Leah VanHoose is a free spirit, photographer, former counselor, licensed real estate agent at Emerald Coast Beach Homes and an absolutely unforgettable person. For over a decade she has lived with alopecia, an auto-immune medical condition where body hair falls out in round patches. Not one to hide her differences, Leah uses her “baldness” to inspire others to capitalize on their flaws. In this episode Leah and I discuss self-care, connecting with others, living life to the fullest and the 30-A real estate market.

You Only Get One Vehicle in Life. Treat It Right.

You don’t get to trade your body in when things start breaking down. One day you will have to live with the consequences of your sustained obesity and heavy drinking. Therefore, you have to be thoughtful about your body and what you put into it. Though she had a lot of poignant things to say about self-care, one quote stuck out to me: “There’s nothing better than being strong, it translates through the rest of your life. Being physically strong makes you mentally strong.”

Even if it’s just five minutes a day, set aside some time to exercise. If you’re not sure what to try next, give CrossFit a try. Even if it’s not for you, you at least got a workout under your belt.

To Be a Good Realtor, You Need to Find A Way to Stand Out

As a species, humans are pretty insecure. We spend a lot of time picking ourselves apart in our head. I decided to ask Leah why she thought that might be. After a moment of pondering she replied, “I think we’re so busy comparing ourselves to everybody else and we aren’t everybody else.” She isn’t sure where this idea that we’re all meant to be the same came from, but we agreed that it’s pretty pervasive. You don’t have to be the prettiest or the fastest. You just need the courage to wake up each day and be who you are. That’s where Leah thinks we truly shine.

She went on to talk about her thoughts of beauty and self-confidence in more detail. To her, beauty is not something we conform to. It’s not defined by any one person or held to any single standard. The idea that you have to fit a mold is a flawed one. Because in the end, that mold doesn’t exist. There is beauty in everything. More often than not, it can be found in our flaws. That’s something that photography has taught her.

Leah’s Real Estate Advice

If all of that wasn’t enough, Leah also took a moment to talk with me about realty. She had three pieces of advice for agents struggling to find their footing in real estate:

  • Make Your Phone Calls: Leah hates making phone calls. Most of us do. But nobody’s found a better way to keep your pipe full. Commit to spending an hour or so of every workday on the phone. Do everything you can to get in front of people.
  • Find Your Unique Selling Proposition: Leah—thanks to her baldness—has an advantage. But you bring something to the table too. Maybe you’re experienced in a narrow niche or have close ties to a charity group. Embrace whatever it is that makes you different and use it as a launchpad for bigger and better things.
  • Learn the Process: Talk to your mortgage bankers and title providers. Make sure you understand the behind-the-scenes work that goes into buying or selling a home. The more knowledgeable you appear to your buyers, the better.
  • Come Down to Destin: The Florida real estate market, especially for vacation rentals, is hot. If you’re in the mood for warmer weather or a straightforward way to build equity, consider picking up a home on the Gulf Coast.

To be successful, you need to embrace all of your quirks—good and bad. Only by accepting yourself and your weaknesses can your business truly thrive. Being on the phone regularly helps too. To learn more about Leah and her work, visit her at www.findingbeautiful.net or follow her on Instagram at @itsleahland.

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