In June I pulled myself out of the day to day. I needed perspective. Things were changing, and I was at an inflection point. For 18 years I was head down building in the real estate business. I loved it, but I could sense I needed to step back, assess. Initially I thought I felt this way was because the industry is undergoing rapid, systemwide change. Though I soon realized, playing into this was the calling card for personal introspection, turning 40 in 2017. And I was deeply disturbed by our country’s pull toward fear and isolationism and wanted more freedom to do my part to ensure we point back to hope.
I didn’t just wake up and notify my team. As the leader of the enterprise I had a responsibility to ensure its good stewardship going forward. I had business partnerships to attend to. Relationships that counted on me. For months unconsciously, and weeks purposefully, I put the pieces in place, had the conversations, and made the hires that allowed me to move into what I started to call – the whitespace.
I was initially struck by how unpleasant it was. Not only was it difficult to relinquish control, I began to see just how much of my personal identity was tied up in what I was doing. That was weird. I remember thinking “good lord, and you’ve done so much work on yourself….” I wanted to reposition by building on my past experience and network, though the ambiguous nature of that, particularly because I didn’t have a “next thing” in place, was deeply uncomfortable. One afternoon on the way to the airport, the Uber driver asked me what I did. Out of my mouth stumbled some incoherent statement I didn’t even understand. “Oh, that sounds interesting,” he said rather confused.
If I was uncomfortable, people around me were freaking out. And in the absence of definition about what I was going to “do” next, came a lot of “fill in the blank” speculation. I didn’t mind it though, I found it entertaining to watch everyone else hustle to define my next step, while I hadn’t a clue. What was success going to look like going forward? It turns out, I didn’t really know…
One thing was clear to me though, I needed a pattern interrupt, and so I got on plane and left town. In 3 months, I went to Knoxville, New York, Tampa, Mexico City, Phoenix (twice), Des Moines, Iowa City, Cancun, Austin, Prague, Budapest, and Vienna. Though difficult on my body, the travel was tremendous for my mental emotional state. I had a wonderful time speaking and teaching, visiting my family, attending the KW convention, creating a lot of content, and taking some time off.
So that brings me to fall 2018. I’ve made friends with this whitespace and plan to stay in here for the time being. Though I have a pretty busy fall planned. In case you’re curious, here is a little bit of what I’m engaged in over the new few months.
For the brokerage and related businesses, I’m consulting with the leadership teams, conducting strategic meetings, consulting some of our top agents, teaching some classes, and working on some opportunistic projects in media and communications. Other things too, though that’s the bulk of it.
I’ve also taken on a few consulting clients, small and medium size businesses that are not in my portfolio. That has been a lot of fun and quite interesting. And I’ve booked several speaking engagements.
I’m also really interested in the digital branding and marketing space right now and am working with some influencers to learn and become a more effective practitioner and producer of strategy and content in that arena.
I’m on a couple boards, one is finishing the other is ramping up, so I’ll be looking at how that all comes together.
We’re hosting a couple events at our house this fall including a meet and greet with Neal Simon, candidate for US Senate from Maryland (I). We’ve never done a political event at our home, though now is not the time to sit on the sidelines of politics. Then we are off to a wedding in Nashville and I’ll be visiting my coach in Arizona twice, and visiting my Grandma who is 91 and in Wyoming.
I’ve also committed to getting my book outline to my editor by end of September, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my goal to reduce my body fat by 3% by mid-November!
So that’s a little bit about what it’s like in this open whitespace. Thank you for being with me on this journey, I look forward to the many chapters ahead!