keep us from noticing all the good things about this point in time relating to real estate…like record-low interest rates and prices? I would argue that a positive mindset allows for more rational decision making when coupled with an assessment of the variables.
This does not mean that I am unwilling to be realistic about facts and the current economy. It does mean that I will approach the current market and find a way to make it work to my clients’ benefit, whenever possible. It also means that even when the situation is tough, I will pledge to handle it with grace and good humor.
Finally, I have a video I want to encourage you to watch. Think of it as a little New Year’s gift. This is a video of a man who has overcome adversity so far above and beyond anything that most can imagine. To view it, click here.
I would like to wish you a positive and prosperous New Year.