My Mom’s Advice Got Me a Husband and a Career…How I Got Into Real Estate and How I Am Doing It MY Way!
I was sitting on the couch in my mom’s living room. She was in her favorite chair in the corner trying to take in every word I was saying. And, as you know, when I get excited, I can say a lot and I can say it fast. I was telling her about this guy I met 2 weeks before. I was telling her how great he was. How fun he was. How nice he was. How there was something different about him. Something I just couldn’t explain. How much I wanted to see him again, but didn’t know if that could or would happen. He lived 2.5 hours away. I wasn’t in a place to meet someone new- I had someone. A good someone. But there was something about this guy…. I had to make it happen.
She just smiled. She smiled because she knew I finally understood her advice. That I finally understood what she had been telling me for all these years.
Mom: When you meet the right one you will know.
Me: I will know what?
Mom: You will just now
Me: (How I wanted to reply) KNOW WHAT??
Frustrating! I just didn’t get it. I wanted her to just tell me what she meant…what I would know…but she never did.
But, then, I was sitting there on her couch and I finally knew what she meant.
In 2006, at the age of 26, I had figured it out. That if you waited for the right one, it would happen. If you didn’t settle, you would end up exactly where you were supposed to be. And you would know it.
Ends up this applies to more than just finding my husband
In 2011 I had been out of college for 8 years. I had only worked in one type of job…sales. The last 6 years in advertising sales with 2 different companies. Although it served me well financially, I despised it. I mean truly hated it. It was all about sales tactics, client pressure techniques, script memorizing, blah, blah, blah. To me it all sounded like “Who cares if the advertising did not work for their business, find a way to keep them as a client and try to up them to a larger advertising package”. “Who cares if they don’t have the money for advertising anymore, find a way to convince them to continue working with us”.
I can remember one particular meeting with my manager, very early in my career, where it was very evident I was in a world where money mattered above all else. In advertising there are tracking phone numbers you can put in a client’s ads to see how many people called that number. It was an exact count of how many people called their business from the ad services we provided. I remember sitting in my manager’s office and she was going through my list of existing clients. Making a mark by some and skipping over others. Ends up she was marking which clients I should give the tracking number to because she knew it would show good results. She did not mark the others because then they would realize their advertising wasn’t working and they would cancel their programs. She did not bring up plans on how to improve their advertising. Nope. Just a discussion and a plan on how to easily get what WE wanted. And sadly enough, this ended up being a pretty normal type conversation. No concern for actual advertising just for making our numbers.
So why did I stay?
Honestly, that is a question I ask my self a lot. I was miserable so why did I stay? I truly didn’t think I had any where else to go. I didn’t have any gleaming talents or fulfilling passions to pursue, so I stayed. And my parents…They had both worked for the same company from the time they graduated college to the time they retired. I thought that’s how it was. I couldn’t seem to face the fact that I would not do the same. But there is only so long you can go on like this. Despite trying to push through each day, I eventually lost all drive to just sale a product.
My boss knew I was done and in May of 2011, she let me go
In 2011, 8 years after I graduated from college, I walked out the door leaving the only type of job I knew. I probably should have been more scared, I had no plan. But I wasn’t. I was excited. Really, really excited about the future. I swore to myself that day that I would never work in sales again. It absolutely was not for me! Time for a change and I was glad they gave me the push I needed to make that happen.
But what was for me? It soon hit me that I had no plan for the future. No more sales but what else could I do? What other skills did I have? As I mentioned, I had no talents or passions to fall back on. So, what would I do? Anxiety set in as day after day I had no answers to what would happen next. The next couple months were spent trying to figure that out.
I volunteered at my church to feel useful. I helped a friend at his company for some income and productive work. I sent out my resume to any and every job that I thought I might enjoy or be the least bit good at. But nothing happened.
I went through a pretty rough time while I wasn’t working.
I withdrew from being around people. I was too embarrassed. I was unhappy with myself and that made it hard to be around other people, even my husband sometimes. I was really struggling.
