A quick search on the internet will reveal an untold number of quotations about lessons in life. If you think back to your childhood, most of us would recall many conversations (lectures as I recall it) with parents, teachers and relatives where they extolled the benefits of the lesson that they assumed you had learned from something that you had done, which was invariably something that they deemed to be wrong. It seems that every day, life is out to teach us a lesson about something: pay more attention to your driving; listen when your spouse tells you what time to pick up the kids; don’t crack jokes about your boss’s toupee when he may be standing behind you… and the list goes on and on. It seems that life is an endless succession of lessons to be learned.
It seems that the same can be said about being a home inspector. Every one of us has had the fortunate/unfortunate experience of learning lessons while doing our inspections. From forgetting to be sure that you had your camera before you crawled into that dirty crawlspace, paying careful attention to where you were about to put your foot in the attic, to being certain that the buyer’s small child didn’t take some (expensive) items out of your tool bag before you drive away, there are many lessons to be learned in the inspection industry.
I provide training for people trying to become licensed in our state, and I make sure that they are familiar with what I consider to be one of the most important lessons that I have learned over my years of performing inspections and running an inspection company. I tell them that you will learn many lessons during your time as a home inspector. Unfortunately, when you learn a lesson as a home inspector, it either ends up hurting you, embarrassing you, costing your money, or all three. These lessons can sometimes end up being quite costly, as the old adage goes, there are only two kinds of home inspectors: ones that have been sued and ones that are going to be sued.
The most important thing about learning lessons, in life as well as in the inspection industry, is the learning part. There is an anonymous quote that says, “History repeats itself because no one was listening the first time.” We all make mistakes, as none of us are perfect. The best thing that you can do is to be prepared, do your best, attempt to minimize your mistakes, accept responsibility when you do make a mistake, and vow to learn from the error, attempting to be certain that you won’t make the same mistake again. George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Prize and Oscar-winning playwright famously said that “Success does not consist in never making mistakes, but in never making that same one a second time.”
Be vigilant in your endeavors, be faithful to your beliefs, have trust in your knowledge and abilities, and always do your best. And when your best falls short, own the error and vow to learn and grow from the lessons that life seems to be all too happy to provide.
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