Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good Intentions?

I am a licensed REALTOR.  You might say it is my day job.  As a sideline I shall on occasion teach a pre-licensing class.  We do not discuss how to stage a home or hold an open house, but rather cover the material which the Real Estate Commission deemed necessary knowledge.  A large portion of the text examines the law.  One thing I have to remind students is that the law only cares on which side you stand.  Your best intentions, no matter how sincere, mean nothing if you run afoul of the law.

Students will often argue that they would never break the law.  They would never even consider doing something illegal or immoral.  Unfortunately that does not matter.  The law is very clear in this regard.

What is not so clear is human interaction.  The consequences of our words or actions often outweigh whatever good we may hope to achieve.

An ill timed joke may cause more tears than laughs.

Advice may be interpreted as interference when your goal is nothing more than to provide an alternate perspective.

I think often on perspective - how my view of reality may differ from another person's view of the same situation.  The only immutable fact is that once the words leave my mouth (or "send" is pressed) I have lost the ability to control the message.  In many cases the original message behind the words is lost.  After all, perspective is colored by our own experiences. 

The lesson I've relearned is that good intentions don't mean a damn thing when you are suspected of crossing a line, of involving yourself in matters that don't concern you, or in a situation that ultimately is none of your business.

The trick is you may be asked your opinion.  You may be called in to consult.  Your advice may sincerely be needed and valued.  Just know that your audience is larger than any one person.  Your impact extends beyond any one person.

I have had opportunities to offer advice or a differing perspective.  What I have learned (or am reminded) is that someone will not always welcome my opinion.

At that moment intention is squashed by interpretation.  To the offended intention does not overcome misjudged actions.  But by no means take this as a apology.

I do not regret my actions.  I only regret the outcome.

In real estate, good intentions that run afoul of the law cost one a license.  In my case good intentions can cost me friendships and the company of great people.  It seems that losing my license would be easier to accept.

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