I recently experienced an opportunity that at first seemed to me an uncomfortable request and made me want to decline it. I was asked to be a community model for the annual Opera Guild of Dayton’s Bravo! Fashion Show. This is a major fundraising event for the Guild and brings in a large audience of supporters.
The theme of this year’s show was Around the World and it featured apparel from many countries with models from many cultures and countries as well. I decided that if I was going to accept this offer, I should do so with total support of the theme and therefore decided to model an Indian sari in the show.
In retrospect, while I was originally very uncomfortable with the request, it turned out to be a wonderful experience for me and I believe the audience enjoyed it as well. It also helped solidify one of my key goals for the Guild, to promote diversity within our organization.
There was a big hole in my life after being President of Women’s Council of Realtors at Columbus…One that I wasn’t really expecting to face. I had assumed that it would be easy for me to switch back to what I was doing every day. I was wrong. Then an opportunity came for me to use what I had learned at Women’s Council, to work with my fellow agents at the office as an Accountability Coach. Being an Accountability Coach is outside of my comfort zone because:
There is a challenge that I may not have enough perceived experience,
I worry that my agenda and preconceived notions are tainting the agent’s journey, and
The impact it will have on my own Real Estate business.
However, this experienced has only enriched me. It has made me remember that I really enjoy assisting people and raising others up. It has reminded me that there are very talented people and for them to excel and be the best agent, they need a sounding board. I let go of what I felt was wrong with me and focused on the agents and their talents. It has not been an easy journey; but, a fulfilling one.
My business is 90% referrals, mostly by design. I am not comfortable working with people that I really don't know, for one reason is safety but also because I have a great relationship with my clients so when they refer me business, I know that its because they believe that I will have a great relationship with that referral. In 2016 I had the best year of my real estate career but when 2017 came around I couldn't close a deal the first three months of last year to save my life. It was like everything that I did fell apart. The referrals just weren't coming in like they did the year before. Then towards the end of the 2017 I had a major surgery that took me out of working for 2 months which in Realtor terms means that if you don't work this month then you don't get a paycheck for the next two months. I knew that I had to step up my game in 2018 but that meant that I had to step out of my comfort zone. Every time I thought about cold calling on FSBO's, my heart would literally start racing. I hated the thought of it but there is a quote by Albert Einstein that says, "Insanity, Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result." So I started making more Social Media Posts, I even did a few video's and I started doing cold calls. As much as I hated it, I knew that I didn't want my 2018 to be like 2017. My business has definitely picked up this and everyday I look for new ways to grow my business. The last three years I have been on the Million Dollar Club. This year I am shooting for the 2.5 Million Dollar Club and as of the end of August I will have a million dollars in sales towards my goal. I will also step into the Presidency for the Toledo Network next year and we already have our year planned out. Here I come 2019!!
Last year I participated in a fabulous leadership and personal development program that impacted serious positive change in my life. Several of the workshops included loving pushes to take on challenges that were waaaaaayyyyyyyyy outside of our comfort zones!
Just taking the workshops was waaaaayyyyy outside my comfort zone but I'm so thankful I did! I'm a better me for it! I got to be a part of an amazing group of people who selflessly raised over $120,000 for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Ohio!!!! AND we did it in under 5 weeks AND we weren't allowed to spend a dime to get any of it! A legacy I'm so proud of and an experience I'm so thankful for.
So one of those challenges in one of the workshops included a performance. We were so thankful one of the people in our group was a professional dancer and instructor. We all thought we had it made because we had an actual dance teacher on our team! Ha! Try teaching a dozen women who have no dance background a performance in 1 hour! AND she wasn't taking center stage to take the spotlight off us either...we all had to step up and there was no hiding in the background for me like I normally would do.
I was ill. When they said belly dance...I panicked. I'm a very conservative person. Very conservative! I don't "let loose" and I don't subscribe to the word "sexy". So I was absolutely horrified I had to do this and in front of 150 people...most of them complete strangers...and half the room men! I was dying...I actually threatened to leave.
What saved me was my friend sharing that belly dance has a misunderstood reputation. "It's not "sexy" at all," she said..."it's not stripping...it's empowering. Every single movement has a meaning and is a statement of power. It's actaully an ancient tribal dance to empower women."
Well...I'm all over empowering women...that is what the Coucil is all about after all! What I needed to do was learn how to empower myself vs. pouring all of my heart and soul into empowering others and ignoring myself (point of the exercise).
Once I changed my perspective, I was all in. It was terrifying, but the goal was to step outside our comfort zones, embrace not being perfect and have fun. Goal was accomplished! And we all had a blast once we stopped holding ourselves back! (several of them are in the photo above)
What happened in the experiement is that I made amazing lifelong friends...sisters. And it fostered a passion for belly dance! After we were done with the workshop, we all continue to get together for classes.
I'll be the first to admit, I'm not any good at it...it's actually quite comical because I'm always on the opposite foot and hand motions as everyone else! But I get up there and I do it...and I never miss a class! Now when our instructor says "we're going to prepare for a recital" I'm the first one out the door saying "heck no!" But it's increased my self confidence and I get to let go of the control freak for a little while and just have fun and it's ok for me to be silly!
