When Floaties Crimp Your Style

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Providence Group Realty TREC# 0608931

floaties crimp my styleLike many agents, I made my transition into full-time real estate by starting on a part-time basis. I worked a full-time corporate job, taught graduate and undergraduate marketing classes, and managed our private portfolio of owner-managed investment homes, all while wearing my wife hat, my mommy hat, my soccer coach hat, my Sunday school teacher hat, my room-mom hat, my chauffeur hat, my PTA volunteer hat, and my daughter hat. 

I loved my corporate life and the stability of income + benefits, but longed for the freedom and lifestyle that only comes with entrepreneurship.  For a while, teaching was the supplemental outlet that fulfilled that desire to personally mentor, connect with, and build up others in their pursuit of their career and educational happiness. And real estate was my "closet" joy… where I found the creative outlet I needed to make something out of nothing, and build prosperity for my family's bottom line (instead of my employer's). Looking back, it was kind of like having a job-related eating disorder… I was over-working to fill an emotional void.

As corporate responsibilities increased, compensation simply wasn't equitable.  Opportunities for advancement were limited, unless I was willing to look at competitor's offers (an issue of disloyalty in my mind) or relocating out of state (not a consideration for my family). Further, my long hours and travel schedule were starting to impact my family balance -- and my employer was beginning to raise eyebrows when I would put my foot down in favor of my family responsibilities.

As a mom of 3 with a husband who frequently travels, hiring a nanny to help with the demands of housework, childcare, and transportation for extra-curricular activities seemed imminent. 

It's funny how life works sometimes. In celebration of an esteemed colleague's upcoming birthday, I bought the book 10-10-10 as a gift. It was purely the significance of the title which motivated the purchase, as his birthday was on October 10th, and the year was 2010. He also happened to appreciate business motivational literature, so I managed to preview the read prior to purchase to make sure it wasn't a dud or inappropriate. I wasn't expecting to find the powerful message that seemed to be hand-crafted for me in the content... this book was aimed at exposing poor life choices that suppressed fulfillment.

Within 10 minutes, I recognized that I needed to make a massive career change. I was stuck, and while my "self-medication by work" strategy was great for income, it was killing my spirit. By applying the 10-10-10 method to critical questions, it was clear that real estate should be my full-time calling. 

I quickly set out to complete the transition into a lifestyle of full commissioned sales. The few people in my life who knew about my plan believed I had lost my mind. At the time, real estate was in a slump, and those that cared for me did their best to discourage what they thought was complete madness and utter self-destruction.

To combat the negativity, I relied on a quote by Marc Vitelli found in Seth Godin's Meatball Sundae: "The only way to learn how to stomp tricks is by going huge and embracing the occasional yard sale."  Seth explains in his book that a yard sale is a wipeout so extreme that your gear flies off.  I had nothing to lose by trying. 

My results, however, proved that real estate could single-handedly replace my six-figure income -- even on a PART TIME basis (yup!) and would yield more fulfillment and greater autonomy. Plus, the opportunity to build a business -- and a legacy -- for my family was simply icing on the cake. I knew I had the right background, the right skillset, the right strengths, and the right level of personal interest to make it happen. 

And yet… I wrestled with giving up my corporate life, and/or teaching. Managing our investment properties simply blended with my real estate activities, so that didn't seem to create a conflict.  I decided to burn the candle at both ends until I could find emotional peace about a full transition.  I used the AMAZING income of working 3.5 jobs as a rationalization to justify why I shouldn't have to give up anything, as long as I could keep it up and be happy doing it. 


No one expects to find themselves in a position where they could simply let go, take the Nestea plunge, and land on their feet. Even when you have a safety net, letting go can be scary -- if not for the financial fears, then for the résumé blip you know you will take if you deviate from the corporate world and/or the fear of failure and lost opportunity. Ummm… ok. Especially for the fear of failure and hearing the 'I told you so' you know will be coming down the road. 

It took a while before I finally found the emotional impetus to take off the floaties. In Matthew 6:24, the Bible teaches,  "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other."  

To be honest, as my passion for real estate grew through the realized self-actualization I was searching for, my 'corporate' and 'professor' floaties started crimping my style!  The Law of Attraction states that you can attract what you think of, and what you focus on. The more I focused on building momentum and success through real estate, the more of a distraction (and irritation) everything else seemed to be. 

Today, I am happy to say that real estate fulfills 100% of my career needs and goals. My family and I enjoy the freedom and lifestyle that comes with the choices we have made, and I know that we are not alone in this decision! 

CareerBliss compiled a list of the 10 happiest jobs based on analysis from more than 65,000 employee-generated reviews in 2012, and Real estate agent topped the happiest list!  In sales, you get paid exactly what your results are worth -- and not a penny less -- without being handcuffed to a cubicle, computer screen or classroom. 

