Not too long ago, I was teaching in Minneapolis – more than 500 people in the room – and we were having a ball! Laughing, learning, thinking, sharing. I think I ate lunch that day – I’m much funnier if you feed me – but whatever it was, I was soaked by break-time. It was one of the finest teaching moments for me.
At break, I grabbed another cup of coffee, then diligently turned to answer questions from those students who always rush the instructor during break. After some Q&A, I excused myself to the bathroom. As I made my way through the crowd, a woman stopped me in the aisle:
I’m really loving the program, she told me. My pleasure, I replied.
Can I tell you something, she asked? Sure.
Well, I’m learning a lot today, which is great, she said. But I really want to thank you for just getting us out of the office and making us laugh. We needed a break from the doom and gloom we deal with every day. So, thanks.
I wanted to cry. Instead, I hugged her.
She needed it. So did I. I bet 499 others in that room did to. I suspect some in your office also?
I don’t remember her name, but she reminded me of an important lesson in survival. It’s all about attitude. At some point, all the economics, politics, business and technology stuff doesn’t matter. When times get tough, people need hugs.
Lots and lots of hugs.
Look around your office. There’s probably a lot of people who could use some psychological support. A fellow agent, a swamped administrator, an exhausted manager, an owner who has everything on the line. Your clients need some, too. Even when they do the right thing, it’s often not enough these days. It’s not just equity that drains away; It’s a nest-egg, college dreams, or simply a sense of security. I bet they all could use a good hug.
Thinking about the need for a smile, a hug, joke, laughter, reminded me of the Klingons from Star Trek. Unlike humans, Klingons revel in danger and disaster. They thrive on hard times. Even in the face of destruction, they always find a way to laugh, clap each other’s backs, tell old stories, and bare their teeth.
We could really use some smiling Klingons in real estate today.
If you could become a smiling Klingon, you’d have a secret weapon in this recession. More powerful than any new technology, government policy or any competitor scheme. You’d have a power they couldn’t duplicate.
You’d have the power to say to someone, Don’t worry! We’ll get through this.
You don’t have to speak Klingon, either. Just smile at someone. Tweet a cheerful message. Leave a funny card on the conference table. Bring your client a chocolate cake. Show up – smiling – to the office meeting. Say: Don’t be afraid. We’ll get through this.
Will a hug stop the market from sliding further? Probably not. But could a smile cause business to pick up? Well, I walk two extra blocks every morning – past the coffee shop near my office – because it’s filled with frowning clerks. I go the extra distance to the one with the cheerful clerk who serves lattes, and so much more. Her Klingon smile says: To hell with the recession! Today, we have good coffee!
Surviving this market is all psychology now. The market must do what it has to do; it will involve more pain. But how we react to that: well, that’s up to us. The Minneapolis agent reminds us: sometimes all we need is to get out of the office and laugh for a while.
So bare your teeth. Clap someone on the back And smile the knowing smile of a Klingon who knows: We shall be victorious!