I remember one afternoon I pulled into my driveway after a few hours of volunteering at church. I could not get out of the car. I just sat there staring at my house. I just could not seem to make myself get out of the car and go inside. I wasn’t supposed to be at home right now. I was not supposed to be getting out of my car, middle of the day, to go inside my home with nothing to do. I should have been at work somewhere but I wasn’t. Couldn’t find a job. I felt like I had hit a wall. *Cue the ugly crying alone in my car*
Something had to change. What I was doing wasn’t working. I decided to start reading some new books. Not the fiction love stories or crime thrillers I typically liked to read. I was looking for books that would lift my spirits. That would offer me some motivation that things would get better. Any type of guidance that God had a plan. One book I read discussed taking a deeper look at your skills rather than your actual work experience and past job titles. So I did. I realized that although I had a strong (really strong) dislike for working in sales, I had developed skills that could be valuable in other industries. I asked myself “What could I do that was the opposite of my past jobs, that I was qualified for, and that would be about more than a paycheck?”
“Earn Your Success Based on Service to Others, Not at the Expense of Others.”
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
It took me a few weeks of digging and soul searching to figure it out but I did. I found something that inspired me. I wanted to work for a nonprofit. I redid my resume and I started applying. I felt energized for the first time in months. (really for the first time since graduating college). I actually had a plan. A couple of weeks in, I got an interview with the American Cancer Society and I got the job. I started as a Community Representative for 5 Middle TN communities. Fundraising, event planning, working with volunteers. I was actually going to be doing something with purpose! I was working to fight cancer. I was so proud of this job. My success was great and it was earned through service to others. I loved that job.
Kids Change Everything
Can I get an Amen?! I had my first child while I was at the American Cancer Society. I remember asking them during my initial job interview if this was a job that was good for someone with children. They said no, it was not ideal for a mom but perfect for me because I had no children. Except that only about a year and a half in, I did. There were many late nights and weekend meetings where I did not get home in time to see my son, Ford, before my husband, Chris, put him to bed. Probably about 3-4 nights a week and some Saturdays. They were right. This was not for working moms.
Could this really be happening again??
Was I really going to have to go back to the drawing board at 33 to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up?? I thought I had it figured out. But, the crazy thing about becoming a mom is that it is not just about you anymore. I would live on spaghetti and peanut butter before I wasn’t home to see Ford. I spent the next year working to figure it out again. What did I want to be as a mom? How could I work to help take care of my family, doing something that was fulfilling but still see my family? I had high expectations now. I had worked doing what I thought was very important work and couldn’t go back to working just for a paycheck. But what in the world would I do??
A good friend of mine had been in the same career for 13 years
She was a wife and a mother of 3. She worked a lot but she was happy. She was a great mom and wife even with her crazy schedule. She called me and we talked at length about my next move. She asked me questions about what I was looking to do and what I wanted to get out of my career. She talked to me about what she does and it seemed to line up with what I was looking to do as a working mom. She was a real estate agent. I prayed about it for a while. Could we afford for me to possibly have no income for who knows how long? Would Chris be ok with me working a few nights and weekends? I am guessing you all know the answer.
I got my license, joined a team, and off I went. I had my own business. I was my own boss. AND I was home to be a mom.
But did I KNOW??
I remember the first time I had a client refer me to someone they knew. It was an investor I had met through the team. She had been buying real estate for quite some time and she really knew the ropes. She also knew a lot of agents. But when her nephew needed to buy a home, guess who she called. I was new- I had only worked with 4 other clients prior but she called me to help him. I remember the feeling of accomplishment of course. But it was more then that. It felt as if all my worlds had come together and were finally working as one. (sounds cheesy I know but it was that kind of feeling). The feeling that God was saying “you are doing good at work and at home. You are right where you are supposed to be”. That feeling was something I had never felt with my work before. I had found my place.
I got my license, joined a team, and off I went. I had my own business. I was my own boss. Most importantly, I was home to be mom a little more often. I am now in my 5th year of real estate. This “job” is not easy. This job is not always fun. This job is not as flexible as I thought it would be. There have been times in this job that have made it feel somewhat like the advertising job, working with sales people more than industry professionals. But there is something different about this job. Maybe it’s being my own boss and being able to do business the way I want to. Maybe its running a business and getting to be an entrepreneur. Maybe its working with people I know and getting to be a part of some of the biggest times in their lives. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know. I know I was made to do this “job”.
When you find the right one, you know. Chris was worth waiting on. Real Estate was worth waiting on. I listened to my mom and now I am right where I am supposed to be. I know it!
I hope you get the chance to reflect on your journey, whether it be personal or professional. To figure out where you are supposed to be and, trust me, when you get there, you will know.