The 5 Words That Forced A Change In Everything I Do In My Life And Business
By Jay Lieberman – One Dad Living for His Kids
Back in early 2014, I asked my two daughters a question.
Looking back, I wish I never asked it. I was not prepared how their answer would crush me.
I simply said, “Would you guys ever be interested in joining Mom and me on our real estate team?”
It was meant more as a ‘What do you want to be when you grow up’ type question.
I was not ready for the answer, but it came at me like a tiger goes to raw meat. Like the release of a nuclear bomb in my head. It blew me to pieces. Shifted me at my core.
They simply stood there, looked at each other, laughed at me and said,
“Ehh…don’t think so Dad.”
I know they did not intend on hurting me. But, in their teenage minds and laughter, what Michelle and I do for a living seemed embarrassing to them.
It was the first time in my life that I truly felt that my kids were not proud of me.
My two girls are the most important people on this planet to me and their opinion of me matters. Really matters. They are the only true mirror I have in this world.
There were always hints every now and then. Hints of their embarrassment in what I do for a living. Their friends seeing our picture in the paper. The constant self-promotion, more representative of a desperate salesman than a respected professional. Postcards and door hangers on their friends’ doorsteps. Halloween bags delivered to every home in our neighborhood. Our faces on notepads sitting on their friend’s kitchen counters when they went over there for dinner.
I should have paid more attention to that. They were inadvertently sending me a message. I was working so hard to provide for the family that I was blind to it. Or I probably didn’t want to see it. One way or the other, I was not prepared for the reality behind their answer.
I was now wide awake. I was on my way down the rabbit hole. Realizing that I work in one of the lowest reputation industries in existence and I would not let myself be defined by that.
For the sake of my kids.
That was the day I decided that I was going to be something more than “just another fucking real estate agent.” I’ll never forget that day. That was the day I decided we were going to drastically change things. Turn the way we work and live, on its head.
So, I sat down to simplify a 2-question test, my personal gatekeeper, that I would use before I moved forward with anything in my life and business:
Question No. 1: Would what I am going to do make my girls proud of me?
Question No. 2: Would doing it make them realize they can do whatever they want in this world?
We immediately stopped the pictures in the paper, the postcards, the door hangers, Halloween bags, the notepads, cold calls, door knocks. All soul killing, meaningless crap that my kids are embarrassed by.
I was struck by the amount of stuff we did that was not even getting past Question No 1.
I decided to start doing the hard stuff. I felt that the harder it was to do, the more proud of me they would be.
It’s the hard that makes it great right?
So, we started writing stories and published them in our monthly print newsletter. Sharing our past, our struggles and successes. This was really hard. Really personal stuff. I knew that putting myself out there, exposed, would sting. Looking back, I don’t know why I thought that. In reality, it has led to some of my deepest connections with people. But to start, mentally, because of my own self-confidence, given this new and different way of operating–it was incredibly painful. I doubted myself. I questioned myself. Should I publish this? Should I not? For the sake of the approval of my daughters, I had to push through it.
We then wrote a book about a new approach to selling homes.
We spent 100’s of hours starting a Podcast show, interviewing local business owners in our community. Spotlighting and learning from others.
We began to change our focus to impacting our community and those in need.
Only things that would first, make my girls proud of me, and second, would make them realize they can do anything they want in this world.
All were passing with flying colors so far.
A shift slowly happened. I started to get comments from them. Things like, “You wrote a book?,” “When did you guys start that?,” “Your Podcast is on iTunes?,” “You volunteered for what now?”
No hints of embarrassment there. CHECK!
Then the day finally came.
After recording an episode of the Podcast show one day, my daughter Caiti walked through the door, home from school. We told her about a really great lady we just interviewed on the show that does medical tattooing, which includes tattooing new nipples for post operative breast cancer patients. You can catch this Episode 034 at www.ConejoValleyAdviceGivers.com. Really interesting stuff.
I will never forget it. She paused…and said… “That’s really cool.”
“THAT’S REALLY COOL!”
Three words that radiated down my body like a lightening bolt. Three simple words that spilled out of her mouth, validating everything we are doing. A simple sentence that finally let me know that she was proud of who we are and what we are doing.
This whole process has really made me understand who I am. And I can tell you, it’s not about being just another real estate agent. It’s not simply about making money. Although those things are important to us, as we have incredible clients, and take great pride in executing our “Value-Driven Approach” to achieve for them the best result. But my life, and that now includes my business life, more so than ever—is about building a legacy that my kids can look back on and be proud of long after Michelle and I are gone.
And the journey of change continues…
February 2017 Issue of the Newsletter done…CHECK!
Episode 051 of the podcast recorded…CHECK!
Donation to a local school from a recent home sale…CHECK!
Formation of a charitable impact club group…IN THE WORKS!
ABOUT THEM – Jay & Michelle Lieberman have been called “provocative and entertaining,” but also “committed philanthropists”. Entrepreneurs and relentless innovators of the real estate industry, creators of the “Value-Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate”, founders of the Conejo Valley Teacher Only Program, hosts of the Conejo Valley Advice Givers Podcast Show, and attorneys and real estate brokers at Keller Williams World Class in Southern California. They feel honored and blessed every day they are able to serve their clients, their family, friends and their community. You can reach them at info@TeamJayMichelle.com.