Perfect balance may not always be possible, coaches Melanie Klein and Emily Bossert write, but you have the right to seek out the rhythm and way of working that’s healthy for you.

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Real estate professionals are regularly confronted with distinct challenges that range from long hours, client demands, unpredictable schedules, commission-based income and the intricate balancing act of managing personal and professional relationships to the multifaceted aspects of generating, keeping and closing business deals. Given the nature of the business, work-life balance often feels far out of reach, is desperately sought after, and is almost always impossible to achieve.

That’s because the idea of work-life balance for entrepreneurs, especially real estate entrepreneurs, is largely a myth. We’re here to challenge the perpetuation of this myth because we find it does more harm than good. Here’s how to improve your work-life balance and strategy so that you can leave the guilt associated with it in your rearview mirror.

Balance is key

For many of the agents we’ve worked with over the years, there’s a sense that if things aren’t “balanced” then they must be failing; there must be something “wrong” with them as opposed to there being something wrong with the idea and attainment of work-life balance.

Not only is “balance,” or the “equal distribution” of something, rarely possible for more than brief periods of time, but the idea of balance can also be shaming because it creates unrealistic expectations and pressures for individuals to meet certain standards that may not be suitable for their circumstances.

The truth is, that our lives and businesses are seasonal and cyclical. Additionally, each person, their family and their business is unique and distinct. What works for one person and their business may not work for you. What works for you and your family may not work for someone else.

What to try instead

Instead of trying to squeeze yourself into a rigid, one-size-fits-all definition of “balance,” we’ve found that entrepreneurs are better served, inspired and supported by beginning to think of their work and their lives as an ever-changing harmony. Depending on what we need, want and have set as our goals, along with the needs and wants of our families, it’s useful and supportive to regularly reevaluate and adjust. 

For example, ask yourself: What do you want to accomplish or achieve personally and professionally in the next year? Do these things realistically line up?

Meaning, that if you’re looking to start a team, merge a team, go solo after being on a team, etc., you may have less time for some aspects of your personal life. If that’s the case, saying you want to start a new relationship and a new business at the same time may not be a realistic match right now. 

What phase of life are you in?

This approach acknowledges the inherent fluctuations and challenges that come with different phases of life and work, allowing us to prioritize, plan and care for ourselves accordingly. This leads to a more efficient and consistent experience of sustainable success. 

Your stage of life, your needs and desires, as well as the stage of your business and your goals and aspirations will be different from someone else. In fact, your stage of life and stage of business will continue to change. You can’t expect to have the same experience when growing your business, adding on a new team member, or working the spring market as when you’re looking to streamline, exit or sell your business or working the end of Q4.  

In short, it’s essential to recognize that what works for one person might not work for another, and what worked for you last year or last quarter may not work for you now — and that’s perfectly okay.

Keys to success 

Ultimately, the key is to find a harmony that works for you personally and respects the natural ebb and flow of your life and work. It’s about finding ways to manage your time, energy and priorities so that you can lead a fulfilling life that encompasses both your professional and personal aspects. This may involve setting boundaries, delegating tasks and seeking support when needed.

This might involve recognizing when you need to prioritize work during busy or growth periods and when you can focus more on your personal life. It’s about being self-aware and making conscious choices that align with your values, needs and goals while also considering the demands of your career or business and your desires personally.

We have found that a more flexible and adaptive approach to work-life integration can be highly beneficial. Much of that begins with the understanding that “balance” may not always be possible (and that “balance” isn’t actually the most supportive goal).

Melanie C. Klein, M.A. and Emily Bossert are highly sought-after coaches known for empowering individuals and teams to achieve their full potential and success.

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