We are all a work in progress. Some of you are suffering in silence, like I was. Everyone sees your smiling face, nice car, home, success, money, happy family, friends, highlight reels of deals closed, travel and life events that make others wish they were like you. Behind the smile and highlight reels, though, lie discontentment, uneasiness and maybe even a deep suffering others don’t suspect.
A trip inward may be scary because you’re not living up to your full potential. You know you can be more, but you continue to feel stuck on an ever-present secret journey of trying to figure out how to get over the hump or maybe even what is wrong with you. This vicious cycle will eventually leave you in pain, robbing you of living your best life, hurting your relationships and stunting your growth. I know this firsthand.
I was perceived as very successful by others over a 25-year corporate career and a more-than-10-year real estate career: a polished corporate executive who successfully transitioned to a top-producing agent, team leader, coach and speaker. All true, but also my truth: at my heaviest, I was 440 pounds, exhausted and unfulfilled, and my income was stagnant because I was unhealthy and, therefore, less productive.
Today, I am 240 pounds lighter; my income has grown five times what it was just three years ago; and I am a competitive ballroom dancer and running a thriving, growing real estate, coaching and speaking business. I work less, play more, feel more fulfilled than ever and make more money.
When you line up my success with my health journey, you’ll see my lowest-performing year in business aligns with my rock bottom in my health, and my explosive growth happened in the years I spent more time focused on myself, while playing more and working less. The more I pour into myself, the easier it is to scale my business and make more money, too.
Right about now you may be thinking: How is it possible to make more money by focusing on ME? I am a living practitioner of this, and I have the data and photos to prove it.
Here are three critical strategies that I practice to transform my life:
1. Be honest with yourself about where you are RIGHT NOW and what you really want.
We lie to ourselves and make excuses so we feel better. This behavior doesn’t move you toward the life you want. It keeps you operating small and away from realizing your full potential. Whether you are consuming too much alcohol, are overweight, live a sedentary life, function in a cycle of burnout-recovery-burnout, or whatever it is, you are living a recipe for disaster. When you don’t feel healthy and fulfilled, your productivity is lower, you work more hours, your relationships suffer and you make less money.
2. Make a decision TODAY to commit to one immediate action that will move you forward.
Decisive people take action immediately. When you choose one small action, something seemingly insignificant, so small that it appears IMPOSSIBLE to fail, and you keep that commitment to yourself every day, you create a trust within yourself that propels you to new levels. My road to a 240-pound weight loss, massive income growth and competitive ballroom dancing started with walking 15 minutes a day, every single day, no matter what.
3. YOU GO FIRST ALWAYS.
This has been the hardest lesson for me. You must come before everyone else. You before your partner, children, family, friends and clients. Self-care is not selfish; it’s necessary for you to BE your best for every person you serve. Once you really embrace that neglecting your needs and desires actually robs others of enjoying the best version of you, you will always prioritize your needs first so that you can serve the world better. Stop cheating the world of the best of you by cheating yourself out of what you really need.
True transformation comes when you get honest, make a real action-packed decision, stop shaming yourself and allow yourself grace without excuses. You will have tough moments, but living stuck is more painful than those tough moments. Reframe those moments and move your focus back to what you really want and to your one small commitment. You are not broken. No one is coming to save you. Be the hero you need. It’s time to rise and run into your next season of life with a smile on your face and a heart full of grace.
Real estate coach Amy Izzo, team leader of The Amy Izzo Group brokered by eXp Realty, has been a Realtor since 2014.