When I was growing up, our family's summer vacations were spent tent camping.
My father was an avid outdoorsman, so when we arrived at the campground, he was ready to jump into action and prepare for the week or two ahead and required that we jump right along with him.
The first thing that we would have to do was scope our campsite for any litter that would have been leftover from the previous campers, including their yucky cigarette butts. It was my father's rule that our campsite needed to start out clean!
On the last day, we would need to walk our entire site again and pick up anything lying on the ground. His end goal was that our site would be left cleaner than we found it and ready for the next camper, with no sign of us ever being there.
The second thing we would do would be to set up the tent. Following the pitching of the tent, my father would get out his trusty army shovel, a shovel that had followed him from his days in the service.
As he grabbed the wooden handle and straightened out the shovel blade, we knew what that meant; it was time to help dig a trench around the tent to prepare for possible rainstorms even when the following weeks' forecast was for sunny days ahead.
I hated digging the trench. It was such a pain, and I wanted to do anything else.
But every time, my father insisted, so we did it, no matter how much my brother and I complained.
Then one fateful weekend, I realized the wisdom in my father's ways.
In my early twenties, I went camping with some friends. We did not dig the trench. Instead, we spent that time relaxing in the sun and drinking beer.
Then, in the middle of the night, I heard thunder. Soon it was pouring rain. Our tent was getting flooded.
So, in the middle of this downpour, we had to get out of our tents and dig a trench so our camp wouldn’t wash away.
And if you have ever tried to dig a trench in the rain, so you are digging mud instead of dirt, you know it is quite the challenge.
My father taught me a very valuable lesson, preparation. We prepared the campsite first by cleaning, then by digging the trench so we would stay dry if unexpected rain came.
And, if you own a rental property, you understand how important it is to start out with a clean house for your renters, and how important it is to have a “rainy day fund” to make unexpected repairs, so your renters stay happy, and your house stays up to code.
And in the real estate world, the unexpected can happen, and if you are going to be successful in this business long term, it is very important that you are prepared. To avoid the storms, network with other like-minded women landlords, build a good foundation for your business, educate yourself and be ready to take action.
All those years, I thought I was helping to build a trench around a tent, but as I look back, I now understand the lesson my father was teaching me was the "Power of Preparation".