Kari's Corner February 4, 2016

Success shaming

I have to admit…I have delegated my blog writing in the past few years unless there is a subject that I feel very strongly about. This is one that has irked me year after year and I have dealt with it since I became a REALTOR® and have seen it happening all around me. Especially at this time of year when colleagues and competitors alike are proudly announcing their awards for the previous year.

Success shaming. It is very real and rampant in our society, especially when people can go on social media and ‘generalize’ it. It isn’t hard to tell when it is directed at you or someone you care about and recently I had a very strong opinionated jab at me and felt it unfair. We all have our own battles and I wish you luck in yours. I’ve got mine too.

I have been, and no doubt will continue to be, ‘success shamed’. It hurts. A lot. It is a form of bullying. It is mean. It needs to stop. But it won’t. It’s either to our faces or it is behind our backs. It is sad and it makes me sad. I’m a sensitive person. It actually makes me cry but to those of you who know me you aren’t surprised by this.

To those success shamers out there, and you know who you are, you may as well stop reading as you won’t appreciate this post. It’s a long post as I don’t do anything half ass. This blog is for people who have worked their asses off and found success and celebrate it. Whether you are a successful mom or dad who boasts about your children, a waitress who posts about making someone’s day, a nurse who went above and beyond or a CEO who boasts profits of the company they run. Sometimes success is putting on your pants each day as you suffer from depression. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you decide is success. This is for you. We know what we do to achieve success and the ‘success shamers’ we come across have no idea. Or they do and they don’t want to put in the time but have no issue trying to hurt you for your triumphs.

I am a successful real estate agent. Currently I am one of the ‘top REALTORS® in Saskatoon’. Should I shout from the top of my lungs that I am proud to have achieved this result? Or should I be quiet with ‘false modesty’. To not acknowledge my success is to rob me from the life experience and the experience I have given all of my clients that year. To not show it would make some think I don’t appreciate it…that I just expect it. It would invalidate my client’s belief in me. It would make my many “thank you”s along the way seem insincere. My appreciation is sincere. I am successful because of my hard work but also because of my clients loyalty and belief in me.

I have built my business from my sphere of influence and from hard work and dedication. Most importantly, I have built it by respecting my friends and clients and taking the joys with the sorrows. I have laughed and cried with my clients. Not every REALTOR® approaches business like I do and, as such, I believe there is a truly an agent for every type of client. Some people don’t like my approach and that is just fine. There is an agent for you. Not every agent likes my approach. That’s fine too, we can all respect each other and guess what? There is enough business to go around! Shocker to some, I know.

I am a new mom. I chose not to take time off after having my son as I am running a business and that business is me. I am that business. I go away…my business goes away. It is my passion and it is my hobby. It is my social life. Not everyone can have a ‘job’ that gives them all of that. I’m grateful for that every day.

I carted my baby around with me for the first 5 months of his life. Like a lot of my co-working moms and there are many. I am proud to align myself with these women as that is strength. Also the men. I have male colleagues who have done the same. Does that make me amazing? No. Did I do it because I had to? Yes and no. I have a good support system here but also wanted the time with my son and could do both. I found clients who supported me and had no issue with me taking ‘nursing breaks’ in my car or, in some circumstances, in the middle of signing up a listing. I have the best clients and most of them are repeat clients or referrals so we are matched well. Thank you to these amazing people.

Did I sacrifice a lot to do this? Absolutely. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely.

I have a nanny who cares for my child now while I work. Does that make me ashamed? No. It works for my family as the hours of a REALTOR® are so disjointed that traditional daycare doesn’t work. I get to watch my child grow and become a little person when I am in my home office catching up on emails, calls, doing market evaluations, putting out fires, crying because someone wasn’t loyal, laughing because of something I saw on social media, booking appointments, getting feedback for my sellers, eating my lunch etc.

I have an assistant for the work stuff I don’t enjoy or don’t want to do. Should I be ashamed? No. She is another form of my support system. She helps me so that I can spend more time with my clients. And my son. And my husband. Oh, and sleep. Sleep often gets overlooked with a person who is successful in their work.

I am a shitty friend. Should I be ashamed? Yes. This one I should be as often I put my client’s needs before my friends. They understand as they have also been my clients. They forgive me and accept me.

I am a shitty wife. Should I be ashamed? Absolutely. Hubby, I am sorry. Thank you for always supporting me even when I don’t put you first. I often put my clients before my husband and that is hard for him. Thank you for understanding the lifestyle even though you hate it for stealing me away.

Sacrifice. There is a LOT of sacrifice to be in the industry we are in. To be shamed for being at the top of your professional game hurts. Especially by fellow ‘professionals’.

If I do not get excited and share my success I am understating all of my appreciation throughout the year; I’m grateful for my clients who work with me because they believe in me and my integrity but also my ability to get the job done. I’m grateful to them and want them to see that their support means the world to me. I couldn’t do it without them! I’m grateful to my colleagues who support me and refer business to me. To my competitors at other brokerages for being fantastic professionals who want to work together to do what we do best…sell houses. And we push each other to be better. To my family who puts up with my crazy life every moment of every day. To my friends outside of real estate as most of us lose touch with those ones as our lives revolve around the ‘job’. To my sleep who I don’t see enough of. To my fitness as I have put you on the back burner.

Success=sacrifice and denying the acknowledgement of that success is not cool.

Life is too short for jealousy and resentment. Lift each other up. Empower. Share in successes. Be there for failures. Just be a good human being.


Kari Calder

Saskatoon real estate agent

Century 21 Fusion