I have been a Managing Broker since 2010. I have enjoyed the role, for the most part. I have also, at times, felt like I was nuts for taking on the emotionally charged environment of a real estate office.
I know. I know….I am not a victim. I accepted the challenge. It’s lonely at the top.
I never understood why anyone would step away from managing an office; I have always been a leader. I love to lead and develop people. And with all of my incredible knowledge and skills as a real estate agent, there was nothing better for someone like me! Success through others is something near and dear to my heart. Why would anyone step away from that? It baffled me for years as an agent. I am driven, focused, results oriented and successful. I always wanted more challenge….I thought everyone felt the same way about moving up the ladder.
In 2014, I decided to resign from the position as Managing Broker of an office that we turned into a success story. I mean….the team of agents stepped up! We turned it from a sleepy little office to an award winning energy and light filled spectacle of honor, respect and growth. As a family, we had our good days and our bad days but for the most part it was rewarding and fulfilling for each and every one of us. Did I make mistakes and do stupid shit? Of course I did! But we can’t take any of it back. We simply stop judging ourselves and become a better version of who we are and move on. I love the quote “I never lose. I either win or I learn”. And this applied every day in my first year as a Managing Broker. Boy did I ever learn and grow.
I resigned because I wanted more challenge. I wanted to train, coach and develop new agents. I have this inner passion for training and teaching. It is my calling in life.
I went on to run two small offices for another firm. And this firm was owned by a bank. I learned very quickly that banking and real estate is a cocktail of oil and water for someone like me. I was progressive, innovative and could never think inside the proverbial box – it’s just not in my DNA. I had gone from a superstar agent making all of my own decisions about my business, quite successfully so, to a very large but sturdy box and now to this withered box without any support. Imagine a cardboard box soaked in water. I had stepped into THAT box and had to work hard to just to tape the sides together. Not only did I not like operating in a box but I also did not like operating in one with no support. So I did what I had to do…..regroup.
In 2015 I took the year to self discover to answer the elusive question of fitting myself into a box that allows creativity, out of the box thinking and the ability to train, teach and grow an office.
So…..I went to a real estate firm that is a training company. Bingo! I want to train and teach. What better place to work than for a real estate firm that is a training company!?!?!
I hit the jackpot! Or so I thought.
Almost a year into my life with this training company, I realized that I was not only NOT doing any training at all, I was also doing less of the other areas of general brokerage that I loved. I now moved into a role as a full time recruiter placed under an enormous amount of pressure to perform to the company standards of ten new agents every single month. This was not teaching and training at all….for me and my skill set, it was sheer madness. I was in the tiniest box I could ever not fit into and finding it hard to breathe. Imagine stuffing your entire energetic, creative, outgoing, shining, bright self into a beautiful blue Tiffany ring box. The box is breathtaking. Breathing is optional.
I spent little time doing the things that I loved: coaching, mentoring, training, teaching, brokerage support or business planning.
So, mid July, I stepped down. It was an enormous act of courage. I did not and still do not have a job. There is no trust fund, spousal support or huge savings account to sustain my life. But, I had to be true to myself and not continue on this path of defending my incredible talents against an accountability solely to numbers. Not because I gave up or gave in. But because I was not doing what I loved to do. I was working 60 hours a week, many weekends, nights and countless hours in recruiting mode. While earning my degree. While taking care of my adorable rescue puppies, while planning for my son’s wedding. While trying to get healthy. Listen, there is NOTHING wrong with 60+ hours a week as a recruiter. Seriously…I loved that part of the job….. I just did not love that I could not balance that with the other five things that I loved equally: coaching, mentoring, training, teaching and broker support. I had to let go of five sixths of everything I learned and loved about leading an office….this kept ruminating over and over in my head each and every day.
“Be true to who you are Christina…..Just be honest with yourself” is what my coach said to me. I reflected almost daily on this.
