What’s that Smell?

We had just turned out the lights and gone to bed after some middle school girls had finished tee-peeing our house. The girls weren’t that tall so it was mostly just a few rolls of toilet paper in our bushes and lower branches of our smaller trees. They also weren’t very quiet as we heard their car doors slam and giggles as they went about their “stealth mission.” (We actually knew they were coming as one of the mother’s called us for permission ahead of time)

56 avatar treeIt was a few minutes after the house was dead silent that we started smelling it.

Was it a skunk or was there something burning? Was it coming through the vents or was it coming from inside the house?

My wife jumped out of bed and a few seconds later both kids were in our room complaining about the aroma as well.

What did I think? I figured a skunk had maybe been scared by the girls running through the darkened yard and surrounding landscape and it released his protective spray. Or maybe a skunk had fallen into one of our window wells like one had a few years ago at my brother’s house. I mean, this smell was strong as if it was nearby.

My wife and kids, after the young hooligans had left, had gone outside to clean up some of the toilet paper before the night-time moisture would have made it more difficult in the morning. They lasted about 5 minutes in the brisk November air and then came inside and went back to their warm beds.

“Oh my goodness,” said my wife. “We had the doors wide open while we were outside. Do you think an animal came in the house?”

Great, now I had to jump out of bed and go downstairs and check for a rogue skunk or raccoon? Just what every homeowner wants to do on a Friday night. So before heading downstairs to look for a rabid rodent, I grabbed a baseball bat from my son’s bedroom. Relax PETA, no animals were harmed.

Nothing was found but the smell was definitely strong when the door was opened so we figured it was a skunk somewhere in the neighborhood.

The kids still had a hard time falling back asleep, fearing that some nocturnal trespasser was going to jump on their bed in the middle of the night.

I feel asleep laughing…and breathing through my mouth.

Passing the “Smell Test”

What do you do when something doesn’t smell right in your business? Do you check things out to see what’s wrong or proceed anyway? Do you let yourself get distracted and look for a cause of the problem or move forward based on experience or gut instinct?

When a seller says they want a higher price than you feel like the market will bear, what’s your approach?

How about that Buyer that wants to submit an embarrassingly low offer on that house that just hit the market a few days ago?

Does that caller on the phone really have cash to pay for the $500K listing they’re calling about?

Do you reply to those spammy emails phishing for personal information or alerting you that a long-lost Kenyan relative has left you $9.5 million dollars?

…Or do you stop and say “something doesn’t smell right about this?”

Sometimes we allow ourselves to get stuck holding our nose and seeing the negatives in business and life when it might make more sense to stay focused on what we know needs to happen if we want to enjoy the sweet smell of success.

Take a deep breath. Relax. Get plenty of fresh air this weekend.

Then get ready to build relationships, solve problems and have fun this week.



Epilogue: In case you’re wondering, I found the culprit of the late night aroma this morning on my walk. R.I.P. Mr. Skunk. It really stinks you didn’t see that car coming.

No, I mean that. It really stinks.





photo by: Looking Glass

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