It was the summer of 2003 and I was deep in the middle of trying to find my way in life. I was on a summer break from college and I picked up an internship at UBS Financial Services and a part-time job at AstroWorld walking around the park selling cotton candy to all the kids and families. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do in the future and reading as much as possible.
Working at a financial services brokerage puts a lot of pressure on your ability to be financially secure and to successfully plan for your financial freedom in the future. I picked up a book you might have heard about called “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. I consumed the book very quickly and moved on to as many other Kiyosaki books as I could read.
In his series of books, Kiyosaki lays out his thoughts and beliefs on becoming financially secure and getting out of the “rat race” of working a job for a paycheck. Real Estate investing was a huge factor in Kiyosaki’s teachings and I knew I wanted to get involved. The real estate market was at the beginning of unprecedented growth and would be my vehicle to success.
Upon returning home from my internship, I immediately enrolled in the required courses to obtain my real estate license and by August 2003 I was a licensed real estate agent! I was going to be successful and would set my life on a path of financial freedom through real estate.
That was 13 years ago, as I write this. The one unfortunate thing about wisdom is that it is only revealed with time. I am a much different person today than I was 13 years ago – different goals, dreams, priorities and certainly a different perspective.
I turned 35 this year. I know, age is fairly meaningless, but for some reason this one hit home. I don’t think it’s the birthday or the age as much as it is a recent burning awareness I have, that my time on this earth is finite. I’m a firm believer that we are all put on this earth to make a meaningful contribution. We all have a calling, a purpose; yours different from mine. The lucky few find that calling from a young age. For others, it may take years or decades. There are others who may never actually realize their calling.
As strange as it sounds, one of my biggest fears actually is success. No, I don’t fear success itself. What I do fear though, is the thought of pouring so much time, energy and effort into chasing success only to realize at some point down the road that I was firing at all the wrong targets.
A Different Perspective on Success
As I began down the path into the world of being a real estate agent, I started to notice many questionable tactics that were “required” in order to be successful in the industry. Many of the prevailing definitions of success in my industry run counter to what I believe and who I am at the core.
Beg, pester and blur the lines of deceit – it’s just not who I am.
My industry tells me that success is defined by selling hundreds of homes each year. My industry glorifies status, ego, and at times, greed. My industry tells me that the successful agent is plugged in at all times and willing to sacrifice family for work, seven days a week. Don’t get me wrong, I am the first person to respect hustle, but those things and that status have never been important to me.
The authoritative voices in my industry prescribe cold calling, door knocking, business card pushing, polished scripts, baseless guarantees, and sales gimmicks as the quickest path to success. Dare to question those tactics and you are labeled as weak or you’re told “Unfortunately you just may not have what it takes.”
You see . . . I never wanted to be a “real estate agent.”
I’ve never aspired to paint success with those brushstrokes. I cannot rationalize treating others in a way that I would not want to be treated. I’ve never cared to be associated with “industry-standard.”
Rather, I’ve always respected the longer game. One of my mentors says, “Amateurs focus on sales while professionals focus on relationships.” Relationships require trust. Relationships require integrity, discipline and authenticity.
Relationships require time.
For me, it’s never been about a shortcut to the next commission dollar.
Until just recently, I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was bugging me so much. I have been asking a lot of questions and seeking the right direction.
It is time for me to realign my ambition with my true values. I am taking a bolder initiative to parlay my passions and unique abilities into meaning. I believe that is the only way that I’m going to be able to continue to grow into the person that I want to be; to fulfill my mission.
Recently I officially gave myself permission to stop trying to be a real estate agent. It’s terribly uninspiring to pursue becoming a better version of something you know you are not.
I think we are all waiting and looking for someone else to grant us permission to start making the contribution we know we are capable of.
Ironically, that permission can only be granted from within.
Please don’t misinterpret this message. I am not going anywhere. I am shedding one skin and growing into another. My resolve has been strengthened and my convictions have never been clearer.
I am going all-in as a protector of those who choose me as their real estate advocate. I am standing up straighter for what I believe in – no matter what “they” might say.
The best part of it is I know that my kids will never have to wonder what I stand for.
About the Author:
Hi there! I’m David Carpenter, a REALTOR in New Braunfels, TX and an associate with NPL Group. Real Estate is my passion! I believe consumers deserve a better experience when buying and selling real estate and I strive to make your experience better than you will get anywhere else. I truly enjoy writing useful articles for home buyers and sellers to help simplify the real estate process and provide a visual guide through one of the most complex times of your life. Feel free to contact me directly or leave a comment in the comment section below.