For many real estate agents and hardworking entrepreneurs, a state of burnout can feel inevitable. Especially as daily stressors of the job stack up on an already packed personal schedule. Add new responsibilities, tight deadlines, a shifting business landscape, and increased demands at home to the mix, and there can be little room for emotional, physical, and spiritual renewal. However, once reached, burnout can lead you away from your path to joy, productivity, and possibility warns KW MAPS Coach Jordan Freed.
For six years, Freed has coached Keller Williams’ top agents and teams. And, at over 170 transactions per year, his average client is no stranger to burnout.
“Unfortunately, in our society today – and for high achievers – burnout can feel like a badge of honor, but in reality, it can wreak havoc on your life and business if you don’t have a plan in place to prevent it,” he shares.
Freed advocates that, like lead generation, a plan to combat and stop burnout in its tracks is essential for real estate agents today, and offers tips to handle it with sensitivity, seriousness, and care.
Recognize the symptoms.
Burnout defined: “A reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress and is characterized by three main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism (less identification with the job), and feelings of reduced professional ability.” – Herbert Freudenberger, Psychologist
Many people associate burnout with a prolonged period of exhaustion – mentally, physically, and emotionally. While true, the levels and symptoms vary from person to person.Your version of burnout will look different than mine. The early warning signs usually include frustration, fatigue, and fear. A lot of people describe it as “hitting a wall.” Underneath the symptoms is the root cause – an end of progress or momentum. If you look at the areas of your life you are happy in, it’s usually because you’re experiencing progress. Burnout is the opposite of that. It is the result of an activity or series of activities without any forward movement.
Follow the breadcrumbs.
You cannot catch burnout like the common cold; you get there after a series of actions and inactions. The best way to avoid burnout in the future is to follow the breadcrumbs that led you there. I do this with my clients by guiding them through an exercise. I begin with one simple question: “I want to be an expert at becoming burned out and you know how to achieve it. Teach me how to do it. Where do I start?” As they answer, I ask follow-up questions and ask them to elaborate on specific points. When we’re done, we review the step-by-step account they’ve provided, looking for common phrases, ideas, and themes. We often uncover a long list of habits that have built up over time, things like a lack of sleep, an inability to say “no” or to set boundaries that stem from uncertainty or fear. Next, we prioritize actions/habits that need to be altered or stopped entirely to avoid the state of burnout that they have illustrated to me. The goal is to work toward awareness and not be held captive by uncertainty and fear. Once you’re aware, it’s important to own it and take action to avoid the cycle.
Recast and reforecast.
As you approach burnout prevention, take a page from Gary Keller’s playbook:
- Recast your vision – The ONE reason behind all of your efforts. All soldiers going into battle understand the reason they are there.
- Reforecast your goal – It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change it. Maybe it’s as simple as reforecasting the action steps you’ll take to get there.
When you recast and reforecast, ask yourself:
- Do I have to look at this in this way?
- Are there options available to me?
- If I wanted there to be an option available to me to take this action step, what would it be?
Embrace a mindset of possibility.
As a coach, I’ve learned that people are motivated by inspiration or desperation, but inspiration is a cleaner fuel source to burn. Inspiration keeps you moving, whereas desperation/fear can motivate you to get started but won’t allow you to get far. The fastest way to avoid and/or get out of the state of burnout is to pose BIG questions to yourself; questions that INSPIRE and place you in the mindset of possibility.
For example, I ask my clients: “What would you do if I were to write you a $1 million check if you hit 15 listings this month?”
From there, we brainstorm possibilities, discuss resources, and outline a plan. Soon, feelings of hopelessness and exhaustion transform into excitement and energy.
Create your energy plan.
Gary Keller teaches that if you want a consistent, predictable result in any area of your life, you will need a model. On pages 306-310 of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, he introduces one of the most important models in the book – The Energy Plan. This plan helps you establish what your game plan will be to create sustainable energy in five categories: spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and business.
Once you’ve decided which activities you’ll need to commit to on a daily basis in each category, you can execute, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed and fatigued, you can turn to your plan and reassess which parts need to be modified or need a little extra care.
The reality is, without energy and enthusiasm, your ability to maintain focus and experience momentum will be compromised. Big Goals require a big, sustained effort, which requires a steady flow of energy at your disposal.
Print and hang this MREA energy sign at your desk as a reminder to take advantage of the first few hours of the day.