What Is Your Definition Of Success?

If you regularly read my blog, or listen to my podcast, you’ll know that I spend a lot of time talking about how to make your business more efficient and more effective. Today, I want to talk about why.

These two principles are ultimately designed to make you more successful. My definition of ‘success’, however, might differ from most other people’s. I think money is a part of being successful, but there’s a lot more to it than that. For me, success means being able to do what you want with your life. It’s about having the ability, when you want to do something, to actually go and do it.

In my role as the Appraiser Coach, real estate appraisers come to me all the time with their problems, and many of them are on the verge of quitting the profession entirely. No, I am not exaggerating.  In my dealings with them, I’ve found that similar stories emerge: the appraiser originally had a dream; a vision for how their working life would be. They enjoyed real estate appraisal to begin with, then things like HVCC and Dodd Frank happened and suddenly they found themselves working their tails off, with their personal life – and their happiness – left by the wayside.

I’ve met appraisers who work 50 or 60 hours each week. One appraiser I met worked 90 hours. He had no weekends, no evenings, and slept for about 2 or 3 hours per night. Was he making a lot of money? Sure, but I wouldn’t call that being successful.

What I’d ask you to do, right this moment, is to sit back and ask yourself a question: ‘Why did I become an appraiser in the first place?’ Then I want you to ask yourself, ‘Is that still the reason why I’m an appraiser?’ If not, why not? If the reason why you joined the profession in the first place was sound, why isn’t it still the reason today?  I’m talking to you Bill.  

We all have bad days, and even bad weeks or months. If you’ve been feeling miserable for months on end, though, it’s time to step back, look at your situation, and make some changes. My guess is that making yourself happier again isn’t a matter of quitting your job; it’s about approaching your job differently.

Maybe you need to make some structural changes, like hiring new staff. Maybe you need to finally embrace modern technology, like tablets and lasers. Maybe – and I can’t emphasize this strongly enough – you just need to start taking some time out for yourself.

appraiser successNot a week goes by where I don’t take an afternoon off and do something completely unrelated to real estate appraisal. Personally, I love going to the cinema, so I’ll tell my staff that I’m heading out for a couple of hours and take in a movie. I can’t tell you how much better I feel when I get back to the office again.

Real estate appraisal is a very busy job, so maybe you don’t feel like you have time to do something like that. Well, let me give you some advice: if you don’t ‘have time’, make time. I guarantee it’ll be worth it. Do something that’s just for you. Take ten minutes to meditate; read a book for an hour; hit the golf course for a couple of hours. By taking this time out, I’m convinced that when you do get back to the office you’ll work much harder, and more effectively, than you would’ve if you’d just stayed there the whole time feeling miserable.

I meet people up and down the country who are frustrated with real estate appraisal. My plea is that you take something you love to do, and just go do it, regardless of how much time you ‘don’t have’. Do that, and pretty soon you’ll start to remember why you became an appraiser in the first place.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 046 – What are you Doing with your Life?

8 Comments on “What Is Your Definition Of Success?”

  1. Pingback: What Is Your Definition Of Success? - Appraisal Buzz

  2. I was hoping your advice would be written just exactly as it is. I worked for many years 90 hours a week, cut back to 60 and was fearful I would lose everything. Then I started reassessing what my purpose in life was and how appraisal fit into that purpose. It wasn’t until I came to terms with my purpose in life that I could grab hold of the gifts and talent God and servants of God had shared with me; then I got what my purpose had to include. Balance isn’t about putting my business first, when I took the focus off of me and realized that I too deserved good service, I took God’s advice. I made Him first and me second, then my family, friends and work. My ability to go and do what I want to do didn’t leave me, but my frustration about not going and doing all the things I wished I had time for changed. Our purpose on earth, I believe, is to love and serve one another. We can’t do that if we don’t love ourselves and our family first. I still struggle with time management; but I no longer struggle with anger, frustration and yes even sometimes bitterness over what our profession has suffered due to over-regulation resulting from a lack of accountability on those who didn’t like it when we told them “no”, the value isn’t what you expected. Be the best you can be today and begin that best with your spiritual relationship. Ask for the guidance. It will be be there. Thank You Dustin, you brought the focus back to where it needs to be. Appraisal is what we do for a living but its not our life, its a tool to help us live our lives. Great Thoughts!

  3. Dustin, many a people were attracted to the entrepreneurial/business aspect of appraising where the founder could transition from, appraiser, trainer, supervisor, and ultimately just the business owner. In the traditional since, the owner would receive the appraisal assignments and expand the business as needed based on what type of finished product he and his team continually produced. The success of the company was based on the founders solid business practices, continued training of his staff, and as a result, the financial success what not just limited to ones hours worked in a day. Although local opportunities may still be available (Idaho Falls), if your 1 of a 1,000 in your county (San Diego), or 1 out of 6,000 regionally, the 10, 20, or 40 years of effort prior to HVCC will never be recaptured.
    When the powers that be destroyed the traditional business model overnight (HVCC, loss of clients, AMC involvement, scope creep, 20 page engagement letters, national pricing (Idaho Falls/San Diego), TRID (pre-determined fees), Dodd, Frank, etc.), the industry lost many business minded individuals, and in my opinion, turned away many of those who wanted to get into the profession (120,000 2007 / versus 75,000 2017. Although the business principals were sound for many, through no fault of their own, the rules have been changed while the game was being played.
    With Fannie and Freddie implementing appraisers waivers (appraisal demand down 12% since implementation 4 weeks earlier), success for all of us might just be a few orders a week.
    Seek the truth.

  4. Real Estate VA here.

    I follow your blog although I don’t work as an appraiser nor a real estate agent.

    I find that your posts always add to my knowledge about what I do – about my job. More so, you can really apply all your advice here to other aspects in life. I have always taken time off, and I call my weekly massages in the spa as “reset”. Your advice to always take time off has always been worth it for me.

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