What's holding your happiness back?

Comments (15)

Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi Amanda, Congratulations on your career choice.  I'm sure wearing ll those hats kept your hair from standing on end with all the frustrtations. I enjoyed your adventure.  Happy Mother's Day and have a great week.

May 11, 2014 01:44 PM
ReadySetLoan Condo Approval Team
ReadySetLoan Condo Team LLC - South Windsor, CT
The FHA/VA Condo Project Approval Specialists

Great story Amanda.  It is certainly stressful to leave the comfort of income security to jump into something (almost) completely new.  Congratulations on successfully doing so!

May 11, 2014 09:14 PM
Amanda Thomas
Providence Group Realty - Plano, TX
​Broker, SRES®, BPOR, MCNE, ​Certified DRS Agent™

Thanks, Larry and Eric! Hopefully, others will be inspired to step out into a great decision as well. :-) 

May 11, 2014 10:09 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

I am full time single Dad with four kids and the blend of real estate with family was easy being organized. Working hard was not self medication masking something inside. It was like the being raised on a farm growing up. It was called gotta eat. Being creative with the time you have, believing in yourself going in. Plus having an office with a long commute of 32 feet from the house meant could do it all.

I saw my kids more than the parents who are away at work. Because after school they come in for a hug, to tie their shoe and a reminder that I'll take you to dance at 5pm, up to hockey, soccer but get your home work started. Or will be up to the little league game with your brothers, sisters... as in a small safe town with less traffic they biked the two blocks with other team mates doing the same. Where you are helps the dream avoid becoming a nightmare. Give me small town any day. Cheaper to live here, less stress. No traffic, crime and the village pitches in to help the raising kids.

May 12, 2014 01:56 AM
Amanda Thomas
Providence Group Realty - Plano, TX
​Broker, SRES®, BPOR, MCNE, ​Certified DRS Agent™

Andrew Mooers, that is the dream! :-)

May 12, 2014 02:25 AM
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Amanda, if you could make it in a down market you're on your way. Much success to you and all that you touch. 

May 12, 2014 03:04 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

A delightful read Amanda and thank you for writing it for the Swim When You're Ready contest for May.  Very enjoyable read.  

May 12, 2014 03:47 AM
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Hi Amanda~ Change can definitely be a scary thing. I'm glad to hear that you went with your heart and that you were successful.

May 14, 2014 01:24 AM
Whitney Watson
First Heritage Mortgage - Henrico, VA

Hi Amanda, You have a great story. Like you, I used to teach and made a drastic change to dive into the mortgage industry. I haven't looked back since and it sounds like you haven't either! 

May 14, 2014 04:32 AM
Amanda Thomas
Providence Group Realty - Plano, TX
​Broker, SRES®, BPOR, MCNE, ​Certified DRS Agent™

Hi Whitney, I read your post! :-) We have much in common. Congratulations on your transition. I think you would also rock it as a realtor, though!

Donna and Adrian, thank you for your comments. :-) Real estate is definitely as big -- or as small -- as we make it. :-) To your success!

Carla, thanks for the contest, and the connections it is fostering in our AR community. Well done!

May 14, 2014 04:36 AM
Jeff Jensen
The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states - Greenwich, CT

There are good and bad things to be said about both job choices.

May 14, 2014 07:31 AM
Mike Rankin
ClearPath Mortgage Solutions, Inc. NMLS #1394615 - Albany, NY
Mortgage Consultant

What a great leap of faith! It certainly has proved to be a wise choice for you and your family. 

May 20, 2014 05:36 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Amanda, what an inspirational story and I can relate by switching careers after 31 years in the high school classroom to enter a real estate market that had tanked in August 2009.  I was retired for one day and then took the plunge into real estate and have never looked back.  I do miss teaching, the kids, the interaction, but not grading papers and preparing three to four hours every night!  I really liked the idea of going in at the very bottom of the real estate market because it was like Cortez burning his ships in the New World-no turning back!!!

Apr 21, 2015 10:29 AM
Amanda Thomas
Providence Group Realty - Plano, TX
​Broker, SRES®, BPOR, MCNE, ​Certified DRS Agent™

Bruce Walter, some days ya' just gotta' burn the house down. :-) To your new beginning, and may you reach your goals!

Apr 21, 2015 10:45 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Amanda, since you are going with the Burn, Baby, Burn theme I could quote you a line from one of my all time favorite movies, American Graffiti, (way before you were born)  when Joe The Hood (Bo Hopkins) said to Kurt (Richard Dreyfuss) after a night of mayhem on the town: 

              Remember, Rome wasn't burned in a night !!!!

Apr 22, 2015 01:03 PM

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