In our modern, fast-paced world, it is far too common to feel disconnected and rushed in everyday interactions. But on those rare occasions when you find yourself face-to-face with authenticity and honesty, the value of genuine human connection is undeniable.
Authentic, vulnerable, and honest communication allows us to truly understand one another and connect as human beings. Through these connections, we find otherwise unseen purpose and joy in our struggles. These rewards are often far more valuable than anything money can buy, inspiring us to follow our hearts over our heads in personal, professional, and financial decisions.
Today, instead of my typical article citing research studies and quoting the experts, I simply want to share a story with you. A true story that proves embracing honesty and being your most authentic, vulnerable self may be your most valuable asset.
Honesty and authenticity: your most valuable assets
A few years ago, my friend Erin and her family decided it was finally time to put their suburban house on the market and move farther out into a more rural area. It was an emotional time; this house meant the world to them.
This was the first home she and her husband bought together after they married. This house was where they had brought their daughter home from the hospital when she was born and where she had been raised for nine years. Over the years, this home had hosted countless dinner parties, birthday celebrations, and family get-togethers. So, the decision to sell was not one they took lightly.
As a licensed real estate agent, Erin knew that the housing market was on the upswing, and they were bound to make a pretty penny on their beloved home. They prepared the house to be put on the market by touching up the paint and doing the necessary maintenance. They took professional photos of the spacious two-story and readied the property listing. And on a sunny Tuesday in April 2021, they pressed publish to begin the process officially.
What Erin didn’t expect was the seven showings that were quickly scheduled on that first Tuesday. Nor did she anticipate the five offers to purchase their home by the end of the day, the highest bid at a whopping $25,000 over the asking price. And she most definitely did not plan on spending that evening choosing who would be living in their home after them.
Now, you probably think choosing which offer to accept was easy for Erin and her husband. And, talking with her afterward, she would definitely agree with that statement. However, you’ll be surprised that Erin and her husband did not accept the highest offer. The deciding factor for them did not boil down to the money, or generous contractual terms, or even a fancy gift basket to butter them up.
The winning offer
The deciding factor was a simple letter.
The winning offer was accompanied by a heartfelt letter from a middle-aged mother. She explained that she was looking for the perfect home to begin a new life with her fiance and their four daughters. She confessed that she and her future husband were counting down the days to when he finished his last military deployment and finally moved back home so that they could start their life together. She raved that the home’s floorplan was perfect to allow enough space and privacy for four girls. She praised the ideal location and beautiful neighborhood, which was near her parents and her children’s father. The woman also admitted that she had been searching for homes for several months already with no luck —but the moment she saw the pictures of this house, she just knew they had finally found the one.
Erin later told me that as soon as she read this letter, her heart and her mind were made up. She related to this woman —a mother, a stepmother, a daughter, and a woman embarking on a new chapter in life.
I remember the moment she told me vividly. I was standing on the driveway of my future home with the property inspector, meeting the sellers for the first time as they passed by on their way out the door.
Remembering the value of honesty and authenticity
The irony of this story is that the letter was not even my idea; it was my realtor’s. Writing a heartfelt letter to a complete stranger was way outside of my comfort zone, and the practical side of me didn’t think it would have any influence outside of the monetary factors on the negotiation. But, we wanted the house so much that I swallowed my pride and decided to give it a shot. I am so thankful I was proven wrong, not only for the beautiful home we’ve built our life in but for the valuable lesson I’ll carry with me forever.
This is just one of the countless stories demonstrating how honesty and authenticity are far more valuable than any checking accounts, property values, or other physical belongings. Beautiful examples of how choosing sincere, heartfelt interactions, no matter how uncomfortable or scary, is more rewarding than playing it safe and practical.
When I asked Erin for her permission to share this story, it allowed us the chance to catch up. We chatted about what our children were up to, discussed my vision for the blog, and got the latest scoop on each of our husbands. I love that we’ve stayed in touch two years after we signed the paperwork on the house and developed a friendship.
Two strangers brought together thanks to one beautiful house and an honest, authentic connection.
Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.Brené Brown
Have you ever felt an unanticipated connection through honesty or authenticity? What did you learn from this experience? Share your story in the comments below!