Growing up, I had to overcome a huge shyness problem. It took many decades of work before I was able to not only give presentations to hundreds of people, but on a personal level to be able to clearly share my thoughts and feelings. Decades ago, my inability to talk about issues may have gotten in the way of various relationships – if there was a problem, I’d just hold in my unhappiness until I’d had enough and then I’d just give up. I might even have mentioned the thing that bothered me, but not in a direct, clear way that explained how serious whatever it was, was. However, those actions of my younger years were overcome by experience and wisdom and I eventually became quite capable of stating how I feel in a way that leaves no room for confusion.
That being said, I have also learned it is sometimes better NOT to say what I am thinking. The old parental rules, “Don’t say something if you don’t have anything good to say,” and “There is a consequence for every action” are still good rules. When I want to tell someone something of a serious or controversial nature, I have found the best course of action is to take a little time to decide whether it’s worth talking to that person about that thing.
For example, we were recently approached via email by someone we didn’t personally know who wanted to purchase a family item that is not currently for sale. By itself, that’s certainly an innocent enough request. However, the family item may very likely be for sale once the owner, who is currently not in the best of health, passes away, and the writer of the request knew that. And we knew they knew. I have to admit I thought that was a tacky request, and it annoyed me. They couldn’t wait until the owner was dead before jumping in the grave? Geez. Well, believe me, I told them off, that’s for sure! I told them that they had no right, and that now I was tempted to NOT sell to them, and that there were much better ways to get their name in the running. I clearly articulated why I was annoyed with them. Yes, indeed, I ripped ’em a new one.
Actually, none of that conversation happened. It would have definitely made me feel better to get my annoyance off my chest. But you know what? When the time comes, we just might want these people to be the first in line to purchase that item. So they aren’t going to know I was annoyed because that wouldn’t serve any useful purpose at all. In fact, telling them how I feel just might wind up hurting the family in the long run.
I use that same “breathe, think, and then speak” method in my day to day business life. There are times I’d like to tell other people off, but it simply would NOT help with the end goal, whether that is an upcoming closing or resolving some issue with another real estate agent or another similar event. But what I can tell you (and you’ll just have to take my word for it), those fake conversations I have in my head are incredibly eloquent and forceful; wow, do I have a way with words! It’s just a fact that some of the best conversations I’ve had, have been in my head.
(And that’s where they will stay!)