This week I read a fascinating interview with film director Steven Soderberg on why he is giving up on directing as a career path. One particular piece stood out for me:
“On the few occasions where I’ve talked to film students, one of the things I stress, in addition to learning your craft, is how you behave as a person. So I ask them, “What are the stories you want people to tell about you?” Because at a certain point, your ability to get a job could turn on the stories people tell about you. The reason he continued to ask me to work with him (after 5 flops) was because he liked me personally. He also knew I was a responsible filmmaker. If I’m an asshole, then I don’t get that job. Character counts."
Stop for a second and ask yourself what kind of story your tenants would tell someone about you as the property owner in a casual conversation. Let’s say your tenants are sitting around with their neighbours and they are telling stories about their landlords, good or bad. Most tenants do this, especially if you have a multiplex unit.
What about your property manager? What kinds of stories are they going to say about you to their family and friends?
Are the stories going to reflect well on you?
Are the stories going to imply that you are honest and reliable and that you are pleasant to interact with? Or are they going to imply that you are only in it for the money? That you’re often unpleasant to deal with?
The story that’s told about you is going to be part of what defines you in the minds of your tenants, property managers and business network (mortgage brokers, banks, accountants, maintenance team. It is going to determine whether or not people work well with you, how good your future references will be, and whether those people will give you a helping hand when you need it.
You contribute to that story every single day.
When someone expects something from you, do you come through with high consistency? When someone trusts you, do you stand up for that trust?
Do you say positive things about others and avoid backstabbing anyone? Do you deal with situations with good humour?
Do you come through when people need help, even volunteering to help them out when they need it?
When there’s a difficult task, do you handle it? Do you figure out ways to deal with problems that are a bit beyond your current expertise?
These questions are the things that make up the story others have about you.
That story will play a big role in helping to define you and the personal relationships you build.
What story do you want told about you? You answer that question every day through your actions.