In this episode, Jennifer dives into the ways that fear can hold us back and prevent us from playing bigger in our real estate career. She’ll share 6 strategies to push through fear and play a bigger game.
Well hello there and welcome back to the women rocking real estate podcast. I’m your host Jen Percival and thanks for tuning in this week.
Ok we are going to dive right in today… for those of you who are watching my morning motivation minute video series on IGTV, you know that I’ve been chatting about fear and all of the ways that it holds us back and keeps us playing small in real estate and sometimes in life. The topic seemed to really resonate with people, so I thought I’d dive a bit deeper and get you ladies really thinking about fear, how it holds you back and how you can start playing bigger in your real estate career.
Now before we jump into the meat of this episode, I want to make a very clear distinction about fear. One of the things I’m super passionate about, is building your business in a way that feels authentic to who you are. I say this in the introduction to this podcast every week. We are surrounded by the idea that the only way to succeed in this business, is to fight our way to the top using strategies and tactics that often make us feel really uncomfortable. Things like door knocking and cold calling and making your daily calls to your database and begging your friends and family for referrals and using cheesy scripts….all of these things that make us feel really uncomfortable.
The problem is that there’s also this belief (and a saying), that nothing great happens inside our comfort zone and the traditional brokerages and coaches use that against our objection of doing things that make us feel uncomfortable. They tell us “oh that’s just your fear talking and you need to overcome that.”
Let me be clear, there is a big difference between stretching outside your comfort zone and doing things that make you feel icky and unauthentic. They are not to be confused. The key difference, is that stretching outside your comfort zone IS about overcoming your fears and self-limiting beliefs. Doing things that make you feel icky, is about your authenticity. It’s about being true to who you are and you need to know the difference.
There has been close to 5000 women that have taken my realtor personality quiz, and over 40% of them can’t stand using old school tactics to build their business. That’s a lot of agents, close to half, that are being taught to do things that don’t feel aligned with who they are. No wonder so many agents struggle!
When you try to use tactics and strategies that don’t feel right to you, they don’t work anyway. All that ends up happening, is you procrastinate doing them and when you do, you’re super uncomfortable and often come across that way, and so you don’t get traction and that’s super discouraging and the vicious cycle starts again. And eventually, you give up.
Well I am living proof that it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve said this before. I’ve made multi millions in my business and I’ve never door knocked, cold called, used a script, asked anyone for a referral or even given someone my business card unless they asked for it. I never pursued business. I attracted business to me and that’s why my new coaching program is called Attract. It is about learning the step by step roadmap of how to attract clients to you, rather than aggressively pursuing them. Now the program goes way beyond just lead generation and is really a complete a-z blueprint of how to start, grow and scale a real estate business and one that is authentic to you.
So know the difference between stretching outside your comfort zone and doing things that make you feel icky. The key difference being, that doing things that make you feel icky, is about your authenticity. It’s about being true to who you are. Stretching outside your comfort zone on the other hand, is about overcoming your fears and self-limiting beliefs and that’s what we’re going to be chatting about in today’s episode. Fear and all of the ways it holds us back and prevents us from putting ourselves out there and taking the actions needed, to get the results we desire.
Fear controls so much of what we do or don’t do. But you do have a choice about whether to choose fear or not. We’ve just made being in fear a habit and it’s a big one that we need to break. So before we can start tackling how to keep fear under control, how did we get to be such fearful creatures? Well the human brain is hardwired to be overreactive to potential dangers, so In the context where our survival was regularly threatened in the past, it made sense for our fight or flight response to fire in the face of any potential danger.
In our current context however, this fight or flight response also fires in response to threats to our emotional safety – possible embarrassment, failure, rejection, hurt feelings, etc. Almost comically, we experience our fears of both irrational emotional threats with the same intensity as actual physical threats.
But in order for us to start playing bigger in our real estate careers, we need to take many emotional risks, doing things that expose us to failure, criticism, rejection and judgment. Fear is always going to be there, but we have to actively choose whether to engage with it or crawl past it.
If there is one thing that can be said about the real estate journey (and really any journey that involves doing things you’ve never done), is that it is scary. Fear is a constant companion for anyone doing something new. In fact if you’re never afraid, I’d be more concerned about that. The number one thing I have learned, in the 14 years that I have been running my own businesses, is that fear never goes away. It is a constant companion and one that likes to sneak up on you.
