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How a week with a 2-year-old teaches us real estate lessons 

I just concluded a week with our 2- almost 3-year-old grandson. We’ve been blessed with five altogether – four boys and a little girl. They range in age from 5 to 1.

Why was I a caregiver? Well, my wife, aka Nana, a budding stand-up comic, and our son-in-law were traveling to one of her gigs. You see, we also have a massive construction project underway that required supervision. Therefore the youngster’s mom – our daughter – and I became the village.

Our daughter manages a team of customer care reps. Typically, her husband and Nana share the childcare load. But with two villagers absent, my work had to be planned carefully to correspond with his pre-school. On the two non-school days, he and I were joined at the hip.

You may be wondering what any of this has to do with commercial real estate. As the title previews – several lessons were learned. Indulge me while I share a few.

Working and most important things

The life of a commercial real estate practitioner is segmented into three time expenditures. First, we must work in the business – finding, winning and fulfilling transactions. Some agents consume all their waking hours in pursuit of deals.

But, as my mentor says – this “transaction treadmill” will age you prematurely. Working on the business – thinking about how we find, win and fulfill – must play a role in our days. Smarter not harder should be our mottos.

Both of these pursuits – in and on – enable an opportunity to enjoy precious moments such as dance recitals, Little League practices, Scout outings visits to the tot park at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday. These are all things a 2-year-old cares about.

Too often we are so caught up in the daily cadence, we forget what is truly important. My grandson will not remember the deal I closed. He’ll only recall Papa missed Grandad’s Day at school.

Everyone is your friend

Watching our grandson interact on the playground with other kids was insightful. I’m not one of these helicopter grandparents who hovers over his every move. Sure, if he’s about to clock some kid, I’m there. But, generally, I’ll allow him a bit of space. I observe and wonder.

If I approached every prospective encounter with the non-judgment of a 2-year-old, what then? Unfortunately, years of bias cloud our views and dictate our approach to new relationships.

If you make a mess, so what?

Those of you with little ones are collectively nodding. I’m sure our three children were messy, but man! He can dismantle a room quicker than the Tasmanian devil. But, you know what? It’s now all back in order, as if no one visited.

Sure, in mid-demo it was overwhelming. But, everything returned to normal soon enough. Commercial real estate deals can get messy, too. Sometimes, downright ugly. But, normalcy returns – albeit slowly sometimes. Once the closing occurs, we rarely remember the turbulence before landing.

A mid-day siesta is epic

This might be the best lesson I learned! Two-year-olds wear themselves out and by 1 p.m. they’re cranky. On reflection, I also learned I am cranky as well.

But, at some point in our working careers, we are taught to “push-through” it all. Last week, in order to ensure he went down and stayed down, I snuggled in. Voila! 30 minutes later, I emerged quite refreshed and ready to slay more dragons.

Plus, I found an hour-plus while he rested.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at or 714.564.7104.

Source: Orange County Register

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