As I gather my thoughts for this blog I am, truthfully, a bit emotional. I am taking a deep breath to dive into this topic. Maybe you should too.
2020 has proved to be a challenging, uncomfortable year of change and consistent undulation…even though most of us have spent the time at home. I think a general concession can be made that the most important lesson we have learned this year as a whole would be CONNECTION. During various stages of quarantine, even a professed homebody like myself needed to have human interaction and connection beyond my own four walls. And it would seem I learned this lesson many times, in many forms.
We first had to learn to accept alternate means of connection. Namely- virtual meetings, check-ins, conferences, even a few memorable Happy Hours. We had to learn to connect virtually more so now than ever before, whether we like it or not. People of all technical backgrounds and age groups broke from their fear or hesitation of virtual meetups and have now embraced this medium. We have all learned to “mute” our lines and “share” our screens…well, most of us anyway. We pull that app out so fast in meetings and share those Meeting Codes, you would think we have done this for years, not just a short 4-month trial.
Once we learned how we could stay connected, we learned the value of the TYPE of connection. Yes, we needed to see our relatives and friends who were also in quarantine. ZOOM dinners and Cards Against Humanity Meetups are now an amazing part of my weekly schedule (and honestly, so much easier to accommodate during the week!).
But to bring it back to our professional lives, think about the first time a connection was made with a professional colleague. How did you feel? Relieved? Excited? Did you both laugh? Was it in a moment of solidarity where you both just uttered: “Wow, I am so glad that just happened”?
I am going to make a fairly bold statement- are you listening? The intrinsic value of the connections established between professional peers is correlated to the amount of satisfaction you feel in your profession.
Whew, that was a mouthful. Breaking it down: if you have a community of people around you that can identify possible solutions while also providing you honest and constructive support, you will make it through the tough days at work. And then… YOU WILL KEEP GOING. The ability to reach out to someone who has been in your situation and has a slightly clearer vision of the current situation is invaluable. Garnering support and advice are just two small aspects of your peer community. Connection, bonding, information sharing are all parts of the package, too.
IREM has allowed me the opportunity to gather a truly incomparable resource for my own advancement- community. Specifically, their Future Leaders Program has been an amazing springboard for meeting others in the local CRE community. When I joined IREM, I knew two people. I am now fortunate to have more than a few people I can text or call when “things just don’t feel right”. The milestones of gaining designations and finalizing accomplishments does not ever go unnoticed. Those moments in new places or classes do not seem so overwhelming. We support each other. We make it a point to celebrate each other. We tell each other the unbiased truth and because we respect where we have been, we know with the advice, we will go further, higher. Most importantly, we keep getting up, showing up (to our laptops) and we do not give up.
This quote from Oprah Winfrey was mentioned earlier last week on IREM Houston’s social media posts: “Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher.” I couldn’t help but attribute it to my experience in the Future Leaders Program.
Our Houston Chapter is comprised of some of the most articulate, intelligent, diverse and ethical CRE professionals in Texas. We are growing a community of fresh ideas and faces that will continue to prosper during all the seasons of commercial real estate. We look forward to building a connection with each of you verysoon!
Author Bio: Leslie M. Sinclair, ACoM is an Assistant Property Manager for Gordon Partners Management, LLC and a Houston native. She has an amazing son named Ignatius James and is honored to follow in familiar footsteps of her Father as an IREM member. She is currently a CPM Candidate and recently graduated from the IREM Houston Future Leaders Program.