By Elizabeth Mackay
I had the fairytale notion I was so well suited to real estate that I somehow would transcend all odds to rise to stardom in a matter of months. I thought, naively, that I would visualize and affirm my way to $100,000 in commission in my first year. Well how could I not, I’m a decent photographer, have a fair command of the English language, I’m a people person, detail-oriented, and reliable.
Imagine my dismay after six months, with a whopping $600, long spent, to my glory. It’s about that time that my first year goal went from $100,000 in commission to “I will not quit!”. When my visualizing and affirming became – DON’T GIVE UP! NEVER GIVE IN! – it was in the following months that I came to accept that real estate would give me something a thousand times more meaningful than money; that if I could hang in there real estate would transform me.
And it has. Real estate doesn’t care about comparisons. It doesn’t care who knows more people, who’s more eloquent or even, shockingly, more affable. It doesn’t care who’s on the most social media platforms, who has a blog, a newsletter, and a mailing list. Real estate laughs in the face of those who think that page one of Google is the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the real estate rainbow. If you don’t know how to leverage it, page one of Google can be a colossal waste of time in getting there and a bigger waste of time in fielding questions and sending information to those who are only looking for information – after all, isn’t that what Google is for?
All your admirable qualities and tech savvy will serve you well in the end, but in the beginning, real estate only cares about who has the guts and the will to stick it out. The determination to keep going in the face of all evidence to the contrary, when the entire world seems to be conspiring to prove to you that all your lofty ideals and fantastic qualities are essentially meaningless. Real estate cares who can take disappointment after disappointment, defeat after defeat and get up the next day and do it all over again, broken heart or not. It cares about who can rise above deception and declare “I will not fail. I do not care how many people say no. I do not care how many people lie to me. I will not quit!”
So I haven’t earned $100,000 in commission yet, but what I have earned is infinitely more meaningful. I’ve earned my self-respect. Not the surface self-respect we often have – the type that makes us say goodbye to the bad boyfriend and amen when we leave the lousy job. I’m talking about the kind of self-respect that produces humility, perseverance, self confidence, and a sense of security and belonging in the world; the knowledge that you will never be a failure unless you declare yourself so; the courage that comes with knowing you have risen above sensitivity to rejection.
If you don’t quit, you will eventually come to that place where you know that the best is before you. And now, one year after I set out on what I thought was my road to financial freedom, I can say that real estate is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve had to stand on my own two feet and walk my personal road to perdition. In all likelihood you will walk yours too, so hang in there, never give in and most important: “Don’t let it be about the money, let it be about being great.”