Moral of the story...step outside of your comfort zone...you never know what amazing things you will learn! About yourself and about some really cool thing you were afraid to try!
Hi, my name is Debbie...and I'm a bellydancer! My coin skirt is in my purse as we speak!
I will start by saying that I am NOT a thrill seeker. I don’t like heights or roller coasters (even the swings at the fair make me nauseous). This Spring I took a trip with my family to Europe and one of our stops was to a town called Interlaken at the foot of the Alps. As our trip approached I started to look at #interlaken on Instagram to see what the current conditions were like and so that I could know what to expect when we arrived. You can get real time images of people at the destination by doing this and one of the most common pictures I saw was of people paragliding. It looked beautiful and I thought to myself there is absolutely no way I would ever do that! Sailing through the sky with no protection sounded dangerous and NOT worth the risk. As I arrived in Interlaken and came off of the train I immediately saw the paragliders. They looked so peaceful and the scenery was so breathtaking that I looked at my parents and said I think I’m going to do that. They laughed and shrugged me off because they know I am not the adventurous type. We checked into our hotel and went out onto our terrace and saw them all again. The Alps as the backdrop and next thing I knew I was online booking a non refundable paragliding excursion for myself the next morning! Early the next morning they picked me up from my hotel and we spent the next 25 minutes climbing the mountain to 4000ft. The drive up was precarious, a one lane road with drop off right next to it and no guardrail. By the time we got to the top I was totally regretting my decision! One by one people ran down the mountain and were swept up into the air. When you go it is important to charge straight ahead down a decline that you couldn’t walk down without falling and trust that the wings will do their job and the wind will guide you up into the sky. It is really taking a leap of faith and that is exactly what I did. I took a leap of faith, trusting that the preparation we had made to check all our gear was in order would pay off. Everything went according to plan and the next thing I knew this calming peace came over me and we were just gliding. Following the path of the birds for guidance towards the wind streams, taking in every ounce of the unbelievable scenery. My landing was smooth and uneventful. That descent was the most amazing experience of my life. If I hadn’t stepped outside my comfort zone I would never have known the beauty I was missing. Sometimes, at work or at home, we have to take leaps of faith like I did that day. With proper preparation and a little courage we can achieve and experience things we could never dream up! “If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done before.” Say “yes” to something that scares you, it just might be the best decision you ever made!
I had been singing, with family ONLY, mostly my Dad, from the time I was a little girl. Various aunts and uncles would stop by and ask for me to sing, I was so shy I would sing from another room or the basement. I just couldn't sing with anyone looking at me. So, you can imagine my shock to find out my cousin, who lives in Florida, had submitted a recording of me singing at our family Christmas party to a recording studio.
Cypress Recording Studios, Inc., located in Jacksonville, Florida was sponsoring a Nationwide singing contest - "Miss Modern Country" (before American Idol was heard of). First prize was a one year recording contract.
Well, you can imagine my surprise when the recording studio contacted me to say I was one of the top 300 entries, the only one from Ohio. My first response was,,,NO! I had never sung in front of an audience, except family and they were biased. Eventually I was persuaded to step outside my comfort zone!! I flew, alone (another "out of the box" for me) to Florida. At the recording studio I made a demo with a guitar accompaniment provided by the studio, not bad, again I was alone in a booth! I was now in the top 150, then the top 50, then the top 12!!! Here comes the real "out of the box" - I had to preform on stage in front of a live full house! I was shaking, hyperventilating, nauseous, I didn't think I could do it...but I did...and I didn't die...I didn't win either!! Looking back, it was a wonderful experience - so glad I stepped "out of the box"!!
My out of the comfort zone came in 2011. I had been working for a company for 13 years with the job title of Janitor but did many different jobs at the company and was putting myself through college. I was told every time I applied for a different job that I didn’t have the education or experience.
After receiving my degree in December of 2010, I put in for yet another job and was turned down yet again. So, after much discussion with my husband, I decided to go back to school and get my Real Estate License by enrolling in Hondros to pursue this dream of becoming a Real Estate agent.
I spoke with the company to let them know that I would be missing some work to go to school. I had never been written up or even been in trouble with this Company. So, March of 2011 I started taking classes and within 3 weeks I had finished the classes and been written up for missing work. I continued working at this company, now going into May scared to leave and give up a 4-week vacation, paid holidays and Christmas bonus and paid insurance. So, I put Real Estate on hold till July, took my test for Real Estate and passed. Still not wanting to give up the security of a mediocre job, I continued to go in to this place that I really didn’t enjoy. By August I just couldn't stand being there anymore so I gave my 2-week notice. I was already part of HER Realtors and was going to pursue this as a full-time agent.
