How To Prevent Realtor Burnout: The 5-Step Reset
Hey there and thanks for tuning in to the women rocking real estate show. If you’re new here, welcome I’m your host Jen Percival and I’m all about helping agents start, grow and scale real estate businesses in a way that feels aligned with how you want to build your business.
For those of you that have been loyal listeners since the beginning, it has been two years now since my youngest son was diagnosed with a rare disease and you know that the process we went through to get to that diagnosis was pure torture. But you also know that it was a very powerful life lesson for me, that I promised myself I would never forget. If you’re new here on the other hand and you’re someone who struggles with overworking and feeling like you’re not really getting to enjoy your life as much as you’d like, especially if you’re a parent, I highly encourage you to go back and take a listen to that episode. It was number 42.
So one of the small ways I want to keep that life lesson alive and active in my life is to always dedicate February’s episode to ways that we can find more balance and boundaries in our businesses to prevent burnout, but even more importantly to bring more presence and perspective into our businesses and our lives.
Now this time of year usually feels like a fresh start for many people. We all have great intentions and hopes that this year will be different and better than last. So it’s not typically a time of year that most people struggle with burnout. But here’s the thing…..If we felt it before and haven’t done anything about it that had staying power (and staying power is the key), then it’s just a matter of time before it rears its ugly head again.
So instead of being reactive and doing a reset when you’ve hit rock bottom and absolutely need one, be proactive and do one before you need it.
Now I also know there’s lots of you listening that are just getting started in the business and you may be thinking that this episode isn’t relevant for you because you’re not busy enough to be burntout yet, but I want you to shelve that belief. For starters, One of my mottos in life is to start as you wish to go on. Which means however you want to end, that’s the way you need to start. If we’re not intentional about what that looks like, we end up developing bad habits along the way and it’s much harder to undo bad habits, than it is to start with good ones right from the beginning.
The second reason this episode will still be relevant, is that resets are really helpful for everyone and aren’t only for when you’re feeling burnt out. The steps are also really beneficial if you’re struggling to take consistent action or it feels like you’re not making traction. So whichever boat you fall into – it’s usually one or the other – you either don’t have enough business and you’re struggling to take action or you’ve got lots of business and have no life. Either end of that spectrum can be treated with resets. So although the examples I’ll be talking about relate to agents who struggle with overworking, the steps I outline can be applied to those at the other end of the spectrum too.
Alright with that, let’s dive in….
As I mentioned, I personally hit a wall in the fall last year. I had started the year off (like I do every year) with a very clear picture of what I wanted to accomplish, how I wanted to structure my business, who I wanted to work with, when I wanted to work and most importantly WHY all of that was important to me. I liken it to getting on a train with a clear action plan and clear direction of where you want to go and who will be coming with you on that train. The rails are there to help keep you on track.
Well it was like I woke up one day in the fall and realized I had no idea where I even was or how I got there… and it was NOT where I had intended to be, nor wanted to be. Everything I had set out to do, had gone off the rails and I was headed in a totally different direction that wasn’t even on the same train train track that I’d started out on. Now when I say that, I don’t mean that my business wasn’t doing well. It was doing fantastic, but it was once again at the expense of balance and it just wasn’t what I had set out to do.
And I don’t know about you, but when things go off the rails for me, it’s not just my business that gets affected. It affects everything. Everything seems to go off the rails. My health, my relationships, my happiness. I suddenly woke up and realized I was attracting the wrong people, I wasn’t spending time with the right people, my morning routine had disappeared – I had stopped brain priming, I stopped doing the things I love – like playing tennis and cooking. I wasn’t eating well, I wasn’t exercising. I was getting pulled into drama, I wasn’t spending enough time with my kids and was distracted and not present when I was with them, I was fighting with my husband over stupid shit and I was feeling anxious and on edge all the time.
Basically I felt like I’d lost all the progress I’d made over the past few years. But the one thing I did know, was that I’d been here before. This was not my first rodeo with getting off track and feeling burnout. I’d done big resets before and I knew I could do it again.
So step #1 is simply to recognize you need a reset.
Step 1 – Recognize Your Need To Reset
The first step in any recovery program is admitting to yourself that there’s a problem. For those of you that are already feeling completely burnt out or are on the brink of it, you’ll be able to recognize the need to reset easily. It’s obvious to you. But for those of you that aren’t there yet, it’s really helpful to be aware of the signs that it’s coming for you in the future.
The first thing that everyone should do regularly is to go back to your big why. WHY did you get into real estate in the first place? What were you hoping it would allow you to do and to have in your life?
