What me? A Valedictorian??

I have to confess I have never been the #1 in anything. I have been in the top 10, the top 3, and the top 1%. As a student, I was middle of the road and only rallied when it came to passing the exam to make it to the next grade; without flying colors. The extra effort it would have taken to become #1 in anything was just not worth my time when there were so many other things I wanted to explore.

I am a fast learner, so it would always play out the same way: I am excited about learning something new and start practicing and become proficient very quickly. The people around me are inspired by my quick progress and support me in the hopes that I reach the highest levels; then, suddenly, I lose interest because now that I am good at something, I have lost all interest in becoming great. It’s my rule of the 95% of accomplishment. I have always believed that to reach 100% or the #1 spot, one has to sacrifice everything else, and I was just not willing to do that.

So what has changed?

You have heard the parable of the frog falling into boiling water. He jumps right out, but if you place the frog in cold water and the heat increases gradually, the frog does not realize he is being boiled alive.

Ok, so maybe this is not the perfect allegory, but this is similar to what has happened to me over the last six years since I started studying with Influential U. I thought I was signing up for a business coaching program. Little did I know that my life would be beyond anything I could have imagined six years later, not just in my business but in ALL areas of life. Every other program I had previously attended focused on just one aspect, usually to the detriment of all other areas of life. Especially in the real estate industry, there is this ethos that you should be available to your clients 24/7, and peers measure your success in “transactions” and “volume.” Real estate coaching focuses on increasing those numbers, and most agents believe that working more hours and being available to their clients at all hours of the day will bring them the desired success. Agents end up sacrificing their time with their family or their health in pursuit of the glamorous numbers, for which they will be rewarded with an award in front of their peers. But is this truly success?

That’s the question I started asking myself when I realized that I could quickly become disenchanted with my profession if I headed down that path. I had never really been taught to define what a “satisfied” life would look like for me. I was caught up in being in a race to the top (or top 1% in my case) but realized that chasing the ever-moving volume and transaction numbers would bring me nothing but dissatisfaction and cause burnout.

That’s when I heard about a coaching program that defined success differently: a “satisfied” life! It promised that I could work less and make more, allowing me to focus on all areas of life so that no one area had to suffer. It offered a holistic approach to life that appealed to me, so my husband and I signed up for the first course in 2016.

That first course was an eye-opener for me, and one of the first steps I took in my business during those six months was to stop working on the weekends and not to take client calls after 6 pm. My peers were perplexed and wondered how I could conduct my real estate business that way, but surprisingly my business increased, and my personal satisfaction increased.

During the last six years, my husband and I have taken a deep dive into all areas of our lives, including health, money, relationships, education, legacy, and more, and have designed a life we love and that allows us to live the way WE want. We did not sacrifice financial success; on the contrary, we have never been more satisfied in that area. My husband retired early in the spring of this year, eight years ahead of when he thought he could retire. I have extricated myself from the daily grind of pursuing transactions and volume, and together we are developing a boutique ocean-front property in Mexico, where we have chosen to live for part of the year.

Page 2 of the Influential U, 2022 Annual Member Conference Program

If you had told me six years ago that this was a possibility, I would have thought you were crazy!

So how did this all contribute to me becoming a valedictorian? At the end of our formal education with Influential U, you must complete a comprehensive exam that includes everything taught during the previous four-year program. I stalled in my last year as I was afraid of taking this exam. It had been a long time since I had to prove competency in such an extensive study, and I was not sure I could pass. Our program director finally gave me a deadline by which I had to complete it or pay for another year’s tuition.

Of course, I studied and reviewed our previous papers but was still apprehensive. What surprised me during the exam was how much information I had retained from my study papers, and it slowly occurred to me that something was different about completing THIS exam. I had not just learned some facts and ideas; I embodied them and incorporated the knowledge into my daily life, which meant that the answers were suddenly so obvious!

After I hit the submit button, I was nervous but knew in my heart that at least I would pass the required 80%. I did not yet realize that I had not only received the highest score for my cohort but also became the highest-scoring graduate ever. When I heard that news, I was speechless and overcome with emotion.

By pursuing a “satisfied” life, I finally became a Valedictorian.


Image – Karina Christensen was part of the personal flight team for American business guru Jack Welch and media proprietor Oprah Winfrey (pictured). She had the opportunity to travel with them for many years worldwide and successfully cultivate what it takes to partner with high-profile clientele.

Karina is a graduate of our entire curriculum and is currently a participant in our Legends Initiative.

Luxury Real Estate Marketing and Development
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