Zibby Owens: I got such a kick out of doing an Instagram Live with Tracy Tutor who is the first female real estate broker on Million Dollar Listing LA which we have been watching quite a bit of during the quarantine. She wrote a book called Fear Is Just a Four-Letter Word: How to Develop the Unstoppable Confidence to Own Any Room. She’s one of the top agents at Douglas Elliman Beverly Hills and is a graduate of University of Southern California and is a California native.

Tracy Tutor: Hey.

Zibby: How are you?

Tracy: I’m really good. How are you?

Zibby: I love it. Are those the author letters in the back? I saw the pictures on Instagram.

Tracy: Yes, we still have them. Although, now they’re in the kitchen. We’re not really sure what they spell anymore. We’re going to do some anagrams later.

Zibby: That was so sweet, though, of your daughters and nieces. That’s so nice.

Tracy: I was so surprised. I legit started bawling. Everybody thinks I’m so tough, but I’m really just a big wuss.

Zibby: I feel like you were trying hard to refute that assumption in the book by referencing many times where you were a puddle or a mess or whatever, and that that’s okay. That’s good.

Tracy: I think it’s important that we have vulnerable moments and share that with the people that think that we’re just tough boss Bs.

Zibby: Everybody’s got a lot of sides to them, for sure.

Tracy: Yes, absolutely.

Zibby: Congratulations on pub day this week of your book. It’s super exciting.

Tracy: Thank you. It’s been a rollercoaster this week and last week. I have so much gratitude for the fans of the show and for the women in particular that have been so supportive. This book was a major journey for me and a very cathartic one. Then to have it launch in the middle of a pandemic, I felt behind the eight ball. We’ve pivoted and shifted. This entire campaign has been digital. We hope that we have great success with it.

Zibby: I saw that even just your announcing the book made it an Amazon best seller, so I feel like you’re going to do just fine.

Tracy: Thank you for that. I appreciate it.

Zibby: What made you want to write a book to begin with? What was the inspiration for this?

Tracy: I truly felt like I had a platform being the one female cast member on, really, two shows, both Million Dollar Listing New York and Los Angeles. I felt it was important that I gave back to the females that are not only in my community in real estate, but just little entrepreneurs around the world that have big ideas and are intimidated by some of the power plays and the male dynamics and misogyny that happens in this world, fact.

Zibby: I love how you broke down the different personality types of powerful men that you might have to deal with because I feel like this does not just apply in work. This is in any aspect of your life. These tips are super, super helpful.

Tracy: I appreciate that. I do think it’s important to recognize the different personality types so that you can figure out how to cope with those personalities. It’s not just getting the job. Then it’s being able to manage it and figure out what’s the healthiest decision not only for you and the client that you’re dealing with, but how about all your other clients? I experienced that on the show, I’m not sure if you saw the episode yet, but with my Malibu series.

Zibby: I saw it.

Tracy: It was a lot. I had to really take myself out of my comfort zone and then analyze, is this really worth it? That’s a question that I think we all have to ask ourselves when we’re dealing with those types of egos and dynamics. Sometimes the monetary advancement is worth it, but you better go back and forth with yourself every single day and ask yourself that same question.

Zibby: I feel like you gave so much good specific advice. One of the things that I felt like you mentioned over and over and over again was the fact that you had all these instincts and that often you ignored them for some reason. Maybe I had a bad vibe about this guy Ted, but whatever, I’m going to just roll with it. Every example you gave of ignoring your instincts came back to bite you. I feel like that was one of the biggest themes of the book. You have to listen to that inner voice even when everything on the outside seems to point in a different direction.

Tracy: Of course. Red flags, we as women see them all the time. We’re like, no, no, no, that’s not a red flag. The truth is we should know by now that we have a gift as women. We don’t utilize it enough. Our intuition is everything. If we started using that more in the boardrooms that we have to walk into against those big egos, we could deflect a lot of the power plays that they make. I’ve been using it more and more. By the way, now that I’ve written the book, I hold myself to a different standard because it’s all in black and white now. I was reading a chapter when I was doing the Audible book a few weeks ago. At the end of the chapter, I was like, “I got to take a break.” I had gone just back to back chapters. They were like, “What’s wrong?” I said, “I’m just pissed at myself because I totally didn’t follow any of my own advice this week.” I think it really is a practice that this book is, and talking to yourself and trusting your gut and going with it because it’s going to serve you correctly more often than it won’t.