When I got into real estate….
- I thought it would allow me to have more freedom. To work less hours and to work the hours when I wanted, instead of being trapped at an office 9-5pm.
- I thought it would allow me to spend more time with my kids and be able to volunteer in their school and go on class field trips.
- I thought it would give me more financial freedom to be able to take family vacations and buy a second home that we could enjoy on weekends and in the summer.
In reality however, until I finally figured out how to structure my business properly, I ended up working WAY more hours than I had in my corporate career and it was always in the evenings and on the weekends when my kids were home. Yes I did get to volunteer in their class, but I missed dinners and bath time and bedtime and all of their weekend activities in exchange.
Yes it did allow me a lot of financial freedom, but I was never able to enjoy those family vacations because I was always preoccupied on my phone dealing with issues. When I took stock of where I had wanted to be vs. where I was, I realized where I had ended up, did not align with WHY I got into the business in the first place and I knew that if I didn’t change things, it was only going to get worse.
So ask yourself these questions even if you’re not feeling burnout yet, to see whether a reset would either help you course correct now or whether you need to make some changes moving forward to prevent burnout from happening.
- Do you enjoy how you’re spending your time? Do you have enough time to do the things you love outside of work? Do you spend your time at work doing the things you love or are you giving away your most precious resource (time) to things you don’t enjoy or aren’t good at?
- Are you fully present when you’re with your friends and family?
- Can you go on a vacation and actually enjoy yourself without working?
- Are you attracting the right types of clients who you enjoy working with?
Or are you finding yourself attracting people who you can’t please? Or people who don’t value your opinion or take your advice?
- Do you have a predictable schedule where you own your hours or are you a pop tart agent that jumps up and stops doing whatever you were doing to cater to your clients every demand? No judgment, I was one too.
- Do you find yourself resenting the business and the constant fire fighting?
- Do you find yourself agreeing to things and taking on things you wish you’d said no to?
- Do things sometimes go wrong in your deals and if you dig deep you know there was something that could have been done to prevent it, but you were too busy or didn’t have the systems or processes set up to prevent it?
- Do you find yourself repeating the same things or doing the same things over and over again and you KNOW you could be running your business
Depending on how many of those questions you were nodding yes to, will tell you if a reset would be worthwhile. If you answered yes to a lot of them, then you know a reset would not only be helpful, but is necessary. If you know in your heart that your business is not on a path where you it to be and that things either need to change now or will need to change in the future, decide today that you’re going to go back to the station to pick a different destination.
Now the problem with doing a reset however, is that you can’t just get back on the train you’d intended in the beginning. When you’re on a completely different track, you have to stop your train, go back to the station and start over again on a different track. And for most people, that is just too hard, so they stay on the same track hoping it will take them where they want to go eventually. But here’s the truth and you already know this….It won’t. The only way to get back on track is to recognize that you’re not on the right one and to acknowledge that you’re going to need to do a hard reset if you want anything to change in the future.
The next problem is that changing things means you have to slow down in order to speed up and that can be very scary, especially for agents that have patterns of overachieving and overworking. You’ve got to recognize that usually a pattern of being a workaholic stems from underlying and unconscious beliefs around security and fears of scarcity. If we slow down to fix things, that may mean we have to turn away business and if we turn away business, what if it dries up? It’s that fear that keeps us stuck, so we just keep going on the same train to unhappyville, taking on more and more business, because we’re afraid to stop and set things up the way they need to be set up, to set us up for the life that we actually want vs. the one we’ve built.
Step 2 – Resolve Underlying Beliefs that keep you stuck in patterns of overworking.
So before you can get onto a different track, you’ll need to take a pitstop at the station to resolve the underlying & unconscious beliefs that keep you stuck in patterns that don’t serve you. Otherwise, you’ll unknowingly get back on the same train and just keep ending up at the same destination and wondering how and why you keep going there.
In my Foundations of Success program, I teach a lot about mindset and overcoming limiting beliefs that keep you stuck in these unhelpful patterns and one thing I see over and over and over again, is that the successful agents often skip the work. They get to that module and think, this is not my problem because they don’t usually have issues with self-confidence or selfworth. They don’t have issues with staying motivated or taking consistent action. You tell them to do something and they go do it and usually they’ll do even more than you asked. There’s never excuses. They are doers and so because of that, they don’t believe that they have limiting beliefs that don’t serve them. But they’re no different than everyone else, they just have different limiting beliefs that don’t serve them in different ways.
