The good news is that it happens to everyone at some point (or more than once). But, wait, there’s more!!! The risk that hitting this kind of wall will kill you is pretty low. Yes, you might get down a little. You might experience a metaphorical sense of temporary paralysis. There is also a significant risk of denial that you have, in fact, hit a wall. The one thing you have to remember is that it is all temporary. As my father likes to say, “This too shall pass.” So, the question you have to ask yourself is:
What are you going to do to get around, climb your way over, or bust through that wall like a freaking wrecking ball?
The term “hitting the wall” comes from the running world. “The wall” is defined as that period in a marathon when things transition from being pretty hard to being really, really hard. It is the point where your legs turn into lead and your brain tells you to stop. It’s the perfect intersection of exhaustion and diminished mental faculties.
When I started talking about writing this post, I got this quote from a friend: “The problem in this job is that from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed people need things from me. It’s kids in the morning, clients and agents during the day, then a combination of the two from about 5-10 pm. It’s draining.” You start to lose that feeling of accomplishment, that high of closing the deal, the pride of building your business. That’s not good. Untreated, this leads to an extreme lack of “give a damn” and can severely affect your business. I have a friend in this business, an extremely high producer today, that quite literally quit real estate at one point because he hit the wall and couldn’t figure out how to get back on track. So, here is the Real Estate 12-Step Program for all of you workaholics:
1) Admit You Have a Problem – I once went 67 days without a day off. At the time, I felt like it was fine and that I was fine. Then I got a couple of days off and realized exactly how exhausted I was and how in denial I had been. I never made that mistake again. Sometimes it can be difficult to admit because who else is going to do it? This is your baby and no one can love your baby the way you do. You have to realize the problem before you can attack it.
2) Get Away From it All – Nothing refreshes like a break. A real break. Not a leave town for a couple of days and check your messages and emails every ten minutes break. A break where you disconnect. Leave your files with a working partner, jump a plane and disappear. Leave your cell phone and computer at home. Buy a disposable cell phone if you have to have one and only give the number to people that ABSOLUTELY have to have it.
3) Power Through – Sometimes the only thing you can do is put your nose to the grindstone and just plow ahead. One of my favorite business books is called Rhinoceros Success and the mantra from it is “Keep Charging”. Put on your big girl or boy pants and get through the slump. It will end.
4) Revisit Your Why – What makes you tick? Why did you get in this business in the first place? When you start to lose your motivation and focus, it’s time to revisit the reason you are here in the first place. Make a vision board. Reset your wallpaper on your computer. Put reminders everywhere. Let that reward be the spark you need to re-engage.
5) Make a Plan – Yes, I know you already have one. Yes, I know you probably spent a good deal of time setting goals and working out your plan. Make a new one. Even if it is something totally unrelated to your business. Make a plan for something. Just the simple act of brainstorming a new plan can get the creative juices flowing enough to spark some excitement.
6) Pamper Yourself – When you feel the drag of so many people pulling at you and needing something and wanting your attention and time, go do something that is just for you. Get a massage or a manicure. My favorite thing to do when I feel like this is to get a straight blade shave, even if I don’t need a shave. Plus it has the added bonus of making you feel like an old mobster, which is cool. Spend some time and attention on you, because you are important and deserve it.
7) Get a Coach – Yes, coaching can be pricey. Yes, finding the right one can be tough. Enough with the excuses. Is your business worth the investment. If you go from making $100,000 a year while beating your head against the wall to implementing systems and processes that allow you to make $300,000 a year with far less stress, is it worth it to spend a few hundred bucks a month? Yes, yes it is. Go get a coach.
8) Seek Professional Help – What’s getting you down? What’s the part of the business that is driving you nuts and making you want to quit? Find someone else who can do that and start delegating. See step 7 for the justification. See step 5 for some added fun on what and how you delegate.
9) Go Small – You know the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant?” The same thing could be said about dismantling a wall. One brick at a time. Take baby steps. Do one thing to completion and then reward yourself. Then do it again. Next thing you know, you’ll be on a roll of small successes and the big stuff will look less daunting.
10) Kill Vampires – We’ve talked about this before on this blog, but you have to get to a point respecting yourself and your time enough to get rid of time killers, or, as I call them, blood-sucking vampires. Some clients aren’t worth it. Some projects aren’t worth it. Assess honestly and get rid of them. It’s really hard the first time, but it gets easier.
11) Change Your Surroundings – As crazy as this sounds, making a simple change in your surroundings can make a huge impact on how you feel about work. When I first started in real estate, I worked in an 8×10 office five feet from my bed. I got so tired of it that it would drive me nuts sometimes. Get out. Go to Starbucks or somewhere similar. Repaint your office or rearrange your furniture. Just make a change and see how it affects your mood.
12) Get Very Real With Yourself and Your Wall – OK, you’ve been given 11 things to try. If those don’t work, I think you need to have a very serious chat with yourself. Are you the reason you’re up against the wall? Did you build the wall? Sometimes you have to get out of your own head and way. Be brutally honest with yourself and then power through it.
“Hi, my name is Chance and I’m a workaholic.” After starting my day at 7:00 a.m., I am just now putting the finishing touches on a blog post at 1:10 a.m. If you’re like me, you will most likely hit a wall at some point. I hope this 12-Step Program works for you.
All the Best.