Zibby: I thought that was something that made you so likable in the book. Not that you’re not likable elsewhere, you’re super likable, but I just mean one of the things was that you said, here’s what you should do. PS, actually, I didn’t do it that way. That’s why I’m giving you this other advice. That was great. I feel like in so many books, experts say, this is what you should do. End of story. You’re like, I totally messed up the situation, but now I’ve learned. Take what I’ve learned from the bad, and you go run with that. Thank you for living out the mistakes I might have made. I’m sure I’ve made a zillion other ones.

Tracy: By the way, I still make mistakes. I think imperfection is something that is also super freeing. As a single mom and a successful career, we have all these expectations on ourself that are just really BS. The more we embrace imperfection as successful career women and the more that our children understand what that dynamic is so that when they grow up they have that confidence to be able to do it on their own, I think those are the most important things. That’s what takes all that anxiety off the table because we can’t be a hundred places at once. I’m the mom that will show up to the horse show — everybody else will be wearing boots. I’ll be coming from a listing pitch in a pair of pumps and a pencil skirt feeling like a total whack. The truth is, I’m doing the best that I can. I’m showing up. That, to me, is the most important thing.

Zibby: I’m sure that’s what’s important to your daughter too.

Tracy: It is.

Zibby: PS, I’m sure all the other moms are like, wow, I wish I looked like that in a pencil skirt. Everybody wants what they can’t have.

Tracy: True.

Zibby: I saw on Instagram and in the press and all the rest that you’re going through a divorce and now you’re in a new relationship. I went through a divorce myself at age forty. I have four kids including teenagers now. I was feeling like we had a lot to talk about in that regard.

Tracy: I’m sure we do. I feel like I’m on the other side of that now. I’m in a good place with my girls. It was definitely a chapter that I was ready to close and open a new one. In that journey the last two years — people think, of course on the show, that this just happened, but it’s been two years. I’m in a new relationship. I’m enjoying myself. I’m living in the present. I’m not focusing on what happened yesterday anymore because it’s the past and I can’t control that. I certainly don’t want to control the future. I’m just living for today. I’m super happy, if you’ve seen on Instagram. You know what? He’s given me some great abs too, so that’s fun.

Zibby: I ended up marrying my tennis pro, actually.

Tracy: No, you did not!

Zibby: I did. I have gotten so great at tennis, I have to say.

Tracy: I’m dead right now. I’m such a cliché, but screw it. There’s truth in clichés, isn’t there?

Zibby: I know. Actually, my husband is so funny because he’s like, “For a while, people didn’t want to date me because it was so cliché.” I mean, not really, they did. It’s so cliché to date the tennis pro. He was like, “People are discriminating against me because of that.”

Tracy: A hundred percent. I get the same thing. I’m like, you know what, if you guys can’t be happy for me and see that I’m living in the moment and I’m doing me, then to hell with you guys. The truth is, I’m having a great time. I’ve never felt better. I’ve never felt healthier. I’m more focused. Everything’s happening in my life with this book and my career. My girls look up to me. I’m living my best life, truth.

Zibby: Yes. I just feel like from when I was a kid, I don’t know if your mom said stuff like this to you, but “If people are mean to you, it’s because they’re jealous of you.” I was like, nobody’s jealous of me in my Laura Ashley skirt hiding against the wall. But there’s some truth to that. A lot of the naysayers and people who want to put you down, they just are jealous. Then those aren’t your people, so forget it.

Tracy: I really do, I try not to get sucked into the trolls on different social media platforms. Sometimes I can’t help myself and I have to speak up. That’s okay too. The support that I have from women that watch the show and support me on my social media platforms and have gone out and bought this book, those are my people. They’re like my tribe. I’m a girl’s girl. Heart of hearts, I think there’s a difference. There’s chicks, and then there’s girl’s girls. I want to be in a tribe with a bunch of women who celebrate me who I can celebrate right back and lift up. I cherish that. I love women.

Zibby: That’s awesome. Also, in the book you talked about how relationships can fluctuate so much. Even with your sister, you talk about how she didn’t give you a listing in the beginning and that was so gutting. You were like, how am I going to come back from that? Now your relationship is in a different place. I’m speaking for you as if I know this intimately. It’s just from the book. Maybe you should talk about it.

