Leaving The Emerald City

For many, the only exposure we’ve ever had to the real world of business is our former life in Corporate America, or as I like to call it, the Emerald City.

Leaving The Emerald City
Leaving the Emerald City

JULY 7, 2001

Originally posted by Eric C on July 07, 2001 at 16:33:16:

Some of us don't really understand what it takes to become successful in the RE biz.

Instead of learning, we concern ourselves with business cards, telephone lines, answering scripts, and web sites when there are other more important things we should be tending to.

Most of us (speaking again of the RE biz) will end up working alone. And as Martha Stewart says, that is a very good thing. But it does have its drawbacks; one of those is lack of relevant experience.

For many, the only exposure we’ve ever had to the real world of business is our former life in Corporate America, or as I like to call it, the Emerald City.

Life in the Emerald City may be interrupted from time to time by periods of fear, loathing, or even joy, but most of the time the prevailing sentiment is pure tedium. Boredom to the extreme.

I believe that specialization is partly to blame. You might be part of a team, a small part of the big picture, or a just a piece of the whole enchilada, but all the while you are never alone. Except maybe when the time comes for your performance review. And then your beliefs in those aforementioned principles may be severely tested.

Maybe you type reports, tally numbers, log phone calls, deal with customers, manage factories, or invent ad campaigns. Heck, you might even be the boss.

After all, in every Emerald City there is a resident wizard -- the guy with the microphone standing behind the curtain. I should know; I was once a wizard myself.

My point is that whatever responsibility you once had, no matter how great that responsibility was, you probably dealt with only a small part (in most cases) of the company’’s business. If you were a planner, then someone else was responsible for executing those plans. If sales training was your thing, then strategy was a whole another department. And so on, and so on.

In the RE biz, things could not be more different. You are alone.

Nobody to plan for you and no large company to hide behind. No one to take credit for your achievements and no one to blame for your mistakes.

No salary. No benefits. No pension. No identity.

Is it any wonder that we often try to recreate our ideas of corporate success?

That we try to become mini conglomerates complete with a marketing department (us), sales department(us), legal(us), and human resources (wonder of wonders, us!) departments too. We simply don’t know any other way. We fold, spindle and mutilate until we have web addresses, email accounts, corporate logos and stationery (for each of our various corporate identities), etc., etc.

Wasn’t this what we were supposed to leave behind? Weren’t we tired of all the corporate bu$$sh*t?

Are we any happier?

Now, to be honest some of us are happy. We like being somebody, anybody -- whomever and whatever our most current business card says.

But does it help us get to where we need to go in the long run?

Are we making progress?

If not, why not?

I believe that it comes down to a lack of understanding. An imprecise target. A fuzzy goal.

The idea of leaving the Emerald City is often so seductive that we sometimes forget that our original desire was simply to get home. And not just anywhere will do. We,... well most of us, have a definite destination in mind.

We do like the freedom. Or, at least we like the idea of freedom.

And we like to make deals. Oh, how we like to “do deals”. Making things happen (we think). With us the center of attraction (we like to think).

Again, I ask you: is this what you wanted?

Or, instead of the appearance of freedom, how do you feel about the real thing? Freedom to choose not just how to spend the day, but how to spend your life.

And instead of pretending to be someone of worth, you become a person worthy of respect (yours as well as that of others).

Rather than working for a living, you find your life’s work.

All of these are possible. And all are on my road-map to success. I can’t speak for yours.

These may be small differences in semantics to some, but I tell you the differences are real.

I no longer try to mold myself after some corporate ideal. I don’t attempt be more than I once was. I realize that I can’t be everything to everyone. And I no longer have the power of the corporation behind me. I can’t command personnel to achieve my goals, or hold press conferences to announce my intentions. ( I guess I could, but in each case, no one would pay the least bit of attention any more).

Most importantly, I can’t drive the business any longer. Instead, I have to adjust my aim and make sure that the work I want comes to me. Attraction is the key. Find the thing you love and make it work for you. Instead of choosing your projects try letting the projects choose you.

It will work.

It just requires you to think differently. And act differently.

But the results are more than worth the trouble.

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