Instead of struggling with self-confidence or worthiness, they get stuck in patterns of overworking and overachieving. They need to be producing to feel good. It’s their work that defines their worth. Success makes them feel good and money makes them feel safe, so they keep chasing more and more success. They often take on things they wish they hadn’t and they overcommit and do things themselves, instead of outsourcing and delegating because no one else can do it they way they would. It’s just easier and faster and I know it’ll get done right, if I just do it myself. Sound familiar?
If you set goals every year and almost always reach them, that’s great. The problem happens when we reach that goal and then pick up the goal line up and move it somewhere further the next year. It becomes a real problem when you do this on repeat every year….especially when you don’t make critical changes in how you structure your business, so that it doesn’t keep requiring more of you, to keep reaching those new goals. Outperforming is addictive, especially for high-performing people who have subconscious limiting beliefs around their security.
When we become addicted to working, we aren’t able to turn our business OFF, so we stay perpetually in ON mode and when we do that, we’re robbing ourselves of enjoying the life we’re working so hard to build. Why are we working so hard? It’s to build a life, but if we don’t get to enjoy it and if our health and our families are paying the price, what’s the point?
For most people to resolve those underlying and unconscious beliefs that keep them stuck in patterns of overworking, it requires working with a professional. Either a therapist, a coach or both. I am currently working with both and it’s not the first time I’ve needed external help, nor will it be the last time. I seem to go in 2-year cycles where I’m good and on the right train and then after about 2 years I find myself off course and need a reset. It doesn’t mean I’m failing, it just means I’m just being a regular, normal human. But I do pay attention to the signs and I do force myself go back to the train station so that I can get back on the right track again. And doing that meant slowing things down in my business. It meant saying no to things and although that can be scary, it’s critically necessary in a reset.
Alright so moving along, after you’ve done the work to resolve those underlying beliefs that are dictating your patterns of behaviour that aren’t serving you, the next step in doing a reset is to get clear on where you want to go and WHY.
Step 3: Get Clear on where you want to go and WHY
Sounds obvious I know, but sometimes we need a reminder. Decide what life you want and how you want to spend your time. What would your life and your business look like in a perfect world? Once you’ve dreamed about that, what about a more realistic world, but one that would still feel fulfilling and would allow you to have more freedom?
How much money would you really NEED to make? When I started scaling my real estate business so that I could start working less and living more, I realized that I actually only needed to earn about 65% of what I was generating to be happy. The rest was just extra money that I would invest which was great, but the epiphany I had, was that the extra money wasn’t worth the price I had to pay for it. It wasn’t worth the stress, the time lost with my family, the toll it took on my health. I realized that if I gave 35% of my business to my team, that I would actually save more than 50% of my time.
The way I structured my business returned more back in time, than the investment of money. Yes I was making less, but I was still making more than enough and I had so much more time, that made it so worth it. It changed everything and was great for a while, until I started needing to fulfil a bigger desire to help others do the same thing I had and that’s when I pivoted my business.
So what would your life look like if you earned a bit less, but had so much more time to enjoy your life more? Imagine what it would feel like to be able to go on vacation anytime you want and know that your business is being taken care of? Imagine only working 20 hours a week and having your
evenings and weekends free to spend with your friends and family? Imagine being able to take your summers off and travel? Is the extra money you’re making over and above what would be comfortable, really worth everything you’re giving up for it? Because that is the beauty of real estate. You get to decide. It might not feel like that, but it’s true.
So whatever that vision looks like, how would your business need to be set up to support that vision?
Step 4 – Set your business up to support your vision
What would you want to focus spending your time on? What types of clients would you want to attract? What boundaries would you need to have? What would you need to say no to, to give space and room to do more of what you love?
In order to reset effectively, you really need to tear your business back down to the studs and rebuild it in a way that’s going to support the life you desire. And yes, you’ll have to slow down and take the time needed to rebuild from the ground up. It requires stepping back, in order to move forward.
Now it can often be hard to see opportunities for efficiencies in our businesses because we’re too close to it. When we’ve always done something a certain way, we don’t even see that there could be other ways of doing it that are easier or faster or better. We all have blindspots in our businesses that we can’t see, which is why most big companies invest millions every year hiring external consultants to help them. I rarely have a call with my coach where I don’t say at some point ‘I never even thought of that’ or she’ll ask me why I do something and I’m like “Well I’ve always just done it that way and it never occurred to me until now that it wasn’t necessary.” In the rearview mirror it seems so obvious, but that’s how hindsight works. We can’t see it until it’s behind us.
