A quick search on the internet will reveal an untold number of quotations about lessons in life. If we think back to our childhood, most of us would recall many conversations (lectures as I recall it) with parents, teachers and relatives. They often extolled the benefits of the lessons that we learned from something that we had done, which, invariably, was 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 our lives are an endless succession of lessons to be learned.
All too often, 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, trying to make sure that new inspectors are familiar with the important lessons that they are likely to learn while performing inspections and running an inspection company. Business owners are sure to learn many lessons during their time as a home inspector. Unfortunately, when we learn lessons as a home inspector, one (or more) of three things are likely to happen: we either end up getting hurt, getting embarrassed, or spending money. Or maybe all three at the same time! These lessons can sometimes end up being quite costly for us and our business. As the old saying goes, there are only two types 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 we can do is to be prepared for our job. We should always try to do our best. It’s important to do everything in our power to attempt to minimize the mistakes that we make. When we do make a mistake, we should be quick to accept responsibility for our actions, vowing to learn from the error. It’s not a crime to make a mistake, but it is foolish to keep repeating our mistakes. 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.”
We should be vigilant in our endeavors, faithful to our beliefs, trust in our knowledge and abilities, and always do our best. And when our best falls short, which it will, we should own the error and vow to learn and grow from the lessons that life seems all too happy to provide.
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