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Instead, focus on what you can control. 

Are interest rates going to hit 8%? Double digits? Are transactions going to dry up? Will you get stuck in a stalemate/game of chicken/gear-lock where no one is willing to make a move and no deals are being made? 

Is this THE END???

Take a breath.

Everyone I talk to lately is panicking over the recession. There’s not a single person I’ve interacted with for more than two minutes who hasn’t mentioned the state of the economy and its impending doom. This is not how I’m choosing to live, and today we’re going to talk about why. 

You can’t control what happens out there.

Recessions will come and go throughout your career. The only thing that will stay constant is the control you have over your own behavior, thoughts, and attitude. 

What a recession is for me may not be a recession for other people. What may be a boom-time for me may not be a boom-time for other people. How well your real estate business does in the midst of an economic recession will greatly depend on your willingness to transcend the fear and insecurity that runs rampant during times of uncertainty. 

In real estate, the biggest fear is that there will be no deals to be had. But in reality, it’s not that nothing happens during a recession. It’s that less is happening. At least, for some people. Either way, you don’t need to hide in your bunker until the storm has passed. 

Yes, there are things you can’t control. So it’s best not to focus your energy there. Better to focus instead on what’s within your locus of control

Your locus of control

Our locus of control is the extent to which we believe we can control our individual behavior. People with an external locus of control tend to credit (or blame) everyone and everything else for their behavior (e.g., “I had to walk away from that deal because the seller wouldn’t come down on the price.”) On the other hand, people who have an internal locus of control know that the only thing they can control is their own behavior (e.g., “I chose to walk away from that deal because I couldn’t get the price that worked for me.”)

Focusing on what’s outside of your locus of control will stress you out and waste your energy. Focusing on what’s inside your control will empower you and help you get through any situation. 

What you can’t control

We all have our moments of falling prey to pessimism. Save yourself the time and mental anguish by letting go of the factors that are 100% not up to you:

  • How the stock market performs
  • Local and national listing inventory
  • How long a recession will last
  • Other people’s behaviors
  • How the press affects the market

What you can control

Warren Buffett warned us to be “fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” I think it’s those quiet times in the market where one stands to gain a profit from everyone else’s timidity. The business consulting firm Gartner Inc. echoes the same sentiment by advising that people who continue to invest during times of uncertainty usually come out ahead of those who hold back. 

How to turn a recession into an opportune business moment.

Stay present, open and flexible.

Did you know that fear can literally kill off the brain cells we need to think creatively? This means, in a time of recession, you’d be doing better if you stayed in a state of centeredness, rather than freaking out about the things you can’t control. 

Continue to follow up with your clients (even if they aren’t active in your market)

If you are stressing out about the unknown adverse effects of an economic lull on your business, imagine how your clients are feeling. This is not the time to say, “I’ll talk to you when we get to the other side of this thing” or even worse, go silent.  It’s time to ask, “How are you feeling right now? How can I help?”

Remain relevant. 

Your clients will be surrounded with the same nay-saying, negativity, and fear-mongering that you will be attempting to dispel. Lead by example. Show them that the gloomy predictions aren’t stopping you, and it shouldn’t stop them either. If things start to go quiet on your client’s side, reach out to them, check in, and let them know you want to hear from them with geniuine interest. 

Be honest and transparent.

No matter how bleak things get, no one here is asking you to fudge the truth. Learn from the Stockdale Paradox — productive change can only occur when we face reality as it is. Acting as the face of truth without fear will make you a more effective agent, human being, and your clients will thank you for being forthcoming with the facts. 

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