Optimism vanished quickly for me

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Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

When I started commercial real estate brokerage, my mentor told me I had entered the “big leagues.” At the time, I thought he was talking about the breadth of knowledge required to do the job: marketing, sales, finance, etc. Years later I discovered what he actually meant: that you better know what you’re doing or prepare to get ripped apart.

There were days when I felt ripped apart. Boneheaded mistakes and sleepless nights. Experiences that not only made me lose confidence in myself, but sometimes in the entirety of American capitalism.

But for every heartbreak, there were breakthroughs and, eventually, triumphs. …

It’s on you to make your work suck less

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Photo: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Since I’ve started writing about young professionalism, I’ve been surprised by how many people have reached out wanting to talk about work.

The dialogue goes something like this: “I’m overwhelmed! I thought WFH would bring some relief, but work continues to consume my life. But hey, we’re young. Work should consume everything, right?”

Work should consume everything?

As if millennials are tragic heroes from Greek mythology cursed by the gods to relive the Sunday scaries week-in and week-out.

The fact is, sometimes work sucks because we let it suck.

I’m a commercial real estate broker, one of the more competitive “always on the clock” jobs out there. I’ve learned a few things about taming overwhelm, not because I wanted to, but because I’ve felt depleted by that monster before. …

Step 6.) Run the program

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Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

When I was in college, my friends and I often spoke of a sacred triangle: a hypothetical ternary graph where each point represented either grades, health, or girls. Focus too much on homework, and your dating life suffers. Spend too much time with your girlfriend and kiss your scholarship goodbye.

Because I also played a sport, my triangle turned into a four-legged barstool made of paint chipped plywood and rusty nails. I didn’t know how to prioritize, and everything suffered as a result.

I figured it out post-graduation. It took time, but through observing mentors, reading, and experience, I learned that the whole sacred triangle thing was just fraternity BS. …

Even Einstein had imposter syndrome

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Photo by Evan Dvorkin on Unsplash

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words

Watch your words, they become your actions,

Watch your actions, they become your habits,

Watch your habits they become your character,

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

-Lau Tzu

The saying means our thoughts become our reality.

What does this have to do with confidence? After all, the saying “watch your thoughts, they become your words” is an admission of our shortcomings — that our thoughts aren’t always confident by nature.

That’s the point! No one is perfect. Our minds flip through doubts like super bowl ads while we sit on the couch waiting for the game to start. …

Don’t let the weather ruin your Instagram post

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Photo by Rahul Dey on Unsplash

Though I try to avoid it, sometimes social media puts me in a mood, an Arthur clenched fist type of mood.

I scrolled upon an Instagram story of a fitness influencer last week. She snapped a pouty face selfie of herself hopelessly staring out the window to a rainy day. A little too dramatic, like the post-breakup scene from any teenage drama movie.

The caption read:

I can’t go for a run today because of the weather.

And I can’t work out in my apartment because I don’t want to disturb my downstairs neighbor.

Newsletters might be the future

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I was duped into a sales call via Zoom. He was a self-proclaimed LinkedIn expert who promised to “10x” my commercial real estate income and triple my post engagement. This was back in May, peak lockdown, I was desperate for 10x of anything.

He ripped apart my content for the first few minutes. “Why are you posting TikToks and writing long-form articles?”

“Err, I don’t know,” I said. “I thought my audience would find it entertaining and valuable?” “That’s all wrong!” He replied. “LinkedIn is a seller’s platform, not a creative platform.” It’s LeviOsa, not LeviosA.

I was lost, and I could tell he was growing frustrated with me. …

What about postgraduates living in Manhattan?

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Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

I post videos on Instagram and LinkedIn each week. Nothing crazy, just 20-second clips of me answering commonly asked questions about commercial real estate and the future of office space.

My LinkedIn audience loves the content. In fact, an executive at a Los Angeles tech company recently expressed how much he looked forward to the posts.

My Instagram audience, however, made up of fraternity brothers, high school basketball teammates, and ex-girlfriends, are puzzled — they’re not sure what to make of it. I don’t blame them. …

The answer comes down to a preference

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Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash

Are we actually talking about this? Unfortunately, we must. I’ve partaken in too many drunken arguments about the merits of socialism and capitalism, and I’m over it.

I don’t think I’m alone here — people are curious about the economic opinions of millennials. We are the next generation of leaders, after all.

Look, I don’t have a problem with curiosity. I just have a problem with people attacking my thoughts. I’m not sure I’ve lived long enough to work out an opinion that holds any water!

The curiosity comes from all sides: friends, coworkers, parents, bosses. What should be a friendly conversation turns into that bar scene from Good Will Hunting — a battle of the wits bundling in morals, political views, and, on some occasions, masculinity? …

They’re your peak hours, don’t waste them on affirmations

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Photo by alan KO on Unsplash

The morning routine cult needs to end.

Does this article title look familiar? The Perfect Science-Backed Morning Routine to Increase Happiness and 4x Your Income.

5:00 am: Wake up, make bed

5:10 am: Yoga 20 minutes

5:30 am: 25 pushups

5:45 am: Cold Shower

6:00 am: Mediate

6:30 am: Affirmation Journal

7:00 am: Read for 30 minutes

7:30 am: Anxiety attack before work

I shouldn’t criticize. I used to be a morning routine snob myself. I was ready to publish a Pulitzer prize-winning article about its brilliance in fact. My intention was to shove my morning checklist down your throat until you felt guilty about the first 60 minutes of your daily consciousness, “You mean you wake up at 7:30 am and don’t write affirmations? …

We could all be more proactive

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Everyone aspires to be a mentor in commercial real estate. Like rush week at Sigma Chi, the industry breeds big brother, little brother relationships.

Typically, the mentor propositions the mentee with a Dale Carnegie book, a meme of Jordan Belfort on a yacht, or a YouTube link to Al Pacino’s Any Given Sunday speech.

I was not so lucky.

One morning, I found a 4-disk CD set on my keyboard titled The Art of Selling. The plastic case barely encapsulated its contents — the packaging company clearly started with 8-track cassette tapes but didn’t have time to change designs before the technological revolution of the CD-ROM. …


Cal Axe

Commercial real estate broker, blogger, and researcher. 27 years old. And here’s my newsletter https://yoprolibrary.substack.com/

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