Taking the stress out of real estate

I’ve been in real estate for almost 15 years now and have always had a passion for understanding why we do what we do and why some succeed where others don’t.

About five years ago I decided to embark on understanding more about the brain and how I could apply this in business and life. I began training and became a qualified business coach with the NeuroLeadership Institute. With this knowledge in hand I decided to combine my two passions, realestate and coaching, and wrote The Winners Mind. Below is a small part of the book that deals with stress in real estate and how to overcome it:

Real estate can become a stressful place and sometimes it just can’t be avoided. No matter how well you prepare, you can’t account for problems arising out of your control. Like all stresses, we can only control how we prepare, and react to the issues that come before us on a daily and weekly basis. Our brains have evolved to have a natural state of fear, it’s our survival mechanism. It helped us back when we needed to run from the woolly mammoth’s and sabre tooth tigers. It’s our fight or flight response. It’s the feeling of uncertainty or the unknown that puts us on guard. Because of this we can easily fall in to a stressful place if we don’t prepare for things to go wrong and don’t learn ways to deal with stress as it arrives.

One of the major impacts of working under stress is whilst doing so it limits the capacity to think properly. You become more reactive versus proactive. Both selling and property management requires a high level of thinking and attention to detail and the less stress the brain is under, the more productive and accurate you will be.

The good news is that we have also learnt through neuroscience research, we can move ourselves into a positive place mentally using simple techniques which will put us in a much better position when things go wrong. We have learnt what environmental factors at work and home effect our state of mind so we can prepare for when things go wrong.

Two great stress removers

1. Remove uncertainty

The fear of the unknown is one of the greatest stressors. Not knowing how to do something, or fear that if you make a mistake you could get fired increases stress levels. Not having a manager or boss that you can speak openly or honestly with or leaving things unsaid will also raise stress levels.

Having no or poor procedures in place, creates uncertainty. Our brains like to know what’s coming next, so having a clear idea about how things should be done lowers the uncertainty and therefore stress.

Being physically and mentally prepared everyday will set you up into a positive state before anything can go wrong. The better you have prepared and the more positive you are prior to anything going wrong the better you will cope with it when it does. Think about it like a bank. The more you deposit in positive actions and thoughts the more you have to draw on when things get stressful.

The best way to achieve this is by having routine. Start the day the same when possible, ideally exercise in the morning as this stimulates the brain and allows you to be clear before you start work. Eat well. We know a healthy body supports a healthy mind. Follow a task list at work, ideally prepared the night before. Knowing exactly what you are going to do for the day, removes uncertainty. Working from a task list, when distractions arrive as we know they will, you can quickly re focus on the important issues, when you have taken care of any problems that pop up.

2. Create fairness and autonomy

As human beings we have the need to feel like we are being treated fairly and have a say on what happens. This goes against many businesses who instruct their staff as to what is going to happen and how. I'm not talking about tasks that are required to be followed such as legislated activities, but more around procedures in handling day-to-day operations. Giving people the chance to have a say in the best way to get things done, empowers them creating autonomy and makes them feel as if their view is valued. It’s also less likely to create “an us and them” culture within the organisation and creates a sense of fairness by having a voice. The use of fairness and autonmy can have the greatest affect when in sales meetings. Have a safe place where no ideas are bad and that people can speak freely without being shouted down or ignored. The greater the individual feels they have a say in the process the greater the engagement they will have and a greater connection to a common outcome or team goal.

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