Why did I do it?
This may be a question you ask yourself often or not and context is crucial to how that question makes you feel. Did the question make you cringe? Or maybe it started your brain off on an analytical process of organizing your thoughts about your beliefs.
To be honest I have asked myself this question in both contexts. I am very outspoken, and if you want an opinion I can give you one, what is the subject? Looking back that makes me cringe, even reading those words is embarrasing. There have been actions I have taken, things I have attempted, which were not the wisest, and the results, well let's just say I've seen my share of hospital emergency rooms.
But for the past eleven years I have helped, and for the past six actually run and organized an antiques show for a local charity, Surrey Services for Seniors. I used to be an antique dealer, and have exhibited at antique shows in Europe in Maastricht, Holland and Paris France, throughout England where I lived, Australia and across America. So, I know a little bit about antique shows and what I wanted as a dealer when I turned up. I also liked this local charity Surrey Services for Seniors, which is all about helping Seniors to age in place, giving them an opportunity to socialize, and be a part of the community. I have led other Realtors in work days where we have cleared yards, fixed stuff around the home, cleaned windows whatever was needed. So it was natural for me to get involved in raising funds through at first an Antiques Roadshow style event which then morphed into an Antique Show the following year. When the chair stepped down I stepped up, I had a vision and over the years have raised more than $1 miilion for Surrey Services for Seniors through this annual event.
It takes an inordinate amount of time, creating call lists of dealers across the country, then calling them, sending them details on the show, following up, and making sure that they then follow through sending in their contracts, with their choice of wall colors, photos to use for their catalog whcih is printed, layout of their booth if they are having different walls. Then as the show approaches, negotiating with vendors for our walls, carpets, electricity, security, food and drink for the opening night party as well as staff at the location for the show. Then organizing building the booths, taking a gymnasium and turning it in to a sparkly magical event with awesome dealer displays of merchandise. Of course you first have to also organize the arrival of each dealer and make sure they have help moving their merchandise to their booth so they can unpack and set up those amazing displays.
Of course each person is their own personality and they all have my phone number, and they know like my clients that I will answer or call them back very shortly so they don't have to worry about whatever question they have. They know I will make a decision, I don't have a choice, these people demand answers. The show opens on a Friday evening and closes on Sunday, when everything happens in reverse, everything is packed, and moved out of the location to waiting trucks and by Monday afternoon you would never know we had been there. My body knows, I usually walk over 40 miles in four days, as well as moving tables and whatever needs moving. It takes me a little while to recover.
So, why did I do it? Logically it makes no sense, I don't get paid, it takes away a large amount of time from my real estate business through the year, I am not able to handle clients during the show. I am stressed about everything, the weather, if all the dealers will turn up, if anything will get stolen, if we will get a large enough audience, if that audience will spend money so the dealers will want to come back, if the electricity will work throughout the show, last year on opening night a breaker blew and several dealers were without light in their booths, luckily the overhead lights provided enough that is was not the end of the world and we had it fixed by midday on Saturday. Hopefully it won't rain on move in or move out so the dealers merchadise gets damaged.
Well, it has been about my values. Helping others is enormous for me. I know a lot of people and am always connecting people together when I can. Helping a charity that helps people to remain in their homes for me as a Realtor is a no brainer. I have done my share of short sales and it is heartbreaking seeing people leaving what they had considered was going to be their forever home. Likewise for seniors, it is extremely hard to leave the memories that these homes have and hold for them often after a loved one has died and they can no longer cope. It is not sexy helping seniors, raising funds for cancer research, or high profile subjects is easy, but seniors well its like death people prefer not to talk about it. But so many friends are dealing with older relatives in difficult situations. We were unlucky to lose both sets of our parents at young ages, but in a way as much as I miss those parents it is a blessing when I see friends who are dealing with dementia, or simply old age frailty.
So, why did I do it? Because I had no choice, I had to! I believe that the energy I put into this will come back in sales of homes somehow in the future. And it is gratifying to create an event that so many people love and admire. So what are you going to do?
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