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President Howe: Lessons from the Other Side

August 14, 2020 in Guest Columns

Over the last few years, I’ve become a national speaker at real estate events and conferences around the country. My favorite topic to speak on is mental health in real estate. It’s a topic that we don’t talk enough about and as I’ve discovered, it’s one of the main topics we need to be talking more about. The very fact that it makes us uncomfortable to talk about means that it needs to be addressed more, especially in our industry where we can hit the highest of highs and lowest of lows, sometimes in the same day. I’ve seen that firsthand, which is part of the reason I feel so passionately about this issue.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a second-generation REALTOR®. My mom got into real estate when I was eight years old. She was a single parent, and I was an only child. That meant that I went on almost every listing and every showing as a kid. My mom was a top producer in our community, and I saw firsthand the toil this industry had on her. Unfortunately, my mom took her life 7.5 years ago. While it’s been extremely hard to come to grips with, I’ve tried to turn this into an opportunity to speak openly and honestly about how mentally draining and damaging this industry can be to you and your mindset if you don’t take certain precautions along the way.

This is the first of a five part series of my main keynote, called Lessons from the Other Side. In my keynote, I give real world examples of how of my mom let this industry eat her up and spit her out and talk about ways we can protect ourselves from letting that happen to us and those that we love. In this series, I’ll give my 15 main keynote points in hopes that you can relate to at least one of them and take a look in the mirror to see how you can make the changes you need to in your life to protect yourself.

Lesson #1: Work life balance is a misnomer

We love to dream about the perfect work life balance, but in reality you will likely experience an equally balanced work and home life only a few times. It’s important to accept the fact that you will have times in your life that are extremely work heavy, and your life side will suffer. You will have other times that will be life heavy, and your work life suffer. And that’s okay. In fact, you NEED it. If you feel yourself getting into a rut of one, make a change. If you haven’t seen your family for the last five months because the market is so hot, put on the brakes and make time to be with those that you love. If on the other hand, you shut down your business to take care of your family, now’s the time to find ways to add work back into your life. Business won’t just come to you – you have to go find it.

Lesson #2: You teach others how to treat you

One of my favorite quotes is “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop and what you reinforce” by Tony Gaskins Jr. This is the lesson that I see abused most often by REALTORS®. We love to complain about how our clients give us no space and constantly text us at midnight often for mundane things. However, when we respond back to that midnight text at 12:01 a.m., we REINFORCE the idea to them that it is okay for them to reach out at any time and for any reason. We’ve just taught them how to treat us. Set expectations with your clients from day one and then follow through with it. Real estate is not life or death and yet, a lot of the time, we act like it is. Stop it.

Lesson #3: Your perception creates your reality

In other words, we believe what we perceive to be accurate, and we create our own realities based on those perceptions. And quite often, we use those perceptions to tell us that we are less than. Do you come from an outlook of scarcity or a place of abundance? When you come from a place of scarcity, you believe that there will never be enough, and you have to take every single piece of business that comes your way. As such, you will often let people into your life who do not deserve you and will run you into the ground. I could give you the example of the people who demanded that I show them houses the day of my mother’s funeral, but because I didn’t come from a mental place of scarcity, I set those people free. When you come from a place of abundance, you know that there will always be enough not only for you, but for everyone else as well. Someone else being successful does not take away any potential successes that I might have. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but work on opening up your mind and seeing all the possibilities before you and saying goodbye to those who are running you into the ground and don’t deserve you.

What lessons have you learned during your time in real estate? Please share in the comments below so we can continue the conversation.

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