At this point I already knew that my goal was to become a Broker. This dream would have to wait until the transaction numbers were there. This was not the best time to get into the Real Estate market as it was in a downwards spiral. Lots of foreclosures, which at the time worked out great for me, HUD’S were at an all- time high and working them was a great opportunity for a new agent to learn. I became one of the top agents in our area and was loving what I was doing. After getting my transaction numbers, I decided the time was now after 3 years to pursue the Broker status. So, again, took a class to help me reach my goal. Took the test and passed.
I had always wanted my own Brokerage so started Leading Stars Realty. I took a leap of faith and started the company almost 4 years ago. Things haven’t always been “easy” but the rewards are great. Love helping my clients find the home of their dreams or sell the one they own to pursue other dreams.
All I can say is never give up on your dreams they can come true with hard work and dedication.
I started my real estate career 12 years ago at the age of 24 with a small brokerage in the far southwest corner of Ohio. And there I stayed, working my way to the top, loving my company and my career. I enjoyed helping mentor new agents and I loved my coworkers. I had envisioned myself being in management someday, but wasn't exactly sure it would happen anytime soon. Nonetheless, I was happy... Until one day when I was offered a position with a large, national real estate brokerage... They were giving me an official title in Agent Training & Development, along with putting me on the fast-track to management. As a female, I know that sometimes opportunities for women in management are few and far between. And, with a Master's Degree in Human Resource Development, I also know that it's often difficult for leadership to recognize the value of HR-related positions. Lastly, despite everyone else's hesitation (family, friends, colleagues at my old company and new) and warnings about "oh, you don't want to be in management...," this just felt right. I had to go for it and I couldn't look back. Saying goodbye to my manager, who had been my mentor, a second father, a best friend, a counselor and often my biggest fan, was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I did it. I miss them more than they probably know, but I know I made the right decision. I am often reminded of one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems, and I've been reciting it to myself almost daily:
Listen to the musn'ts, child
Listen to the don'ts
Listen to the shouldn'ts,
The impossibles and won'ts
Listen to the never-haves,
then listen close to me:
Anything can happen child,
anything can be
I was encouraged by the CEO of our local Board to run for a Director position. She told me I would be a wonderful fit. I took it very seriously and made a video and campaigned hard for the Director position. I asked for support from several people in the Council to help me with marketing ideas and implementation. I sent out multiple fantastic email communications to our membership.
I’m at a smaller company and I was previously warned that it was a popularity contest and those who are running with the large broker companies would win. I didn’t care at all what they said and I ran anyway because I have a wonderful relationship with most of the Realtors in Toledo, Ohio. I lost the election and that’s ok. My purpose was to get in there to make a difference and make some changes for the better for our industry. But even without winning, I got to use the platform to speak out about changes I felt were important in our Board for the future.
The experience opened me up to serving my community in ways I didn’t expect I would get a chance to do. It was a huge learning experience and I will use the lessons to make me better in the future and will always remember to never give up…my faith teaches me to trust the process and that it will happen when it’s meant to be.
I stepped way outside of my comfort zone and landed flat on my face, but I choose to look at the positives. It’s not that you fell that is the important factor…it’s how gracefully you get up from the fall that matters. This experience has inspired me to search out and try other leadership opportunities in the Council and in my community.
I had always been a behind the scenes kind of girl. Give me a task and I’m on it. But in 2014, I was asked to step outside my comfort zone and apply for the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors “Realtor of the Year Award.” This involved applying, interviewing in front of a panel of my peers and ultimately giving a 5 to 7 minute acceptance speech to 700 of my colleagues. The thought of getting up in front of so many people had me considering declining the award. But with the help of Toastmasters and my experience in leadership with our Women’s Council of Realtors Cincinnati Network, I graciously accepted this wonderful award. From this experience came an opportunity for a leadership role with my company. I could not be happier. It’s amazing what you can do when you step outside of your comfort zone!
“Some of the best moments in life come from doing things that scare you the most!!! Unknown
My mom, brother, husband, cousins and I decided that we were going skydiving this past fall. This is something that we all wanted to try, and we finally got up enough courage to do it! Of course you think about every bad thing that could happen, but I also found myself thinking, life is too short, now is the time to live it! My husband and I were the first to go from our group. The plane ride up felt like an eternity and when I thought we were as high as we were supposed to be, I was informed that we were only half way there. Pretty sure the nerves started to kick in at that point. When we got to the top, 9,000 feet up, my stomach hit the floor!! The door opened, I felt like it was sucking me out, panicked a little, then stepped out onto the ledge, thank goodness my instructor was with me! He told me to keep my head back and away we went! Free falling was by far the most amazing feeling in the world! What a rush!!! The free fall was for 30 seconds and I have never felt so free in my life! I thought I would be scared out of my mind, but it was the complete opposite. It’s a feeling that I can’t really explain, but a great one!! Once he pulled the parachute, I got the opportunity to really take it all in. The views were breathtaking!! The landing was much easier than I had pictured in my head. Such an amazing experience!!! If you get a chance to go skydiving, I highly recommend it!! You won’t regret it!!! I’m looking forward to going again this spring!!
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