Miracle Mindshift

How did I go from not feeling myself when telling people I was a real estate agent to feeling good, excited even, about being one?

It happened in a moment during an Enneagram class I was taking.

The Enneagram is a geometric figure with nine points that maps out nine personality types and their relationships with each other. Each personality type is distinguished by distinct motivations, gifts, blindspots and challenges and the “number” of each personality type looks at life through its own stance or “lens”. (See the link above for details.) What I appreciate most about the Enneagram is that it points each number to paths of health and wholeness.

As a “four” I seek to be genuine and unique I delve deep into my emotional life and tend to feel something is wrong with me. I am sensitive to my feelings. I am always on an unending quest for identity. (Thus the blog.) And I need to be creative.

I realized during class when someone was describing the creativity of “fours” that if I recreated myself as a business owner as opposed to just a realtor, I could change my perception of my work. I could shift from being misfit realtor who does not fit the stereotype of “smooth talking business lady making deals” to woman who grows her business serving others with her resources of knowledge and relationships. As a realtor, I can create my own business, my own role, my own schedule, and choose my path of professional development.

In a couple days, I am joining a new brokerage that’s a better fit for my personality and that has a vision I share. I’m resetting myself as business owner, not just a real estate agent. I will also be using my skills to help my parents with their properties. So what I’m learning will be practical and meaningful. I will be part of a larger team and can learn from the other realtors. There are weekly trainings and speakers. I like learning. I have a new logo. I have new plans. I feel great.


The shift in my my mindset was so much more than just a shift in how I saw myself as a realtor. After almost thirty years of searching and dissatisfaction with my career, I finally feel good about my work. I have started my own business and hope to use my skills to provide trusted support to my friends and family who need help with real estate. I also hold a lecturer position at Cal State Long Beach where I can use my Stanford degrees to mentor future educators. ( I had a similar A-ha moment several months ago when I realized that I could create my own role as an educator also. I used to feel so incompetent compared to my colleagues with 30+ years of experience until I realized my strength is counseling and encouragement.) I get to walk along teachers and support them as they transition into their teaching careers. It is so satisfying. It does not pay bills, but hopefully my real estate work will. I am still able to pick up my kids from school and drive them to their activities. I don’t know if my business will take off. I may find I don’t have enough time to juggle two very different jobs and my family. I may have few clients. I may completely flop. I may need to find something else. I am open to other possibilities. I am not afraid of failure. Failure will open new opportunities. I can recreate myself again. I am not holding onto anything too tightly, because I already have more than I need. My job title does not define me. I am simply doing the best with what I have. I am at finally at peace.


A reader and and dear friend of mine wrote the following text to me after reading this post. She said I could share it with you all:

I have definitely been in positions where my “title” of my job rubbed me the wrong way, or the job itself was a poor fit. Many times, I questioned the same things that you did. It’s funny, but maybe because we have been friends for so long…we have so many of the same exact character traits. I feel I am also artistic, creative, and love connections with people. Cultivating relationships definitely makes me super happy. I find that letting a job or a title define you is a dangerous trap. I was recently taking David Lynch’s MasterClass and he said that being an artist requires you to find long uninterrupted periods of time to create your art. Do your work. He delivered prescription meds for a pharmacy for years until he had enough money (along with his dad) to create his own studio.

Many times, people forget that your job doesn’t define you. You define You. And that’s where you take the power back. I felt so helpless in positions I hated. I was and “international scheduler”, seriously that was my official title at Fox Studios, and it didn’t begin to really fit what I did. I was more of a post-production supervisor or producer, but it was not the title I got. I was a “Catalog Planner” at Disney, again seriously un-sexy people created these monikers, and I didn’t like that description even though I love logistics and planning. I saw it as a means to an end though. I wanted to save enough money to launch my own independent film production business and literary management company.

I found that some roadblocks in personal development that needed addressing though. I wouldn’t get my to-do list done for months. I would self-sabotage projects by just running around town doing anything and everything except the task at hand. My company shuttered in a little over 2 years. So now, I am the CEO of my own digital health and wellness business, and I adore that. I am improving those habits and negative self-limiting beliefs and behaviors daily. I wouldn’t call it easy, but it’s absolutely worth it. I love helping others get healthy and wealthy.

My dreams and goals are still the same. I want to run my own Indie Film biz, and I am making it all happen with this business I run now. Your story will resonate with many people. So may people don’t love their jobs, don’t love the “lot they have in life”or their current job title, and I hope they read your article and remember that they hold the reins to their future. I loved reading your post, please keep it up! Take good care!

Me, a Real Estate Agent?

Two questions I often hear:

What do you do for work? I’m a teacher educator ( most people don’t know what this means) and I am real estate agent. Well, you know, I just do it part-time. I’ve done a handful of deals for friends, I am still pretty new at it.

You’re a realtor, right? Yes. Awkward silence.

When I would be asked these question, I would feel opaque and disconnected. Yes, I was a realtor meaning I passed the exam and joined the National Association of Realtors. I worked on deals. I listed and sold a few homes and helped some friends buy one. But I didn’t feel like a realtor and the title never fit. You’re a writer. Yes! You’re a mom. Yes! You’re a professor. Yes! But …You’re a real estate agent or realtor? Umm. Ye-es. I mean yes. (I guess.)

I am not pushy and I am not salesy. I am not motivated primarily by money. No, actually, this isn’t true. The reason I work in real estate is because it’s means to make money. I don’t like to promote myself or brag. I don’t pretend to know what I know little about. I am not all about numbers, financing, and analysis. These are sometimes qualities of agents I have worked with.

