In a Pickle
My daughters’ softball season is in full swing. Since they are on different teams, most evenings my wife and I are at the softball field, volunteering and helping out.
We try to arrive at the field a little early so we can assist with helping the girls warm up. Sometimes that can be dangerous, evidenced by Amanda’s new black eye, (funny video – here’s what happened).
We both help out during the game but in different roles.
Amanda typically helps run the dugout, by herding the cats so they are ready to bat and heading out to the right positions.
I’m often out as a 3rd base coach. I love it. The girls are always excited when they make it to third base, since they are so close to scoring. They even take my advice sometimes, which is an added treat.
Helping them decide when to run and when to stay is not always as easy as it might sound, as decisions need to be made in the split seconds after a ball has been hit.
If we have a runner on 2nd base, no runner on 1st or 3rd, and the ball is hit to the short stop, the 2nd base runner must be careful, or they could end up in a pickle.
I’m not sure if you are familiar with the baseball term of ending up in a pickle, but it’s basically when a base runner is caught between 2 bases and is trying to get to one safely without being tagged out.
It’s a tricky situation, and a base runner only survives these situations if they are fast and clever.
Baseball is not the only place you can get yourself in a pickle.
This past week I’ve been trying to negotiate my clients out of a real estate pickle. It’s a high stress game in real estate, because people have their life savings, their dream homes, their time sensitive relocations, all on the line.
My clients are selling their house and buying a house at the same time. However, the people buying their house are taking longer than expected to close, and the home my clients are trying to buy are insisting they close earlier or they will sell it to another buyer in a backup position.
My clients are stuck in a pickle. The high stakes for all parties means there is a lot of stress and emotions impacting decisions.
I’ve been in dozens of conversations this past week, where my primary job is to first cool the room so that emotions don’t run amuck. Then, as quickly as possible, identify a path forward.
When emotions and fears run hot, the path forward can appear completely blocked.
How many times have you heard of hikers losing the trail, panicking, and then doing the opposite thing they should do.
Even experienced real estate agents can get caught up in this trap because they are invested in the outcome for their client and their own livelihood. They often have trouble seeing new paths forward, even when they’re standing right in front of it.
I remember as kid, camping with some friends in a tent. One time waking up from a startling dream, confused on where I was, and it was so black in the tent that I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face. Panic set in, I was convinced that I was blind. So naturally, I freaked out. I started screaming and thrashing about, convinced I woke up having lost my sight.
Of course, that all ended abruptly once my friend turned on his flashlight, with a look on his face that suggested I’d totally lost my marbles.
I remember that incident like it was yesterday because it taught me how quickly we can go into panic mode when we can’t see a path forward.
Staying calm lets your mind keep working.
When agents and clients call me in clear panic mode because their purchase or sale is falling apart from (what seems to them) things outside of their control, my first goal is to turn on the flashlight. To help them see a path forward.
I used to say, “Cool heads prevail,” which is still a great mantra,
but now I say, “Cool heads and clear eyes prevail,”
because staying calm doesn’t help get out of the pickle.
Keeping calm with your eyes wide open to new paths forward is how you overcome life’s pickles.
Until next time, have an awesome day.