Keeping your cool — How to remain calm when things don’t go as planned

Change is inherent in the real estate industry, which means that learning to roll with changes as a real estate agent is an occupational hazard that simply can’t be avoided. Although the ever-changing and unpredictable nature of work as a professional REALTOR® is exciting, stimulating and incredibly rewarding, it can also be an incredibly stressful career.

There are dozens of variables at play in every transaction, whether you’re selling a distressed property, working with nervous first-time homebuyers, or even working with seasoned investors. No matter how organized, how diligent, or how long you’ve been in the field, there are going to be days when things go a little haywire, and there’s nothing you can do to control it.

Fortunately, there are ways to control how you react to stressful situations. Indeed, there are tried-and-true tactics for keeping your cool, even when blindsided by an unexpected challenge in a purchase or sale. Here are five tips that will help you to stay calm, when things don’t go as planned.

Remember to Breathe — When you get word that an unforeseen delay, or other obstacle has arisen, the first thing to remember is that taking a few deep breaths will help to calm you down immediately. Try closing your eyes for a few minutes and put the problem on pause, to focus on breathing. This helps to calm your mind and can help slow down your body’s physical response to stress.

Seek a Solution — When a curveball is thrown your way, it’s helpful to look at the problem and identify whether there is anything you can do to correct it, or whether it’s out of your control. If there is a possible solution, determine your strategy, and take the next steps towards resolution. If there is nothing you can do about it, let your clients, or others involved know about the setback as soon as possible. That way, making a phone call you don’t want to make isn’t hanging over your head for any longer than necessary. Addressing the situation as soon as possible will help you to feel less stressed.

Keep Away from the Caffeine — When stressful situations arise, steering clear of additional stimulants is a good idea. Caffeine can trigger additional adrenaline production which may give you a quick extra burst of energy, but will soon likely be followed by a “crash” period, where fatigue, if not outright exhaustion can set in. Reach for a glass of water, or a healthy juice in lieu of a caffeinated beverage when things feel chaotic.

Tap into the Power of Positivity — Catastrophizing when things go wrong only serves to induce additional stress. Try taking a few moments to identify the positive things happening in other transactions, in your life, or with a new promising client, to keep your chin up. Positive thinking during challenging times will do wonders in terms of keeping you focused on the next task at hand, rather than letting an obstacle or setback throw off your whole day.

Talk it Out — There is great benefit to discussing the challenge you’re facing with someone you trust. Perhaps it is time to call your mentor, or your coach. Maybe you need to just touch base with a confidante or close colleague. Not only will talking through the challenge likely feel like a weight off your shoulders, but there’s always the chance that whomever you call may have a solution you haven’t thought of. Either way, sharing your feelings with someone else can help take some of the sting out of a stressful experience.

As real estate agents, the personal satisfaction earned through helping others, succeeding in negotiations, or selling a home that clients are desperate to sell is limitless. Yet, all REALTORS® will have to work their way through stressful situations to get those rewards at some point in their career. It’s important to remember that staying calm, when times become stressful will only help you to better serve your clients, your referral partners, and your own well-being. Learning to accept that obstacles will come up, and employing these best practices to stay as relaxed as possible when unexpected obstacles arise, will be an invaluable tool for the rest of your career.