How I'm Skirting the Rules

I Changed from Custom Publishing to Custom Homes

In mid life, Michelle Berman decided to leave a successful career, and to follow her passion. She is now a well known real estate sales and development maven.

Southampton real estate sales and development maven Michelle Berman now guides her clients into their dream homes—literally, instead of through the pages of magazines she used to work on.

Even while Michelle worked in media for her entire career, she always had a passion for homes and decorating—and a knack for renovation. But she never imagined that her best renovation would be herself. When the publishing industry spiraled out of control, she took the reins to create a completely different—and much more rewarding—career that played to her passion.

I reinvented my life by … Believing that I was not done, that I had more success within me, that I had a story deep inside me that deserved to be given a shot. Rather than feel sorry for myself because I had to reinvent my career at this age, I looked at is as an exciting adventure—I called upon the same energy and sense of awe that I had when I walked into my first job 40 years earlier.

The rule or norm I skirted in order to reinvent my life … I decided to seek advice from only one person, and I simply did not pay attention to anyone else. Many truly well-meaning people in your life offer advice that can be negative, people want to protect you, they think they have your best interest at heart but in the process they unknowingly make you doubt yourself by saying things like “are you sureyou want to do this because it’s a big change and you have no experience etc” They project their own fear on you. So I opted to listen to only one person someone that reinvented their own career path with huge success and I just pretended to listen to everyone else so I did not alienate them from my life.

I created this new rule for myself when I reinvented my life … My own personal success mantra. I refused to let fear of failure stop me from moving ahead so whenever I got nervous or thought to myself “What on earth are you thinking?”, I became very zen and repeated these words:“You can do this, You have the talent, You have the desire and you are still the same person that succeeded before.”

My reinvention has added to my personal fulfillment by … Being able to harness a different aspect of my creativity, by learning every day because so much is new to me, by being challenged to figure things out. I am never bored.

My biggest re-invention risk was (or the biggest challenge to my reinvention) … Being a certain age, going into a new field and not having a support group beside me was a challenge. I was going in with no experience and I had no one to turn to because, in a sense, I spoke a different language and was from a different world. It takes courage and guts to be able to say, “I am not sure how to do this and to ask for help.” Sometimes, I felt uncomfortable but I knew I had no choice.

My advice to someone considering her own reinvention … Believe you can, and decide to take action. Sitting around and day-dreaming is actually a good thing on some level because it will help identify your passion. However, don’t sit around for too long without taking action. Make a move toward your goal even if it is as simple as buying a book about your endeavor, or taking a class, or meeting with people in that field to ask questions and learn more. You MUST take action or else you run the risk of sinking in the murky waters of, “Uh oh now what do I do with my life.”

My intuition / inner knowing helps me to find my way and remain open to new possibilities by … Trusting that my intuitive spirit is the best part of me and that if I pay attention it will once again prove to be the guide that will not fail me.