Because we have instinctual and habitual responses to all fear, it’s really important that we learn how to distinguish fear that is there to protect us from legitimate threats, from fear of imagined threats. Our brain doesn’t know the difference and it releases the same neuro-chemicals in both situations. In other words your brain will release the same chemicals when you are faced with someone physically attacking you, as you would if you were told you have to speak on stage in front of 2000 people or go live on video on Facebook in 5 minutes. Some of you might be totally fine with that, but I can guarantee that made a few of you feel sick.
Everyone of us has different fears, but they are all based on the same thing – either something actually happened that created the fear or you’ve thought about what could happen enough times that you have a belief about it. You’ve created a neural pathway in your brain that tells you when you think about going live on video, that you may die. Now remember, you’re not actually thinking you’re going to die, but you’ll experience the same feelings.
So in order for us to unhook from fear and the ways it holds us back, we really do need to do some soul searching around the fears we have and where they came from and then we have to unpack those beliefs and create new, more healthy ones that will serve us better and allow us to play bigger in our careers.
So strategy number one is to take some time and really think about the things you’re afraid of in your real estate career. Spend 15 minutes and just do a brain dump of all the big and little things that make you nervous, things you might avoid, things you worry about, etc The obvious ones will be easy, but I promise you there’s a lot more little ones that you might not even be consciously aware of. At this stage don’t judge anything about them, just write them all down. Are you afraid of door knocking? Going live on video? Making Mistakes? Are you afraid of rejection? criticism? Judgement? Using scripts? Asking for referrals? Are you afraid of being asked questions you don’t know the answer to? Are you afraid of not being able to duplicate success or going bankrupt? Are you afraid people you know will think “who does she think she is” if you put yourself out there with ads.
Once you’ve brainstormed the list, spend some time on each of the fears and try to understand what it’s about and where it’s coming from. The whole goal of this exercise is to pull the curtain back on your fears and to shine some light on them and examine them a bit more. It’s also helpful to ask yourself, why are you afraid of that? And then keep asking questions until you get the root of the fear.
Strategy number 2 is to distinguish what type of fear it is. A great book about fear and Playing Big is by Tara Mohr and in it she talks about a few strategies for overcoming fear and one of them is to distinguish what type of fear you’re experiencing, because there are actually two types.
The fear we are more familiar with, is often of projected or imagined things. It is the over-reactive, irrational fear that stems from worries about what could happen, about the worse case scenario that we can imagine.”
However there is a second type of fear, that you might unknowingly group with the first type. It causes some of the same feelings – nervousness, pit in your stomach, adrenaline, etc.. However there is a subtle difference. It’s kind of difficult to explain, but It also comes with a feeling of space, almost like you don’t feel grounded. There’s an exposure or vulnerability quality to it.
But the key difference is that somewhere, there is also a feeling of excitement of possibility. There’s an energy to it. You’re still scared shitless, but there’s a different edge to it. It is critical that you learn how to distinguish the two types, because the latter experience is actually a sign that you should definitely be doing whatever is that is making you feel this way. I always say when in doubt, follow the butterflies.
So if you want to start playing big in your real estate career, you need to be less run by the first type of fear and more comfortable living with the second type. To reach your full potential, you need to take the emotional risks that come with sharing your voice and ideas more visibly and vulnerably.
So strategy 2 is to examine your fears and find the ones that also have an edge of excitement of possibility to them and put those ones at the top of your to do list.
Ok the next thing we can do to be less run by fear, is strategy 3 and that is to identify your inner critic. The author Tara reminds us that All women grapple with self-doubt in one way or another. For some women it’s most prominent around their professional lives, for others it’s their sense of competence as mothers, for others it shows up around appearance, body image or aging. We’re so used to living with this voice, it’s become the background noise we live with.
And Since women don’t talk to one another about the most vicious things we say to ourselves, we don’t hear counter arguments or get support. And we don’t learn that other women, women we admire because they seem so confident – hear the same irrational, harsh voices in their heads too.
So what should you do when that self doubt shows up? Give that inner critic a name and create a character around it. This will help you see it as separate from yourself and depending on the character you picked, rather absurd.
My inner critic is Nellie Olson from Little House on the Prairie. I’m sure I’m aging myself and none of you know who the hell I’m talking about, but she was this passive-aggressive, manipulative little brat, who loved to tear people down and point out their flaws.
When I started thinking about creating this podcast and my video series, my inner critic Nellie showed up big time and I had to work hard to ignore her. It’s not that I don’t have the same insecurities and fears as everyone else, I just choose to push through them and do it anyway.
Ok to recap, the first strategy to be less held back by your fears is to identify them in the first place and figure out the root of them, strategy 2 is to distinguish what type of fear they are and prioritize tackling the ones that give you butterflies first, strategy 3 is to identify you inner critic and tune into when she’s influencing you and strategy 4 is to use desensitization in your arsenal of weapons against fear.
