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The Shift to Solutions-Thinking 

By Tami Bonnell, CEO, EXIT Realty Corp. International

There is a lot of hand-wringing these days over problems. Problems in the world and in the country. Problems with the pandemic and with healthcare. Problems in the real estate industry and inventory shortage. Mahatma Gandhi famously directed us to, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and being the change starts by shifting focus from the problem to the solution, from inertia to action.  

We all have an inner GPS – a goal positioning system – and certain causes resonate more with some people than with others.  When you find that thing you’re really passionate about, your enthusiasm can help you to stay focused on it. Efficient is doing things right, effective is doing the right things. To give your inner GPS a nudge towards effective, ask yourself, “In what ways can my skillset be the solution?” And while we can’t be the solution for all the world’s problems, we can grow where we’re planted, right here, right now, starting with real estate. Here are some examples of people doing just that.

Across the U.S., we’re seeing fewer people travel, and when they do, they’re often using Airbnb, Vrbo, etc. instead of traditional accommodation, resulting in many unused hotel rooms. Instead of focusing on the problem of empty buildings, some forward-thinking hotel chains and municipalities have paired together and recognized a great opportunity for affordable housing. The same is true of empty shopping malls. Not all of them will become Amazon fulfillment centers, instead solutions-focused groups are breathing new life into them as condo projects, assisted living facilities and 55-and-older projects, some with community gardens and meeting places. 

I've sat in on four presentations recently by the backers of zero-emissions communities. Imagine communities run on solar energy, where cars are parked outside of the community and residents get around using electric golf carts. The buildings are all green and some of them even eliminate germs when you walk through the door!  

It’s amazing to witness such creativity and this is certainly a creative time. The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the real estate industry’s defining moments. We were forced to change quickly, to be the solution for problems we’d never before encountered. We had to adopt the speed and transparency the consumer has always wanted, and it forced both the agent and the consumer to become friends with technology. Instead of getting back to normal, I believe we’ll get back to better, resulting in a healthy hybrid.  

As you shift your own focus from problems to solutions, here are some effective questions to ask yourself:

  • In what ways can I educate myself?
  • In what ways can I help this person recognize their own potential?
  • How can I give this person the right guidance?
  • Where should I be watching for potential opportunities?
  • Whom should I be speaking to?
  • In what ways can I speed up the process?
  • How can I improve the way real estate (or any issue) is currently being handled?
  • How can I be part of the solution?

Hand-wringing keeps you stuck, rehashing the problems. Asking yourself effective questions and identifying your passion project shifts you into solutions-thinking. It works, and EXIT Realty is a good example. Our Founder and Chairman, Steve Morris, identified the problems in the real estate industry and through asking himself a series of “what if?” questions, the EXIT Formula became the solution. 

So, what’s your passion project and how can you be the solution? Whether it’s impacting the life of a person, family, organization, community or nation - or even yourself - your perspective is unique and valuable. Please text TAMI to 85377 for my Mobile Business Card™.  I’d love to hear about it.