There is so much work — two actual clients! One woman I met on some real estate Internet boards is coming to Manhattan this weekend, and I’ve been spending hours looking for the right high-end rental for her and her family. It’s so hard because I have less experience with rental units, and so I’m not as confident about what they will look like, and there are a lot of “hijacked” listings, so half the time I see a posting for $17,000 I have to do a ton of detective work to find the real thing for $14,000.
And then there’s the sale: the Big Sale. I got a referral for a client who wants a three-bedroom downtown, which means finally I have a client rich enough to look in the actual area I want to specialize in. I sift computer listings, make appointments, discuss properties, we bond. She and her hubby finally end up liking the property that my sponsoring broker had suggested I show them, my two days’ of work being no match for his 20 years of judgment and a “forward” key on his e-mail.
So she instructs me to make an offer, and I do, going back-and-forth with the listing broker for a good half an hour. Me: this is why it should be cheap. Him: this is why it should be expensive.
All in all, a pretty good day. I am focused. Two potential deals, nothing to distract me, I’m burning up the minutes on my work phone and I’ve turned my personal phone off. I am in The Zone, until this pops up on my e-mail: Are we still on for lunch today? I’m at the restaurant.
I had achieved the state of total and complete work focus, by not checking my calendar and not making myself accessible to my friends. So I left one of my best friends stranded at a restaurant, by herself, for a lunch that was supposed to be her celebration of my birthday.
By the time I actually got there I was two hours late. I said a quick thanks to Providence that has blessed me with friends who will wait two hours for me to get anywhere. Then, my entry line was easy: “You know what I want for my birthday? Forgiveness for being an a-hole!”
We did what we always do at lunch, this friend and I: ate lightly and drank heavily, gossiping about work, friends and news. Her boyfriend of a year may be The One, and so there was a lot of discussion about that. It was intensely fun, not the adult cocktail party chatter I so often get at my age, but a more tightly bonded joy of sharing cake and events. Remember how close it felt to be with your best friend in high school? It was like that.
And yet, a part of me kept going, you dummy, you almost missed this.
My hubby insists that with a little more organization, I’ll be fine, that it’s not an all-or-nothing “must work/must play.” But it is one the toughest things about building my own business, that I feel like when there’s work I have to devote myself to it totally, and then I feel guilty that I’m neglecting something else. Great real estate agents, in my experience, are divas. And I picked this career partly for that reason: after years of being a corporate cog, I wanted to be a diva. When I worked for a big company, I would get depressed and schlump into my desk, and no one cared. To pull myself out of that trap, I wanted a job where wearing cute clothes and radiating energy would count for something: maybe some of that warmth would work its way back inside. But as I’m actually poised on the brink of becoming a diva, I feel … guilty.
My shrink says that my guilt stems from a “fear of success” and insists that the best way to fight that tendency is to work through it, that once I conquer a few challenges I’ll find that I like it, and that once I have a little success (and pocket money) I’ll want more of it. Maybe he’s right; maybe I’m just being nervous about having made my first seven-figure offer. I don’t expect them to accept it off the bat, but I can’t wait to hear what they say.
But I will turn my other phone on while I’m waiting.