I have had great success as a real estate professional for more than 20 years, but my most financially successful years have followed the times when I did the most work on myself inside. Through examining and adjusting my internal systems I was able to approach my external systems with greater clarity and authenticity.
When you work in a service industry, authenticity matters.
Selling real estate in one of the strongest, most competitive markets in the world has always just been what I’ve done. I was born into it as a second generation REALTOR® and lifelong Oakland resident. We are a special bunch here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The level of service we provide to our clients and the level of professionalism with which we perform with our colleagues is truly top notch. And goodness, it can be exhausting and all consuming -- but that’s the business we’re in, right? Not necessarily...
What does your year normally look like? You work seven days a week, your phone is never off, you’re fielding calls, texts, and emails from the moment you wake up until you close your eyes, and then again when you wake in the middle of the night worrying about something out of your control. You’re juggling active deals, potential deals, leads, cooperating agents, uncooperative agents, inspectors, a variety of contractors, oh, and don't forget to source the finishes, light fixtures, flooring, countertops and cabinets, all to work with the color scheme you’ve chosen for the interior and exterior (don’t get me started on trendy wallpaper or accent walls) for that upcoming listing. Working with buyers in the time of COVID? You’re spending hours pouring through disclosure packets to potentially eliminate the property from the showing schedule. And scheduling showings has never been more roundabout and you end up zig zagging across town because that’s when you could get an appointment to show the property (and please don’t forget to wipe down all touched surfaces). When clients tend to go on vacation is when you schedule yours, in July/August or during the holidays. Even then, your phone never leaves your side and your laptop is at the ready. I get it. I totally do. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. And real estate builds on itself -- what you do today brings tomorrow’s business. That I agree with, but maybe not how you think.
A large part of my success has been not allowing this all consuming business to consume all of my life.
In late 2016 I went to a personal growth event -- you know the one where you end up walking barefoot on red hot coals? Yeah, I did that. Anyway, I signed up for a year of life coaching, planning to use it primarily for business growth -- after all, what I really needed was to make more money.
Three months later I was severely bit in the face by a dog who took off about a third of my bottom lip. I was out of commission (literally and figuratively) for months. Thankfully I’d gotten into contract the day before (confession: I accidentally cried on the phone with the appraiser because I was on Percocet (eek!), but the appraisal came in at value. I do not recommend that strategy). Now, I’d just spent thousands of dollars for a year of coaching, but I wasn’t able to go out and work any new business systems while on painkillers (lesson learned) or around the multiple reconstructive surgeries and follow up treatments.
While I healed outside, I went to work to heal inside too. I was in therapy and had my coach. Both were instrumental, each served their appropriate role. With my coach I worked on my grand visions for different parts of my life and began to lay foundational work for how to get there. I also did a lot of work on my internal beliefs, shifting from limiting to expansive, but not without examination. Together we crafted powerful affirmations, some of which I still use, others I’ve tweaked to be more in line with my life today. We developed external systems to help me leverage my time and energy so I could be better at my profession and more fulfilled in my life. And you know what happened?
After a year of doing next to nothing for business development and having my absolute worst business year ever, I skyrocketed to my best.
Changing the story I told myself allowed me to change the story I told the world. When I got clear on my message, things fell into place. My business has been exactly what I want and need it to be to support the life I choose to live. It does not run me. My phone is on Do Not Disturb from 9:30pm-7:00am. I sleep at least 8 hours each night and rarely wake in the middle of the night, certainly not to stress over clients or deals. I take classes to expand and explore other interests throughout the year. And my buyers and sellers thank me for my fast and thorough responses to their texts and emails. I continue to be detailed and professional through all my deals, striving to leave my colleagues with as good of an impression of me as my clients have.