But this is what I am: I am creative, caring, and hard-working. I develop relationships and enjoy connecting people with each other. I hustle to get work done in ways nobody sees. I take time to do my research. I enjoying making over broken, worn-out homes so they look better. I am curious and modest. I am artistic. I am sensitive and a good listener. I am intuitive and empathetic. I want to impact my community. I want to help others succeed.

Are these the qualities you think of when you think of the term real estate agent of realtor?


I struggled for a long time with whether or not to quit real estate because it simply wasn’t “me”. My qualities seemed to fit those of a counselor or artist, but not a realtor. But recently I had a discovery: I realized that since I am a very creative person, I need work that allows me to constantly expand and develop my role into something unique and meaningful. This is why the term “real estate agent” didn’t sit well with me. Instead of simply seeing myself (or not seeing myself) as a real estate agent, what if I saw myself as a business owner? Having a business is personalized, and I could develop it creatively. I could grow relationships with clients and professionals in the field, and I could individualize the way I cared for my clients. I could create marketing and a mission statement, and I could specialize and grow my knowledge. I could expand or change the business. I could create my own role.

So….Am I a real estate agent? I have a real estate license and I own a real estate business. I support and help clients meet their goals when buying or selling homes. I listen to my clients’ needs and help them decide what’s best for them. I walk with them during the process of navigating whether or not to buy or sell property and use my knowledge and experience to serve the community.

This discovery about my need for creativity in my career is a real game changer. In the next blog I will describe how I came to this discovery and a tool that may the helpful for you.

Questions for Discussion: Have you ever felt like you were a poor fit for a job? How can you personalize your job so it fits you? How might you be able to transition into work that fits you better, while drawing on your knowledge and experience?

Identity Breakthrough

I was at the Westin Resort and Spa in Whistler. My sister had invited Moses (about seven) and I to spend a ski weekend with her and my brother-in-law. They reserved for the two of us a spacious, well-appointed suite with a  phenomenal view. While my sister and Moses hit the slopes, I stayed back in the hotel recovering from a recent injury.

I was luxuriating in a fancy ski resort far above my social class and Moses was enjoying the spoils of being my sister’s only nephew. Inevitably, I  lapsed into feeling terrible:  Why does my sister always have to pay for me to stay at nice places? If I had a career I could pay my own way.  I wouldn’t be a burden. It wouldn’t have to be this way.

It was morning, so I decided to start my day with some strengthening exercises in front of the fireplace while listening to a podcast by Tim Keller about “counterfeit gods”. He said something along the lines of  counterfeit gods being good things in our lives that we turn into gods that drive us and eventually crush us.  You know something is a counterfeit god if you kill yourself trying to attain it and if you feel you cannot live if you don’t have it.  Such gods  are counterfeit because they cannot deliver on what they promise and insidiously suck the life out of us.

I was familiar with the teaching, but this time it sank in. Had I had made having a stable career or finding a career direction into a counterfeit god? I thought that having a secure career or at least figuring out a career path for myself would save me. It was the one thing that I needed to be happy and content.  But because I was not successful in attainting a career, my not having a career was killing me. I could not live with myself.    I would not experience peace in my life until I attained one.

Keller continued  (I hope I am not misquoting this since I cannot remember which podcast it was and have not been able to relocate it) that as Christians,  if we insist that we need anything more than God,  then we are throwing the blood of Christ back onto Christ and telling Jesus that He is not enough for us.  The words shocked me.

No, I declared. I don’t want to do that. I am sorry.  Jesus, you are enough for me.

I saw a a wall of mosaic tiles in front of me.  It was the size and shape of a wide doorway.  The tiles were made of multi-textured gray squares; granite, concrete, or glass, or some such mixture of materials.  Immediately, the mosaic wall lost all support and fell row by row, clatter upon clatter, into a pile at my feet.

It was a breakthrough. I was getting free.


Reflections:   For most of my life,  I had based my identity on achievements, or not having them. I was a failure if I hadn’t attained a goal, and my self-worth was directly related to what I was able to achieve. If I were finally able to achieve YXZ , then finally, I’d be somebody. Tim Keller explains that identity, in modern American culture, is achieved. Identity is achieved when we discover who we are and what we want and achieve our dreams. According to a Christian gospel, however, identity is received, not achieved. It is a gift.  “And so you can only say, whether you are religious or traditional or even a modern agnostic or secular person, you basically, your identity works like this, because I perform, because I obey, because I followed the rules, because I’ve achieved, then I could feel good about myself. I obey, therefore I’m accepted, but the Christian gospel is the only system in the world of thought that gives you a radically and totally different identity than what the secular world would give you, what any other religion would give you, what traditional cultures would give you. Because Christianity says your identity received not achieved. Every other systems says, if you follow the rules, if you compete, if you perform, then you’re accepted. Christianity says no, I’m accepted in Jesus Christ, therefore I perform.” (From transcript of Identity That Can Handle Either Success or Failure.)

Religious doctrine aside, our worth as humans has nothing to do with achievements, status, or wealth.  All humans are inherently valuable and worthy of love, no matter their beliefs and behaviors. How many of us actually  believe this?

I am still searching for more satisfaction in my career,  but it is no longer something that has me in its grip.  I may never find a career that I love that allows me to make a stable, secure income. If I do, that would be fantastic, but if not, what I have now is more than enough.

Question for Discussion: What is your identity formation process? What do you base your identity on?