Coping with Stress and Avoiding the risk of Personal Burnout

Introduction

To be successful in real estate you have to be busy. We all know that, but busy at what, and what affect is that having on us and our relationships and health whilst we are doing it?


It could be that the problem is because it's called a Business Plan. Let's not forget that the plan needs you in "prime" mode to achieve your goals and be in a state to enjoy the results. What's the point in working so hard to achieve the goal of a holiday in Fiji only to have a heart attack whilst there? So perhaps there is a need to plan not only for your business life, but also for your real life!

How do you look after you and what state do you want to be in after working to achieve your business goals?

Real Estate as a career or business provides awesome opportunities for personal and income growth. But it comes with a catch:

It can be 7 days a week, there are performance budgets to meet, colleagues to appease, clients who won't listen, not enough hours in a day, open homes to run between, endless phone calls intruding in home life, children that have sports functions, bills to pay, advertising deadlines to meet, boring sales meetings, auction deadlines, and the list goes on.

Then you see people who are failing to perform to reasonable targets using "blaming" of others as the cause of their demise. The "Superstar' is just lucky, the market is tough, "I tried that once and it didn't work', "the boss isn't fair", " the advertising is too small". All too commonly these are the phrases used by people who are failing to face reality.

What they are doing and how they are doing it, isn't working!

And all too often we see people join this industry with a great future ahead of them, work so hard for 3 years to establish their business and then let it all go through stress or simple frustration. So what are some strategies that you could use to help manage your stress and to maintain some balance in your life, whilst continuing to be successful in your real estate career?

So let's look at this predicament from 3 perspectives:

* The "You" mode.
* "Work Mode"
* "Home Mode"


The "You" Mode.

I believe that the first part of controlling stress and avoiding burnout is to look after you.

Be certain that you take time to look after you and to prepare yourself for the rigours, pace and demands of successful selling and consider the following issues.

Your Plan

What are you doing this for?

A good Business and Life Plan means you have a clear grip on the outcomes you want from this profession and some clear strategies on how you are going to achieve it. There are few things more stressful than working really hard without having some checkpoints so you recognise and celebrate the successes you achieve on the way. That is just as important as noting that your results aren't right and being wise enough to change the behaviours that are causing it.

Check your Coping Strategies
Stress rears its head in many ways and often it is seen in how we react when the pressure goes on. Often in a moment of extreme pressure the valves reach boiling point and people can release pressure, and scar their reputation.
"Remember it's best that we remember the point you were making, rather than the exhibition."

Dietary habits and the use of common stimulants such as caffeine (Now in so many forms) and alcohol, both so socially acceptable, as means to hide other issues is a sure sign that all is not right. If you have an intolerance or allergy to any common food ingredients, they can obviously cause a reaction that amplifies itself when the pressure is on. I don't suggest you abstain totally but as in all things there is a balance. So if you feel the pressure is there, something you are eating or drinking which could be contributing to your reactions. And what about overuse of such items? Dr John Tickell has been on the speaking circuit for some years and talks of executive stress and the impact of foods etc. He recommends no more than 3 coffees a day and at least 3 alcohol free days a week. Anything more than this, could indicate a dependency problem. Rather sweeping you say, but not a bad reference point.

The correct diet has a huge impact on our ability to cope, so if you are "working on the edge" too often diet could be an issue. Check what you are eating during the day so that your energy levels stay up during the afternoon. Make sure you maintain an adequate protein intake and that you don't substitute quality for food on the run, containing too much carbohydrate. Remember the saying, "A moment on my lips is forever on my hips!"

Balance between work and not-at-work time is crucial. Nothing is more destructive to you than being guilty because you are at work and then guilty when you are at work because you are not home with your partner and or family. And let's not forget the wider family and personal friends. It's hardly a successful strategy when you've made all the money only to find you live alone and your friends have moved on.

Nothing is more destructive to your relationship than ignoring it, so where is the time set aside to "date" your partner?

Nothing is more destructive to your work productivity than not turning up.
So the need to plan balanced week or month is crucial to your long-term success. A quick look through your diary will soon show where your focus has been.

Consider the changes you need, before either your boss or your partner says, "Enough is enough!"

Fitness. There is nothing like a good bit of physical exercise to clear stress, oxygenate the blood and to release you from all the real estate thoughts spiralling around in your head. Whether it is walking, running, golf or a gym workout etc there is a need to make sure you get the chance to exercise regularly. Recent research indicates that his is even more important than weight. Now that's great news for a few!

