It was a phone call I’ll never forget. On the other end was a lady in the delivery room. Quick reality check: “Wait, I’m a real estate coach, not an obstetrician.”

In a calm voice, but also a resolute one, she said, “Bob, I’ve had it. I want out of the rat race.”

It was a client I’d just started working with – Linda Yaffe. She was a relatively new real estate agent in Baltimore, Md. She’d been an attorney – a job that had left her feeling empty.

I told her we’d talk in a few weeks. And I shared the obvious: that she had more important things to focus on in the meantime.

A couple of months later we did talk, and what I discussed with her is what I’ll share with you in hopes that it helps you find a more satisfying real estate career.

Success Rule #1: Define what success is to you. I mean it, sit down and write it out. Take time – I mean a few hours – and really think it through. What do you want your life to look like day in and day out? Linda was clear: she wanted more time as a mother, as a wife and as a coach to her kids’ lacrosse program. We sat down and planned out how she could achieve that. And today she’s living that life. First you have to define what you want, and then structure your real estate business around what you’ve defined. The saddest part of all this is too many agents believe that isn’t possible.

Success Rule # 2: Realize you’re in control. After Linda defined success, she had to accept she had the power to make that life a reality. This can be tough when things seem out of control or external circumstances aren’t cooperating. I think that’s why Linda called me: she needed an outside, objective view to see the forest for the trees. Yes, sometimes the market isn’t what we want it to be, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do what you need to do to get more business.

Success Rule # 3: Create a plan with clear milestones that move you toward your definition of success. Once Linda knew she had the power to make progress toward her dream life, she simply needed to write out the absolute best use of her time to get her moving in the right direction. She also realized she needed to be held accountable or it would all be for naught. I made certain she stayed the course.

Success Rule # 4: Understand how much money you need. Don’t get caught in the “I-need-to-make-just-a-little-more-money-and-everything-will-be-good” trap. Instead, think about this word that often gets overlooked: satisfaction. What amount would satisfy your needs? It’s tough because the word want often gets in the way of need. Think about it and then quit counting how much money you’re making and start counting how many families you’re serving. You’re in a wonderful profession that helps people. I hope you feel blessed just being in real estate.

Have defined success for yourself? Do you believe you’re in control, really? Have you put a plan in place that’s moving you toward your definition of success? What’s your real relationship with money?

Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc., an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.