The evening was brisk. It was the time of year right before spring, but Mother Nature was not quite ready to give up winter. I had loaded the family in the car and we were headed to a community production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We were running a bit late, so I was probably driving a bit too fast. As we neared the theater, I heard a ticking noise coming from the engine. I am no expert on automobile mechanics, but I know enough to realize that a ticking sound could be very bad. Immediately, I pulled over and popped the hood.
Now, it had been a while since my last oil change. I was keenly aware of that, but I had plans to get it done in the next few days. My first diagnostic check was to check the level on the dipstick. Nothing. Luckily, my parents were just a few miles behind me and heading to the same performance. I had them stop at a convenience store and pick up a few quarts of oil. After pouring them in, the dipstick still showed no sign of lubrication. You gotta be kidding me. Two additional quarts and it was barely registering. Further, professional investigation revealed what I had feared. I allowed myself to run out of oil and had thrown a rod. It was bad. It was so bad that the only fix was a new engine.
How could I allow such a thing to happen? Changing oil is so simple. Keeping a car maintained is easy and essential (especially for an appraiser who averages 100+ miles per day). Usually it is my wife who forgets to take the car to Jiffy Lube, not me. Ugh! The mistake was costly. Though it has now been two years since having that experience, I still kick myself to this day.
Maintaining our equipment is not difficult. Gassing up and remembering to change the oil is not that hard. Most oil change facilities can have you in and out in about 20-30 minutes. The cost of avoiding it can be detrimental. The cost is so high, in fact, that none of us would dare put it off for very long.
Do you feel the same way about yourself? Do you treat your own body as well as you do your automobiles? It is a biological fact that you cannot keep going all of the time. You must eat to fuel yourself and you have to sleep. If you don’t, you will eventually die. It is also a proven fact that human beings do better if they constantly take care of themselves in other ways. When we pause to do something fun and create, or find, a diversion from our daily stress, we typically perform better when we come back. Attitude is everything.
When was the last time you took time for yourself? I mean, when is the last time you put everything on hold and did something for you? If you are like most appraisers, it has been a while. There are always inspections to do or write ups to complete. Even when we catch up on the essentials, there are always ‘back burner’ items that can and should be worked on. When you run your own business, it is impossible to ever get to the point where you can say, “My work here is done.”
Yet, just like a car, your body needs regular maintenance. Find a hobby. Discover new things to do with your family. Go to lunch with a friend. For me, it is movies. I love movies. I find excuses on a regular basis to remove myself from the day-to-day grind and enter the world of Hollywood. It renews me. It invigorates me. It is never convenient, but it is like an oil change…. it must be done regularly.