I read an article last week about how to write out checks in the new year. If you write 1/6/20 on your check, the article supposed that a thief or otherwise ill-intentioned check interrupter might be able to modify your date into, say, 1/6/2019, and then take your check for their own. This would mean they’ve stolen your money, for no other reason than you were too lazy to write another 20 next to the initial 20. 1/6/2020. That’s how you’re supposed to write out a check in this new year. But even that seems silly, because what could a thief do with a check made out to Joe’s Plumbing Warehouse, no matter if the date was 2020 or 2019? This is the absurdity that I read to usher in this new year.
I followed up that article by one about time. Time, it seems, is just a construct, and there’s no such thing as New Year, New You. There’s just another day, and another day, and soon enough those days pile up into so many days that we die under the weight of them all. Years, decades, months and weeks, all meaningless. The author of this article obviously didn’t sell real estate for a living, as days and weeks and months and years all matter. How else can we count the production that tells the world whether or not we’ve succeeded or failed? It’s one of the things I hate most about real estate. If I tell you how much real estate I sold then I’m braggadocios and shallow. But if I don’t tell you this then you call the guy whose name you saw on the magazine ad, the one where he said he sells the most of everything. Without numbers, how can I prove myself to you? And without a defined period of time, like a year, when will I know when to start and stop counting?
2019 was a good year. A very good year, really. My children grew some more, and I was healthy and present. My wife still got mad at me about nothing in particular or about everything imaginable, no one can be sure. My dogs are still alive, still happy, although Molly ended the year with a terrible case of Garbage Gut. That’ll be $330, the vet said, right after they said Garbage Gut. My parents are aging but healthy enough, my brothers the same. My nieces and nephews appear to be normal and happy, and that’s really all I can hope for. I took my family on a couple of nice vacations, sort of a week-long reward that I take in lieu of not recognizing the difference between Tuesdays and Saturdays. And there was production. Lots of production.
I ended 2019 with just over $52,000,000 in sales. That would make me the top agent in Walworth County (as measured by sales dollar volume), for five of the past six years. Other agents will have ads and articles about how they’re #1 at their company, but always remember who was number one out of all of them. I’m sure that number will stack of nicely on a state level as well, but it likely won’t be #1 (as I was in 2016), rather it’ll leave me somewhere in the top 5. That’s not a bad place to be, and I’ll happily take it.
The decade just ended was also exceptionally kind to me. My clients an customers were as well. That ten year run found me closing more than $318,000,000 in Lake Geneva real estate (and very few properties that weren’t in Lake Geneva), which is also #1 for the county (individual agent totals). In fact, that ten year run is the highest production of any agent in this county, since the beginning of time. It’s kind of a nice position to be in, but I admit it feels foreign to me. I’m so used to playing from behind, battling the giants, etc and etc, that playing with a lead doesn’t suit me as well.
I’m beyond grateful, but now I must look forward, because the calendar has turned and the year is new. My production last year doesn’t matter so much anymore. It’s about this month, and this quarter, and this year. Everyone in sales knows how unfair this perpetual motion feels. But for me, 2020 offers some important changes and challenges. I’m trying to build my new office, moving from Williams Bay to Lake Geneva. I’ll be playing a role in one of the largest real estate stories of 2020, and you’ll have to wait to see what that looks like. But above all I’d like some peace and I’d like my health. Without those things, this production is meaningless. On my tombstone, the years of top agent status won’t be carved into whatever budget stone my wife chooses for me. It’ll just be my name, and those years I lived. 2020 will be one of those years, hopefully not the last one, and I want nothing more than to look back on it with tremendous fondness.
Starting Wednesday, we’ll dive into the year end reviews for each segment of our vacation home market, and I’ll let you know what delicious item will earn the intense focus of my upcoming food review series. Thanks for reading along, it means a lot to me.