REALTORS® Stepping Forward and Living the “Better” Choice

It was dark and rainy and Saturday morning to boot. My husband, the CEO of Minnesota REALTORS®, had signed us up to participate in the REALTORS® Relief Run, held in conjunction with the National Association of REALTORS annual meeting. Just a day earlier I would have tried to talk Chris out of attending, leveraging his scratchy throat as an excuse to remain in the cozy hotel room, rather than venture into the rain.

But Mel Robbins’ voice pushed its way into my brain. I’d been thinking about her 5 Second Rule since I heard her speak at the NAR conference on Friday. Her explanation of how we find excuses to avoid things that make us uncomfortable resonated with me.

And her process for pushing through procrastination intrigued me.

Mel Robbins has created a highly lucrative international movement based on a “starting ritual” born during a dark time in her life: count backwards from five, then do what you’re inclined to avoid. Push out the thoughts and shift into action.

I like frameworks, simple processes to deal with things that don’t come easily. The tough tasks are crouching in all corners of my life and they stress me out.

Moreover, I’m what Robbins refers to as an over thinker.

5-4-3-2-1. Go.

I like that.

I like that a lot.

So, on the first Saturday morning in November I applied the 5 Second Rule for the first time. I put on my rain jacket and my husband and I joined 2,000 other walkers and runners on a sometimes rainy, sometimes dry, trek along Boston’s Commonwealth Avenue. I got close to my 10,000-step goal for the day; took in a part of Boston I would not otherwise have seen; and learned something unexpected about REALTORS.

I learned they do much more than sell homes and commercial properties.

I learned that these professionals and I are aligned on something close to my heart – stepping forward and giving back. Eight of ten realtors – people who are typically self- employed – volunteer around the United States and around the globe, engaging in a litany of good works.

With Saturday’s inaugural run the REALTORS raised more than $100,000 for a relief fund, created post 9/11, that helps homeowners who are displaced due to natural disasters. The fund has distributed more than $29 million, some in my home state of Minnesota this past summer.

I write and speak about how, in navigating life’s challenges, we can choose to be bitter or better. I offer three steps to living the “better” choice. They’re based on my own experience and reinforced by many whose stories I’ve shared as a columnist and author.

~Look up

~Reach out

~Step forward

Stepping forward is about doing for others.

Stepping forward – literally (walking 5k) – or figuratively (driving a friend to chemo) – is good for the soul.

Stepping forward and doing something for others takes our hearts and minds off of our own woes.

And doing something for others puts life into perspective.

I have two working legs and can put one in front of the other for many miles, rain or shine.

I have a new home, filled with everything I need – and more. Violent storms or fire have never reduced a home of mine to rubble or ash.

I may have had to pivot and pause in my professional life, but I’ve landed in a place that feels purposeful and rewarding.

Thanks to Mel Robbins, I learned a new strategy for dealing with challenges. Thanks to Mel Robbins, I played a small part in the effort to support displaced homeowners. And thanks to Mel Robbins, I saw firsthand that REALTORS are about more than listings and closings.