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The Psychological Price of Real Estate

This was one of the most important things I’ve read this month. Connie Campbell (Don Campbell‘s beautiful wife) posted a thought provoking article from INC. called The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship on Facebook.

This has been me, through and through. I’ve been clinically depressed.

It’s also a lot of investors and real estate professionals I know – Realtors, mortgage brokers, contractors. I’ve used personal savings and sometimes credit cards to fund my business and my investing. I’ve stayed up nights wondering where the next pay cheque is coming from or if the tenants I don’t like have finally trashed the place. I’ve dreaded RTDRS hearings and difficult listing presentations. I’ve been through depression, therapists and the darkest of days. Real Estate is home to one of the highest divorce rates of any profession and I suspect the attrition rate of agents and investors will rival that of venture-backed startups.

There’s a couple things that help keep me on an even keel today:

  1. Knowing that I’m not in control. God is in control and I’m following his plan. He’s first, my vocation (my family) is second and I’m third. Serving God means respecting myself, my family, my clients and all of His creation.
  2. Taking mental health seriously. I’ve had a great psychologist in the past and I’m not afraid of seeking professional help in the future. Spiritual direction, a mens’ prayer group, confession and having a wife who is a social worker are all ways I actively examine my emotional bank account. We talk about mental health at home and with my family at least weekly.
  3. Staying conscious of what I’m eating, how much exercise I’m doing and how much me time I’m getting. This morning, like many mornings, I’m at a restaurant having a light breakfast and taking an hour to write. Sure, as a Commercial Realtor I could go work at one of the major firms but I’ve yet to be convinced that it wouldn’t drive me insane. I know that I need the flexibility to be creative and drive my business forward.
  4. Using systems and groups of like minded, supportive individuals. Places/people like RE/MAX, REIN, #krix, the prayer group Mike and I attend, my Church and my family are just a couple of these.
  5. Being honest about myself to myself. I have a couple groups of friends who get together and I know I can call when I’m down. From random ideas to my actual financials – it’s all out on the table. I’m not interested in being prideful and putting up a successful front. My priorities are in #1 above – being the biggest and best in other people’s eyes just isn’t a consideration.

Business is tough and by admitting when it’s tough we make ourselves stronger, not weaker.

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    { 5 comments… add one }

    • Zander Robertson January 28, 2014, 6:58 pm

      Wow.

      Chris, this is one of the bravest blog posts I’ve seen in a long while.

      Thank you.

      • Chris January 30, 2014, 9:54 am

        Thanks Zander, it was a little bit interesting to think through the process and decide how to look at it. I still think the original article is brilliant and is just the surface of a thousand stories of business people who have taken a long time to find balance and success.

    • Jerry Aulenbach January 28, 2014, 8:19 pm

      Thanks for taking the risk to share this, Chris. I’m really glad that discussing mental health has become less stigmatized (if only by a bit) of late, because holding it in can’t make things any better. May you never feel shame for the challenges you face, and may you always have someone you trust to talk things over. I’d be glad to chat if you ever felt the need.

      -Jerry

      • Chris January 30, 2014, 9:55 am

        Thanks Jerry, you had a couple great posts on twitter lately too. We all need to talk about it more openly, our Brokers and franchises too. This can be a tough business, but it doesn’t have to be.

    • Jennifer March 14, 2014, 1:02 am

      Great post! It really helped to give me some ideas of ways to stay on an even keel. It lets me know that others feel the ups and downs of this business and that I’m not alone.

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