Tracy: That was a moment for me. People always ask me that. I forget that story. I really do talk about it a lot, a transforming moment for me. It was. It was when my sister went through another broker to purchase her home. I thought to myself, if my own family doesn’t believe in me enough to represent them on their real estate acquisitions, who the hell else is going to hire me? It really took me down. I was devastated. Then I started to realize that’s a little self-involved. I had just had a baby. I was breastfeeding. I was totally disconnected from the world. I was suffering from postpartum at the time. Then no one told me, so I felt betrayed. The truth is, I was very much in my own world. On the other side of that once I processed that, I was like, you know what, I’m going to go out, I’m going to work ten times harder. The next time an opportunity comes around, I’m going to be ready for it. It was a great lesson in humility and also reminding myself that I am going to have to be very vocal about the things that I want in this life. I have. I listed her house actually this year right before we went into COVID. We’re having a lot of great showings. Hopefully, I’ll close it and that will be one of my biggest sales to date.

Zibby: Great. Then we can watch it on the show. Full circle.

Tracy: Yeah, hopefully.

Zibby: I just wanted to read one of my favorite quotes from the book. You said, “Chameleons don’t wake up and decide it’d be better to be a polar bear that day. They’re always themselves, just with a little different coloring, from one situation to the next.” I thought that was so great. You talk about being in all these different situations. Yeah, okay, you can act differently with your daughter, from your client, from the moms at the horse show or whatever, but you have to still maintain that inner core of who you are or forget it. I feel like that was another big message from your book.

Tracy: A hundred percent. I do believe in being able to walk into a room and be a chameleon so long as you have the understanding of who you are intimately because you cannot be a chameleon if you don’t know yourself and you haven’t accepted who you are and you haven’t been able to show who you are to everybody else and be completely authentic. Once you have the first piece, then you can start becoming a chameleon again because you can come back to yourself. That’s a fine line. A lot of people think they know themselves, but they’re not really a hundred percent being honest with who they are. Once you start being a chameleon, people are going to read that the way wrong. That can be super ineffective.

Zibby: Totally. Not to keep being like, and this from the book and that from the book —

Tracy: — I love that you’re — these are some of my favorite moments. I’m glad that you are resonating with them.

Zibby: Good, I’m so glad. When you talked about the times when you were going through a lot of personal stuff, especially with your divorce and figuring out with the kids and relocating and all of it, you still had to then go on a show. Most people just have to maybe go into work. Now nobody has to. Now, whatever, we’re on Zoom. You had to show up and be on a Bravo show in front of how many whoever watches the show. You talked about how difficult that was and how you just had to power through and put on the face, essentially, that version of yourself. Tell me a little more about that and having to be so on display.

Tracy: It was crazy because that whole first season that I was on the show, I was privately going through a divorce and dealing with that. I’d go set or to houses to film or to interview days, and I never spoke a word of it. Obviously, I ended up filing at the end of the season. That came out. The show hadn’t aired yet, and so they put that screen up at the end saying, “Josh and Heather Altman are pregnant with their second child. Bobby and Josh got married in an extravagant affair. Tracy filed for divorce from her husband of thirteen years. They maintain a positive relationship with their two children.” It sucked. Then of course, I had to come back the second season. There was obviously some opinions about me being a career woman. Obviously, my first season was a boss. Perceptions of why my husband and I weren’t together revolved around that. That was obviously a gigantic misconception. I wasn’t going to sit around and let people paint a picture about me that wasn’t true. I had to bring my vulnerability to the camera and share with that Bravo audience what I was privately going through. I still struggle with it. Moving on from my own house this season, which I talk a little bit about on the show, was a big piece of my personal life. That’s tough to share with everybody every single day. The truth is, it’s my personal story. You won’t get to see my kids on the show, and so I think some of the audience is like, this is all she cares about, is herself and working hard. The truth is, that’s not it at all. Now I think the fans are warming up to me, getting to know me, and connecting more than they have in the past.

Zibby: And you’re so great as a broker too. All the creative ideas that you have on the show are so awesome. I loved your little bachelorette party in that adorable house. I’m like, I want to buy that place. That’s adorable.

Tracy: That was a fun one. We try to get creative. Also, we’re doing a TV show about real estate. These are high stakes. These clients have expectations that for even us are difficult to navigate and manage. I think at this point, we’re all just trying to one-up each other. Who can throw the bigger or crazier event? Josh was in a — I haven’t seen the episode yet. He’s fighting with swords. The whole thing is bananas.