Yoga and meditation are both strategies commonly used by successful salespeople to allow them to cope. A round of golf, a day off with your partner or a day's fishing are typical examples of coping strategies. What's yours and how regular is it?

So check your diary for the weeks and months ahead and see if there are any days off to enjoy the basics in life and to spend with those you care about? If there aren't any there, then maybe it's time to make some adjustments. Nothing like getting rid of a bit of guilt, to ease the stress levels.

Check your Personal Values aren't in conflict with the role you have chosen.
Stress comes in many forms and often it's from a lack of financial performance, which comes from a lack of ACTIVITY. And the activity avoided most is Prospecting. Yes asking for business seems to be the most challenging task for many in sales. And if they can't get over this then they are possibly in the wrong job. I see this in many sales people who won't make calls to contacts in the evening because they don't like their own nights disturbed this way. Setting them a task to make Prospecting calls in the evening will simply result in no calls and more stress. Breaking through beliefs like this can be monumental for future success.

Work Mode

"The biggest ingredient in success is simply turning up"

There is some truth in that but the real secret is what you do with the time you are at work.

The distractions of a typical real estate office are numerous and can get in the way of a really productive day.

The best question to ask yourself is: "Am I at work today, or just visiting?"

The biggest creator of stress in real estate people is the crowding of their time and the draining of their energy with NIL RESULTS. All too often this is caused by a low performer, seeking company for a coffee or a gossip. Don't let these avoiders of useful work destroy your day!

One of the issues, especially for new people and the frazzled, is that they spend 80% of their time with sellers that don't have to sell and buyers who aren't in a position to buy. But by gosh they are busy!

Quite clearly there is a need to take control and avoid the negative influences of:

Negative colleagues
Over priced listings
Stale open homes
Non-qualified buyers
Poor systems and resources
Negative environments


Work is just that and when in a commission sales environment it is very easy to be distracted by the agendas of others. Some of the most successful people now spend very little time in the office, fitting in with the "avoidance" habits of the lower performers. They spend their time talking with people who are selling or buying, or who might know someone who is selling or buying.

So what should your ideal work mode include?

Time to attend to administrative details
Prospecting time -database time - letters and phone calls
Time to visits advocates
Training time
Coaching time
Appraising vendors
Obtaining Listings
Showing homes
Open Homes
Reviewing Vendors marketing and pricing positions
Closing sales
Negotiating sales
After Sales Service.
And most important of all; TRANSACTIONAL TIME!

So how often and how well?
There is a great deal of satisfaction in dong a job well and knowing that having spent the time you will get a result. Now compare that with a week or two spent running around with buyers and sellers for no result. So yes, skill is important. So how much time have you allocated to the development of your skills?

Doing it once is not enough. Accept that not everyone you deal with is going to mean a successful transaction. Not every person you talk to is going to list with you or buy off you. So when the opportunity comes along for a training session, invest in your future business success.

Manage your time by planning your time well ahead and then having the self-discipline to stick to it.

One of the best tips is to take a few minutes on Sunday evening and empty the diary and the brief case. Review all the names in your diary that need to be followed up and then look at all the tasks required to keep your plan working and allocate these through the week. Then stick to it - unless a transaction comes along.

Home Mode

The real champions don't work all the time. That's just an excuse for justifying our own lack of performance.
Don't try to do it all, all the time.
Families and relationships are important, not only in the support of our business endeavours, but in our role as partners, parents and friends etc. So we need to make time by

Taking every 6th weekend off and for 3 or 4 days
Dating our partner
An early afternoon or two a week
A late start after taking the kids to breakfast somewhere before school
Getting a house keeper
Have the lawns mown by a contractor
Get groceries on the Internet
Have someone clean the car


All things that mean when you are at home you are not busy doing other things, but actually free to spend time with people that are important to you.

Make at least 1 night a week an at home and NO CALLS night. Yes have a night a week where only a transaction can get in the way. Turn the mobile off, put the answer phone on and do what normal people do. Read to your kids, go to a movie, read a book or go out with friends. It's okay, so long as the "At work" time has been useful!

You might have a plan to make 20 (at least) calls a night. Why not change that to 100 a week and do them on 3 days/nights and have 2 nights free and keep your weekends for buyer/open home follow up and TRANSACTIONS?

Home mode means just that. What you don't want is the reverse of the line above: "Are you at home tonight or just visiting?"

So surviving in this business is not just about how much money you make. It's about making enough money, with a life in balance so it's all worth the effort. The person in control of that is you.

IAN KEIGHTLEY


Back to List (closes window)    Next Free Tip    Email Salescoach