How’s Your Vision?
| March 13, 2012
Following the conclusion of the RECA symposium on self-regulation, I was shocked to learn that one of the younger real estate professional attendees felt he was not appreciated or taken seriously during the roundtable discussions that took place. I was disappointed to learn he felt this way as RECA had deliberately invited a number of younger industry members to the event. Since we were going to discuss RECA’s philosophy of self-regulation and vision for the future, and it is was their future we were discussing, we thought it was important we hear their perspective.
Without mentioning this REALTOR® by name, I can share with you I have recently gotten to know this individual. He is a true professional and one of the rising stars in our industry. He is bright, articulate, a big-picture thinker and a leader in many respects.
As I reflected on this revelation, I tried to understand how a number of our industry members could possibly dismiss or lessen the importance of the input this individual offered to a more experienced audience? Essentially, they were saying they knew better.
I may have gotten part of the answer from my 91 year-old father.
My father was recently diagnosed with cataracts. When we discussed this with him, he was adamant there was nothing wrong with his vision. No problem, he said, “I can see perfectly.” The reality is he is almost legally blind in one eye and close to the same in the other. However, in his own mind, he has excellent vision.
How is it that my father, almost legally blind in one eye, believes so strongly that his vision is fine? I believe the answer lies in the fact that preceding this diagnosis, he experienced a very gradual and incremental decline of his eyesight over a long period of time. It has been so gradual that his mind has adjusted to the changes in his vision to such an extent that he has not perceived the change himself. In other words, his mind has forgotten what good vision looks like.
How does this relate to the young REALTOR® who felt dismissed at the RECA symposium by the “veterans” of our industry? It is my theory that for many of us, including myself (as I approach 60), the quality of our vision of the industry declines as we age. We tend to focus on what we know and what we have experienced in the past. We think what we see is clear and we understand it. We think we know the industry because we have the history and we are wise.
I would suggest that is not the case, though. We see the industry through our own eyes and, increasingly, through our bifocals and trifocals. When in fact, what we see may not be reality, or, it may not be the entire picture, or, it may be a blurred vision or just plain wrong.
The reality is the world is changing around us very rapidly and our industry is no exception. Whether you are a broker, practitioner, association volunteer, regulator or staff member, change is occurring at a quicker pace and it is affecting all of us. Despite being a member of the baby boomer generation and a member of the industry “club,” I believe I still have something to offer. However, I also recognize that I don’t know it all. I don’t know what I don’t know.
At RECA, we have made a commitment to meet with younger members of our industry as often as we can, to listen to their perspective. While I may know the history of RECA or have more experience in some things, their ideas, views and thoughts on our industry are critically important and must never be dismissed. I have to recognize that my vision is somewhat blurred but with the insights of others, particularly the next generation, I can benefit from their advice – they can help me see better.
To that young REALTOR® and all of your colleagues, don’t be discouraged, be patient. Please continue to participate in the conversation and provide your leadership. The vast majority of us look forward to hearing from you and genuinely appreciate your contribution. We need you to tell us what you see. If at times you feel your views as not accepted or being taken seriously, please remember that some of us think “I can still see perfectly,” despite being legally blind.
Bob Myroniuk, Executive Director
Real Estate Council of Alberta