Trust me? No, trust yourself!

Real Estate Agent with Exit Real Estate Professionals

My best friend called me this week.  “Val, she said, I have to tell you about my new part-time job! You’ll never guess what it is!” Now let me tell you a little story about Mary.  In high school a small group of us got together every weekend and baked cookies.  We would take them to school and peddle them in what we called “The Underground Bakery.” Thinking back, we weren’t really too “underground” because we actually sold some to teachers, but they weren’t ratting us out because those cookies were pretty darn good!  But, Mary was a talker . . . maybe one could even call her a chatterbox . . .and virtually every week she forgot at least one batch of cookies while busy yakking and burnt them to a crisp! We both laughed when she told me her new job is in a bakery! Luckily, and even she will admit this is for the good of the bakery’s bottom line, she ONLY has to mix up the muffins . . .no baking for Mary.

Yes, I told my friend, that is probably the last job I would have guessed, but then I paused a minute and said, “But who would EVER have thought I would become a Realtor?” You see, I was quite the opposite of Mary.  I spent the first eighteen years of my life speaking to few outside of family and a couple of close friends.  Every report card, no matter how good, had a disclaimer at the bottom “needs to speak up more in class.”  The quote under my junior high picture said something like, “Speak louder please!”  I was beyond shy. I was painfully shy.  

flowers in winter

It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say. As a child I was an avid reader and quite the little philosopher. My mind was bursting with ideas and I constructed complex imaginary worlds in my head.  But, I didn’t trust anyone enough to share them.   Even writing was a challenge because teachers required us to read our work out loud. Because I knew I would have to do so, I censored my own writing to make sure it conformed to what was expected. 

After high school I went to college and encountered someone who changed my life .  Anyone who has gone to college may be horrified when I say that an assistant professor in English 101 was my savior.  As any undergrad knows, 101 classes are rarely inspiring experiences! This professor assigned rather philosophical, thought-provoking subjects for our essays.  They were topics that stretched us to think outside the box. He would ask for volunteers to read their work. No way! He never forced me. Finally, about the third week of classes, he said he was going to read an excellent piece by an anonymous contributor and he read my essay out loud.  No one laughed.  The next week he publicly asked my permission to read another. The world didn’t crash in around me.  It progressed from there.  Before the end of the quarter, I was empowered to share on my own. 

In that English class I learned to trust not only my peers, but also my own ideas.  I discovered my commonality with those around me.   I married a man whose job took us all over the country and learned to make friends easily and converse with random strangers.  I discovered that no matter how different people were from me, we always had something in common.  

Looking back at my childhood, I wouldn’t trade the child I was for one more out-going or personable.   I might have missed out on so much that has nothing to do with speaking.   At an early age I connected with nature and learned to read her subtle signs . . . dark clouds that forewarned of the coming storm or the patches of lawn that drew in the honeybees ready to sting my little feet. And I watched people. I learned to read body language and determine the intent of those I encountered . . . to let down that guard could be disastrous for a child who never wanted to be the center of attention. But one young professor taught me that a little crack in my armor could lead to good things as well. He showed me that trust could mean the difference between existing in my own world or being part of something bigger . . . I took it from there.

flowers in full bloom

So, here I am today, a Realtor.  Talking up a storm to strangers.  Asking buyers to share intimate details about their lives in order to help them find the perfect home. Listening to sellers with heartbreaking stories of life gone wrong or grandiose dreams of where the future will take them.  

Some of these clients are full of trust and ego and have no problem sharing whatever I need to know to help them and then some.  Others are more cautious and require encouragement.   I don’t think they question my qualifications.  It is their own ability to make the right choices that is frightening.  To them, buying or selling a home is like taking non-pilots to a lot full of used airplanes and telling them they must choose the one that will fly them across the ocean. They want to take the journey but fear making a decision that might not result in a good outcome. So, they seek someone to educate them. 

