Do you ever wonder what drives you?

Have you ever thought about where your ambition comes from?

When you look back, is there a turning point that led you to who and where you are today?

Recently, I have been considering my own life and thinking about what led me to where I am.

In retrospect, I have experienced and accomplished a lot in my life, and everything that I have been through has contributed to the person that I have become. I have been a police officer. I have made a new home in a different country. I have been an entrepreneur. I have found the love of my life. I have discovered success as a real estate agent. These stages of my life have led me to this very moment, but none have been as influential as the time that I spent as a competitive athlete. Many of the personality traits that I still carry to this day, including my ambition, discipline, diligence, and focus, can be traced back to my time in sport, specifically track and field.
I was born in Germany to an American Father and English Mother. We moved to the United Kingdom when I was three. Shortly after relocating, my parents divorced, and my Dad moved back to the United States. I was fortunate that my Mom ended up finding a great man after the split, and he eventually adopted me, so my life was pretty normal after that. Growing up, I was less than a stellar student. It wasn’t that I couldn’t comprehend the material or do the work; academics just never interested me. Where I did thrive, however, was in sports. I adored football (soccer), and tennis, but where I found the most success was in track and field, with my specialty being the 400 meter race.
I put all my attention and focus into training and competing on the track, and I had high hopes and a real chance to participate in the Olympics and eventually become a professional. I concentrated every aspect in my life to that pursuit and worked my way up to a spot in the European Junior Championships. I was well on my way to making my dreams into reality. Though there were many great moments and achievements during my time competing in the 400m, I remember one specific race, in particular. I was twenty years old and I had just worked my way back from a major ankle injury. Racing was hard on my body, and physical rehabilitation was nothing out of the ordinary, but the problems with my ankle required surgery and a long recovery process, so it was the most significant injury that I had experienced up to that point.
Regardless of my time away, I was excited to get back on the track. I focused on my usual preparation routine, instead of my recent physical challenges. I looked around and saw the faces in the stands and heard the cheer and noise of the crowd fill the stadium.  Performing in front of large audiences never bothered me, because I just focused on stretching and breathing, which drowned out all external sounds; they were still there, but they didn’t matter. It was just me, my competitors, and the track ahead. Once my heat was called, I took the spot in my lane, and went into my routine of placement and positioning. As always, at that point, not even the other runners existed. It was me versus my best, competing only with myself. I placed my feet on the blocks and put my hands in the proper position. I made my final adjustments, lifted my head up, and waited.

The only thing that I heard was the crack of the starting gun.

From that point, it was all muscle memory. I launched from the starting blocks as I had thousands of times before, in practice and competition. I got off to a good start, and I immediately found a rhythm in my breathing and a pace with my stride.
I maintained my focus through a good portion of the sprint. I noticed some stiffness and weakness in my ankle, but it was nothing new. I had felt it since the injury, and I had worked through it. I spent a lot of time in training to make adjustments in my form to compensate for the complication, and those modifications were working through the first half of the race.

Then I felt it.

It started with a stinging sensation below my left calf, followed by a slow and steady burn in the entire lower part of my leg.
Immediately, I knew that I had torn my Achilles Tendon.
Naturally, an automatic limp appeared in my stride, and my pace slowed tremendously, as a result.
I still finished the race, but in nowhere near the time that I needed to advance.

My athletic career was over. As it happens with many runners after a significant injury, the troubles with my ankle threw my form and processes out of alignment and I overcompensated physically, leading to the secondary injury to my achilles. The years of training and competition had taken a tremendous toll on my body and they eventually led to the end of my career, before I had even reached my prime. After such a misfortune, many athletes would have spent the rest of their days on a stool in a pub, talking about their glory days and what could have been. That wasn’t me. Even though my dream had ended prematurely, I did not let it get me down. I chose to use it as motivation to succeed for the rest of my life. It did not end my ambitions and my resolve did not waver.

When my Olympic aspirations ended, I put my head down, focused on the future, and I continued to move forward. Instead of holding me back, I let my involuntary change in directions fuel my ambition and drive me in a positive direction. I became a police officer in my hometown for a few years. I got married and in 1999, my wife and I moved to Sacramento so I could get to get to know my Dad. I became an entrepreneur and built a thriving business, then I transitioned into a successful real estate practice. Looking back at my post-sports life, I have had just as many accomplishments that I am proud of as I did on the track, and my ambition and drive has not slowed down a bit, despite my previous injuries!

In 2002, I started my own pool maintenance company in Sacramento, and built it into a decent sized operation, with a team of cleaners and quite a few clients. Six years later, my wife and I parted ways, which was tough, but I persevered, like I always have.
Then one day in 2008, one of my customers referred me to someone who was also looking to utilize my services. When I showed up to the new location, I met Jenny Cooper, and my life was forever changed. During that first visit to Jenny’s house, we immediately connected. We struck up a long conversation and found out that we had a lot in common. She was an American transplant, as well, moving to the States from Korea when she was three years old. She had run her own hair salon for twenty-five years, so she also had entrepreneurial ambitions. Like me, she had overcome adversity in her past, with her own personal challenges, including a divorce, but did not let those obstacles hold her back.
As soon as I met Jenny, I knew that I wanted to get to know her better, so I asked her out, and she said yes! We spent our first date at a George Michael concert, dancing and singing the night away. We laughed a lot and had a great time together, so we started dating, and eventually moved in with each other. One thing that I told Jenny when we first met was that I wanted to do more in life, and she felt the same.
We were both successful at running our own companies and providing stellar service to our clients, but we also shared a vision of elevating ourselves professionally, so we started looking for our next career move, a step that we decided to make together. After exploring several options, we came across real estate, and we knew that was it. In 2015, we both earned our REALTOR’s Licenses, became partners, and never looked back!

Several things attracted Jenny and I to this field. First, we both have a strong desire to help people. We are in this business to take care of our clients and protect their interests. We want to make sure they get the best deal possible, and the process is as smooth and enjoyable as it can be. Also, our entrepreneurial backgrounds and dynamic experience give us an advantage over other agents, because we know how to promote and run a business, which is a skill on its own.
Jenny and I also compliment each other very well, professionally. She takes a more client centric approach, implementing the business and service skills that she learned during all of those years running her hair studio. I handle more of the behind the scenes work, such as business development and operations, applying the experience that I gained during my years as an entrepreneur.

Another thing that I bring to our company is the lessons that I learned on the track, so long ago, which give us an additional competitive edge in real estate.
A career in this industry is like a 400 meter race, being that it can be a sprint, each transaction does move very quickly, and I am extremely efficient and effective throughout those processes, but to survive and thrive in this field over the long term, a REALTOR® must also have endurance; pushing through the lows and pacing themselves during the high times. Also, no matter what happens, it is vital tokeep pushing through. I ever give up and I always concentrate on the finish line of every transaction, and drive myself to not only finish the process, but to go above and beyond all expectations, because that is what my clients deserve!
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Jenny and I. We would love nothing more than to lend our knowledge and experience toward helping you with your real estate endeavors, but we don’t expect your business simply because of our relationship—we only ask that you give us the opportunity to demonstrate our services and interview for the job.

Darren Hall

Jenny Cooper
Broker: RE/MAX Gold - Natomas

CalBRE Broker Number: 01215931

2121 Natomas Crossing Drive Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95834

Darren and Jenny Real Estate Team - RE/MAX Gold

CalBRE # 01964648

E-mail me

Jenny Cooper

CalBRE # 01964649

Phone: (916) 719-8881

E-mail me