It’s pretty hard to have the same level of response to a fear that you’ve been faced with over and over and over again. It will slowly start to lose its power over you and eventually you’ll even become more comfortable with it. The key is to expose yourself to it in small, safe, doses.
If the idea of being on camera fills you with dread for example, do not schedule a Facebook live as your first foray into the world of video marketing. That will not go over well and will likely send you hightailing it back into the shadows. Instead you want to set yourself up for success, so practice first. In the case of video marketing, that usually starts with feeling good about how you look. So get your hair and makeup done and get some flattering lighting set up, set up a little studio with a nice background and if you’ll feel more confident writing a script and using a teleprompter to help you, then do that! Do whatever you can to make you feel more comfortable and then practice, practice, practice. Practice so many times that you no longer feel the same fear around it. When you’re feeling pretty desensitized, then start publishing recorded videos and when you’re comfortable with that, start doing lives.
They key here is to start low and go slow. Desensitization can be used for many fears. In the book rejection proof, the author willfully sought out rejection on a daily basis for 100 days realizing that the fear of rejection was a bigger obstacle than any single rejection ever would be.
Now this is where traditional coaches and brokerages go wrong, because they will often use this as an example as proof that you just need to overcome your fear of door knocking and cold calling etc. And this again is where you really need to understand the root of the fear. You might think at first glance that it’s a fear of rejection, but if you drill deeper, your dislike of these strategies is probably because they aren’t aligned with your values. You don’t like invading people’s private lives and bugging them by knocking on their door during dinnertime. And you don’t like doing it, because you don’t like when it’s done to you. There is a big difference between fear of rejection and misalignment with your values.
Ok Strategy 5 is to cut off the stream of crap and be more careful about the information you absorb. What do you watch on tv? What news do you listen to? Are you too focused on your competition, Whose opinion do you ask? This isn’t about being in denial or out of touch with what’s going on in the world, but it is about how much information you really need. If you’re constantly hearing negative things about the economy or the market or you’re focusing on all the business your competitors are getting, and you’re not or you’re worried all the time about what the tech disruptors will do to the real estate industry. It will really deflate you and distract you. Cut it off and focus on yourself and taking purposeful action towards your goals, every single day.
Last but not least, is strategy 6 and that is to keep the faith. In real estate there are always going to be tough times. It’s pretty unusual to find a realtor who has consistently outperformed every year prior, for their entire career. Stuff out of our control happens all the time – like market corrections, personal challenges, new competition, etc. and it takes a toll on our business.
Not being able to duplicate success can send us into a tailspin of panic, if we allow it to. And that is the key. I can say with 100% certainty that your business will ebb and flow. Having business, begets more business and having none, begets more of none. It can feel like you’re in a downward spiral that you can’t get out of. We’ve all had those periods in our career where we don’t really know where our next deal is coming from. It’s how we react in those situations, that separate the ones who ultimately make it and those that quit.
So when that happens, it’s time to dig in and double down. You might not be busy actively buying and selling real estate, but you need to get busy building your future business. The worst thing you can do is wander around aimlessly doing nothing. You need to have a purpose every single day and consistently take the actions needed to build your business back up.
The next thing you need to do is have faith. Real estate is inherently up and down – it’s seasonal, it’s cyclical and it ebbs and flows. The better you are at accepting that and planning for it, the better you’ll become at handling it. So when you’re not busy, get busy building your future business and have unwavering faith that it’ll come back.
So to wrap this podcast up, remember that Fear lives in the future. If I had let my fears run the show, I would still be working for the man in a boring corporate career making a fraction of what I’ve made. I wouldn’t be married to who I’m married to, I wouldn’t live where I live or have been able to acquire all the things that add so much joy to my life. But it did not come without a lot of risk and a lot of fear. I left a successful, safe, secure career to get into real estate and I’ve continued to take big risks over the years – opening up a real estate brokerage, starting a not for profit company and now this. I’m turning my back on a super successful real estate career, so that I can help others build theirs.
The feeling of being afraid is real, but fear itself is made up because it hasn’t even happened yet. All it takes to turn the fear factor around is learning to be comfortable in, instead of terrified of, the unknown. And this is best done through faith in yourself. Is your fear greater than your faith in yourself or is your faith in yourself greater than your fear?
That’s it for now. I am going to be taking a vacation for the next 2 weeks, so I will see you back here in a couple weeks. Remember, the more you learn the more you’ll earn.
Until next time.