Sacrificing Your Ego on the Altar of Duty

Sacrificing Your Ego on the Altar of Duty

Ok, so I’ve sort of been MIA for a while now. The truth is things have been a little hazy for me for the last few months. You see, I started this year, my 3rd year in real estate, with guns a-blazin’. I hit the ground running by developing a 12-part video series to help people overcome their fear and develop a plan of action to find their life’s purpose. The podcast doubled and then tripled in the total number of subscribers. I was super excited because I felt that the last two years of hard work were starting to pay off. And then something unexpected happened…

The phone stopped ringing.

The emails stopped coming.

The Facebook comments were fewer and farther in between.

My pipeline of real estate prospects seemed to disappear into thin air.

And I started to panic.

Now I knew that my chosen business model and marketing strategy would mean slower growth than my competitors, but I also knew that I was being true to the core of my character. And for the most part things seemed to be working. But for some reason, things seemed to be regressing in certain areas. Maybe it was the result of our move taking up the majority of my thought process and time for nearly 4 months. Or maybe it’s because one of the business relationships I had established in my first year in real estate ended without warning.

This particular relationship had resulted in 5 real estate transactions over the course of 12 months and then just like that, without even a courtesy “heads up,” they decided to go in a different direction to save money on commissions. This immediately after I sacrificed $1800 of my income in order to keep a deal of theirs from falling through. The “Thanks” I got was finding out through Facebook that their spouse had obtained their real estate license. Now I am grateful for the deals that came as a result of this relationship but I also know that I had already been discounting my commission and was willing to take 4 months worth of groceries out of my pocket on this deal because I anticipated future sales as a result of making this sacrifice. So much for that.

Now I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party. I’m merely trying to explain where my head has been lately and what I believe God is teaching me as a result. I have no way of knowing whether I am right or not. 

One of the many misconceptions people have about real estate agents is that they make more than enough money. I would say there are a handful that make a lot. Then are the majority who lead you to believe that they make a lot based on how they present themselves. Then there are the rest of us. If you do a quick Google Search you’ll find that the average agent makes about $25,000 a year.

But money was not the reason I decided to pursue a career in real estate. It was the independence. I’d be perfectly content making what I made in my desk job as long as I was fulfilled in my work and felt that I was using the gifts God had given me.

Granted, the commission checks I get are larger than some people’s bi-weekly or semi-monthly salaried paychecks, but that is without taxes, health insurance, 401k deductions, or business expenses being considered and those dollars sometimes need to stretch one to two, or maybe even three months depending on the amount of current prospects I have. 

People also think that you are an employee of a real estate company and that they pay you to work on real estate transactions for them. This is also not true. You are a self-employed independent contractor and any real business you get you need to generate on your own from scratch. That is why when people ask me about real estate I paint a pretty bleak picture because most people are not cut out for the daily grind and uncertainty that comes from being self-employed in such a highly competitive industry.

With the volatility of such a career, it is easy to start to spiral into thoughts of inadequacy and negativity. I started to beat myself up for putting myself in this predicament when I could have easily just kept my desk job and paid my bills like a normal person. 

But I have to keep reminding myself why I’m doing this. Because I don’t want to live a life full of regrets and “what ifs.” I soon began to realize that as much guts as it took to quit my day job, it takes even more to admit that you are not as successful as the world expects you to be. And even more difficult is admitting to yourself that you are not invincible. It’s humbling. It’s uncomfortable. And without the proper perspective it feels like failure. But I’m starting to come to the realization that I would only fail if I didn’t do everything within my power to achieve my goal. 

I did not keep my desk job when I began a career in real estate. Some may say that that was foolish. Whatever it was, it’s in the past and my wife and I agreed on the decision at the time as being what was best for the mental and emotional health of our family. This year, an opportunity presented itself for me to work about 15-20 hours a week as a W2 employee while still maintaining the flexibility necessary to operate a full-time real estate business. I resisted and am still resisting, even though I’ve now been working this job for over a month. Frankly, it felt like I was admitting defeat in the world of entrepreneurship.  

But ultimately I need to provide for my family anyway that I can. Some days that’s through real estate transactions, other days it’s by playing gigs. But the long and short of it is that your ego should never get in the way of doing what’s right in the moment. 

For instance, my number one priority was to provide a long-term housing solution for my family. Last month I was able to accomplish that. Now what kind of person would I be if I allowed the pursuit of my idealistic dream of being an actor, and my own enormous ego, to stand in the way of that? The answer is not someone you should pay any attention to. 

Instead, I am trying my best to juggle the pursuit of my dream with my duties as a husband and father. With that comes pain – the pain of sacrificing your ego on the altar of duty. 

The adjustment of moving into a new home, and now adding the new responsibilities of a part-time job to an already 24/7 real estate career has been one of the biggest challenges I have faced since I began pursuing my dream. That’s why I haven’t been as active on the podcast and the blog. But there are a lot of exciting things still in the works. 

Ironically, once I started my part-time job, the real estate business has gone into hyper-drive, and I’m on the verge of converting the biggest deal of my career. I think I’ve aged a year or two in the last month due to stress but I am clinging to God to get me through and I am thankful that He has continued to provide for me and my family even if I am often too blinded by my anxiety to see it. 

This post is cathartic for me, but it is also intended for the individual out there who feels that taking a lower paying job or picking up extra hours in retail is beneath them. These people are more concerned about the glamour of being an entrepreneur than simply working hard and providing for family. Believe me, I’ve been battling that enemy for a while now. Your ego needs to be defeated before you can ever move forward and grow as a person.

I’m getting there, but I haven’t yet arrived… 

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