How Do You Define Success? A New Beginning?

Services for Real Estate Pros with The PowerHouse Group 0467092
(A recent post by Jim Crawford-Atlanta Real Estate, inspired me to expand on this topic...I hope you will let me know your thoughts).

How many of you know what success really is?  I'm not talking about someone else's definition of success...I mean YOUR definition of success.  If not, you're not alone.  

Our industry is full of agents, new and old, who are working themselves into an early grave while trying to reach dream that will never be attained.  It was not that many years ago that I was guilty of the same offense.  I am so glad that I woke up in time to smell the roses before they were placed on my casket.   

Too many agents have accepted as fact those perceptions that our industry perpetuates as acceptable, in fact desirable.  Money, transactions, notoriety....whatever the drink of the day may be.  And yet, even agents who are still experiencing substantial business activity don't seem to be happy.  Could it be that our industry perpetuates the myth (or lie) that the more money you make and the more deals you close, the happier you'll be.  If money or notoriety is the answer to happiness, why do so many rich and famous people have rooms reserved at rehab centers?  Could it be that true success and perceived success are very different animals?  I say yes.    

Here was my first experience with real estate success.  In my first of real estate sales with a national brokerage firm, I was teamed with a "successful" agent who  was to mentor me. Successful by industry standards anyway.  What I soon found out was that this agent closed lots of transactions, made lots of money and this agent's life was a mess.  This agent worked 7 days a week and was grabbing all the floor time/phone duty available.  Did it help? Sure it did, afterall this agent closing lots of business and was therefore a success.  But consider the life of this successful agent and see if this is what you would hope for.  This agent:

1.  was on a second marriage which was becomeing a third failed marriage;
2.  had two elementary school children who had been kicked out of several schools;
3.  smoked like a chimney because it helped this agent handle the stress;
4.  consistently spent more money than was coming in;
5.  was miserable, though it was important to keep up the facade of success within the office setting.

Keep in mind this agent had a new car, lots of toys and was perceived by other agents in our office as being very successful.  I realized quickly that my concept of success did not look at all like this agent.  

So the question is this.  What is your definition of success.  I you don't have one, what is it you're working for?  See, in my opinion most agents seem to spend more as they bring home more.  They buy more expensive cars, buy a bigger house, buy more toys and take more expensive trips.  But I've seen very few that have achieved even a moderate level of true inner peace and happiness.  Why because the material things only bring these agents temporay happiness, short-term satisfaction.  When the new smell wears off, they must have the next material thing to excite them, to please them, to give them comfort.  But this cycle never stops.  

Perhaps the slowing economy is just what some of us needed to re-evaluate our concept of success.  Perhaps it will help us remember what should be important to us.  And maybe we can look at our success and happiness from a whole new perspective.   

I would love to hear what others think and if they feel like now is a great time to consider some changes in our businesses and our lives.  I for one, say YES!   

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Marlene Scheffer
Realty Station - Bremerton, WA
Realtor to Kitsap County, WA

I am working so that when my husband retirs from the military in 7 years, he doesn't feel like he has to go get a job he hates so we can continue to live the way we currently do.  I want my husband to take his time in finding his next career.  Well, that and the Audi and the waterfront or phenomenal water-view home.  :)

Guy, why are you working?  What is your definition of success?  Is it a goal or a journey?

Mar 23, 2008 06:15 PM #1
Julie Chapman
DR Horton - Lakeland, FL
New Homes Sales Lakeland Florida


I work with builders and developers.  My ability to perceive the market and help plan an area and choosing product that sells affects the livelihood of my developers, their subcontractors, my builders and their subcontractors.  It is a lot of responsibility but a great challenge with a great reward.......I create jobs for hardworking people and at the same time build beautiful communities and homes...........Money doesn't make you successful....a job done well with integrity and honesty does.....

Mar 23, 2008 11:43 PM #2
Anona Large
Realty Executives Associates - Oak Ridge, TN
Oak Ridge, TN Real Estate


Success....  I don't know if anyone reaches "successful" status.  For me, I have small successes every day.  Whether it be successfully getting out of bed the first time the alarm goes off, successfully getting my pantyhose on without a runner, successfully getting to work without red lights.... you get me.  At the end of a day I can say I had a successful day.  With many successful days will I actually become successful?  Hmmmm.... I must ponder some more now.  lol

Have a Successful and Fabulous Real Estate Day!  (oh, and thanks for an opposing opinion on my last post!)


Was I successful getting this word into this comment box? 

