Begin Anywhere

Stuck on the interstate, I noticed a painted building that had an awesome message of imperfect action. If you’re trying to crea­te an entrepreneurial attitude in your office, begin anywhere. If you’re trying to lose weight, begin anywhere. If you’re trying to create or improve your office processes and technology, begin anywhere. Just start somewhere.

The word “begin” can be misleading for some, an erroneous assumption that you don’t have to do anything if you’re a seasoned business person. The new normal penalizes the “we’ve always done it this way” thinking. Whether you see it or not, our market is increasingly competitive. Sometimes our internal windshield is dirty, not clearly “seeing” what our clients want. Not seeing what our employees want. Not seeing the direction our valuation industry is going.

“Think like a beginner” is often discussed in martial arts. The goal of this attitude is to diminish the ego, always learning and remain positive. “Empty your cup” is a competitive advantage when you clear your mind of “I already have all the answers” and truly listen to your clients and employees. Fresh ideas of productivity and new lines of business are born from this ego-less attitude.

It’s hard to stay humble, open your brain to new ideas and throw away preconceptions. If you feel that doing appraisal work for individuals is annoying, it will be annoying. If you feel that bank appraisal work is a commodity, then it’s a commodity. If you feel that providing commercial evals isn’t a profitable product, then it’s unprofitable.

Be a sensei (one who has gone before, teacher). Track your reports from bid to close, analyze each step (to the minute) and ask, “can we do better?” Sweat some. With the beginner’s mind, you’ll start to realize there’s always room for improvement. Take that attitude into your personal life and you might “see” enlightenment. Begin anywhere. Begin somewhere. Just begin.