When it comes to resetting your business, the end goal is always going to be to leverage people, systems & processes so that you can automate, delegate or eliminate EVERYTHING in your business that you don’t love doing, so that you can work less and live more, while still earning a great living.
So if you’re newer to real estate, I want you to think of that vision as your end goal and where you want to end up one day. Start as you wish to go on. What will you need to leverage people, systems and processes so that you can eventually automate, delegate or eliminate EVERYTHING in your business that you don’t love doing?
For those of you that are on the wrong track and need to go back to the station and reset, how will you need to tear your business back to the studs so that you can leverage people, systems & processes so that you can automate, delegate or eliminate EVERYTHING in your business that you don’t love doing? Where do you know there are inefficiencies in your business? What are you doing manually that you know could be automated? What do you find yourself doing or repeating over and over and over again?
That goes for things related to clients but also for things related to your support staff which includes all of the trades you work with, assistants and team members. If we want to work less and live more, we’ve got to look into every nook and cranny of our business to see where we’re spending time unnecessarily. When you audit your business this way, you’ll likely discover that you spend up to 50% of your time doing things you either don’t need to be doing or you’re doing things that could be automated or they’re things that could and should be delegated.
Can you imagine getting 50% of your time back? What would you do? How would you enjoy that time? Now if you’d unconsciously fill it back up with more make work projects, then you have got to go back to step #2 and resolve the underlying issues keeping you stuck in that unhealthy pattern of behaviour.
Step 5 – Retrain Your Brain
Once you’ve gone through this reset process, the last and most critical step is to retrain your brain to start acting in alignment with what you want vs. Being stuck on auto-pilot of who you’ve been. Because these overworking habits are so deeply ingrained in our psyche and have formed our identity, we will very easily slip back into old patterns of behaviour unless we’re very intentional about rewiring our brain around the identity we desire.
What does that mean? Well it starts with putting YOU first above your work. What does that look like? Well for starters, It means the obvious of focusing on self-care and spending more time doing things that make you feel good outside of working and that means pushing through the distress you can feel when you do that….guilt, fear, boredom, discomfort. If you’ve been a certain way your whole life, but you want to be a different way, well it’s going to be a bit of an uncomfortable journey to get there.
If you don’t have a lot of joys outside of work or you don’t have the time to enjoy the joys you have…well both are signs you need a reset. There is so much joy to life outside of work and remember, this is coming from someone who LOOOOOVES working.
Retraining your brain also means setting your daily routines up in a way that are aligned with who you want to become. It means setting your calendar up to be aligned with who you want to become. It means not checking your phone before 9 or 10am, because folks there is no emergency related to real estate that can’t be dealt with after that. Like seriously, we convince ourselves otherwise, but those are just excuses to keep us stuck in patterns that don’t serve us. Everyone that I work with one on one has to keep their phone in their office, sometimes with the door locked and the key placed far away to stop the habit of checking it incessantly. And once they break that habit, a whole new world opens up and little by little they start making changes that change everything in their life and in their business.
When we act in alignment with who we want to be (even if we’re not that person yet), your brain starts to believe that is who you are and then it automates those beliefs in the subconscious part of your brain. Once that happens, up to 90% of the decisions that you make and the actions that you take are based on that identity. And I assure you they will be very different decisions and you will take very different actions and as a result, you’ll see very different results. You’ll look back and think to yourself, “oh my God, if only I had figured this out earlier.”
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, I have gone through this reset and tear down process myself and realized that I ended up on the wrong track and that meant restructuring everything, which meant needing to pause everything. Is it scary to do that? Yes. Have I probably lost some business in the process? Ya. But what’s the alternative? Staying on a train that’s taking you somewhere you don’t want to go and further and further away from where you do want to go? That does not feel like the best plan to me, so getting off sooner rather than later is always the way to go.
So to recap, the first step is to recognize that you need a reset, step 2 is to resolve Underlying Beliefs that are keeping you stuck in patterns that aren’t serving you, step 3 is to get clear on where you want to go, step 4 is to set your business up in ways that are aligned and will support that long-term vision and step 5 is to retrain your brain to start acting in alignment with who you want to become, even before you’ve become that person. It’s kinda like fake it till you make it.
Alright If you’ve listened this long, I hope that means you’re enjoying the show. I’d love it if you could take the time to leave me a review on Apple podcasts if that’s the case. I read every one of them and they keep me motivated to keep moving forward with the show.
Remember the more you learn, the more you’ll earn but only if you’re implementing what you’re learning.
Until next time.