Mar 24, 2008 02:20 AM #3
Guy E. Gimenez
The PowerHouse Group - Austin, TX
ABR, CRS, GRI - Broker & Investor (512-731-5613)

Marlene:  I respect that you're willing to do what it takes to prepare for your future.  I do believe we should live each day, but not forget to prepare for tomorrow.  Also, I want to pubicly thank you and your husband for the sacrifices you've made for our country.  I wish both of you many blessings.  As far as my definition of success, it's really pretty simple.                                                                                                      1.  Live each day to it's fullest since I don't know if I'll be here tomorrow.                                               2.  Touch someones life in a small, but positive way each it from a smile, a comment or a helping hand.                                                                                                                                             3.  Be a good husband, good father and good citizen                                                                             4.  Leave my family with a respected name when I leave this life (after all, what else can you leave this earth with other than a good or bad name for a family to cherish or hide from) 

Julie:  Sounds like we have a lot in common Julie.  He/She who has the most doesn't really win, they only thought they did.

Anona:  Success is indeed a daily thing because none of us knows what tomorrow will hold.  That's was my point of this post.  We all have to decide what success is, but I've had many friends who strived for success right up to the day they dropped from a heart attack...never achieving the elusive "success" they sought.  So perhaps re-defining success at a time like now it not a bad thing.   Too many people work all their lives and still end up in debt, feeling like they didn't have "success" and never taking the opportunity to enjoy much of the beauty surrounding them. 

PS.  I know what you mean about the pantyhose thing....I have a terrible time with them myself.  Uhm, was that out loud? 

Mar 24, 2008 04:20 AM #4
Leslie Bloss, Bellevue Real Estate Professional
Bellevue, WA

Hi Guy,  It would be nice if everyone took money off the top before they even get it within their reach.  That is funds for retirement.  Then a portion of the income should be put away for emergencies.  Some funds I put in the GET program (Washington State's 529 Plan) for my grandchildren's college--since they are so young I have quite a long time to keep contributing.  I also like investing for fun.

Anyway, that all makes me feel secure and therefore, successful.  What I would love to see is when these professional ball players get signed on with a team for outrageous salaries--that part of those funds automatically be placed in some place safe (that produces income) for their futures. 

I guess I kind of got off track.

Mar 24, 2008 12:35 PM #5
Guy E. Gimenez
The PowerHouse Group - Austin, TX
ABR, CRS, GRI - Broker & Investor (512-731-5613)
Leslie - We also have a 529 plan for our 15 y/ was the right decision for us too.  I really think it's important for the kids to be taught some basic financial skills both at home and at school, but I see so many parents who don't make sound financial decisions that it would be impossible for them to teach their kids.  I've tried very hard to get my son to understand the value of budgeting and purchase limits.   
Mar 24, 2008 12:44 PM #6
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
GUY, I will never be the #1 Agent in my market, nor do I want to be.  I want to keep my life in perspective God - Family - Career!  As this year has not been off to quite as good of a start as my last few years I have been thankful that I am the supplemental income and we didn't buy that newer house or newer car.  I have been very happy with my life.  Years ago I let a business get off track and I vowed never to do that again. 
Mar 24, 2008 03:28 PM #7
Guy E. Gimenez
The PowerHouse Group - Austin, TX
ABR, CRS, GRI - Broker & Investor (512-731-5613)
Marchel - Think of how many agents thought the "good times" would never end and kept spending like crazy.  Now they regret it I'm sure even though few would admit it.  I would say you've already defined success and your definition and mine are one in the same.  My year started off poorly too, but I decided to make lemonade out of a lemon.  I'm catching up on my traveling and fishing and camping.  I figure it was HIS plan anyway.
Mar 24, 2008 03:51 PM #8
Joan Mirantz
Homequest Real Estate - Concord, NH
Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire

Guy...success comes in so many forms and is definitely in the mind of the receiver!

When someone values you enough to say you've been missed. The smiles of your clients at the closing table. An un-solicited recommendation. An un-expected hug from your grown child...

I find this job very rewarding and will probably never "retire" it allows me the flexibility to take the time to smell the flowers!

Mar 26, 2008 08:04 AM #9
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, - Your Coastal Bend Home Source
Guy,  Very good post!  I define success as meeting my clients needs and fulfilling their dreams.  I love making people happy.  To see the excitement bursting from homebuyers and the relief of sellers at closing is so very rewarding.  Knowing I had a part in the change that is taking place in their lives is a satisfaction like I get when I've cooked a good meal and my family is pushing back from the table with smiles all over their faces.  It's a Mom effect. :)
Apr 08, 2008 02:26 AM #10
Sonya Rosser
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers - Douglasville, GA

Peace, Love, and Joy define success to me.  I am at peace with myself and I am at peace with God.  I love doing what I do.  The inner peace and joy that comes over me after a closing is awesome.  Earthly riches do not make people happy.  Material posessions come and go daily.  You have to be happy with who you are regardless of your circumstances.  Everything on this earth is going to pass away and only what I do for Christ will be relevant.

May 14, 2008 10:21 PM #11
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