The Style Council
It’s confession time. I did something I never thought that I could. Having obsessively written a blog for the best part of two years, I gave myself a month off.
As July became August and my thoughts turned towards a first proper summer holiday since 2018, I decided to take a break from writing. To spend time reconnecting with the people who have lived and breathed every moment of my twenty-four months in business.
Because two thirds of those individuals are now five and nine years old respectively. And according to various internet sources, on the day your kids leave home, you’ll have used up 90% of your total time with them.
Which makes you think twice about complaining. Especially when “handstands in the pool with Daddy” enters its second consecutive hour.
I didn’t just take a break from blogging either. There was also an attempted hiatus from thinking. About work, but also about other stuff.
Normally, I’ve got some kind of business book on the go. Or I’m listening to a podcast. Generally, I spend my free time filling my head with the kind of information which helps me to give my clients better advice.
I also swapped a stationary bike for an actual one, and cycled it on an actual road. And I picked up a tennis racket for the first time in twenty years.
In the months leading up to August, the thought of all of this change was pretty anxiety inducing.
Would everything that I’ve worked so hard on fall apart in two ice cream fuelled weeks? Would my clients man the barricades at the thought of me not being on the other end of the phone at all hours of the day?
As it turns out, no. Whilst there were some emails, calls, and the odd hour in front of the computer, I largely switched off. And in the process of doing so, I noticed something.
I enjoy my work more than I ever consciously realised.
Like any job, estate agency has its ups and downs. There’s a certain responsibility that comes with guiding people through a big change in their life.
Some things go right, and some things go wrong. And as a result, there’s moments of both joy, and anguish too. Often during the same transaction.
The entire process has a lot to do with managing people’s expectations and their ever changing moods. Because it rests on me to be a calm and steadying influence at all times. Or that’s the idea, anyway.
Often that’s all quite difficult, but the bigger the challenge, the more I thrive.
I’m at my best when I’m involved with a project that requires a thoughtfully considered and well implemented strategy. There’s something incredibly rewarding about seeing a marketing campaign come to life, and collaborating with the creative individuals who are essential to that process.
More and more, it feels to me that when estate agency is done right, it’s the pinnacle of the service industry. And every good customer has the potential to get you a new one.
So as a long hot summer approaches its end, and I get back to the job at hand, I wonder what else I’ve learned during a month where I actively tried to avoid learning anything.
The evolution of both work and society over the past decade has increasingly bent us towards hustle culture and performative workaholism. To the extent that quiet quitting is now a thing.
Imagine, what was once regarded as doing your job, is in some circles now more aligned with giving up. Because if you’re not shouting to the top about how hard you’re working, it might not count.
With this firmly in mind, I finally learned that it’s not only ok to take a break, it’s also really good for you too.
It can remind you of how lucky you are to love your life, both when you’re working, and when you’re not.
If you’re wondering about the title of today’s post, it contains a few references to the soundtrack of my summer.
So you can basically ignore everything that I just said. The truth is that I spent my holiday laying by a pool, listening to Paul Weller, and figuring out how to write a blog post which contained as many of his song titles as possible.
“As you enter Queens Gate Gardens through the original entrance of this 19th-century, Grade II listed building, the sense of grandeur created by its architect, the master builder and amateur artist Charles Aldin, is immediately apparent”
You can see my latest listing here
Things I’ve been inspired by this week
I suspect there’ll be a blog post about this at some point. But in the meantime, I just loved King Richard.
It’s a brilliantly inspiring story about tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, and the influence that their father had on both of their careers.