By Steve Brown
This issue’s cover feature highlighting the flourishing careers of young real estate professionals presents a time for reflection. Just over 30 years ago, I, too, was under thirty . . . sigh. But, more important, the stories reaffirmed why I, and so many others, entered this profession and why new generations continue to do so. It all comes down to one word: opportunity.Like these young professionals, I chose to enter the real estate business because real estate offered me the opportunity to grow my business on my own terms. I was not bound by a corporate ceiling or an advancement schedule dictated by others. From the beginning until now, I was able to chart my own course. That’s opportunity.
In my case, I entered real estate and had some early success (recognized as one of the top ten agents in my market after three years in the business), but I soon decided to go to graduate school to fulfill important personal goals. I didn’t leave the business, though. I secured a license in the state where I attended grad school and sold real estate during my three years of study. Those sales, and the flexibility of the real estate profession, allowed me to pursue my graduate degrees without going into debt. That’s opportunity.
After grad school, I returned to real estate full-time. Sharing people’s dreams, by helping them buy their first home or sell their last home, continued to be deeply fulfilling. How many other professions enable you to touch lives at such profoundly meaningful levels?
If real estate offered me an opportunity for personal fulfillment, the financial opportunities were equally great. I was able to launch my career at a minimal cost while seeing the potential for virtually unlimited financial rewards.
This point was driven home to me years ago by a colleague who came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam. “What a wonderful country this is,” he said, “and what a wonderful industry. Both allow people to go into business for themselves at a relatively low cost.” That’s opportunity.
But with opportunity comes responsibility. My colleague from Vietnam helped me realize that if America promised great opportunity, it was my responsibility to ensure that others would have the same opportunity to live the American dream in the years ahead. That’s why I became involved in the REALTOR® organization. The continued success of our profession affects not only my business and my clients’ lives but also the prosperity of our nation.
So I challenge all of you, whether you are under or over thirty, to deepen your involvement in the REALTOR® association at the local, state, or national level. Personal success and recognition come and go, but making a difference in the real estate industry, in the lives of fellow human beings, and in our great country lasts for generations.