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How to avoid self destruction

How to avoid self destruction

By Darrin Friedman


Are you tired?

You should be. After all, real estate professionals have an exhausting job. It’s one where you never stop. Your phone rings and you answer it. Your device buzzes and your eyes go to it. Even when someone else’s device buzzes, your body’s response is to tighten into a stressful mess of nervous twitches.

The fact is we have all become a collective ball of reactionary anxiety. Admit it: We are spinning out of control.

Doesn’t feel so good, does it?

I often come across articles about living a more stress-free life. You know, one of those “five tips” thingies that are supposed to make us feel better about ourselves.

That’s not what this piece is about. I have no intention to even pretend that I know the one special tip that will make you feel better about our communal state of emotional disrepair.

Further, most of the advice columns you read about the subject of reducing stress are so self-evident. Deep breaths, you say? Yeah, that’s earth-shattering. Moreover, the writers often have no clue how to make their advice realistic or applicable in the world of real estate sales. I mean, can you imagine not being immediately responsive to a client? They don’t care what time it is. And let’s be honest: You’re up anyway. When a call comes in at 10 p.m. from one of your clients who’s angry, upset, or despondent, are you really going to let that go to voicemail? Of course you aren’t. It’s professional suicide. Or at the very least, that’s how we have come to perceive it.

But perhaps there is a new way out of our self-created mutual destruction; something we could work on or agree to where our reactions can be a healthy choice instead of a detrimental move to self-sabotage. In that spirit, I submit to you a couple of different ways we can change this paradigm. (Yes, this is ending up as a “tips” column. Sorry.)

  1. During dinner with your family, put your phone in another room. Why tempt yourself? You know and I know: If it remains in your pocket, you’ll look. And you know and I know that every time you look, you will take a little piece of happiness from the person sitting across from you. Believe me, whoever is on the other side of the phone or text will wait 20 minutes. I promise you, it will be okay.
  2. Make a deal with your spouse. This one comes from my therapist, so you know it’s for real. Whether it is for 20 minutes, 10 minutes, or your own specified time period, commit to connecting with your spouse at home. Put down the phone, put away the devices, and actually connect. Don’t talk about clients or work. Talk about them. Talk about your kids. Get grounded in the real world that is your stable, happy place. This serves to remind you why you do all the crazy stuff without actually being swept up in all the crazy stuff. If you make it a habit, you will be surprised by how effective and healing it can be.
  3. Do something for you (also therapist-approved). Do anything in the world that you enjoy. Whether it’s a painting class, book club, community theater—I don’t care what; just don’t make it about finding clients! Do it to fill your soul. You’ll be shocked how fulfilling this can be, especially when you don’t make it about getting a sale.

I’m not claiming to have all the answers. But I do know this: If we don’t make a change for the better, we will eventually self-destruct. And I don’t know about you, but that is one activity that just doesn’t fit into my busy schedule.