Allison and I have both grown a lot since we’ve started this blog. I’m sure that if you’re on a similar journey, you might be experiencing some of the same career and financial growing pains that we have, so I’m ripping off a big bandaid here.
We both had full time careers two years ago, and we were great at what we did. Allison was an award winning elementary teacher for several years, and has written several posts on this blog about why she had to walk away. Now it’s my turn.
My brain doesn’t like doing the same thing in the same place every day, and I’m a huge fan of large paychecks, treating myself to nice things, and putting my face all over marketing materials, which is why being a Realtor was a great fit for me for a number of years. It’s an exciting job, full of creatively meeting challenges, highs and lows, and wins and losses. My brain thrives on that kind of energy, and I got to help some really great clients as a result. In recent years, as my body has become a bigger and bigger asshole due to Lupus and back problems, the somewhat flexible schedule had been a good fit as well.
I’ve always worked on a team when selling homes, as I believe it’s absolutely the best way to serve clients. Having a team around me made sure our clients all got the best experience possible from start to finish. A team also provides agents a work/life balance they really can’t get elsewhere, as well as providing mentorship, collaboration, training, and above all, close friendships you need in this business.
About 5 months before we started this blog, my team (which is owned by one of the best real estate mentors in the country) had just quit being an independent brokerage and moved to a larger local brokerage. Allison and I had already been discussing spirituality and awakening, headed on separate but parallel paths, as we’ve done for decades. I dug into the new brokerage at the same time I was going through the first of many shifts, and I got uncomfortable pretty quickly.
This new brokerage was owned by people who talked about their Prosperity Gospel-ish Christianity a lot, and I’ve always been uncomfortable mixing religion with business. Obviously I could have chosen to leave the brokerage, but that would have meant leaving the team I loved and with which I’d always been successful, but that wasn’t even a thought that occurred to me.
To be really clear, almost everyone I love deeply is a Christian. I was raised a Catholic, and I’ve read the Bible several times through. I believe Jesus was a real lightworker, an angel on Earth, and his message of love, acceptance, peace, and charity is something we should all strive to follow. That’s why those values are pretty consistent among all major religions of the world.
Poet Edgar Guest said, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day,” and that’s one of my absolute favorite quotes. My rule of thumb? If someone frequently tells you they’re a “servant leader,” they’re probably not. If they were, you’d already know it by their actions. Looking back, I can see that what I was feeling was more of a nudge from the Universe that I wasn’t on the right career path anymore, but when you’re doing something that you’ve always been good at and you’re mostly happy, you don’t want to listen to nudges. Especially if you’re as stubborn as my ass is.
My team did move to another brokerage after about a year, and I was hyped. Of course, there were a few minor changes with my team that I didn’t love, but I was working with a leader who truly made every move in what he believed was in the best interest of everyone on the team, and I did, and do, trust his judgement and instincts.
I truly wanted to take the fresh start and take the world by storm, but I just couldn’t get my head in the game. That’s on me. Have you ever just had what feels like a giant karmic shitstorm with a snowball effect? I don’t claim to be a particularly good person, but surely I didn’t deserve the last 12 months. My health had taken several bad turns, with flares lasting longer and remissions being few and far between. I had some really bad side effects from medication, and my bulldog, who I’d often referred to as my person in the world, had died suddenly at the age of 7 when I was out of state. There were absolutely no warning signs. He had an undetectable heart defect and just died peacefully in his sleep, absolutely breaking my heart. One of the most important human relationships in my life was probably at its lowest point. I was pretty miserable, but I’m pretty good at being miserable with a smile on my face and jokes coming out of my mouth, even though I was depressed, mad at the world, and feeling pretty damn sorry for myself. Most people with chronic illness learn to pretend to be healthy, and I’m a good actress to begin with. Inside, though, all of my instincts were telling me it was time for a big change.
I’d started feeling better physically, with a longer remission than I’d seen in a while when I got an unexpected offer from another team. The offer seemed great; I’d still be selling real estate, but doing it a different way. I was truly excited to try a new approach and work for a team lead by strong women for the first time in my career. I decided to take a risk and start fresh, and I honestly did it with a lot of careful thought. I believed my skill set would be an asset to their team, and it was at first. I was surrounded by smart, badass, caring, giving, empowered women, and it was a great environment.