My job is to teach people about the real estate process and do so at their speed so they are comfortable every step along the way.  I give them the facts.  I let them know what their options are. I introduce them to experts who educate them even more. We spend as much time as they need to reach a point where they are knowledgeable and confident enough to make the decisions that will have a lifelong impact. . . they have learned to trust themselves

This post is a submission to the ActiveRain / Adobe EchoSign Trust Contest. I could possibly win a prize. You can find out about the contest by clicking here

If you need someone to help you understand your options for buying or selling a home in the Spokane area, contact me! I would love to help you learn the ins and outs of the real estate process!   

Valerie Baker


Exit Real Estate Professionals

simply real estate

Comments (53)

Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Valerie, I like your post because it is so personal and insightful. Great job! (It is also easy to read, love the type size and font).


Feb 16, 2012 01:07 PM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Chris - Thanks so much and good luck with the contest! 

Sharon - Thank you! I have Katerina Gasset to thank for helping me find a way to make my posts look a little better.

Feb 16, 2012 02:39 PM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

You've come a long way baby!  Good for you for remember what you didn't miss as a child, and what you learned by focusing on other senses.  Best of luck in the contest!

Feb 17, 2012 07:16 AM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON


I bet your clients appreciate you greatly and have deep trust in you....

Best of luck in the contest!


Feb 17, 2012 10:31 AM
Peter Michelbach
International, IT
i Sell Real Estate

Valerie ~ that's so divinely close!

Thank you for reaching out with your soul to inspire other quiet and shy achievers. Best of luck!


Feb 17, 2012 08:33 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

What a well written post, and a heartfelt story with it. Good Luck with the contest

Feb 18, 2012 09:20 PM
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Valerie what a beautifully written peak into your life.  Thank you so much for sharing...  What a terrific story on trust, change, and loving life! Good luck and Congrats on making it to the finals in this contest. 

Feb 18, 2012 09:25 PM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Jan - I think we too often wish we could change the things in our past that were not perfect while failing to recognize how we have become stronger because of them!

Jo - Thanks for the encouragement! :)

Peter - The quiet ones are often behind the scenes working diligently without getting noticed!


Feb 19, 2012 02:48 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Ed - Thank you for your kind comments!

Pamela - Thank YOU for reading it. Glad you liked it! 

Feb 19, 2012 02:50 AM
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Valerie, that was beautiful. Really. You so deserve to be in the top 10!

Feb 19, 2012 10:55 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Fabulous recounting of your personal awakening to Trust!

Feb 20, 2012 12:15 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Connie - Thank you so much!

Lottie - At the risk of repeating myself once again . . .thanks! :)

Feb 20, 2012 10:38 AM
Lisa Wetzel
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Carson City, NV

Valerie ... first time I read this post!  I'm truly happy that I discovered it on the list!  What a great job!  Best wishes!

Feb 22, 2012 09:46 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Lisa - Thank you! I am also glad to see that our "comment notification" is up and running again! :)

Feb 22, 2012 12:53 PM
Eric Salonga
The Salonga Brothers at Reed Realty - Ceres, CA
Your Key to the Central Valley

Valerie, thanks for sharing your experience.  I can sympathize with your challenges and congratulate you for overcoming them.  I always take comfort in knowing that even the most seasoned veteran have had struggles in life and have the ability to succeed.


Feb 23, 2012 05:13 PM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Eric - The challenges we overcome in life teach us way more than those things that come easily!

Feb 25, 2012 12:47 AM
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

This is a feature worthy post. I went to suggest it and realized it had been featured, I am sorry I missed it when it was! BRAVO!

Feb 26, 2012 12:05 PM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Joni - Thanks for wanting to suggest it anyway! :)

Feb 26, 2012 12:48 PM
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Valerie, what a super and inspring post and what an amazing example of the power a person has on those around them.  Congrats on making it to the top 10.  You're number 1 in my book.

Feb 29, 2012 03:54 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Lora - Thank you!

Mar 02, 2012 12:46 PM