Ask the Niche Doctor

Dr. Lynda Falkenstein

Dear Niche Doctor,

I’ve been a real-estate agent in the Southwest Washington area for nearly 25 years and somehow I have weathered every up and down in the economy, even the 2008 near-disaster. Despite the erratic nature of our business, I’ve done well. I have a solid personal financial portfolio with no financial worries of my own. That being said, I’m really worn out and don’t like the idea of going to work anymore, – at least not doing what I’m currently doing. I think I’m burned out. The real issue is I don’t have a clue what I’d do if I weren’t selling houses, even if I don’t enjoy the process anymore. This is all I know.

What would you suggest I do?

For starters, you’ve got an awful lot of very good company dealing with the same issue. After 25 years, it’s totally normal – indeed healthy – that you are bored and it’s definitely time to put something new on your menu! You should look for something that will challenge you – maybe even move you out of your comfort zone. It sounds like you’re more than ready for that. The following tips will help jumpstart your transition from “I don’t have a clue” to “Wow, this is a great life!”

First off, we need to get something important cleared up. Real estate isn’t all you know. It’s a lot, but not all; you are anything but a beginner. Most importantly, your resume now includes valuable life lessons, not just information from books and degrees. These life lessons are yours and yours, alone. In many ways, they can be the defining element for your niche – for what sets you apart from the rest of the pack. The question, then, becomes what are the most important life lessons you’ve collected along the way?

One way to distill those life lessons is to complete the sentence: “As a result of [blank] experience, I learned [blank].” As your list of lessons grows, you’ll likely see a pattern. The question then becomes, “What, if anything, do you want to do with those lessons?”

To answer this question well, you must also have begun the all-important process of focus. Do this by thinking about yet another question: “If, at the wave of a wand, I could have the perfect job, what would that look like? What would I be doing?” Your answer to this question, then, really becomes the starting point for your reformat. Acceptable options must support and align with your answer.

With that out of the way, it strikes me that after all those years in the trenches along with your great track record, you’ve got some valuable information that could be very useful to your colleagues in real estate and other service professions. My guess is you could give some powerful and practical advice that would help others come closer to achieving the same kind of success you have achieved I’m suggesting that you are a perfect candidate for consulting and teaching. That wisdom you’ve accumulated over the years (and that you probably take for granted) can make all the difference to those yearning for their own success in today’s world.

You have the keys. I hope you will consider helping others open their own doors to success and prosperity, as well.

Dr. Lynda Falkenstein is a business consultant and author of NICHECRAFT: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market, and Make Customers Seek You Out. To contact her with questions or to request a free copy of her latest book, Graduate & Go!, email or call 503.781,0966. Please note that the Vancouver Business Journal and Dr. Niche reserve the right to publish your letter or an edited version in all print and electronic media

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