Anyone who knows me knows that I have a long-held belief that the first, and the most important thing in your business, is creating “quality of life”.
As we wind down 2012 and head in to 2013 I want to encourage all of you to think about your quality of life.
What do I mean by “quality of life”? If I had to define it simply it would be happiness that is created when there is a good balance between your personal and professional lives.
Sociologists study quality of life in their quest to better understand the world in which we live. They look at things such as wealth (or the lack of it), health, political stability, job security, the safety of the community, divorce rates, equality issues (gender, race, sexuality), and even climate and geographical influences. They have many complicated indices they use to analyze quality of life.
For me, there’s a much simpler way. I just listen to my gut.
I learned my lesson about quality of life the hard way … but boy am I glad that I learned it. Back in the day when I was actively selling, I routinely closed in excess of 125 transactions per year – most of them as a listing agent. This was before we had electronic key boxes, so as a listing agent I had to open my listings up for each and every buyer’s agent who wanted to show the property, and of course each time I wanted to show one of my listings (or someone else’s) that meant I was out showing. And it wasn’t the kind of market where you put a house on the MLS and four hours later you had seven offers.
I know, I know. You’re probably all wondering how I did it. Or maybe you’re doubting if it could even be done. I’m here to tell you that it can – but at a price. And it’s not a price any of you should pay.
For me, my “I’ve had enough” moment came when I was late arriving home one Christmas Eve. Yes, Superwoman (that’s how I thought of myself back then!) was out working on December 24th. By the time I arrived home I had missed dinner with my family and the services at church. As I rushed around the house trying to make things right my husband calmly said to me, “You know Denise, five years from now these clients may not even remember your name. But your family will always remember that you missed this time with them.”
Wow. What a sucker-punch to the gut that was. And hearing that honesty from my husband was what it took to put me on a whole new track with regard to quality of life. It didn’t take me long to restructure my business and personal lives. Here is the result:
Today, I set boundaries and rules for my business.
Today, I have times that I am available to clients, and times that I am not.
Today, I communicate clearly with my clients exactly what I can and cannot do for them, and when I am (and am not) available.
Today, I approach each working day with energy, because I know what I have committed to on a daily and weekly basis.
Today, I don’t feel guilty about saying, “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”
Today, I schedule a minimum of four weeks of vacation each year, as well as a smattering of three-day weekends.
Today, my family is my priority.
Most of you have a little lull in your business this time of year, allowing you to spend time with family and friends. Doesn’t that feel great? And wouldn’t you like to have the feeling more in the coming year?
I encourage you to spend a little time thinking about your quality of life – what is it today, and what do you want it to be tomorrow? Sometimes all that takes is re-prioritizing. Sometimes it requires adding something to your business. And sometimes it means subtracting. Maybe it just requires a little focus and planning to put yourself first.
I hope you’ll take the time to figure out how to improve your quality of life for 2013. If I can do it, anyone can!