We had the good fortune of connecting with Vanessa Jacob and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vanessa, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Life is a series of choices. If you’re like me, you can agree it doesn’t always feel like that. More often, it feels like life is thrown at us and all we can do is bob and weave our way through it. Balancing positive relationships, a hearty diet and a satisfying career, in conjunction with many other things, isn’t always easy. We can get caught up in the obstacles and not even take heed of the algorithm. This is why creating and actively maintaining a healthy work-life balance is so important. This is something I think about very often – being a natural creative raised by traditional immigrant parents, I understood that my path in life would come with a particular set of challenges. The thought of giving my life to a corporation or company in exchange for a 5-figure salary just didn’t sit right with me. I was worried that if the goal in life was to overwork yourself, then when will you have the time to live and enjoy it all?
Balance is something I have always struggled with – especially, with respect to my work-life. I always equated my self-worth to my productivity, which left me unhappy for many years as I struggled with depression. Many years of disorder and doubt nearly cost me my life, but through it all I learned an invaluable lesson: Comfort is the antithesis of growth. You can literally have anything as long as you make space for it. To me, balance implies that we spend equal amounts of time and effort in each aspect of our lives – which realistically, is impossible. I found that my life changed once my perspective on “balance” shifted. I realized: it’s all about harmony. Not just managing time dedicated to work, but incorporating my work in a way that promotes happiness and satisfaction in all areas of my life. Structuring my goals to align with my passions, capabilities and evolution while being pragmatic about the amount of time and energy I’m willing to invest really changed how I navigate work and life.
I went from calling out constantly or quitting at the slightest hint of inconvenience to working for myself and building for myself. Now, I make my own schedule and I work all day, every day of the week. Ironically, I’m working more now than I ever did before, and quitting is the furthest from my mind. I guess one thing I’ve noticed at the center of a productive work-life balance is purpose. If you don’t know WHY you do what you do, then why do it? What keeps you going? Is it just the rent? FOMO or just the fear of losing? That may be enough, but it will never feel that way. I once was told “you either run the day or the day runs you”, and I couldn’t agree more. With each day comes a new milestone. Each day I allocate time for calls, meetings, showings and follow-ups, along with downtime and outings. I begin each day by writing out my daily goals after completing morning meditation and affirmations to stimulate an open mind. I remind myself everyday of my purpose and speak more life into my work space. It works, but you absolutely have to work at it starting from wherever you are!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a REALTOR® based in Southeast Florida, serving Miami Beach up to Palm Beach County. I’ve always had an interest in real estate. In fact, it was my aunt and godmother who suggested I consider it nearly 10+ years ago – shout out to my Auntie Mimi. At the time, though, I couldn’t really see myself outside of the creative spaces that I was already used to. Still, the idea always stuck with me. I loved the idea of meeting new people and being a resource to others, after all buying a home is a very big life decision. It’s funny to think of now, but I used to dread going to parties and social gatherings because I didn’t like feeling like I didn’t have something to contribute (other than mixing up a cute cocktail). I feel my best when I’m of use to others – I guess it’s only fitting I find myself in a career that allows me to be an advisor, negotiator and manager all-in-one.
I love what I do, the journey I’m on and all that I’ve overcome just to get here. Grateful for my clients who keep me busy and entrust me to be a part of such an important decision in their lives. I strive to make each transaction as smooth as possible: hassle-free and “leave it to me” is my approach. I even went so far as to pick up one of my out-of-state clients from the airport. I drove him from showing to showing until he found exactly what he was looking for. With only 3 days to get it done, I made sure it did! That’s the same amount of support and dedication I provide to all of my clients. I’m more than just a real estate agent, and I think that separates me from the rest.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I serve all of Southeast Florida, but there really is no place like Miami. The views are amazing! The weather is perfect. There’s always something to do, and when it comes to fine-dining and fashion nothing else compares. For quaint bars and street art installations, I’d recommend Wynwood Art District. Stroll through the Wynwood Walls, enjoy Wynwood Art Walk every second Saturday of the month or stop by the annual Art Basel Miami exhibit in December. The Time-Out Market in Miami Beach is one of my favorites! It’s a cafeteria-style restaurant and bar featuring the city’s top chefs all under one roof – La Santa Taqueria has a variety of delicious burrito bowls and Pho Mo, an Asian Latin Fusion restaurant, is also a great choice! Of course, you won’t want to miss the Miami Design District if you love shopping, fine-dining and contemporary art. I just recently attended the Chanel Five Echoes exhibit at Jungle Plaza in the District to celebrate 100 Years of Chanel – you can always find a fun, cultural or monumental happening to experience. Not to mention, no matter how long you decide to stay in Miami, the beaches are always warm and fresh!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m inspired by so many. I learn something from literally everyone I engage with. That’s the best part about my business – I’m always meeting new people, making connections, learning and growing.
I also believe that “a good reading strengthens the soul” (Toba Beta). Books like The Unspoken Rules, Never Split the Difference and The Power of Habit have added tremendously to not only my career, but my life and worldview.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my faith in a higher power. All things work towards the good. Trust the process.