By Helen Chong

While sheltering in place in 2020, I put my focus towards finishing my book, Power To Change Lives. It may sound like that would be the perfect time to write but I did not believe I was capable of putting a book together while raising three young children, caring for my elderly parents, running my residential and commercial real estate team in Silicon Valley, holding time-consuming leadership positions in my local real estate associations, and, most importantly, English is not my first language. I came to realize this was the same mindset I had when I first came to this country alone with little money, where I was told being an immigrant, a minority, a female, and, eventually, a parent would present too many obstacles for me to achieve my American Dream. However, these were exactly the reasons why I believe I was offered the opportunity to share my story with the world; a chance to inspire those who may find life is too hard and too unfair for those disadvantaged by categorization.

My road to financial independence was filled with anguish and pain. My book details the story of an Asian girl who came to this country with one goal in mind: finding her own American Dream. It was not until I began writing that I truly understood the two things that made the greatest impact on my life: my mindset and real estate.

We all have the power to become who we want to be, but we do not realize it because we allow the barriers in life to cloud our vision. Instead of walking around the barrier or destroying it, many people simply stop in front of it.

Our minds are our biggest asset, yet if used incorrectly, the mind becomes our biggest obstacle. When my parents went bankrupt and emigrated for better opportunities, I decided to take a different route and came to the US alone to start my American Dream. In the most haunting moment of my life, I escaped a riot in Indonesia where over 1,000 people, mostly Chinese, were killed in three days. While this experience informed a resilience and perspective that still define me, the financial, mental and cultural struggles I faced due to discrimination against my age, gender, and ethnic background were a constant challenge.

It took me over 10 years to feel comfortable to be around any native speaking Americans as I always felt inferior being a Chinese Immigrant. I lost many job opportunities due to my immigration status—until I learned to use real estate investing strategies to take control of my own career. Just as I felt emboldened to jump into the real estate world, parenthood created a new reality in which 24 hours in a day were not enough, eight hours sleep were just a dream of the past, and the world with babies and toddlers is no longer under your own control. I finally realized that obstacles will never stop coming. But I can use the power of acceptance to make my obstacles disappear, and the power of leverage to detour from the obstacles in front of me.

Despite having three babies within three and a half years, I used the power of leverage to propel my real estate career, which allowed me to reach job security as well as financial security. Leverage is the cornerstone of a successful real estate business if you are a real estate agent, broker, or investor. My team has become successful in one of the most competitive markets in the country because we leverage our respective strengths. This is how we can ensure we help our clients with every facet of their real estate needs. If real estate service is done correctly, it is extremely time-consuming for one person to handle. In my experience, real estate industry standards suffer because agents do not collaborate—one person lacks all the strengths and time to do it all. A successful realtor should always leverage a team in order ensure they can provide the best services for clients.

As for real estate investment, I have detailed several strategies in my past articles and also in my book on how to leverage other people’s experience and money to kickstart your real estate investing career and how to leverage emerging markets to make equity on commercial real estate investing. The reason wealthy people around the world flock to real estate as an investment is due to the leverage on the return on investments. When you buy a property, you may put 20 percent as your initial investment and finance the rest. When the property value increases by 20 percent, you did not just earn a 20 percent return, rather you earned close to 100 percent return on investment (before selling expenses). That’s the power of leverage you can hardly find in any other investments.

I truly believe we all possess the power to change our own lives. I used to feel resentful towards my miserable life filled with obstacles, but I was liberated from them by changing my mindset to accept certain situations (e.g. parenthood, being ethnically different) and using leverage to maneuver around other obstacles. Not only have I gained financial security, I have earned respect from my peers within the real estate industry and held leadership positions in one of the most caucasian-male-dominated worlds despite the categorizations assigned to me: an immigrant, a minority, a female, and a mom. I hope through my stories and my real estate career and investing advice, my book will bring you the power to change your life, also!

See Original Article at Forbes