Zibby: You said in the book how originally you wanted to be an actress and how a friend of yours became an actress. You were like, actually, no, that doesn’t sound so great after all. Now you kind of have the best of both worlds. You get screen time, but you don’t have to really act. It’s your life.

Tracy: It’s a full-circle moment, for sure. I do think a lot of failed actors end up as real estate agents. We’re good at selling ourselves. Maybe we’ll be good at selling real estate. I think there are a lot of similarities there. It was a funny moment when twenty years later, here I am on a TV show. I’m not really acting. I’m just being me.

Zibby: Which turns out is what people want to watch. Forget the acting somebody else. Why bother? That’s great. You talk in the book about having a million-dollar backbone, which you only said once but I thought was such a great — I feel like you need to make that your next Instagram post or something because it’s such a thing that women need to remember. In any situation, that’s what you need. You need to stand up for yourself and be vocal and do all the things that you say in the book. Anyway, I just loved that.

Tracy: You just gave me my next caption. I have to post a workout thing because everybody has been enjoying that lately. I was wondering what my caption should be. I think it’s going to be million-dollar backbone. I was talking about the difference between confidence and ego. It’s often misinterpreted. My confidence has sometimes reportedly been that I have a big ego. Sometimes I’m like, are you joking? Me against the four other men on the show, and I’m the one with the ego? Being a strong female, that’s something that I want to speak to and remind myself that I’m actually totally cool with the fact that I’m confident. It doesn’t mean I’m an egomaniac. It just means that I feel good in my body, I feel good in my mind, and I’m going to say it out loud. You don’t like it? Don’t follow me.

Zibby: Also, as a mother, that’s my number-one thing. I would love to raise confident kids. That’s what everybody wants, to have the confident kids. Then we become grown-ups and suddenly it’s a bad thing? No. It’s okay to own that. Maybe our moms did a good job or something.

Tracy: Right. We go out there and we tell our kids every day, speak your mind. Be empowered. Don’t let anybody boss you around. Then as adults when we do it, we are shamed for it, particularly as women. I won’t even say adults because I don’t think that that’s something that men struggle with as much as women do.

Zibby: That’s probably true. Okay, I’ll buy that. Tell me about the process of writing the book. Did you work with anybody to write the book? Did you sit down and outline? What was the process like for you?

Tracy: I sat down and I said, oh, my god, this feels incredibly overwhelming. I was sitting with Erica from my team. We were in my backyard. I said, “Can you just have a glass of wine with me and sit on this patio and help me navigate what the heck this is going to be about?” I did. She knows me so well. We started crafting an outline. That outline became a treatment that was probably six, seven, eight pages long. That was then delivered to my book agent who shopped it around. They loved it. I ended up working with a woman by the name of Maxie McCoy who’s an incredible writer. We spent a lot of time together talking shop, her really understanding my voice. I think that’s kind of what separated me from so many different authors. I have a very specific voice. I wanted to make sure that it came across just like that. Just endless hours, six months of writing together. This is what we ended up producing. I read it for the first time ever from start to finish not with my editor’s cap on when I did the Audible. I got chills. It was a big moment for me. It was a trip. I felt really good about it. Again, it’s another moment of gratitude this week where I’m just looking around and going, wow, to be able to be sitting across from you and talking about this is just a really cool thing. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

Zibby: That’s awesome. I feel like I should station myself outside the Audible, where everybody does their recordings. I feel like everybody comes out and reports feeling like it was such a moment, so spent or so emotionally drained or crying or this or that to read their book out loud.

Tracy: I came home after that and my kids and my boyfriend, and my best friend Joey was here, and they were like, “What is going on with you?” I was like, “I need to take a walk.” I was out of sorts. I took a walk. I ended up walking for an hour and a half in the dark in LA, not really the safest time to be out and about right now. I sat down on a park bench and just cried for like thirty minutes. Not because of anything other than this was a really vulnerable place for me. I couldn’t believe that I’d finally completed it. It was big. I came home and everybody was asleep. They were like, “You all right?” I was. I just needed to take a minute and self-reflect.

Zibby: Wow. That’s such a nice story. I can just see you on the bench.

Tracy: It was so sad, really. If someone had driven by and know me, they’d be like, what are you doing? I just had to. It was something that I had to do.

Zibby: I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had a moment where they had to sit and cry in some sort of public place and hide it, or the bathroom at work or someplace where you shouldn’t be crying. It still helps to sometimes hear it. Now that you survived writing your first book and you’re getting it out in the world right now, is it something you’d want to do again? Did you love it? Do you want to keep doing it? Or do you feel like you got out what you needed to say?

