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March 23, 2020

Productive Positivity and Housing’s Resiliency in Crazy Times

I must admit, at the start of last week, I had flashbacks to 2008. Oh no! Not again. Next, I woke up in 2 in the morning and couldn’t to go back to sleep. That sleepless night of worrying didn’t solve anything, so I resolved to take a new approach. I knew this was a time to lead – not retract into a drunken state of doom and gloom.

There is certainly no shortage of Doom & Gloom, Inc. in the news these days, so the first thing I needed to do was to protect my psyche. I could not be surrounded by negativity. I turned off the news and stopped reading endless articles about how bad this will be for – fill in the blank – but especially housing. While it is critical to be aware and informed of the ever-changing circumstances, the negativity didn’t help in 2008 -and it isn’t helping today. I even walked away from people who started whining. I didn’t need to hear it over and over to know things were bad. I already knew it.

Focus on Positive Changes

Instead, I started paying attention to positive people. Chris Hartley and Meredith Oliver are two of those people. Thank you both! I also listened to informed but positive thought leaders like Ali Wolf and Tim Sullivan. As good news came across my desk or inbox, I was happy to share it with my team. I even started dressing differently. Bright, cheerful colors. Hey – it is spring after all. I made sure I walked outside daily to breathe in fresh air and soaked up some sunshine. I ramped up my morning exercise routine – eager to maximize endorphins.

Turn That Energy Into Productivity

Armed with a positive attitude, I am now turning my focus to my clients: The builders who had just bought land to keep pace with the booming housing market from January and February. They do not have the option of doing nothing or feeling sorry for themselves. That won’t satisfy the bank, their bosses or their stockholders. What could I do to help them? This gave me purpose. How can I help?

Ah – but now we have social distancing. While “they” say it can help stop the spread of the virus, it can also lead to social isolation. While not as deadly as the virus, social isolation can lead to depression and loneliness.

Most but not all my team are working from home. Again, flashbacks to 2008 when it was just me and I sublet office space and ended up with an entire floor to myself. The isolation so was bad, I found myself working from the nearby Starbucks just to be around people (something we can’t do at the moment). This reminded me that I needed to hear my voices of my team. It wasn’t enough to communicate via text or email. I picked up the phone and called them all.

There is Still Good News Out There!

The week ended with a text from a friend who said they closed 4 million in sales this week and had their first virtual groundbreaking. Really? People are still buying homes! That is terrific news, worthy of sharing. I started to ask what their secret was but then I realized – they built a quality product with an upbeat positive group of problem solvers.

Fine-Tune Your Processes

So, in good times, it may easy to sell less-than perfect homes with flawed processes or people. In challenging times, that is not the case. During this (hopefully) momentary pause, what can you do to fine tune your business, product or processes? Let’s rally and fight our way through this diversity. In the words of Tom Hanks, “There is no crying in baseball”. Likewise, there is no crying in home-building. Our industry has a proven track record of resiliency in the face of adversity, so I want to play my small part in contributing to that.

Going Forward

So over the next couple of weeks, let’s brainstorm strategies and solutions to implement in order to stay engaged in home-building. I have a couple of ideas, but I would absolutely love your input! I am confident that we will get through this with positive and collaborative productivity.

Thanks for including me in your day. I hope sharing my personal struggles will help others like me think positively and proactively. I welcome all positive news and call me if you need to be cheered up. My cell is 904-237-8557.

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters