When it comes to being thrown into the deep end, there are few careers that can match real estate. We all know the cliches: You don’t close, you don’t eat. You don’t list, you don’t last. Whichever saying you choose, there’s no escaping the fact that it won’t be just a pithy quote you post on Instagram to sound thoughtful. It’s something you actually need to live by.

Growing up LGBT in an orthodox Jewish enclave in Borough Park Brooklyn, Isaac Rosenberg already knew a thing or two about self-reliance. While he loved his community, he knew that he couldn’t truly be himself there. That’s why he decided to leave and become a real estate agent in Manhattan.

We sat down with Isaac and asked him about how his previous life experience helped him in real estate, and how, in return, real estate helped him find himself and thrive.

1. After growing up in such an insular community, what surprised you about working as an agent in Manhattan? How was it different than you expected?

“When really looking at it, I don’t believe there was a massive difference. Humans always want the same few things. We want to be appreciated, treated with respect and honesty, and we all want to have a place we call HOME. So when transitioning into the Manhattan real estate world, I continued to always stay true to my principles of how I treat people. As I have grown in this world of Manhattan real estate, I learned to always keep my eyes and ears open and to learn from my different experiences and interactions to better grow as an agent.

Truthfully, after making such a large change in my life, I was surprised to learn that at the base level, we are all humans and expect and appreciate the same basic things when it comes to someone helping us accomplish something.”

2. What opportunities for personal growth does the real estate industry offer that others don’t?

“The real estate industry offers a lot of opportunities for growth both personally and professionally, but you have to be willing to put in the extra effort. Your success and growth in the industry is 100% dependent on the amount of effort one puts in outside of the office and outside of a normal 9-5 schedule.

Being a relationship-based industry, you have to learn to put yourself out there in the real estate world. On the contrary, if you don’t take on the responsibility and put in the extra effort in this industry, it’s extremely hard to grow both personally and professionally when one doesn’t take the initiative to go outside their comfort zone.”

3. How has working as an agent specifically helped you find yourself & grow as a person?

“Meeting and interacting with so many people and understanding what’s important to them helps me understand myself better. I usually end up building great friendships with clients, which gives me a chance to learn about their different cultures, hear people’s stories, and so on—which are all life-changing! Opening my eyes and ears to learn from clients has shown me so much in life and in turn, has left me with great business and personal relationships.

“Because of this connection I have with my clients, I’ve been able to learn and experience new things, like new cuisines from around the world or new workout routines like Pilates. I’ve even had a client invite me to visit them in Japan (which I hope to be able to do soon).”

4. Do you have any advice for other young LGBT people who are considering leaving their own religious communities?

“Everyone has different challenges and no one’s story is the same, but what I chose for myself is to always follow my heart! However, I think it’s important for people to understand and be aware of what they expect will change by leaving and how much they are willing to sacrifice for it.

Also, I suggest that people dealing with this seek out professional guidance; there are many resources available for LGBT youth dealing with their transition in a religious community or not. I’m also always happy to help if I can—you can reach out to me at @TheIsaacRosenberg on Instagram.”

5. With so many brokerages here in Manhattan, why did you choose Compass?

“I actually didn’t want to leave my first firm Nooklyn, as I had a lot of great experiences there working within my first couple years in the industry. Truthfully, I believe one can succeed anywhere they are if they committed to it. However, when I was introduced to Compass, I decided that if I was going to make a change for my future, it was going to be to a company committed to massive growth, solving problems, and looking to change the status quo. As these themes were important to me in my real estate career, I felt there was no better place for me to grow as an agent than at a company like Compass.”

Over to You

Have an inspiring story about an agent overcoming the odds you think we should write about? Let us know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theclosecommunity/

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