Melissa Sofia on fear, tenacity, and closure after a long journey | WomanUP!® 2019
Words cannot describe the feeling of having a lifelong dream finally come true. Last month, I had the opportunity to walk out onto a huge stage, see myself up on a big screen and share my story with hundreds of extraordinary businesswomen from all over the nation. What an incredible moment that was in and of itself, but deeper down, there was so much more.
Up on that stage, the story I told belonged to my Mom & Me. It was a story so painful to relive but it is the story that makes me resilient & successful. It was a love story of a Mother Daughter real estate team, joined at the hip and destined for prosperity, suddenly cut short by my Mom’s sudden death; a fate that I believe could have been prevented.
This is the truth behind what has driven me all of these years in the housing industry and the “Why” that has guided my path of entrepreneurship. It is the story that has given me permission to become all that I desire to be: an award winning Realtor, the Broker of my own boutique real estate company, a badass businesswoman, speaker, podcaster and a full time mom raising four kids who always makes time for fun, friends & travel. This is the story that gave me the right to live a fulfilling life of my own design. It is the reason that I will not let one drop of life go to waste while I am here on this Earth.
To tell our story to the best women in real estate, to be a part of the California Association of Realtors WomanUP!® Conference was an incredible honor. This astounding group of Real Estate Brokers & ladies in our leadership that the WomanUP!® organizers gathered to raise up the females in our industry was nothing short of ✨MAGIC✨
I have been a Realtor for 18 years and this huge organization has always felt somewhat far away to me. This time, I felt seen, heard and a part of something so close to my heart. WomanUP!® gave me a platform to share what the loss of my mother & mentor taught me: that our legacy is not in the numbers of our real estate production, it is the hearts & minds of the people whom we have helped. WomanUP!® has let me stand as a reminder that as the world enters this incredible age of the Empowered Female Entrepreneur, we should express our powerful feminine strength but also be mindful enough, be BRAVE enough to know when it is time for a break. As the pillars of society, we must take a moment, breathe and remember that enjoying the journey is the true destination. Perhaps if my mom had been reminded of this, she could still be here with us today.
The road to getting on that stage was not an easy one. My good friend Pat Flynn, author, podcaster & entrepreneur extraordinaire guided & encouraged me to take my experience and share it with the world. Late one night I nervously submitted my story on the WomanUP!® website. I didn’t hear anything and though flashes of self doubt crept into my mind periodically, I decided that being relentless would be a better path to follow. I reached out to Debra on Instagram. I got in touch with Sara and kindly asked both of these insanely busy women to read my story because I knew that in my heart, it was worthy of the stage. Then, the craziest thing happened. They read my submission and they heard my story; they saw me, they understood me. They believed in me, and they asked me to join as a speaker at WomanUP!®
The moment I saw the stage for the first time at the start of the program, my heart sank to my stomach. I instantly thought...
“There’s No WAY I can do this.
WHY did they ask me?
I’m not ready.
I don’t deserve this.
Do I really have anything to say that matters?!?!”
Then, as the speakers started and I heard inspiring stories of full of grit & struggle, I heard women like me with doubts and faults stand up. Some of their words stuck with me...
“It’s okay to be afraid. Be afraid, then do it anyway.”
“Stop trying to be the person next to you.”
“The universe awards bravery.”
And I felt ready. I felt empowered by these women to tell my very own story. I pretty much got up there & blacked out (LOL) but once I was done, there was a roar of applause and then an endless parade of women hugging me, thanking me for sharing and telling me what a beautiful story I had told about my mom.
I finally felt that 15 years later, there I was taking our sad story of loss and heartbreak, and shining a light on how hard-working women like us could take a different path. Finally, on the stage at WomanUP!® I was able to speak to women like my mom and help them and by doing that, at last, I was able to truly honor my mom & her life. These moments and so many more from my week at WomanUP!® have changed me in ways that can be felt more than spoken and I am forever grateful.
Be Audacious. Fortune favors the bold.
I am a Wife & Mompreneur of 4 little humans and a 1st generation Filipino-American born & raised in San Diego, California.
With 18 years as a Realtor, Melissa has consistently earned a place in the Top 3% of Realtors -SDAR Real Estate Circle of Excellence, & am the Broker/Owner of The Avenue Home Collective, voted BEST real estate brokerage by the San Diego Union Tribune.
Melissa is also Treasurer of AREAA (Asian Real Estate Association of America), Founder of The Mompreneur Meetup & the Creator of Momcation.
"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." E.B. White