For as long as I can remember, my mom and I have always ended our phone conversations the same way. 

I say, “I love you,” and she replies, with a smile in her voice, “To the moon and back.” 

Last year, life took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at the young age of 60. Watching her decline has been the single most painful experience that I have ever endured.

Just the other day, as we wrapped up our chat, I couldn’t help but utter those familiar words, “I love you.” 

I waited for her response, longing to hear that comforting phrase, but instead, she simply said, “I love you too.” 

At that moment, I was struck with an overwhelming force of sadness, leaving me completely breathless. “To the moon and back” is more than just a phrase —it is a cherished bond between us. Whenever I heard those words in the past, a sense of normalcy would wash over me, bringing forth a tiny glimmer of hope. It was as if, in an ocean of sadness, I could still find a piece of my mom that remained, a piece that was longing to connect with me. But in that moment, I couldn’t help but wonder if she even knew who I was during that call.

I surrendered to tears for about 30 seconds and sought momentary refuge by lying down on my laundry room bench. It was a way to let my tears flow off my face instead of down my face, to keep my makeup intact. (Priorities, right?) Taking a deep breath, I gathered my strength and headed out the door, beginning a 48-minute drive for a final walk-through. I drove in silence as I found myself trapped in a deep well of sadness, unable to shake off the weight that burdened my heart. 

The phrase, “to the moon and back,” echoed in my mind, playing on repeat. I couldn’t help but contemplate where my mom stood in her battle with Alzheimer’s, likely in stage 5 out of the 7 stages. Thoughts consumed me: How much longer until she reaches stage 6? Stage 7? How much time do we have left together? 

Regret crept in as I reflected on missed opportunities to visit her in recent years. I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer until she no longer recognized me, forgetting the special bond we shared.

We all find ourselves stuck

As Realtors, we all understand what it’s like to find ourselves stuck in a rut of sadness, each in our own unique ways. It could be a deal that unexpectedly fell through, leaving us scrambling to figure out how to cover our mortgage. Or perhaps a close family friend decided to list their home with another Realtor, causing major disappointment. For new agents, the feeling of being lost and overwhelmed is all too familiar, unsure of the next steps or where to seek guidance. The truth is, we all experience moments of sadness from time to time in this demanding profession. 

So what can we do when we find ourselves stuck in a rut of sadness? 

Choose Joy

The truth is, every day I witness my mom slipping away little by little. It’s a reality that cuts deep, making it the most agonizing journey I have ever faced. Rather than stay trapped in the rut of sadness, I can consciously choose to shift my perspective, reminding myself how thankful I am to have a mom that is worth missing. I’m determined to cherish every moment I have with her while she is still here. Recognizing her passion for writing, I find connection by channeling that same energy into creating these articles. It’s a meaningful way for me to honor her and establish a deeper bond through a shared love of storytelling. 

No matter what challenges you may be facing, it’s important to remember that there are always things to be grateful for. When we consciously acknowledge and appreciate what we have, we become more attuned to the present rather than dwelling on past disappointments or future uncertainties. Gratitude grounds us in the here and now, where we can find peace. 

So when you find yourself trapped in a rut of sadness, I encourage you to take a moment and write down two things that you are grateful for. Putting these thoughts into writing can serve as a tangible reminder of the positive aspects of your life, helping to shift your perspective and bring a sense of hope. 

Lean on your core four

Real estate is undeniably challenging. I like to compare it to climbing Mount Everest, where progress is slow and the path is rugged. There are no shortcuts or cheat codes to climbing Mount Everest, it requires hard work and perseverance. It’s up to you to carefully choose the partners who will join you on this climb. Whether it is your mentor, your teammates, or close Realtor friends – you need to establish your “core four.” Having four dependable people who you can rely on when you find yourself feeling stuck can provide invaluable support, guidance, and motivation along the way. 

Building your core four requires selecting individuals who truly want to see you win, who wholeheartedly believe in your vision, and who are unwaveringly supportive during tough times. Be discerning about who you allow into your circle, as they play a crucial role in both your success and mental health. Choose individuals who align with your values and aspirations. 

Choose Action

When we shift our perspective from sadness to action, we regain a sense of empowerment. Sadness often stems from feeling helpless or overwhelmed by circumstances that we feel are beyond our control. I strongly believe in the power of small actions that pave the way to achieving big goals. It’s often the consistent, incremental steps that lead to significant progress and eventual success. 

If you find yourself feeling stuck in the rut of sadness surrounding your business, it’s important to pause and take a moment to regroup. Then identify three actionable steps you can take to impact your numbers. 

Not sure where to start? Consider amping up your follow up game. As Tom Toole says, the money is in the follow up. Or become a local leader in your community like Katie Clancy. Focus on those income-producing activities that lead you to big results. 

Remember, real estate is a tough journey, much like climbing Mount Everest. But by choosing joy, cultivating gratitude, leaning on your core four, and taking actionable steps, you can navigate through and find your way to success. Embrace the small actions that lead to big outcomes, and remember that you have the power to create positive change in your business and your life. 

So, when you feel stuck in that rut, pause, reflect, and take those steps forward. Your resilience and determination will carry you to new heights, and the view from the top of that mountain will be worth every effort along the way.