November 8, 2019

A Soul Audit

No one likes to be told ‘No’, and real estate agents have a really interesting relationship with the word ‘no’. Connecting with property owners to offer professional service is likely to result in a ‘no’ from 95 out of a hundred people. Greeting 40 buyers at an open home might result in 39 ‘no’ responses. But the beauty of a ‘no’ is this context is that ‘no’ helps you reduct your way to a ‘yes’, and there is always an opportunity to learn.

As hard as ‘no’ is to hear, it can be much harder to say. 

I think most people called to real estate feel the same way. It is a service profession, which means that energy flows mostly out to customers, yet, it is the reward of connecting people to property – the emotional currency of helping to create dreams and lifestyles – that sustains most agents over the long term. When you do this work mindfully and with care – it is soul-nourishing work.

Working 6 days a week, irregular hours, irregular income and being available and responsive to the marketplace means that we say ‘yes’ to being ‘on’. No one is inexhaustible, and so on a bit of a soul-audit yesterday, I realised that the ability to work hard, to serve, to say ‘yes’… is actually enabled by all the things that we say ‘no’ to. That is true for everyone.

Let me back up to the idea of a soul-audit. A soul-audit is when you are jarred into or deliberately take time to reassess the rules for you. For me, I was jarred into this when I was trying to contact a friend over a couple of days about a collaborative project, which I did kind of randomly over a few channels, as it popped into my head. I had no response or acknowledgement so I asked if they were OK. 

I received a truly rude response back – I was obviously being perceived as a pest – and it wasn’t the first time. I was typing a response along the lines of, “well, you don’t HAVE to be rude” and then I deleted it, and did a soul-audit instead. No, they didn’t have to be rude – that was a choice. They chose ‘no’, and presumably there were some priorities that they are saying ‘yes’ to…and I have text messaged my way into their ‘no’ column. As I said at the beginning of this – no one likes to hear ‘no’…it is a feeling that hurts in a way that doesn’t have a comparison so I’m going to assume that as a human reading this, you’ve had some similar experience.

In the past, this has got in my head and I’ve lost sleep, I’ve cried, I’ve been unable to eat. My soul-audit concluded that I probably just needed to keep this person in my heart, but not in my head anymore – so I’ve said ‘No’ for me. My rules for me tell me that if my best intentions are creating that terrible experience for me and that other person…then I need to say ‘no’ and enable a more nourishing and enriching ‘yes’ for both of us. 

In physics, there is an indisputable law that for something to be ‘placed’ or put into an environment, something must be displaced. If you aren’t brave enough to say ‘no’, then there is a lot of ‘yes’ that you don’t have room for. Open space allows me to say ‘yes’ to the people, events, projects and environments that are saying ‘yes’ to me.