Our identity is nothing but a story we tell about ourselves. Has your story past it’s use-by-date?
It’s been a long time since I’ve had to apply for a job. Can’t say I miss all that jumping through hoops rubbish.
But I still take the time, every now and then, to brush up the old resume.
And it’s not because I don’t love being my own boss, and secretly crave being told what to do by middle-management.
I’m not genetically suited to taking orders.
But I find the act of refreshing your C.V a useful exercise in redefining the way we think about ourselves.
Because we all have stories well tell about ourselves. I’m not good at being told what to do. I’m no good at maths. I’m not a people person. I have no talent for art.
I’m no good with money.
Some of these stories are true. Some of them aren’t.
I over-heard my friend singing while she was doing the dishes the other day. She was fantastic. Like listening to an angel on solid gold speaker cables.
“Wow. You can really sing!”
“Oh no I can’t. I’ve never been any good at singing.”
Never? Turns out once when she was in 5 some kid got annoyed at her singing and told her she had a horrible voice.
That became part of her self-narrative. She just wasn’t any good at singing. And she carried that narrative with her through her thirties and into her forties. Forty-odd years and she never stopped to question whether that stupid 5 year old kid was right!
It’s just one of the quirks of human nature. The stories we tell about ourselves are mental short-cuts. If I have an ongoing story that says I’m no good at singing, I don’t have to question it every time the opportunity to sing comes up, or I feel like singing when others are around. I just know I’m no good at singing. End of story.
Those precious mental resources are then freed up to be spent on something else, like planning Christmas.
And so when we update the resume, it’s a chance to take stock of our professional skills, and examine the narratives we tell about our selves.
And it’s a way for our narrative to catch up on recent experience.
After 5 years in one position a friend of mine decided to apply for a new job. She thought it was a long-shot, but she’d give it a go anyway.
Turns out though that after she’d work on her CV and the application, she was massively over-qualified. She went back to her boss and asked for a raise.
She was still working with an old narrative. All of her recent experience, all of her extra-curricular endeavours, they weren’t reflected in the old mental resume she was carrying around.
So it’s worth doing regularly I think. Update the resume, and retell the story of who you are and what you can do.
And there’s an exercise I sometimes recommend to newbies – especially if they feel they’re not bringing any skills to the table.
I ask them to imagine that I’ve got a position in my organisation for a professional property investor. Initially the contract is for just one or two properties, but there is scope to grow the portfolio substantially.
Now apply for the job.
There’s two useful things that come out of this exercise. First, the stories we tend to tell about ourselves tend to be excessively negative. We tend to underestimate how awesome we actually are. By a long way.
So when we sit down and try to get an objective picture of our skills, we see that we’re actually a lot more qualified than we thought.
And I think I’ve seen every profession and walk-of-life come through my doors at some point over the years. Most think they’re massively under-qualified. (Except accountants, who tend to think they’ve got the whole money thing sorted… until their partner swindles them for hundreds of thousands and they have to start from scratch… ahem.)
But when you look, you can almost always find experience that will be useful to draw on. Self-employed truckie? Scheduling is a massive part of major reno projects. Hair-dresser? People skills and an ability to relate to strangers is a massive advantage. Stay-at-home mum? Most deposits will first have to be carved out of the family budget.
Property investment isn’t ‘easy’. But it’s much less technical than people think.
The other benefit of this exercise is that it starts to highlight what strategies might work best for you. Good with your hands? Maybe renos is a good strategy for you… Got an eye for detail? Maybe subdivisions and DA uplift. Good with people? Maybe you want to become the knowledge partner in a JV…
My experience is that in property investment, there’s a way forward for everybody. You’ve just got to find it.
Just make sure you’re not lugging around any out-dated stories of yourself.
Is property investing easier / less technical than you thought?
Have you let go of any narratives that weren’t serving you anymore?