Kirsten Jordan outside on a patio

When it comes to personal growth, I usually do it in intervals. I sprint and digest, sprint and digest. The year 2020 forced all of us to grow in an exhausting binge. 

Grow? If you’re a mother in the year of the pandemic, you might feel like you’ve shrunk. Your social life shrank to your house. Your childcare disappeared. Your business withered. 

Amidst all this, how could we possibly feel growth? 

Through a phenomenon called post traumatic growth, you can. And when you’re ready, you can start those self-directed sprints toward the broker and the mom you want to be. 

“We’ve learned that negative experiences can spur positive change, including a recognition of personal strength, the exploration of new possibilities, improved relationships, a greater appreciation for life, and spiritual growth,” wrote Richard G. Tedeschi, coauthor of Posttraumatic Growth, in an article about the topic in the Harvard Business Review this year. “We see this in people who have endured war, natural disasters, bereavement, job loss and economic stress, serious illnesses and injuries. So despite the misery resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, many of us can expect to develop in beneficial ways in its aftermath.”

His definition of trauma is “a disruption of core belief systems,” which I think we can all agree we and our children have suffered this year. Here’s how to rebuild yourself and your real estate business stronger out of the rubble. 

Being Easy on Yourself During Growth

Growth does not always feel good. You probably need to give yourself time to rest. I remember when I was learning Italian and I had to sleep almost 10 hours a night. 

Raising children already is personal growth. If you’re up to your eyeballs in diapers, you might just need to work on the basics of taking care of yourself. It’s almost demeaning to mothers to say you should be mastering Excel and knitting at the same time as nursing. There’s going to be times when you’re not doing much personal growth. You might have to have a season of All Hands On Deck with your child.

Allowing Space for Growth

If you feel ready to start to take a little more control of your own growth after the shock of a global pandemic, Tedeschi says the keys comes down to five components:

  1. Education: You have to acknowledge, accept, and move forward from the truth of the situation as it is. Don’t sugarcoat it, but leave room for the possibility that there will be benefits alongside the tragedies. 
  2. Emotional regulation: Don’t let despair rule your day. Take care of yourself with as much sleep, meditation, and human connection as you can get right now, so you can stay positive and think about what you can do in response to the situation we find ourselves in. 
  3. Disclosure: Talk about what you’re going through and how you’re feeling. Listen to others and allow them space to talk about their experience as well. Be open with your family about how you’re experiencing this time. 
  4. Narrative development: Write your own story about what has happened and, most importantly, what you’re going to do about it now. You might consider asking what could happen that could make this the turning point in your career, the place your business really took off. Who are you going to be in the face of this challenge?
  5. Service: How can you help others who are affected by the pandemic? One obvious answer is your clients. The more you check in with them, offer them a listening ear and your expertise, the more fulfilled you’ll feel as a real estate broker. It will help you gain a sense of control and purpose during this time. 

Following this formula, research has shown that you could very well come out of this situation feeling stronger, more innovative, grateful, centered, and closer to the people you love.

Easing Back into the Kind of Growth You Would Choose

Of course, no one would have chosen for the pandemic to happen. Post traumatic growth is not the kind of growth most of us plan for. 

When was the last time you grew because you set a goal and met it? Not this year, not once, at all? Totally fine. Take that 2020 goal list and burn it. 

But don’t stay out in that place forever. Every time I come out of a situation where I’ve had to be out of the picture for a certain amount of time because of my kids or any other situation, I realize how easy it is to lose yourself to your children and not do any personal development. Right now, you might be so worried about your kids’ education that you forgot to make sure you’re getting your own for your business. 

You need to limit the time periods you go through without directed self-development. Even the smallest step helps, whether it’s a book by your bedside, trying to set one small goal a day, or locking your kids out of the bathroom and doing a 5-minute meditation before your shower. 

You want to limit the times when your brain is really not learning new things or not expanding. Don’t let doom-scrolling or worry turn your brain to mush. 

If you can’t grow by doing something specific for your own development, at least keep a mindful practice. Then at least you’re reconnecting with your own subconscious. 

Here are my favorite tiny growth practices:

  • Any sort of meditation.
  • Counting your blessings. There’s just no replacement for that. 
  • Asking for help.
  • Celebration of small victories.

Areas of growth to focus on:

  • Emotional growth: mindfulness, emotional control, gratitude
  • Physical growth: moving, building strength, cooking healthful food
  • Relationship growth: quality time with your children, communication with your spouse, building friendships
  • Professional growth: business management skills, delegation, expertise
  • Hobby growth: anything you do that brings you satisfaction, you enjoy doing, and you love to master

Your Growth Matters

It’s really easy as a mom to think you putting you first is diva. Sometimes I notice I feel like I should just blend into the wallpaper. Who really cares about me? But remember, your children are looking up to you. That’s huge. But also, your clients are looking to you to help them save money, make money, and make decisions. 

To be the best mom and real estate agent you can be, to get through the trying times and rock the best times, you need to always be growing. 

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