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What makes a relationship real?

February 18, 2020
Mark Harman Ranches and Texas Hill Country Land Real Estate-LI3

A forty-plus year friendship of Mark’s called a meeting. The topic was a series of questions. What are the major tenets of a real relationship? Is that something to be sought after? Is it achievable? What will it cost? Why is it valuable? Obviously, the conversation was massive and we couldn’t hope to remember everything in this brief writing, but it has sparked some thoughts. We feel like they’re worth sharing.

Closing the space

Think about dating. You don’t go to the heavy, honest conversation on the first date do you? But should you? There’s something seriously wonderful about flirtation but if a relationship stays there, you’re liable to overlook some pretty severe discrepancies that could have a major impact over time. The same goes for any relationship, really, at some point, you’ve got to close the space between you and get to the heart of the matter. What do you value, why do you value it? What is your past, what are you hoping to achieve in the future? There is a level of honesty and openness that allows people to actually get to know more about each other and pushes a deeper and more necessary conversation. You may not like what you hear, but at least it’s in the open and not a secret. That’s a little of what this whole “Bring Character” thing is about. It’s a chance for people, at the very beginning of our relationship, to understand that we’re going to be discussing a standard of relating that’s important to all of our success.

Redefining success

“Success”, what on earth is success? How do we define it? So often we proclaim it terms of dollars. It’s easy, measurable and little greenbacks consume a large portion of the conversations we’re having about land transactions. But maybe that’s not the only measure? Think of it in reverse. Are we failures if we have a wonderful property under contract but discover something really wrong with it and we walk away? No money changed hands, Mark Harman didn’t earn a commission, but was that a failure? This has happened, more than once. A past client discovered that the large estate-level ranch he had under contract wouldn’t hold enough water to build the lake he wanted. So we said, “Let it go! There will be more!” Has he bought a ranch with us yet? No. Was it a failed deal? No! We can expand the definition of success to include one simple thing: the authenticity with which we adhere to our own core values.

You may have a core set of beliefs, but if you don’t follow them with your feet, then they are just lip service. Success is achieved when we act, with gusto, on what we know to be true and right. One of the Harman Ranches’ core values is “Relationships First: Think of self third.” Are we perfect at it? Hell no! Do we aspire to it? Yes, and when we act on it, then we have achieved something great. So what are those values in your life? Those principals that guide your feet?

Making it all about people

We talked about the typical “broker” personality. Most of us are deal-junkies who hang our hats on big numbers, which we then publish to our peers. We envy each other and we fight for position, always trying to get the next big fish that swims into our pond. Are people “fish”? Really? We won’t say we’re perfect. Every entrepreneur knows the rush of a “deal” and that’s something wonderful in us! But we can’t let that blind us to the fact that every person we interact with is someone valuable to this world for more than just their checkbook. Each life means something, and so at some level, we’ve got to shut down that old, well-oiled transactional eagerness to adjust the priority to the human being sitting across the table from us. There’s a story there, not a number or another notch on the belt. When we take time to listen, to really know each other at a heart and personality level, we begin forging a stronger relationship, something that lasts beyond the lifetime of the transaction. As brokers, we are a pretty strong first impression, representing our community. But do we represent it well? Are we greedy? Or do we know how to slow down and just listen for a while, to actually care about the human being’s life that has walked into the office? I think a relationship gets much more real when we see people as, well, people.

Never Take Offense

“Success”, what on earth is success? How do we define it? So often we proclaim it terms of dollars. It’s easy, measurable and little greenbacks consume a large portion of the conversations we’re having about land transactions. But maybe that’s not the only measure? Think of it in reverse. Are we failures if we have a wonderful property under contract but discover something really wrong with it and we walk away? No money changed hands, Mark Harman didn’t earn a commission, but was that a failure? This has happened, more than once. A past client discovered that the large estate-level ranch he had under contract wouldn’t hold enough water to build the lake he wanted. So we said, “Let it go! There will be more!” Has he bought a ranch with us yet? No. Was it a failed deal? No! We can expand the definition of success to include one simple thing: the authenticity with which we adhere to our own core values.

You may have a core set of beliefs, but if you don’t follow them with your feet, then they are just lip service. Success is achieved when we act, with gusto, on what we know to be true and right. One of the Harman Ranches’ core values is “Relationships First: Think of self third.” Are we perfect at it? Hell no! Do we aspire to it? Yes, and when we act on it, then we have achieved something great. So what are those values in your life? Those principals that guide your feet?

Reflections

There is so much more to say, and over the year(s), we’ll keep musing, learning, practicing. But people of high character are usually right there with us, living a life in search of a deeper conversation. We’re not pros yet, but we’re trying!

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