When I’m hosting open houses, meeting potential clients for the first time, talking with people about my real estate career, or interacting with others in a “professional” environment, I notice how I want to hide the fact I’m a mother, and I have 4 kids, and oh did I mention my minivan is parked out front (or other times my bike with the trailer is outside on the street).
In these situations and with certain people, I want to steer around certain topics regarding my other life.
Why do I want to keep quiet about what’s important to me?
Why does having a small flock of children make me feel less than professional?
Do I think people will treat me differently if they know my status as a mother of many chicks?
My fear is, if they know I’m also called, “mom” they might conclude I don’t know how to write a contract, place a competitive offer, do a market analysis, or talk to them about the latest housing market news. They might assume I’m knee-deep in mac and cheese, packing lunches, cleaning bathrooms, and reading bedtime stories.
Listen, all that can be true and guess what else? I can still excel at being a professional, practicing, training, and mastering the skills I need to offer my clients the best possible service.
In fact, I propose the most professional among us (in any field) are those who light up the room, look people in the eyes, and bring out the best in those around them. They are honest and trusting, human and relatable, kind and caring.
They don’t flaunt their expertise, floor people with their fancy cars, or outfit themselves in the most expensive clothing, I think they actually do the opposite. In their presence, you feel seen and significant, an equal. They draw you into engaging conversation with good questions, and keep it going with their genuine curiousity about your life.
The people we admire and trust and rave about, the true professionals among us, have learned the art of constantly celebrating people and staying fascinated with life. They’re tuned into the emotions of every room they’re in. They offer their insight and expertise like gentle raindrops, and you can’t help but listen when they speak.
When looked at from this angle, my professionalism is tied up in the practice of tirelessly working towards the flourishing of all. It has nothing to do with my taste in clothing, what I drive, how much money I make, or my level of experience.
I shamelessly bring my 4-year-old into the office and showcase pictures of my children on my website, and when the distance is right, I ride my bike to meetings or open houses, or park my minivan in plain sight because all of these express a bit more of who I am and, I believe, put people at ease around me.
My only aim, no matter the work I’m doing or what career I’m pursuing, is to be a professional human.