And when I did finally accept that I had to be true to me, I resigned- and the day that I stepped down, I got word that my mother was in the hospital with a treatable somewhat minor illness. I suddenly found myself packing for a few days to spend time with my mom in the hospital with plans to help her transition into recovery and eventually back to her home. I packed three outfits. Two weeks later – she was dead.
So, here I was….no job, no business, no production, no place to call “home”, and my mom passed away quickly and painlessly while I sat in a hospital room wondering if the bus hit me or her. Complete devastation is an understatement. Back in DC, I had been preparing my home for my mom to come live with me. I was converting a basement into a bedroom for her complete with hardwood floors, a private spa bath and her own back yard patio to hang out with my puppies.
That dream vanished without warning.
On return, I had to make some tough decisions about my career. Do I stay in leadership at my current firm? Do I go back to leadership at a traditional brokerage? Do I simply stay the course and go back into production? My mind was reeling. I did not know if I was coming or going until about two weeks ago when I had the honor and privileged to reconnect with a superstar team leader from the office that I just resigned from; who runs an incredible business and is one of the most amazing human beings that I have ever known. I felt a synergy that I had not felt since my first job as a managing broker. It was a sparkle of hope for someone with my talents. He had a need for an agent to join his team doing all of the things that I love to do. So….we shook hands and signed at the dotted line. He asked all the right people, got all the right blessings and we were preparing to begin our journey together. And I was beyond thrilled. I finally found a place where I fit in. A place to call home. A place to share my knowledge, training, coaching and broker support for people who value kindness and professionalism.
So…why this blog post? Because you should always tell your own story and this is my only platform to tell mine. A very wise colleague mentioned this to me just yesterday – when someone else tells your story then your story is from a very different perspective. Right? My dad used to say that there are three sides to every story – mine, yours and the truth.
I have never stepped down from a position and burned a bridge. I have always remained friends with all of my prior bosses in the corporate world. For some totally effed up reason, in real estate it does not work that way. Once you resign, you are escorted out the door never to be heard from again. And someone else gets to tell your story.
Was I hurt over being escorted out the door? You bet your sweet ass I was! I work hard. I have an incredible level of integrity. I always do the right thing. And yet this is the third time that I resigned with honor, respect and dignity only to hear about a different story being told from the other side. It’s as if I had intentionally broken someones heart each time. The level of personal drama launched due to my business decision continued to cloud my world and follow me like bad karma. For me, it is about MY dreams to be the best version of myself.
Today I look back and know in my heart of hearts that I quietly left and left the past behind me in all three scenarios. I did what was best for me and stood by my decision. Without regret. I am a face forward person.
In my most recent departure, I left and almost immediately found myself sitting in the hospital with my mother watching her deteriorate from a vivacious, beautiful woman to a vegetable being kept alive by tubes and medications. I spent the better part of the last eight weeks either in the hospital, at her home cleaning out pantries and file cabinets, driving back and forth or in the ER myself quite literally with a broken heart. There was little time for me to think let alone reach into my past. I am the type to shut up and not speak instead of hurting someone else’s feelings. I am overly sensitive myself. I left of my own accord to follow my own dreams. And this was true each and every time I resigned my leadership roles. In my mind, it was just me carrying on with my life like most adults do when they make business decisions that allow them to be better in every aspect of their lives (personally, professionally, physically, emotionally and mentally).
So…listen. On this platform, where I feel safe to do so, I want to share my story. I left quietly and without incident. I was positive in my resolve and hopeful in my future. Have I made mistakes? Of course. We are all human. We make the best decisions with the information we have at the time of making the decision. Regardless, each time was an ending for my own reasons and for my own well being. Good or bad….I chose. Life is not about looking in the rear view mirror. It’s not about having hate. It’s about looking forward and working each day at being the best version of ourselves. Period.
Telling my story is cathartic. You should know my story. It comes from a place of love and not hate. I just don’t have hate in my bones. Many say that I am too kind and generous.
In my world, it’s called being the best version of myself. I’d rather be accused of being kind and generous than the alternative. I just wish that everyone came from such a place.
For most, it’s integrity.