I was a terrified, eager, skinny little first grader who learned quickly in life to shut up, observe everything that is going on around her and be ready with the right answer when the teacher asks a question. Unfortunately, this can leave you excited to learn but anxious, too. It isn’t easy to be barely five-years old and burdened with the pressure of being right all the time. I mean, who could possibly have the answers at such a tender age? I was often left focusing on how to find the answer and oftentimes resorted to prayer. (Who had Google to rely on then? Not us.)
In any event, when you grow up like this, I believe you develop either good self-esteem or low self-esteem, depending upon the feedback you receive from those around you. Your peers can accept you but most likely they come to resent you. To counteract this, you must employ your keen powers of observation and learn to adapt to their patterns. For me, this meant simply being strong and deciding that if God thought I was “good enough” then why on earth wouldn’t everyone else? I made friends with others one at a time when I was little. What was the point of having too many? Friends deserve your time and undivided attention. If you spread yourself too thin, then there isn’t enough to give to make the other person feel special and appreciated, and I didn’t mind having a small group of tried and true friends – those who would stick up for you when you inevitably did make a mistake or didn’t have the right answer.
Maybe this is why in today’s world I enjoy exploring stores and shops that exude those personal touches that make going there fun. During this holiday season, as promoted a couple of years ago, I love “Shopping Local” on #SmallBusinessSaturday. Shopping in these stores is usually a much more friendly experience and it seems to mean more to the shop owners and employees who don’t ignore you when you walk into the door.
A couple of weeks ago, when my best friend was with me from Kentucky, we stopped at a store called Backyards around 4:00 PM. The shop was closed and dark and as we turned to walk back to our car, the Owner opened up the door and ushered us inside. I tried to protest – I know what that is like when you are closing your Leasing Office and someone comes to tour at the last second. It can be annoying if you’re tired and cross but it can also be an opportunity for a lease too, if you have the forethought to rally once more time.
Anyway, it was such a pleasant experience! Although this store carries beautiful outdoor furnishings, all the things you need to create a real life Fairy Garden, I did discover it also carries a line of paper goods with a killer sense of humor and a lot of inexpensive wine accessories, too, that I was not expecting to find among the otherwise high price merchandise. My best friend discovered a jewelry line she loved, so we had a great time, bought a few inexpensive items and left. I returned the next Saturday to purchase a piece from the jewelry line for my friend, and wow! Those Owners made me feel very special – they remembered tidbits of the conversation with my friend, they showed me a couple of fun wine corks (only $1.99!!!!) and had cookies and hot chocolate waiting to boot. No questions asked about how many cookies one took (because there were some hubbies nibbling more than one, haha). I realized how relaxed I felt, how nice it was to be acknowledged, and if I ever return to house ownership, I will definitely purchase the Adirondack chairs they carry!!! They put the customer experience first and for someone who frequently reverts back to that little girl who feels anxious and scared and is afraid of feeling inferior, I truly enjoyed shopping there. This is the kind of experience we need to create for our Prospects who come from all kinds of backgrounds and who may feel a bit anxious and overwhelmed themselves when looking for a new place to call home. How do your Leasing Teams create this experience for your properties and communities?