July 25, 2019

Lesson 2: Comparison

This is part two of an ongoing series called “Lessons Learned at M&Co.” You can find lesson one here.

I slept fitfully on Wednesday night, partly because I caught a summer cold and partly because I was worrying. Nearly every hour, I woke up to find my heart racing. I knew I’d have to wake up and face one of my biggest fears: speaking to a room full of realtors.

You’d think I would have this down pat by now. After almost four years of SYWTBAC seminars and a slew of industry events/panels, I’ve had my fair share of time with a microphone. But even still, that gnawing feeling in my stomach never goes away, nor do my anxious thoughts.

Thursday’s event was hosted by Chicago Real Producers, a newly-minted trade magazine for our city that showcases top agents and their stories. The panel discussion was set to begin around 10 a.m., followed by lunch and networking. When the magazine’s publisher, Andy, first asked if I would be a panelist, I enthusiastically agreed, thinking about the picture I could post on Instagram and the outfit I would wear. (You know, the important stuff!)

In the Uber on the way to the venue, I sniffled into a Kleenex and held my phone to my ear. “Just be yourself,” Andrew encouraged me. I pictured him sitting in his River North office. “You’ve done this before, Mel. Trust God, and He will do it.”

The panel went just fine. I was not an all-star, but I didn’t embarrass myself or pass out from illness, either. As soon as I got home and changed back into pajamas, I flew to my laptop, letting the words tumble from my fingertips as I typed this post.

Lesson 2: Comparison

Just as I tend to set unrealistic expectations, I’m also constantly comparing myself — in life and in real estate. When it comes to my industry, I’ll look at other brokers’ social media posts and feel pangs of jealously that I’m not as busy as they are. Or I’ll listen to a podcast interview with a heavy-hitter and feel small inside, like I don’t stack up. Or I’ll sit through an awards ceremony and wonder if my production will ever match the impossibly huge numbers announced from the stage.

My business has changed a lot sine October 2014. I am inordinately appreciative of my company, my numbers, and my accolades — but still, I play the comparison game in my mind constantly. I don’t know that I’ll ever stop it completely, but I have uncovered a few tricks for when I’m feeling down:

Turn my phone off. (When Instagram is just too much.)

Spend time with family and friends. (The people who love me no matter what my sales volume is.)

Find friendship with other realtors. (Instead of building a wall of competition.)

Remind myself what God says about me. (He thinks I’m off-the-charts awesome.)

Be honest about my own business. (Online and in real life.)

Chicago has a booming network of realtors that encourage and learn from one another. I am undeniably lucky to have these people to look up to. There are agents who are amazing at attracting referrals, agents who rock Facebook ads, agents who know how to convert a Zillow lead in less than a day, agents who lead teams fearlessly and effortlessly. Often, I look around and feel inspired.

But for the moments when I feel caught up in “look how much she’s selling” or “look at his powerful team,” I’m learning to take a step back and remember who I really am.