ISS Blog

Dropping Like Flies: Celebs, Bank Balances and Our Spirits

The Grim Reaper has been busy in the celebrity realm this week, first claiming TV icon Ed McMahon, next Charlie's Angel Farah Fawcett and, finally, legendary musical talent Michael Jackson. This last death caused such a stir in the social-media world that Twitter's search capacity was overloaded, leading the microblogging service to disable its search functionality.

Neither of the first two announcements shocked me, but that last one did. MJ? And now I read that after all that fame, he actually died deeply in debt: $400 million worth. That's the cost of lawsuits and a lifestyle based on fantasies of perpetual youth.

I mention this week's media sensation because of a conversation  I had yesterday. A friend of the family, upon hearing all this news of death, started ruminating on the eight-year loss of her mother and became immediately dejected by it. It just goes to show how depressed is the general morale in this country that we internalize the slightest public catastrophe. Despite statements from the Federal Reserve that the economy is improving and inflation will halt, we're now miserable in more than our pocketbooks.

This impacts self-storage operators on a personal and professional level. You're feeling the pinch in your own finances and mental state, but so are your tenants. When you handle those oh-so-personal rental transactions, you're exchanging all sorts of weird energy. Are you commiserating? Slapping on a happy face? Playing therapist? A few months back, I read a news story about a storage manager who keeps a plush couch in her office for tenants to sit and share their stories with her.

When you go out into the world each day to interact with customers, your co-workers, the cashier at Starbucks, whoever, you're potentially carrying or picking up a piece of that social malaise that's been going around. It's tough to see it for what it is and not let it affect your relationships and business. One of my favorite quotes is from Anais Nin: "We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are."

So ... it's smart once in a while to step back from your computer, set the newspaper aside, turn off the TV and make a realistic assessment of what's happening in your world. It may still be rough, but at least you can separate it from the global melancholy and put things in perspective. Adjust your "bedside manner" accordingly. I think you'll find it helps you, and that, in turn, will help your tenants. In other words, let's spread something around other than H1N1, something healthy and positive.

How are you doing? What about your tenants? What's the general atmosphere at your facility? Let's share some good vibes in the blog. I'll start: I'm going to see the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus tomorrow. Yay for trapeze artists!

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