The Holiday Season is fun, but this enjoyment comes with costs which are not always clear to us.
- The spotlight is normally on the visible cost of financial expenses and accrued debt that start with Thanksgiving and carry through the Holidays into January, but that is just the tip of the “cost iceberg.”
- The greatest, and too-often overlooked, costs arise from perpetuating frequently-unconscious mental ruts and out-dated thinking. These behavioral deficiencies can be very costly in several ways, from attacks on self confidence which undermine self-worth to reinforcement of time-wasting procrastination and subversion of goal achievement.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a sucker for the traditions associated with each Holiday. However, year after year “Holiday Hype” encourages us to regress to speaking in worn-out clichés (“I’m too young for this.”) and reacting to 20th Century stereotypes (“You’re too old for this.”). This regression can undermine forward-thinking advancements you’ve achieved during the year.
Through my work as a strategist, speaker, and writer, I encourage entrepreneurs, professionals, business owners, and others who are committed to carving out unique paths for their career and business ventures to become conscious of the particular “mental boomerangs” they launch during the Holidays. For instance, one of the most significant mental ruts deepened during the Holidays involves ageism or prejudice against age. Ageism and its related ageist stereotypes and myths undermine the confidence of individuals or groups for either being too young or too old in someone else’s opinion.
Ageism leaves its mark on every aspect of Holiday activities from partying to gift-buying. It can also effect your thinking and actions regarding any other subject, including real estate, you tackle during this period. Over the Holiday Season, cross generation communication is encouraged, but ageist tones can lead to negativity in the buying and selling process for real estate buyers, sellers, owners, and wanna-bes whether they are part of the groups listed above or not.
For instance, jokes and jibes about aging – self-directed and otherwise – get laughs, but these ageist jabs do not represent constructive humor. Prejudice never does.
- During buying and selling discussions, references to age-driven failings or “senior moments” distract everyone from the fact that memory lapses and lack of concentration plague everybody at some time or other. Usually these memory gaps are related to lack of sleep, medication issues, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, over indulgences, and/or lack of interest and boredom. Any or all of these negative influences can have serious effects on decision making during buying or selling for anybody. Resolve these short-comings and you’re hot.
- First-time buyers can get hit with “too young” prejudice when they describe their real estate wish list or talk about mortgages and down payments with family. Come prepared with third-party explanations of value (Realty Times has lots of “you see” content for sharing.), or spend time listening to those you need buy-in from so you can use their context to back up and explain your plans. Pick your battles. No point winning an argument when it does not move you closer to your goals or turn a nay-sayer into a staunch supporter.
- Real estate professionals can unconsciously fall into the ageist trap of labelling buyer and seller clients with stereotypes when these clients are closed minded or close mouthed. When professionals cannot relate to a prospect or client, how can they avoid being confusing and deliver clear, on-point information and insight? Make sure neither side of this important relationship is thinking “too young” or “too old” about the other side – consciously or otherwise. Build bridges.
During the Holidays, it’s easy to suffer from one or all of the above challenges while you are talking about real estate, or taking action on your homeownership dreams, so be proactive to protect your interests:
- Stay alert for negative influences disguised as holiday celebrating if you have real estate, financial, or other significant decisions or choices to make regarding renovations, moving, buying, sharing ownership, or anything with long-term implications.
- The emotional pressure of Holiday Season takes a toll. If you’re depressed about who you will or won’t be celebrating the Holidays with, you will benefit from waiting until you’re on solid mental ground before signing any type of real estate or financial contract. Instead of letting unachieved goals get you down, use this time to take a mental holiday from disappointment. Reevaluate real estate goals in the new year with a real estate professional to provide a fresh perspective, and you’ll discover there is always another path to a dream.
- This overly sentimental time can also falsely represent weak, false, or fading personal connections as trusting relationships. People are very vulnerable to scams and unscrupulous pressure at this time of year. Family members can be culprits, too. If practical, delay significant decisions until “Holiday Hype” has passed. For instance, wanting a home “made over” for the Holidays may lead you into a flawed renovation contract that you’d never normally consider. Or, overwhelmed with sentiment, you may over-charge on credit cards and find your mortgage-borrowing power compromised when bills arrive in January.
Over the weeks ahead, remain determined to enjoy all that comes your way, but stay just as determined not to take any backward real estate steps over the Holiday Season. Getting involved in local efforts to make the Holidays pleasant for those who are homeless or under-housed, may be the best real estate decision you can make for now.
Onward & Upward are the directions that really matter!
Have a good one and let me know if you need anything.