When to Try Harder and When to Walk Away
The thought of walking away is tempting. Just the notion makes me breathe a little easier. Walk a little lighter.
And feel a little guiltier.
Because I’m really not sure if I’m making excuses or making decisions.
For the past few years (ever since The Great Life Upheaval of 2009), I’ve been looking for a way out of teaching. It’s not that I don’t like the classroom, it’s that I would like a career that doesn’t put me in a literal box on a regimented schedule. I would like a venture that isn’t quite as susceptible to the party line of politicians seeking election. I would like a path that utilizes all of my skills. And I would love the opportunity to procure an income based upon my performance and value rather than one that is determined by a spreadsheet.
And so, about a year and a half ago, when friends and Brock encouraged me to obtain my real estate license, I was intrigued. I have always had an interest in real estate and I knew that I had a skill set that would match. But I was also cautious; I had trouble seeing how I could realistically build a real estate business and teach (especially given that I refuse to teach at anything less than my best) at the same time.
But I was convinced. Assured that it was possible. That the hours and demands were complementary.
And so last summer, I threw myself into it. I networked. I completed the continuing education requirements. I drew up a marketing plan. I became versed in the surrounding communities.
And then my few weeks of freedom came to a crashing end once classes resumed. Instead of keeping up with the market, I was keeping up with my students. I fell further and further behind.
But I continued to hope that somehow it would work and I would be released from the classroom the following year.
This entire year, I’ve struggled. I’ve put effort into real estate when I could. Which was never as much as I felt I should. When I tried, I felt frustrated because of the limitations of time, energy and knowledge. When I didn’t try, I felt guilty for my lack of effort.
I feel like I’m just not trying hard enough. After all, everybody said I could do it. So it must be my fault that I can’t seem to get off the ground.
But I’ve discovered a strange thing. The more effort I put into trying to get out of teaching, the less happy I am in the classroom. When I allow myself to be professionally consumed by teaching, I am more content with where I am.
I’m at a crossroads right now. In another week, my summer officially begins. This is when I can dive into real estate without limitations.
But I’m realizing I don’t want to.
I don’t want to build when I know I’m going to hit a wall again when school resumes in late July.
I don’t want to compromise and give clients or students less than my all.
I don’t want to spend the summer trying to escape when I am already under contract for the next school year.
I don’t want to keep brushing off inquires about the status of the real estate venture. Inquiries that always make me feel like a failure.
And I’ve been more okay about teaching lately. I don’t feel as underpaid now that I am finally receiving my full pay after spending an average of $16,000 per year for the past five years on ex-husband related expenses. I feel proud as I watch my former students graduate with honors from prestigious universities. And I feel honored when students’ eyes fill with tears as they say goodbye to me at the end of the school year (I even had one check back in for 7th period on Friday just to say bye!). And, even though the current testing and teacher evaluation system is asinine, I feel appreciated when I receive positive feedback.
I think I want to walk away from my foray into real estate. At least for now.
But I feel like I’m letting people down.
Those that believed in me.
And the me that believed in me too.
Because I’m not sure if I’m making excuses or making decisions.
I don’t really know if I’m being honest that I can’t build it while I am teaching, or if I’m too afraid to try.
I’m uncertain if I should try harder or walk away.
I have a few more days of commitment to the school before the year officially wraps. I’m going to give myself those few days to make the decision.
To try harder or to walk away.
Related: Quitting vs Letting Go