Choose Your Own Adventure

Do you choose your adventure or does your adventure choose you?

I hadn’t been keeping up on Facebook and when I recently checked, I saw that my high school graduating class celebrated our 40th annual reunion. Please don’t do the math. It wasn’t local (I went to Paramus High School in northern New Jersey) and I did not attend the reunion. Had I known, I’m not sure I would have gone. Not much stands out in my memory of those 4 fleeting years.

Except the baseball game in junior year that ended my “career” with a clean break of both bones in my lower leg. I was the lead-off batter. I walked. I went to second base on a passed ball and turned for third. Instead of sliding into the base, my shin collided with the third baseman waiting to tag me out on a throw from the catcher.

Back in the day, you would have called my coach “old school”. The truth is he was a bully and in the case of this injury, negligent. As I laid helplessly at 3rd base, unable to get up and get back to the dugout, he questioned my manhood and “toughness” as I collapsed on the bench. He did not help me off the field, to the school bus, to the locker room when we got back to school, or check on me at all. Though, I digress. (Yes, he got fired for these actions within a few weeks).

This understandably completely altered my summer. I was turning 17 a few days later, which coincides with the legal driving age in New Jersey. Instead of starting a part-time job I had lined up as a stock boy in a women’s shoe store or cruising around with my friends, I lay on the couch the entire summer with a cast from my toes to my hip. If you know anything about me today, you know I don’t sit still well. Imagine my boyhood self…

Life can be random at times –  it makes me wonder if we choose our adventure or if our adventure chooses us.

Sort of like how I started my career in real estate in 1992. I was out of college for almost 5 years and had spent those years in corporate banking. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was going to be a whole lot happier working for myself than an institution, but what exactly that would look like, eluded me. Around that time, I had a friend start up a real estate brokerage. He encouraged me to get my real estate license while I was figuring out what I “really” wanted to do with my life.

After two years of part-time real estate and trying to start a few businesses, I started day trading. I had a lot of fun and a good amount of success, but when some rule changes directly impacted my trading methodology, I didn’t adapt. Which is when I circled back to Real Estate. This time, I would make it my full-time pursuit.

Perhaps because of this circuitous route, I’ve always admired people that always knew what they wanted to do. One of those people is my wife Sandra, who studied occupational safety and environmental sciences in college and is still engaged in that field, currently working for the Getty museum.

Did real estate choose me because I didn’t come up with a different plan, or did I choose real estate because it’s the best application of my natural skill set? My real estate business challenges me in so many ways. It’s so much more than putting a sign in the yard and a lock box on the front door. I love living up to the responsibility and trust people place in me to help them accomplish their goals, steer them in the right direction, and have their back at all times while they are buying or selling. Whichever the case, I’m grateful for the path.

Did you have a straight path to your business or career?

Or did it take a little more soul-searching and life experience to lead you where you are now?