Yoga is a popular way to relieve stress and stay fit, but some agents are also using this ancient art to find zen in their everyday business practice. Agents across the country are striking poses and carving out a harmonious work-life balance by incorporating the culture of yoga into their business plans. This East-meets-West combination is a growing trend, so let’s look at some of the agents at the cutting edge.
Ready for change?
Pam Blair decided to make a huge change in 2011 when she started YogaBug Real Estate in Portland, Oregon. Pam’s team incorporates lifestyle, customer service and wellness aspects into the culture of the business practice. This customization has produced a brand unique to her location; it showcases her passion and offers a spa-like alternative in the Portland market. Blair, with the help of her husband and business partner, Bruce Brickman (and their four-legged family members) are successfully making their customers’ real estate dreams a reality.
Why did you decide to make the change in your business model?
“I had to face my fear of being perceived as unprofessional and too unconventional, even for a city that embodies the alternative approach,” says Blair. “Our business model is built upon practicing the principles that I preach both on and off the mat — commitment, patience, perseverance, compassion, honesty, fearlessness, flexibility, and service to self and others.”
How have others (both in the industry and consumers) responded to your business model?
“The reactions have spanned from ‘What?!’ to ‘That is so cool! I love what you do,'” says Blair. “I think the most affirming reaction was when my colleagues and friends started calling me YogaBug. I knew that when I branded myself that certain people would not work with me because of the name. More importantly, I realized that my goal was to attract like-minded people, whether they are yogis or not, rather than the whole world.”
What advice would you give agents who want to combine their passion with their business practice?
“First, don’t be afraid to be creative and to step out of the box,” Blair advises. “By stepping out of the box, I demonstrate to my clients that I’m willing to think creatively, take chances and step outside of the box for them, as well.
“Second, ask for help from others,” she continues. “Getting feedback from others within the profession and from clients and friends has built my confidence in my brand and helped me refine my business.”
Do you have an “at the desk” yoga tip that you could recommend to help agents relieve stress?
“Get upside down! Sit in your chair with your feet wide apart and bend over so your head is lower than your heart,” instructs Blair. “If that doesn’t work, stand up and do a forward fold. At the same time, close your eyes and take 10 very deep breaths. This will close off external stimulation, give a rush of blood to the brain and stretch out the back side of your body. Slowly roll back up to avoid feeling dizzy afterward.”
New to the business?
Sean Lanning with Wallace Tustin Tétreault Realty in Hartford, Connecticut, has found that yoga’s teachings have helped push his career forward. Blending passion with business practice does not necessarily mean that an agent has to open an independent boutique. Lanning teaches yoga, works full time at a large music distribution company and sells real estate. Although he has been in real estate for only two years, he has found that real estate complements his passions instead of hindering them.
“Passion permeates through everything that you do,” says Lanning. “The lessons I teach in yoga show up every day in real estate.”
How does teaching yoga enrich your real estate career?
“It’s like watercolor painting,” explains Lanning. “My passion for music makes my yoga classes unique. When I blast out emails to customers trying to sell them a house — or a guitar — I usually include a quote I heard in class, or from history, or a link to a song, or an article or book that blew my mind recently. I am a constantly evolving and growing conscious being, and in my opinion, it is impossible not to let my passions bleed into my profession.
What yoga tip can you recommend to help agents relieve stress?
Trust your instincts! “Stress comes from your head and living in the past or future,” explains Lanning. “And you can only control how you handle this moment. Not the last one, not the next one, just this one. Right now. So whether you’re trying to stretch into a full split on your mat or trying to juggle a huge deal that’s falling apart, all you do is breathe. Stay present and listen to your heart; follow your gut; trust your instincts. Every cliche phrase is the same because they’re all totally right, and they all work. The key is to trust them when it all seems like it’s falling apart. When presence is most miraculous!”
No matter what your passion is, there are ways to blend happiness into business practice with a little planning and patience. Stoking creative fires can give agents a renewed sense of energy and purpose that’s often reflected in their sales performance and customer service. This can be the missing element that can help you stand out in your local market. Don’t let the daily grind dim your individual light!
By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting for listingdepot.com.