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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The bucket brigade...

Way back, near when I first started this blog, I reported on a stress relieving mechanism that we had been trained on in the office that involved staring at a green dot on the wall, while holding one leg up. If you recall, I had created a special green dot that had the words "So, what?" inside, as a further mechanism to relieve the stress of life in the real estate world.

Recently we instituted a program in the office based upon the children’s book – “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. It’s another self-help book about how we all carry around emotional buckets and how what we say and do as we interact with fellow workers, family, friends, or clients either adds to their bucket (a good thing) or takes from their buckets (not good). The bucket metaphor apparently refers to our self esteem and how giving people compliments or saying something nice to someone can help build up their self esteem and how saying something negative does just the opposite. The theory also holds that as you fill someone else’s bucket, yours fills too - you feel good by making others feel good.

The same theory applies to how you express your outlook on things in general – the world around you. If you are always negative about everything, that takes from the buckets of others and from your own bucket. So, saying negative things about your work or the real estate market, for instance, might be cause for buckets to be emptied – both your own and those of the people around you. Filling a home seller’s bucket in the current market can be a big challenge, but not even trying can empty his/her bucket even faster.

There’s certainly no doubt that we can all use positive reinforcement these days and the bucket metaphor is an easy one to physically implement in the workplace – we have little buckets setting around the office with little slips in them that one can fill out to record whenever someone does something nice or says something nice to a co-worker (fills someone’s else’s bucket). It’s not unusual to overhear someone saying “Thanks, you filled my bucket” to a co-worker, or “Get your hand out of my bucket!”, if the co-worker has done/said something negative.

So, now we have green dots and buckets. Sounds a bit like Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, but, in this case, it is much more practical because now we have a place to store our green dots. Maybe I’ll just paint my bucket green. That way I can put it on the wall and stare at it. Oops, did I just put a hole in my bucket? Not to worry. I’ll patch it with this handy green dot.

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