Don't Lose Sight of Your Quality of Life!
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a long-held belief that the first and the most important thing in your business is creating quality of life.
As our inventory-lean markets move faster and faster, I want to encourage all of you to think about your quality of life BEFORE you reach a stage where you are burned-out.
What do I mean by, "quality of life?" If I had to define it simply it would be happiness that is created when there is a good balance between your personal and professional lives.
Sociologists study quality of life in their quest to better understand the world in which we live. They look at things such as wealth (or the lack of it), health, political stability, job security, the safety of the community, divorce rates, equality issues (gender, race, sexuality), and even climate and geographical influences. They have many complicated indices they use to analyze quality of life.
For me, there's a much simpler way. I just listen to my gut.
I learned my lesson about quality of life the hard way - but boy am I glad that I learned it! Back in the day when I was actively selling, I would routinely close in excess of 125 transactions per year - most of them as a listing agent. This was before we had electronic key boxes, so as a listing agent I had to open my listings up for each and every buyer's agent who wanted to show the property. Each time I wanted to show one of my listings (or someone else's) that meant I was out showing. It wasn't like today's market where you put a house on the MLS and four hours later you had seven offers.
I know, I know. You're probably all wondering how I did it. Or maybe you're doubting if it could even be done. I'm here to tell you that it can - but at a price. And it's not a price any of you should pay.
For me, my "I've had enough" moment came when I was late arriving home one Christmas Eve. Yes, Superwoman (that's how I thought of myself back then!) was out working on December 24th. By the time I arrived home I had missed dinner with my family and the services at church. As I rushed around the house trying to make things right my husband calmly said to me, "You know Denise, five years from now these clients may not even remember your name. But your family will always remember that you missed this time with them."
Wow. What a sucker-punch to the gut that was. And hearing that honesty from my husband was what it took to put me on a whole new track with regard to quality of life. It didn't take me long to restructure my business and personal lives. Here is the result:
- Today, I set boundaries and rules for my business.
- Today, I have times that I am available to clients, and times that I am not.
- Today, I communicate clearly with my clients exactly what I can and cannot do for them, and when I am (and am not available).
- Today, I approach each working day with energy, because I know what I have committed to on a daily and weekly basis.
- Today, I don't feel guilty about saying, "I'm sorry, but I can't do that."
- Today, I schedule a minimum of four weeks of vacation each year, as well as a smattering of three-day weekends.
- Today, my family is my priority.
Most of you are engaged and full-steam-ahead with today's crazy housing market. If you have been operating non-stop for months and not allowing time with family and friends, think about that. Maybe you are thinking, I just can't do it right now, then plan for it. Put it on your calendar. Find someone you trust to cover for you. Stick with that plan and when you do disconnect, be present in doing something you enjoy. You won't regret it and that energy will carry you forward when you get back to work.
I encourage you to spend a little time thinking about your quality of life - what is it today, and what do you want it to be tomorrow? Sometimes all that takes is re-prioritizing. Sometimes it requires adding something to your business. And sometimes it means subtracting. Maybe it just requires a little focus and planning to put yourself first.
I hope you'll take the time to figure out how to improve your quality of life. If I can do it, anyone can!
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.