Many of you have emailed wondering just where the heck I have been for the last month. Well, I really have no better explanation than to say that I have been busy "working" on many things I needed to do to succeed in a market that has thrust upon us all new challenges. While there have been quite a few changes around here... I thought I would share some of the bigger things that have been keeping me busy.
Soon after my trip in December to Sacramento and the Stage It Forward Round Table discussion held there... the holidays were upon us. And typical, for that time of year, my life got "holiday" busy. So, while there were plenty desire to play in the Rain, there was really no time. But as time went on I found I was actually enjoying my break, for it gave me some space to reflect on all that has/was/is transpiring in my life, in the real esate industry and with my staging career. If you ever have been on a religious retreat you know the clarity you can get when you remove yourself from what normally surrounds you... this is what I found myself needing and doing.
One thing I really got clear on was the fact that my life was not in balance. To be honest I felt the imbalance for awhile... but it became crystal clear to me when I was in Sacramento. During the Round Table discussion one of the attendees made the comment. "You can't serve two masters." WOW, while I have heard those words before... they rang very true in a new way for me that day.
I finally "got" what those closest to me were saying was true. I was trying to do so much for others and the industry and in the process literally neglecting what I needed to do for me. I was depleting myself down to near exhaustion. You would think I would have got a clue when I found it quite disheartening to look at myself in a mirror and literally saw a stranger looking back... all that I had taken on was taking its toll.
Then to add insult to "injury" (or should I say vanity?) I received the bill for my health insurance premium. An unfortunate reality of being self employed is the fact that you are sometimes not able to benefit from a group health plan. To be insured you need to be self insured. Well the bill for my QUARTERLY premiums, for a policy that doesn't even cover the cost of meds, arrived. The quartely premium went up from $2,500 to $3,800... that is a whopping $1,300 more per quarter! OR put another way... it was going to cost me ANOTHER $5,200 a year more to stay insured! It doesn't help that a few years ago I had a bout with cancer... so I have a nasty pre-existing condition that makes switching plans almost impossible.
This shocking reality that I was now going to have to spend $15,200 annually for health insurance forced me to really look at what was/is working to my benefit financially and what is not.
I reflected on what I believe the home staging industry needs, what it wants and what it will allow itself to have. I have come to a personal conclusion that for a number of reasons, at this point, the industry is just is not ready to allow itself to have what it needs to be in alignment with what many want and see is possible. While there are many factors that keep us where we are, one thing I see working against us is an underlying degree of mistrust and mean spiritedness that keeps us trudging forward instead of soaring. But we are were we are, and it is what it is. While I have done and will continue to do all that I can to move this industry forward, it is clear to me that this segment of the real estate industry will unfold (grow) the way it will. I, like many of you, can do what we can to help, but we can not force it to move any faster.
So while I have been and will continue to be committed to staging and the real estate staging industry... I must be judicious and selective where I invest my time, energy and resources so that they best provide me what I need personally, professionally and financially.
While the challenges I face are unique to me... I know they are no greater then those that face you. I have learned that my willingness to be honestly transparent about myself is one of the reasons people appreciate what I say. I share this because I think that many of you are like me... small business owners in a newly developing industry caught in a difficult economy and challenging real estate market. I believe it is important and healthy that we take a good hard look at who we are and who we need to be as we move forward on our own paths. The willingness to be honest with ourselves is an important part of our growth, development and ultimately our success.
So to the many of you that sent me emails or called concerned and wondering where this Waldo went... thank you. He is back Staging It Forward with the same passion and resolve, but in a way that might appear publically to be a little different from what you saw before.