Whether you’re in leadership, a broker-owner or an agent, negative self-talk plagues virtually everyone. The question is how to turn off that negative voice in your head and move forward anyway.
Based upon the WomanUP! research I conducted from 2017 through 2020 for the California Association of Realtors, here’s how the industry’s top women leaders shut down their negative self-talk, maintain a positive mindset and stay on track to achieve their goals.
Shut off the negative self-talk
Do you constantly hear the soundtrack in your brain saying “You’re not good enough” or repeating the criticisms you internalized from your childhood?
Christine George, co-founder of Post & Beam Creative, uses a direct approach to “change the recording in my head.”
Negative self-talk happens to all of us — it’s part of who we are. In terms of dealing with negative self-talk, the first step is to understand that you’re not alone because it happens to everybody. Often that realization alone is enough to relieve some of the pressure.
The way I cope is by taking a step back and observing myself. When I do that, I realize that voice is not me speaking. That is the recording in my head and I have the power to change that recording.
Talisa Bealum, manager at Coldwell Banker Auburn and Roseville-Granite Bay, has an even more direct approach for getting rid of the “tracks” in her head.
About the self-talk, I think that’s really funny because I have full-on conversations with my “other person.” Sometimes I have to say, “You know, I’m not going there with you today.” Sometimes, you have to tell that negative self-talk to just shut up.
Teresa Boardman, a successful broker-owner and long-time columnist for Inman News, explains how she was told that she would never be able to write.
My biggest internal obstacle was my lack of self-confidence. I didn’t realize that until I was in my late 40s, but it certainly impacted me when I first started in real estate.
I also have a learning disability. I was told in high school by a number of people that I would never be able to learn how to write. I would call that a pretty big obstacle to writing for Inman News, but I overcame that obstacle as well.
My biggest obstacle right now is being unsure about what I want to do next. For me, I don’t see any obstacles outside myself — the only obstacles are those inside of me.
Christine Kim, past president of Climb Real Estate and a Realtor Magazine “30 Under 30,” likens negative self-talk to “the pesky monkey on your shoulder.”
Controlling that negative voice in your head — it’s a little like a monkey on your shoulder, right? I’m always wondering what I can do to reverse the negative self-talk and make it go away.
When I have to talk in front of our agents, I sometimes go through this negative spiral and start doubting myself. Can I really do this? Why would they want to listen to me — yada, yada, yada.
When this happens, I have to tell myself, “You are enough! You’ve been trusted this whole way through, you’ve gone through all these different experiences, and this is going to be fine, even though you may not think you will be. You’re enough!” I literally have to write it down. Using this approach, I can psych myself back to being normal again.
Create a positive mindset
Having a positive mindset goes a long way in overcoming negative self-talk, but how can you go about putting yourself in the right frame of mind? Tiffany McQuaid has several approaches that work for her:
Staying positive is a daily struggle. I kickstart my day by posting something positive on social media every day. I figure if I need to hear it, someone else probably does, too. There’s something about seeing it in writing that makes it real.
I also try to clear my head mentally every week by walking a nearby beach early in the morning. Other times I’ll sit down and do a “spiritual reset” by noting both the good and bad energies I’ve experienced over the week. You can use this process to avoid letting your ego get out of control and getting down on yourself. Instead, seek to maintain a level stance.
To handle both the good and the bad that will come to you, you must also take care of your physical body to maintain a strong mental presence. Make your mindset and your mental health a priority.
Dolly Lenz says she was blessed with the trait of being the ultimate optimist in life — it’s the way her brain is wired. If that’s not true for you, she offers solid advice about how you can create a more positive mindset.
Without a doubt, positive things come from positive thinking. If you look for it, the sunshine is out there. If today is not working out for you, tomorrow you can start out fresh. If you’re having a tough day, go watch a miniseries or whatever else that makes you happy. Enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. These are simple ways to wire your brain more positively.
Linnette Edwards of Abio Properties explains how it’s important to avoid distractions and not let what’s negative get to you.
There are a lot of distractions out there and there’s a lot of chatter in the industry. When you hear it, learn from it, but avoid absorbing it or letting it get to you. I find meditation really helps.
It’s also really important to pay attention to your body. When your bucket is full, focus on yourself. Be willing to “say yes to saying no.” So, listen to your body and act on it.
Get out of your comfort zone
The theme for my Awesome Females in Real Estate Conference for 2022, was “There’s No Growth in Comfort Zones.” Fear of failure is one of the most common reasons people stay stuck in their comfort zone. One of our speakers reframed this nicely when she said, “I either win or I learn.”
Taunee English emphasized the importance of being prepared:
The people who are lucky are the people who are prepared for it. Concentrate on what you can do rather than what you don’t want to do. If I had done that, I’d be much more successful now.
Stacie Staub talked about the cost of not trusting her gut.
Oftentimes you have an opportunity to take a leap off a cliff before being pushed off of it. As I look back on my career, there were times when I didn’t listen to my gut. I didn’t realize that I had been pushed off a cliff. I landed really hard at the bottom and had to climb back up. If I had only taken a leap in that moment and built my parachute on the way down.
I was pushed off that cliff twice: When I was selling and when we started our brokerage. When I was selling, I reached a point where I was doing so many deals that I was burned out. I no longer cared if people bought or sold houses. At that moment, I knew I wasn’t caring enough and that I needed to build a team or start a brokerage.
That second cliff was realizing that I wanted to control my destiny and who I was working for, so I took the leap and started my own brokerage. Taking the leap can save you, especially if you can learn to thrive in those moments.
Conquer negative self-talk with the help of others
The women I interviewed between 2017 and 2020 for the WomanUP! research repeatedly emphasized how important the help of others was in overcoming their negative self-talk and consistently moving forward. Whether it’s their families, colleagues, coaching, training, masterminding or being mentored, seeking the help of others is particularly critical when the woman is battling negative self-talk coupled with difficult external challenges.
When Vicki Cox Golder was deciding whether she would run for president of NAR, she considered dropping out. The support she received from others was critical to her decision to stay in the race that she ultimately won.
When I was considering running for NAR president, a lot of other people were trying to talk me into it. There were so many times when I thought, should I just drop out? I don’t know if I’m that well-known nationally or if I really want to take this on.
That’s when people encouraged me. I was surprised by how many people told me that I was well enough known and that I should go ahead and move forward. I did have a lot of negative talk at that time. With the encouragement of others, I was able to work through it.
Veronica Figueroa shared how she benefited from working with a coach.
My coach has been life-changing for me. I have also had some really great people in my life who are very positive and who always encourage me.
When you hit the lows in your business, it can overflow into your personal life and do quite a bit of damage. When that happens to me, I tell myself, “Get out of victim mode, these things happen.” Just because someone burns you or leaves you, realize that you made a mistake or made a bad business decision. What are you going to do — roll over and cry for the rest of your life?
You have to get back out there. Realize that you learn about yourself when you make mistakes. Own it and ask how you would do it differently next time. If you can own that you messed up and realize that no one else is to blame — it was your fault and learn from it — that’s when you can really grow from the experience.
If you’re struggling with negative self-talk, experiment with these proven strategies from real estate’s leading women. These strategies worked for them and they can certainly work for you.
Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.