That Pivotal Moment

Deliberate choices and a disciplined lifestyle don’t always guarantee complete control. Sometimes, life takes over.

In the summer of 2021, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it literally turned my world upside down. I remember thinking, “How could this be? I’m young and healthy.” At that pivotal moment—one of the most serious of my life—I had to prioritize my personal health and wellness over everything else for the first time in my career.

For the next six to eight months, navigating all my oncology appointments, major surgeries, treatments, family and association responsibilities was a challenge. But with the support of my family, friends and amazing staff, I completed all my treatments successfully. I also started a consistent weekly routine, which includes healthier eating habits, more exercise and transparent communication with my association leadership and staff. As of Feb. 1, I’ve been cancer-free for one year!

Whether or not you are dealing with a specific health crisis, your health and how you maintain it directly impacts how you perform. When you are an executive of a REALTOR® association, making your health a priority may require a time commitment that can infringe upon your work life and your personal life. Thankfully, most work cultures today embrace the concept of work-life balance as an essential part of great leadership. These five simple strategies will help you maintain balance:

  1. Define what balance means to you.
  2. Get creative with your time.
  3. Participate in leisure activities that bring you joy and improve your performance.
  4. Stand firm in taking time for yourself
  5. Learn from your work-life balance mistakes.

Remember, you’re only as strong as your team. So, model this for your staff, too. For me, that has included increasing our staff development days to four a year. We learn a little, laugh a lot and get to refuel for whatever life brings us next.


Written by: Jessica Coates, RCE, is CEO of the Sacramento Association of REALTORS® and 2023 AEC chair.


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