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Challenges ARE Gifts!

Life happens. Sometimes, we get an extra dose of “life” and it can be a challenge!
As the broker/co-owner of StepStone Realty I’ve got a lot of expectations to live up to.  I’m expected to have all the answers whenever an agent calls with questions, be available to resolve conflicts, manage an office & staff, write helpful and informative blogs and content every month, make community connections, keep current agents happy and recruit new agents. Not to mention, my personal and family expectations.
These expectations give me purpose and direction. And it is a challenge to keep up with it all sometimes but I wouldn’t change it for anything. This is my life and I love what I do and who I do it with!
These past few months, however, I’ve gotten a little extra dose of “life”. In late August, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. That’s a challenge. By the way, Mom is also a StepStone employee so it was a personal AND professional challenge. In the beginning of October, our broker assistant Kim had to take an unexpected leave of absence. Another challenge.
Sometimes, I feel, as the broker of the firm, I should never show weakness. My agents or staff don’t want to hear about my issues, my stresses or my conflicts. I should be a woman of iron heels kicking butt and taking names. People look up to me and I can’t let struggles show.
I know where I get that idea.
I go to network events and see people acting like everything is diamonds and pearls. Guru’s in nice suits at expo’s flanked by skinny women promising the secrets to easy wealth.  Investors on Facebook posting videos bragging about the most recent contract.  There is a self proclaimed queen (or king) of everything… door knocking, foreclosures, flipping. It’s all so easy-peasy!
I’m not going to do that. If I’m going to be the queen of anything I’ll take the title of Queen of Being Real.  Yes, real estate is a fantastic business with great opportunity for wealth and freedom. But, everything comes with challenges.
I know some of my agents are struggling right now. Some with health issues, loss of loved ones, illness of loved ones, children struggling, marriage struggling, financial concerns, some just not knowing how to put one foot in front of the other to make a go at this business.
These past few weeks, as I face challenges of my own, I want to share an important message:
These challenges ARE GIFTS and I encourage you to look for the good in each of them. My mom has lung cancer. It sucks and it hurts and it’s scary. No getting away from that. How is this a gift? This challenge is teaching me patience, the value of gratitude and of being of service. This challenge has resulted in more time spent with my mom, my sisters, more family visits, more contact with distant relatives. Furthermore, I found out how supported I am by my family, my staff, my agents. So, while sometimes I’ll handle this challenge with grace and sometimes I’ll feel like pulling the sheets over my head and hiding, I know that at the end of the day this experience will change me and make me a better person.
Just when I thought I was handling it all real well we got the news that Kim needed to take a few weeks off. That was not a fun Monday. But, after a rough patch of getting up to speed on Kim’s work I got a good idea of how our everyday processes were working. It’s been a while since I had to do closing bookkeeping, file management and her many other duties. While it’s been a challenge for us to cover her absence ultimately it will make the brokerage better and stronger as we refine and revise our policies and procedures, improve on old processes, and implement time saving improvements. The same is true for my mom’s duties. It gave me a chance to revisit old work flow and be in a better position to improve our business.
Sometimes I worry that by not wearing a veil of having it all under control, at all times, I’ll lose the confidence of my agents. I hope that’s not the case. I hope instead my agents will learn from me to not beat themselves up when they are struggling, and instead, take that struggle and use it to improve their business, take up the challenges rather than shrink from them, do what’s hard because it’s worth it.
“Be thankful for every challenge, because it will build your strength and character.”
Keep at it BlackSheep. You got this! And, so do I!