Every morning at 5 a.m., Brad Feldman hops on a short motivational call with Sharran Srivatsaa, president of Teles Properties. By 6 a.m., he’s watching the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean from his surfboard. And by 8:30 a.m., he’s at the office with a clear, determined mindset.
But his morning routine wasn’t always so inspiring.
Like a lot of real estate professionals, Feldman, team leader of the Feldman Group at Teles Properties in Laguna Niguel, Calif., began to feel the consequences of long workdays, unhealthy eating habits, and inadequate sleep. He was managing seven to 10 escrows and 10 to 20 listings at a time while trying to balance family time with his wife and five children. “I was operating at a level that you can’t sustain. I was noticing a lot more valleys with my energy levels.”
But then, about a year ago, Srivatsaa started incorporating wellness into his company’s core values and offerings. Feldman was awakened. Professionals from Stark, a holistic group of personal trainers, chiropractors, nutritionists, and medical professionals, started speaking at Teles offices. Feldman joined Stark’s program, underwent a health audit and made some pretty significant changes to his diet and sleep schedule. He immediately dropped 10 pounds and saw his energy level skyrocket. Feldman said he had always been active, but the holistic approach encouraged by Teles and Stark helped him to identify food sensitivities and alleviate a lot of his stress.
“Being healthy is more than talking about health. … It’s a mindset,” says Srivatsaa. “We have to talk about it at every opportunity.” Teles has hosted conference calls for its agents about health and stress, in addition to having other authors and health professionals speak at its offices. In fact, wellness has become such an important initiative at Teles that president and founder Peter Hernandez writes a monthly series called “Keep it Core” covering health topics. Teles even incorporates triathlons and cycling events into their charitable fundraising initiatives.
There is a direct correlation between overall holistic wellness and the mental acuity necessary for the fast-moving world of high-end real estate, Srivatsaa says. As a company leader, Srivatsaa has seen the benefits of investing in one’s health. Just a few years ago, he was in the same boat as Feldman. “I was very sick to the point where I couldn’t even sustain a normal work schedule. There were very few foods that I was not allergic to, and lack of energy made it hard for me to exercise,” he says. So he changed his mindset and focused on taking care of his body and living a more balanced life. “It’s important to take care of ourselves so that we can be great citizens of the world,” Srivatsaa says.
Tyler Mounce, an executive coach at Stark, characterizes his clientele as high-performing CEOs, executives, and real estate professionals, such as Tom Ferry and Tony Robbins. “Real estate is such a highly competitive field, people are going a million miles per hour,” Mounce says. “The next generation of real estate agents is going to be the people who invest in themselves and their physical health.”
For practitioners looking to make healthy changes, Mounce says start with hydration. If you’re not properly hydrated, your cognitive function decreases. Calculate half your body weight in pounds—that is the number of ounces you want to work up to drinking each day.
Next, focus on food selection. Choose power foods such as lean proteins; vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, and cucumbers; carbohydrates in the form of sweet potatoes, squash, or beets; and fruits such as apples, cherries, peaches, and berries. You want foods that will nourish and increase your energy.
It’s also imperative to get a good night’s sleep. Avoid looking at screens about an hour before bed. Try journaling or reading a book. Move your cell phone away from your bed and use an alarm clock. Always shoot for at least eight hours per night.
Since making wellness a priority at work, Srivatsaa has noticed the rise in professionalism. He sees agents treating their real estate careers as more than punching the clock. “Agents are able to respond faster, be more creative, and maintain their composure during high-stress negotiations when they are mentally, physically, and emotionally strong,” he says.
In fact, Srivatsaa’s 5 a.m. morning conference call evolved from his wellness commitment. Approximately 100 people from all over the world take part in the “5 a.m. Club.” “It’s one of those keystone habits that has changed my life. After the call, I mediate, exercise, and spend time with my family before I get ready to crush the day,” he says.
For other brokers looking to add wellness initiatives to their offices, Srivatsaa suggests assembling a group of agents who believe in the impact of the program and asking them to help choose speakers or activities. Those people will become your evangelists and help inspire others in the office.
“Sales takes charisma, quick wit, hard work, and endurance, which all require fitness and mental fortitude,” Srivatsaa says. “These are also core to building great salespeople and an overall successful organization.”