Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Agents Decoded: The holidays are here — and it's OK to take a breath 

It's easy to get caught up in hustle culture, but Jay Thompson says this is a great time to reset and take a day off. It might even help your business.

November 23, 2022
4 minutes

The direction of your business depends on decisions you make every day. Agents Decoded can help you by presenting the perspectives of seasoned pros who have been there, made mistakes, and found success.

The real estate market is shifting. Agents are wondering where their next buyer or listing will come from. And now, the holiday season is upon us.

The other day, an agent asked in an online discussion, “Should I hold an open house on the Friday after Thanksgiving?”

Answers ranged from “Sure, why not?” to “You have to.” One solitary person said, “Take some time for you, your friends and family.” Someone chastised them, saying, “You’ll never be successful with that attitude.” 

Many applaud the all-in, all the time culture, believing that in order to be “successful,” you have to be filled with the dedication and drive to hustle and grind 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Vacations and holidays? Pfft, they are for the weak!

We seem obsessed, to a fault, with “winning,” which has come to mean you’d better hustle, otherwise you’re a lesser human than all those hard-working, sleepless souls out there.

Take a day off? Never! You should do something productive every day.

Sleep? It can wait. 

What nonsense.

Listen, there is nothing wrong with hustling, grinding and working your tail off. If that’s your thing, knock yourself out. Likewise, nothing is wrong with relaxing or taking a day off, getting a good night’s sleep, or building work-life balance into your job.

In fact, many studies show that having balance in your life reduces stress, improves your health, and increases job performance and success.

Take a minute to realize we are all different. Success is defined in many ways, and each of us has different goals — that’s what makes us human. 

Imagine how awful life and the world would be if we all had the same goals, the same desires and the same needs out of life?

Hustling and grinding away is not the only path to success, nor is it the only measure of worth.

I’m not advocating wasting away on the couch, doing nothing but eating bonbons and binge-watching Netflix. (Though a good bonbon is a wonder of the world, and I still dig "Orange is the New Black.")

What I advocate is taking a step back, assessing your priorities, and accepting the fact that life is more than chasing the next deal. Creating a legacy does no one any good if you hustle your way to stress-filled days, high blood pressure, a heart attack, or worse.

I’ve traveled the road to a heart attack. Trust me, it’s no fun.

If you can’t let go completely during the holiday season, use the time to focus on how you can approach today’s slower market. Talk to some lenders about how rate buydowns work and how to fold that into your toolbox. Find a mentor who has survived market shifts and can coach you through things like prospecting expired listings, holding buyer and seller seminars, and other tactics used in slower times.

Work with a financial planner and tax professional who can help you budget and reduce tax obligations. This will allow you to take a breather from the daily grind while positioning you for future success in a shifting market.   

If you chose to hustle and grind your way through life, that’s fine. Who am I, or anyone else, to tell you how to live? But you can (and should) take time off now and then to relax and reset.

You may even find that stepping away from work and getting some perspective does wonders for your business.

Holidays are a natural time to take advantage of a day off. Your clients are probably doing it and will understand if you do too — your business won't collapse.

If someone chooses a different path, one that leads to less stress and more fulfillment, who are you, or anyone else, to say that’s not the way to do it?

Let’s all stop and chill for a second, and acknowledge that different things drive and motivate us. The differences are something to be embraced and appreciated. It’s OK, healthy even, to step away once in a while.

In the words of Brené Brown, "It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol."

Jay Thompson is a former real estate agent, broker-owner and industry outreach director. He is currently an industry consultant and sits on several boards. The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

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