This spring, I watched proudly as my daughter graduated from St. Ursula School. She had been attending the K-8 school since kindergarten, and was leaving as an eighth grade graduate on her way to experience the next phase of her journey, in high school.
There’s sadness to the end of this season of our daughter’s life, but an excitement for the next phase and the new relationships that will be built. Not only is it a change of season for our daughter, but also an end of an era for our family at St. Ursula’s.
Our son graduated two years ago from St. Ursula’s and with our daughter’s graduation, 12 years of being closely involved with St. Ursula’s is coming to an end.
Over the years, we as parents become involved in so many groups, sports, and activities to help support our children’s education. We have donated thousands of dollars, been in groups that have raised tens of thousands of dollars, and even more valuable, we have gladly given hundreds of hours of our time.
We have enjoyed all of it but now the season has changed. Like winter to spring or summer to fall, the time has come to move forward.
When you get involved in any aspect of your children’s school, you form relationships; some deeper than others and some that will last a lifetime. Many, however, will end.
We are grateful for the time we have had with the people we now leave as well as for the relationships we will sustain. For those with whom we have built deep bonds, we will remain connected. We may not see each other as often, but we know the relationship is strong, and we can reach out whenever needed or desired to ask for help, offer help, or merely to say hello.
For others we have met along the way, we will still hold onto their friendships, and I’m sure we will run into each other around the St. Ursula Parish. But as our involvement changes so will the relationships and bonds we built.
As I think about the personal relationships from our children’s early school years, it causes me to reflect about my real estate business and similar seasons of change. They seem to change much more quickly and more in line with the seasons themselves, but they are similar all the same.
As of June 2016, I’ve been in the real estate business for 15 years. I have formed many new relationships over that time. In my second year of business, I chose to work by referral, and I have done so ever since.
There are those who choose to work transactionally, which basically means, meet someone, help them buy or sell a house, and then move on to the next deal. In the real-estate referrals business, I meet someone, build a relationship, become an advocate along the way, and stay connected to that person. Not everyone who becomes my client chooses to stay in that relationship with me, but most do.
The course of a client season is roughly 90 days. As an example of a season, during that 90 days, I am referred to a buyer and we have a consultation. Then we start our search to look at houses. We find a house, make an offer, and settle a purchase within 30 to 45 days of the offer being accepted.
During that time, or season if you will, I connect with my clients. I get to know them and their families at a deeper level. But after a short time, the purchase settles and the constant communication slows down or stops, and they decide whether to remain in contact or not.
For me personally, this time frame is cause for sadness and excitement. The sadness is obviously the end of the immediate continual communication. The excitement is for my client’s start on the next phase of his or her journey.
My goal is to remain in communication with all my clients after a purchase or sale, but every relationship is different. There will be some people I form deeper connections with than others. Some clients may choose not to remain in a relationship with me, for whatever reason. But the fact of the matter is that like the weather changes with the seasons, we change in our personal lives and in our business-client relationships.
I will continue with as many relationships as possible and there will be new ones on the horizon. I’m grateful for all of the relationships because of the opportunity to meet so many good people and to learn so much about others and about life.
At the end of our days, it’s not about the money we made in our lifetimes, or all the awards we may have received or the success we have had. It’s about the relationships we have built and the impact we have had on others and the impact others have had on us.
Some seasons last a lifetime while others are shorter. My encouragement to you is to be grateful for all the relationships that come your way, and to embrace each change of season for the new opportunities that await you.