That damned foam cowboy hat…

ASREB cover

Coming up next next Friday June 24, 2016, I’ve been honored by the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business by being asked to speak on a panel with other extremely top producing well known highly experienced agents on the topic “50 ways to Sell a Listing”.  I feel very humbled.  I can’t say it enough.  With that said, I have had to reminisce about all the struggles and hard work it’s taken me to get to this point in my career. 

I’ve been so very blessed to have had many fans and supporters, mentors, colleagues, clients and good friends cheer me on, but I have to admit- I didn’t get here without my share of failures

One in particular; still, when I allow the “gremlins” to sneak in, makes me want to run crying to the safety under my bedcovers to hide my head and squeeze my eyes shut in hopes of making the memory of the horror of it all to also squeeze right out of my head…

I now know without a doubt it was that event that played a big part of who I am today professionally and had I not fought to overcome my “gremlins”, I never would have accepted the General Sales Manager position offered to me a few years later.  It was the fear of failure, that I’d make a fool of myself again and be vulnerable to experience that same trauma again- I found just the thought of it unbearable.  Being a GSM meant I’d have to get in front of 300+ people in the monthly company wide meetings and actually sound like a competent person let alone speak in front of many of the same sales people who witnessed my most professionally humiliating moment, knowing some would be hoping for a repeat.  The little girl in my head kept screaming that it could happen again and then what… ?  I almost didn’t take that job and had I not, I would never had learned so much of what I rely on today to succeed in this ever so competitive field I love so much- Real Estate. 

clip_image001Remembering back, I believe it was spring 2003, a little over 13 years ago.  I was no rookie by definition with 10 years under my belt, but boy did I sure feel like one that fateful morning when I was about 7 months pregnant with my daughter Sarah. I remember the paisley dark blue and crème maternity dress from Motherhood Maternity I wore that day. I sat in a regular weekly sales meeting for the Builder I worked for at the time, then known as Trend homes (better known today after acquisitions and merger as CalAtlantic Homes), surrounded by the other 25+ competitive sales people I worked with.  I had a pit in my stomach that grew louder and louder every time my sales manager at the time, Joel Huston, shook his damned foam cowboy hat full of names… Inevitably my name was in that pile… knowing at any moment it could be my turn- I could feel my heart racing- eeeek!  “How did I mess up our assignment so badly?” I wondered and wondered while praying under my breath that it would NOT be me called next, but rather the person across from me…

We were having a dreaded Role playing exercise and our assignment was to explain the features and benefits and sharing our 2 minute elevator speech about our neighborhood we were assigned to sell homes in.  However, I completely missed the mark and misunderstood what my manager wanted from us, which I figured out very quickly when I heard the ever so smooth Dave McNichol go as he was called on first… I could hear my heartbeat so loudly in my ears as I sat uncomfortably rocking side to side in my chair… luckily the next person called on wasn’t me either… “Oh Thank God” I kept thinking but the fear was relentless because I just knew- just knew I wasn’t going to get off scott-free… lost in my thoughts of what was I going to do if I was called on- and then, all of a sudden, it happened… just what I was so terrified of, “Rebecca, you’re next….” I’m sure I was sweating bullets, stuttering like a fool, it was so bad when I stood up to give my presentation that not only was I extremely uncomfortable- everyone else in the room had to of been too… Someone I didn’t know hardly at all at the time (ended up being a dear friend) came up to me afterwards and said he just kept thinking that I needed to say my stomach hurt and sat down to escape the self inflicted humiliation I put myself through.  Ok, maybe he wasn’t that blunt but boy, did I get the point!  Oh the horror!  With every stutter I could feel my face get hotter and I wanted nothing more than to crawl under the conference table, get out of sight and in the fetal position to suck on my thumb until I soothed myself to sleep…..praying I’d wake from the nightmare.  I think what made me even more flustered was that I knew that there were many in that room at the time that loved every minute of my embarrassment and when I saw the glances clip_image001being exchanged between them, I only did worse.  Shaken, I finally sat down after which, you could hear a pin drop.  I can’t even remember the details as I think my flight or fight kicked in by then along with all the estrogen from being 7 months pregnant, so the details may have been partially blocked out to protect the innocent- but I’m pretty sure, that damned foam cowboy hat was retired that day after my epic failure that scarred me for quite sometime.

Seems that with success, many times comes critics, naysayers, people wishing for failure… at least that’s what the “gremlins” whisper in my head when I am thinking about this fateful public appearance.  Actually I’ve been learning that it’s when we are our authentic selves and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, is when we grow and learn the most.  It’s those moments that define us.  We can choose to let them keep us frozen, bitter, in the blame mode OR we can choose to overcome our fears and face them!  The first thing I did when I accepted that management position was start teaching contract law for New Homes @ASREB to force myself out of my comfort zone and start practicing more public speaking in order to improve.  Today, I have appeared in many Real Estate themed videos and even was interviewed by Channel 3 live on the morning news just 6 months ago.  I’ve come a long way since that 30 year old 7 month pregnant lady stuttered like a fool in front of her peers but I am so thankful for the experience and extremely grateful I still get to speak about my passion to anyone who will listen to me today.

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