By Ben Hennessy (HENNESSY REAL ESTATE)
They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. But when I took my first step into my real estate career it’s fair to say I felt like I’d already had more starts than Phar Lap!
I clearly remember the day that I told Mum and Dad that I was leaving my (most recent) career as a maths teacher to pursue a job in real estate in the sunny coastal town of Yamba.
Born and bred in Garah, a little one pub town north of Moree, Mum had worked as a teacher at St Xavier’s after her own hard-won education, spreading the love of learning that she ultimately passed on to us six kids, as well as her deep sense of community and a compassion for those in need.
Dad, a son of Wellington-born farmers had moved to Gunnedah in 1955, in August, right in the midst of the record flood still etched into the street posts on Maitland St.
Dad has and continues to, teach us the love of a good work ethic, an indomitable spirit and the unlimited value of a kind heart.
Given Mum’s love of education, she expressed some reservations about my career change. Dad who had been working as a stock and station agent would often entertain us kids by walking around the backyard ‘auctioning’ off the bird aviaries and their occupants.
Needless to say I was enthralled, and the stage was set.
Three enjoyable years in Yamba later, I was feeling restless for all the bush had to offer – the beauty of the passing seasons, the deep sense of community that our country towns embody, and that sense of ‘home’ that just can’t be manufactured.
So after an overseas jaunt for 12 months that included fulfilling a long-held dream of walking the Camino across Northern Spain, I returned to the banks of the Namoi with a fresh perspective of all the gifts our amazing region has to offer.
I remember one of my early real estate mentors teaching that a sale is actually a transfer of belief, meaning you need to believe in the value of what you are selling.
This advice has stuck by me and I have had countless conversations over the last few years with families new to Gunnedah, or considering the move for work, asking my opinion about life in Gunnedah.
Needless to say, it has been with authentic enthusiasm that I have shared my belief in the value and virtues of life in the Namoi Valley.
In a time when so many have been confined to their homes or to an overcrowded LGA, it is worth taking a moment to count our blessings of living in the bush during the last 18 months.
Truthfully we’ve always known we were on a good thing, but now many of our city counterparts are looking wistfully over the mountain ranges at the good life, fresh air and room to move that we continue to enjoy.
Over the past few months we have continued to see this trend continue of tree-changers coming into our communities, be it for work, retirement or just in search of a better life for their families.
Working in real estate, we have the pleasure of being near the front of the queue in welcoming these families into our towns, helping them with their housing requirements and ‘selling’ the value of life in our neck of the woods.
Some of the recurring feedback we hear is how friendly people are in our towns, with a smile and a friendly nod never far away.
While this is slightly more difficult at present with many of our faces hidden behind masks, the friendly welcoming spirit our region endures and is truly something to be proud of.
In real estate we also get to accompany people as they walk through some of their most formative life transitions – be them first home purchases, last home sales, upsizing for more room for the growing family, downsizing after the last of the kids have flown the coop, homes celebrating the start of a relationship, sales to conclude the end of a relationship.
The emotions at play in all these scenarios are immense and all require a different response – be it sharing in the excitement of the moment, or being the calm voice of reason when emotions threaten to overwhelm and cloud judgements.
For me, my background in education has been a foundation I have often leant heavily on during my time in real estate.
As many teachers would relate to, in the classroom there is an element of ‘selling’ the value of the subject being taught.
My wonderful maths teaching mentor Allan Russell, was often posed the predictable objection from students, ‘When am I ever going to need calculus in the real world Sir?!’
Al would then explain that learning maths was much like going to the gym, it was exercise for the mind, strengthening your mental faculties and improving your problem-solving ability.
While it may not have been calculus itself that you were faced with in the future, knowing how to approach a complex problem and work through the solution was an invaluable tool and one worth learning through the application of high school maths.
A response that even the toughest student found hard to argue against!
Problem solving is exactly what most of us do in our daily jobs and is certainly present on a daily basis in the real estate world.
So don’t worry Mum, not all was lost from my teaching career!
Working in real estate in our area truly is a rewarding, interesting and of course at times challenging career.
However, it has and remains the best career choice I have ever made as it allows us to be of great service to others, as I believe that our level of service to others is what truly determines our greatness.
Read more from Ben:
- ‘What do you do for a living?’: Pondering this question’s truth
- Importance of goal setting during life in lockdown
- The promise of spring nears