The real estate business can be fast-paced, stressful, and somewhat unbalanced when it comes to life and work. But Penelope Whichello and others who practice mindfulness believe there is a better way to be successful with less anxiety, which helps agents and clients alike.
“Mindfulness is the art of being present,” says Whichello, broker-owner of Penelope Properties Inc., in Beaufort, S.C., and Palm City, Fla. She also created Mindfulness in Real Estate, an online membership group offering tools such as mindfulness tips, podcasts, and live conference calls.
Every agent who focuses on their own well-being over “well-doing” will add a cascading effect into each transaction, Whichello says. This helps spread awareness and inspires other agents to do the same, “and then the industry will be more healthy, mindful, and prosperous in the world,” she adds.
A Harvard Business Review article lays out how the anxiety of one business leader can spread throughout an entire organization. And according to research by workforce consulting firm Life Meets Work, when workplace leaders fail to manage their own stress in a constructive way, more than 50 percent of their workers perceive them to be harmful or ineffective.
Mindfulness is a way of managing stress through greater self-awareness that’s boosted through physical and psychological exercises. The Harvard Business Review went on to outline a mindfulness program that includes three fundamentals:
- Metacognition, which is a higher level of thinking where you consciously monitor your feelings and reactions.
- Allowing, in which you let things to be as they are, keep an open mind in your approach, and use kindness with yourself and others.
- Curiosity, by taking an active and enthusiastic interest in your inner self and the people around you.
In addition to managing stress, mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of who you are and what you’re doing, Whichello says. She became involved in mindfulness about five years ago after her father passed away. The concepts of caring about oneself and one’s mental state were already part of her psyche, so mindfulness was a natural transition.
Fellow real estate brokers Tristan and Sarah Emond believe in mindfulness so much that they began their own real estate brokerage rooted in the concept, Mindful Living Realty in Rapid City, S.D.
“We had a long period of awakening, learning more about who we are, and looking at our beliefs and belief systems,” Tristan Emond says. For instance, they no longer do things because “that’s the way they’ve always been done.”
When Emond first started in the business, he says there was pressure to pound the pavement and go door-knocking and do cold phone calls. But that doesn’t come naturally for him, so he built a business through his online presence. Emond also has set business hours, and leaves his phone turned off until 9 a.m. “We do what works best for us,” he says. “That’s unheard of in the normal real estate culture. But my clients understand it.”
Emond also helps his new agents find what works for them through a mindful approach. He understands that not everyone is going to do things the same way or excel in the same areas. Whichello echoes Emond’s sentiments. “So many real estate professionals spin trying to be everything to everyone, and that’s affecting our customers,” she explains. “There is a need for them to uncover a deeper, more authentic self to bring to the transaction. You need to be a steady for your client, and it all starts inside you as the agent.”
Here are six tips from Whichello and Emond for using mindfulness in your real estate business.
Clarity: When you allow yourself to fully listen to a client, you are able to help him or her more fully and without misunderstandings, Whichello says. If something begins to get heated, Edmond says take deep breaths, spend some time relaxing if possible, and then get back to what’s important and deliver the facts.
Authenticity: Listen to yourself to figure out what’s right for you and don’t compare that to others, Whichello says.
Peacefulness: You have to accept whatever is happening and allow things to flow through. Don’t spend time complaining about what everyone else is doing wrong, Edmond says.
Priorities: Emond understands what takes precedence in his life and has establish a better work/life balance because of that. Prioritize what truly matters to you.
Consistency: Whichello listens to her buyers and sellers to best care for their needs and never gets wrapped up in any chaos as she remains calm. As a result, her clients often provide feedback that they don’t think she’s in real estate for the money.
Confidence: Practicing mindfulness helps you build confidence in yourself and in what you believe is right. “I don’t worry much about what people think, and mindfulness allows you to be OK with that,” Emond says.