It’s easy to preach about the need to switch off for the holiday season; however, in a post-COVID climate where technology has made it increasingly easy for the industry to keep humming, taking a break isn’t as easy at this time of year as it once was.
We’ve all been slaves to our roles at some point or another whereby we feel that we can’t leave our phones alone in case we get a listing, selling or leasing opportunity. The anxiety it creates internally can be crippling at times, and depending on the nature of its origin, can lead to a disproportionate focus on “getting deals” as opposed to keeping relationships!
If any of these apply to you, and you (like many) just can’t see yourself switching off, then please understand one thing – you are one of a majority within the industry who also struggle with this.
However, it is very much possible to make a switch from being a slave to the game to a servant of the game, which is a mentality that can serve you well! It is a big shift to make, but let’s start with this holiday period and see how we go.
The first thing we need to do is acknowledge the feelings of both ourselves and those around us. We already know that we are feeling anxious about missing out on the action, but in order to create a safe framework, we need to also consider the feelings of our loved ones.
If you have a family, we must realise that:
- This is THE most fun and important time of the year for our kids.
- The level of expectation for family engagement rises, and your significant other doesn’t want to feel alone while doing that.
We can’t possibly make plans without taking factors like these into account, nor can we expect those around us to understand the pressure we feel unless we explain it to them. In fact, I dare say that the ignorance around the feelings of others and the lack of transparency around ours is the main factor that leads towards the volume of divorces that our industry sees!
Once we have done that, I want you to give yourself permission to “feed the beast”.
As much as we want to be able to completely switch off, the simple reality is that it is almost impossible to do so! So instead of suppressing that anxiety that will be building through the break, work with your loved ones to create a schedule or agreement that allows you to check-in with work without disconnecting from family.
Why is that important? Well, firstly, if you don’t get your fix as an agent, you’ll likely act like an addict who is being denied their medicine. Denial is one of the easiest mistakes to make, and this vision of a no-work utopia is just nonsense! If you don’t believe me, have a think about the last day off you had with the family and be honest with yourself about whether you felt that urge/need to check in with work more than once.
Secondly, by setting a time block of 45 minutes with your spouse/friends/family that is clearly defined by a start and finish time, you will likely get the space you need from your loved ones to be tremendously productive, which will give you the dopamine rush you’re craving for. That will then give you a sense of accomplishment that allows you to enjoy your time with family way more.
More importantly than these though – your family will be on the same page. Your spouse will respect the need to keep the wheels turning, and you will appreciate the agreed time that will compel you to be present with the family when it is their time.
So, to be honest, “switching off” is something that is preached about plenty of times but is not actually the right solution for the vast majority of us. And you know what? That’s absolutely fine because, in our game (or any industry for that matter), it is much easier to look after one balanced life instead of treating work and life as two separate worlds.
You’ll feel relieved, your loved ones will appreciate being a part of it as opposed to being on the outer, and you’ll feel a synchronicity in your life that will allow you to be a loyal servant of the game, which is way healthier than being a slave to the game.
Andy Reid is an auctioneer, business coach and the head of training for Century 21 and Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.