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Professional and personal development is a cornerstone of who I am. Through my twelve years in the real estate industry, I have been to hundreds of seminars and mastermind events both locally and across America, many of which included leaders of the most prolific brokerages in real estate as well as some of the highest of the high-powered agents in the business.  I have sat in on or led well over a thousand coaching sessions, training days, and interviews with agents across all levels of experience in my daily work at AM. I have spoken to hundreds of groups of brand new agents just coming into their first year of licensure.  Needless to say, I have engaged with a lot of agents. 

Through these experiences, one of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how often I hear conversations turn negative.  One minute we are there to talk about how we can get better and the next minute someone is complaining about the worst client they ever had, which of course someone else has to top that story, and down the dark rabbit hole we go, often forgetting why we came in the first place.  Oh and don’t even mention all those OTHER agents out there who cause all the problems. You know the ones. The ones who ruin it for the rest of us. If it wasn’t for them…

In our industry and I think especially in our capacity as agents and brokers, it is easy to focus on the negative. We solve problems for a living, so naturally we are exposed to a lot of problems. People problems.  Customers problems. Client problems. Prospect problems. We interact with thousands of different people every year  and work with dozens of other industry professionals from agents to lenders to escrow officers to home inspectors to… well, you get the idea.  Some of these conversations are hard. Some of them get heated. Some of them are unpleasant. Some of them we are not proud of afterward. I know I have had some that I would take back if I could. As a side note, if you are reading this and had one of those experiences with me, I apologize. 

It is so easy… so easy to get overworked, overstressed, to take on other people’s problems as our own, allow a negative client or negative agent to influence our attitude, and generally to forget why we do this in the first place and to turn negative. 

So what is the antidote? While there is no panacea, no one size fits all approach, I have repeatedly found that a gratitude practice helps to shift my mindset back where it belongs and to remember how very lucky I am.  Only recently I was in a pretty dark funk when the thought hit me, while I was out on a run, that at just about any moment of my life, when things are down or seem dark, when “nothing is going my way”; that there are millions of people across the world who would happily trade their problems for my problems, straight across, without hesitation.  

A few other ideas, while I am on the subject and as I reflect on the many coaching sessions I have had with agents and brokers who are miserable. Get out of self and get into service.  Fall in love with what you do all over again. Focus on what it is that you love about what you do and maximize the amount of time you spend in that practice. Sometimes it is not about more vacation time or more relaxation time it is about more time in the things that brought you to this business in the first place.  It can be so easy to “delegate” and “leverage” yourself out of all joy associated with your work, and what a shame! Fire problem clients. Don’t do things that jeopardize your soul.  Stop answering text messages at 9PM when you are supposed to be focused on loved ones or yourself.