So, what was the problem? Why am I writing this blog? If it had all worked out, I would be too busy to write this on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m sure we’ve all had moments in our lives where we just felt stuck and truly unhappy, and all we knew is that we needed to make a big change, and that’s where I was. I kept getting gut feelings that I was going in the wrong direction, but I misread them.
OK, so I’m saying this one time, and one time only, but Allison was right. I should have worked on meditation and grounding a lot more over those months. I shouldn’t have powered through big moves without listening to the rhythm of my intuition.
When I started with my long time team, I was a spry, totally healthy 32 year old, and here I was at almost 43. How things changed. In those days, March of 2008 to be exact, we were in the office Monday-Friday at 9 am for training. I loved it, because we were learning about the real estate market and how to help our clients at the highest level possible in what turned out to be a long ass, widespread, devastating recession. Our team made it through that period because we were professionals who were used to learning, and our leadership worked their asses off to figure out how to stay in business and keep a team of agents profitable when masses of agents and companies went out of business.
Thankfully for my decrepit body, our team had changed with the times and I was able to do a lot remotely, but most of our agents were in the office a lot, and in retrospect, I know I really missed the camaraderie and positive environment. I knew it was there, in the office every day, where I was more than welcome. It sucked to know that what I wanted was there, but my fucking body kept me from it. It was just sitting there, like the cake my mom made the night before my brother’s birthday. It was frosted, delicious, and sitting on the counter just out of reach all day, where it would remain until after dinner. Even then, I’d have to wait for my brother to eat some first or I’d get my ass whipped. The environment I wanted, needed, craved, and where i was wanted was so close, but out of reach, because I knew I’d get my ass kicked in a different way. I had about 20 physically functional hours a week at times. If I used them to get ready for work and spend time in the office, I wouldn’t have the physical ability to show homes to clients. See? Like cake you can’t have.
I quit that team over the phone, because I knew I couldn’t do it with crying. I expected my mentor to be upset, but he was big mad, and it surprised me. I hadn’t been performing well for months, and I felt like I was letting the team down. I told him about the new position, and that their team’s structure had all agents working remotely most of the time, which was better for me health-wise, and which I thought wouldn’t leave me as stressed as a result. Stress is super bad for autoimmune disorders, as it is for all of our bodies. This isn’t a pity party for one. Mind/body connection and all that shit. Sitting upright on a chair is the most agonizing thing I can do, and since my immune system is about as effective as a flip phone that’s been stepped on and dropped in a pool, I’m susceptible to germs that are floating around in public. Working from home as much as possible is ideal. He said that while he cared about me and wanted me to be happy and successful, this move would probably end up with me getting out of the business. That’s the problem with working with people who know you really well; they can often see things you can’t, often because you can’t get out of your own way to see them.
He knew then what I know now. The way I’d been working for the past several months and the way I was hoping to work with the new team weren’t congruent with where I was in my life. With where I am in my life. In retrospect, I can’t say it was a mistake to switch teams when I did, because I would have probably had the same struggle, fitting that square peg into that round box. I got bronchitis two months into joining my new team, got better for a few weeks, and then got pneumonia. Sometime between bronchitis and pneumonia my team hired a coach who really didn’t get me, and absolutely didn’t try to understand me at all. Her solution to all of my problems was for me to come into the office every morning, listen to her speak motivational and/or Bible quotes at me, and do open houses (physically painful to the point I needed 3 days to recover from the last one, statistically as effective as investing in a MLM, and not wise for a woman to do alone, because, you know. I’m pretty and creeps are everywhere). I had a proven track record where I’d been, but my new team only saw this new chick who showed a little bit of promise but then got super sick, and then got super sick again. If I hadn’t known, finally, in my gut, what was right, I would have pushed back at the new coach and kicked ass, but it wasn’t right.
I’m focused on being as physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially healthy as I can be, and I know deep down that being a Realtor isn’t going to help. All of my intuition, my BFF empathic healer, and my doctors of traditional Western medicine have agreed that this stressful career of a career isn’t best for me.
Now, the big problem? I need money to live. I need to challenge, create, and problem solve. I have a work ethic that demands I be productive, and I still like to buy myself nice things. I’m doing much better at letting go of material things because of where my soul is right now, but I still gotta be me.
Peace, love, light, and impoverished confusion,
Also, here’s a link to a YouTube video, a parody I did a few weeks ago because like I said, my brain needs to create. It has absolutely nothing to do with this blog and I think I have lipstick on my teeth, but let’s all laugh right now.