I don’t really want to sell you a house. I wish I did.
You know how you sometimes admit something to yourself that you’ve been trying to hide? I had one of those moments this week — when I couldn’t even try to lie to myself.
I was waiting inside this nice $425,000 house for a potential buyer to arrive. I had arrived 15 minutes early and had the house to myself. I decided to record an impromptu video that I could use as a promotion. I started recording about half a dozen times but stopped in disgust each time.
“I don’t want to sell houses,” I suddenly said out loud. And I was glad no one was there to hear me.
For the last five or six years, I’ve felt as though my life was on hold. I felt like someone treading water. I’ve worked in real estate — because it was a convenient opportunity — but I’ve hated work every day. And it makes me long for the days when I was excited about work instead.
Earlier this year, I had decided to leave my job and take a chance on things I care about more, but this entire coronavirus mess made that a non-starter. It just didn’t seem feasible with as much financial uncertainty as we were facing.
I spend half of my time running the office operations for a real estate company. I’m free to sell in the other half of my time. I’ve actually become really good at what I do, which is almost annoying since I dislike it so much.
If a friend wants to buy a house, I can actually enjoy that process, because it’s someone I’m excited about helping. I love helping people I like. But if it’s another random stranger — who’s probably delusional from watching idiotic and unrealistic real estate shows on television — it’s hard to make myself care. It’s hard to even make a call, even if it’s someone I know wants to buy or sell.
I’ve been thinking about this again Friday night because I found myself getting excited about a project that I would care about. It’s actually a real estate project, but it’s not something simple and pragmatic like matching up buyers with available houses. It’s a development project that I’ve dreamed about many times.
It’s a project that I would care about. It’s something I would be excited about. It’s something that should be far more profitable than what I’m doing now. But it would require a partner who could sell investors and raise the money. I have good ideas and I’m a good project-builder, but I’m terrible at selling people on things that seem obvious to me.
There’s an ornery part of me that wants to shout, “If you can’t see why this is a great idea, I’m wasting my time with you!” And that isn’t very diplomatic, much less successful
This isn’t anything new. I’ve encountered this obstacle time and time again in my life. It’s something I’ve never really figured out. I feel like somebody who’s invented an amazing space ship that can take people to another planet successfully and gracefully — but I forgot to figure out how to build the booster rocket to get it off the ground.
The world is a playground of exciting and possibly profitable projects to pursue, but I’m doing something that I hate every day instead. I’m not sure how I allowed this to happen. It wasn’t that long ago when I was making well over six figures and enjoying what I was doing. It’s humiliating and it’s humbling to have lost that and somehow fallen to this point in life.
I have to find a way to get back to doing something I’m passionate about and that offers big rewards for success. In some ways, I feel like Job from ancient Hebrew scriptures. I had everything take away from me — for reasons I don’t understand — and I’m waiting for the nightmare to finally end. If God and Satan had a bet about me, I’m ready for it to be over.
In the meantime, I’ll sell you a house. I’ll keep working to make the company I administer more profitable and competitive. I’ll do what I have to do. If I like you, I’ll enjoy helping you. If I don’t know you, I’ll help you and try to pretend I care. If I can make myself call you.
But I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I’m not very good at pretending to be someone I’m not. And I’ve gotten to the point that I can’t even look into a video camera and pretend to care about finding new clients.
I’ve somehow dug a hole for myself — and I haven’t been able to find a way to climb out.