Have you ever had a particularly bad day, week or month that left you feeling like the mole in the “Whac-a-Mole” game? As a Realtor, someone is always taking a swat at you or your business; what can you do to cope?

Recently I had a conversation about the impending changes coming in January with respect to the qualified residential mortgage, as well as how the “Obamacare” health insurance cancellations and premium increases may impact the real estate market.

As we were discussing how these uncertainties could put the brakes on the real estate market, it struck me that the “Whac-a-Mole” game was the perfect metaphor to describe what Realtors experience on a day-in, day-out basis. Realtors are constantly being “whacked” by unrealistic sellers; buyers who work with them and then buy from a different agent; tight credit; low appraisals; and a host of other transaction-related issues.

Moreover, federal, state and local regulations (the qualified residential mortgage is a great example) often create such high degrees of uncertainty that even the experts are uncertain about what’s coming and what real estate professionals must do in order to comply.

Now couple this with the normal day-to-day stresses such as family issues, money woes and traffic, plus the never-ending onslaught of text messages, Facebook notifications and other digital distractions, and it’s no wonder that so many agents are feeling battered about as if they’re the mole in the “Whac-a-Mole” game.

If the “Whac-a-Mole” metaphor describes what’s happening in your life and business, here are three specific steps that you can take to reclaim control.

1. Magical thinking: an effective coping mechanism?

A new study from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago has found that activities such as knocking on wood or throwing salt over your shoulder can actually protect you from bad luck.

“The most common rituals for undoing bad luck — knocking on wood, spitting, and throwing salt — all seem to involve movements that exert force away from a person. … Engaging in avoidant action seems to create the sense bad luck is being pushed away.”

Another version of this approach is to wrap yourself in a ball of white light and to see anything negative bouncing off the light. If a client or someone else is giving you a bad time, see that negativity as bouncing away from you without it harming anyone else.

2. Self-fulfilling prophecy

The scientific explanation as to why these approaches work is called “self-fulfilling prophecy.” The research shows that what we expect to happen generally does happen. This also explains why affirmations work so well for so many people.

To illustrate this point, my two favorite travel affirmations are “I’m blessed in my travels” and “I have the best travel karma in the world.” Given that for eight years I commuted almost weekly between Austin and Los Angeles and still continue to travel extensively as a real estate speaker, my travel karma has been truly amazing. In 15 years, I have never missed a speaking gig or class when I was traveling on American Airlines.

I did have two occasions where I didn’t get home on time — one was due to a tornado touching down near a Dallas airport, and the other was due to a mechanical issue that kept my husband and me in Lake Tahoe an extra night. The delay meant that we had a delightful lunch overlooking the lake, lounged on the beach for several hours, and then enjoyed a wonderful steamboat dinner cruise that evening.

To take advantage of self-fulfilling prophecy in your life, get in the habit of noticing what is going right on a consistent basis and comment on it regularly. The law of attraction says the more good things that you acknowledge, the more likely you are to attract even more good things in your life.

3. Little wins to build momentum

Dave Ramsey, a personal finance author and motivational speaker, recently cited some interesting research that supports his theories about how to handle your debts. Rather than tackling the your biggest debt or the debt with the highest interest rate, here’s what he recommends:

“The math seems to lean more toward paying the highest-interest debts first, but what I have learned is that personal finance is 20 percent head knowledge and 80 percent behavior. You need some quick wins in order to stay pumped enough to get out of debt completely. When you start knocking off the easier debts, you will start to see results and you will start to win in debt reduction.

“The principle is to stop everything except minimum payments and focus on one thing at a time. Otherwise, nothing gets accomplished because all your effort is diluted. … List your debts in order with the smallest payoff or balance first. … Paying the little debts off first gives you quick feedback, and you are more likely to stay with the plan.”

The same is true for your real estate business. Your mindset has a tremendous influence on your success. If you’re facing challenges, begin with whatever is important and that you can handle easily. Once you finish that task, go on to the next important task and focus on that. The success you experience will help you to stay on track and maintain momentum.

If you want to reclaim control from your “Whac-a-Mole” environment, apply any of these three approaches. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.

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