Tracy: No, I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg. Like I said, this book for me, it was business focused. It was definitely for women in business. I have a much bigger story personally that I want to share. I think I just haven’t quite gotten to the place where I can be a hundred percent truthful with myself first so that I can be truthful with my audience. That might be on the horizon. I think this was a really good start.

Zibby: Have your daughters read the book?

Tracy: They’re reading it right now. By the way, I was on Juliet yesterday. I’m like, “What chapter are you on?” She’s like, “Two. God, I’m almost .” They’re adorable. They’re so supportive. They threw me that party. They wrote me cards. They are incredibly proud because they know how much hard work it required. They know that I had to make sacrifices to do that, but I like that they’re seeing that. I like that I had to sacrifice and my little girls are watching that. They see me get up before the sun rises and do everything that I need to do to get done in a day. They respect it. That makes me happy. That’s pretty amazing that two teenage girls think that I’m cool. Generally, that’s not the common thread in teenagers and their moms. My girls just think that I’m awesome.

Zibby: It could be because you just are.

Tracy: They’re awesome.

Zibby: I feel like any day that my teenagers haven’t turned on me, I’m holding my breath. When is that moment going to happen?

Tracy: I’m sure I’m on my way. Juliet’s going to be fifteen. Scarlet’s twelve going on thirty. I know I’m going to be up against something at some point. I’ll take what I have right now and just hang on.

Zibby: Yeah, one day at a time. I heard, by the way, that you had coronavirus and you didn’t even know it. You just felt sick.

Tracy: I didn’t. This was really, really early on, like end of February/early March. I had gone to New York to do a speaking engagement; really, Connecticut, actually. I came back. About five, six days later, I had a cough. I just assumed it was from traveling and being exhausted, doing speaking engagements, and just wearing myself too thin, which has happened to me before. I sleep for a day, wake up, and I feel fine. I did not feel fine. I woke up the next day and I was just exhausted. I kept getting out of bed and then going back to bed. Those were my symptoms. I called my doctor. Obviously, corona was just starting. I said, “We should get one of these corona tests.” They were like, “You can’t get a corona test. What are your symptoms? Do you have a fever?” No. I had zero fever. Taste buds, all that, we didn’t even know any of that at that time. They weren’t willing to give you a test at that time unless you had 103 fever or above. I went and saw my doctor. He gave me a flu test. He looked at me and said, “I don’t think that you have the virus.” Turns out, about a month later I took two antibody tests from two different labs in a row that showcased that I have all the antibodies. At that point, we had a lot more information. I went, you know what, I had it. So did my boyfriend.

Zibby: Oh, my gosh. That’s one way to get closer, I guess.

Tracy: I felt safe for a minute, but now everybody’s saying that after three weeks you can even get it again. It’s back to square one, which is a little bit frustrating.

Zibby: There’s just so much unknown. I’m going to go back to your one day at a time philosophy here.

Tracy: Yeah, that’s all we can do.

Zibby: Do you have any last parting advice to aspiring authors?

Tracy: I was talking to my friend Joey the other day about this who’s writing a book. He’s a little bit terrified to do it because of people coming at him for being honest, talking about things that are uncomfortable. I say put it in paper. Put it down. Put it in black and white. Speak your truth. You don’t ever have to publish it unless you finish it. At least if you get it out on paper, you’re speaking the truth to yourself. Then you can make the decision afterwards about who you’re willing to share that with. It is a journey. It’s a cathartic one. Anyone that’s thinking about doing it, know this. It’s exhausting, but incredibly rewarding.

Zibby: Excellent. Thank you, Tracy. Thanks for doing this Instagram Live and coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” and chatting with me about all parts of life.

Tracy: Thank you for being such a great fan and for watching the show and being so tapped in. This was a really great interview. More often than not, people don’t really know anything about the book when I get on the phone with them. I appreciate you being so connected.

Zibby: No problem. It was a great book. I really enjoyed it. This is our family show that we watch. I’m like, is it bad that I have my teenagers watching Million Dollar Listing, and my seven-year-old girl? Whatever. We’re all into it.

Tracy: I’ve got really cute, young fans. I get eight-year-olds, ten-year-olds, tweenagers reaching out to me. It’s the sweetest. I love it.

Zibby: We’ll be watching. Congrats again on your book. Buh-bye. Thanks.

Tracy: Thanks so much. Bye.