How Selling Over 100 Homes a Year Almost Ruined My Life

On self-discipline, the consequences of living by reaction, and what it means to take action.

I've talked about burn-out earlier this week, when I held my coaching webinar for Club Zebra members, and I was really touched by how many people emailed me to share their experiences with burnout.

When I was actively selling real estate, I sold way too many homes - and it literally almost ruined my life. One Christmas I really got a reality. I had missed a really important and very special Christmas dinner because I was working. I had let my family down because I was juggling 3 offers on Christmas eve, only to then miss our special dinner. Without going into great detail, this was a huge moment for me. I realized that nothing is more important than my family.

After that, I took stock of why it is so important to have priorities that work. I had to stop and really examine how much I was working, and decide whether it was - or wasn't - benefiting me. Not just financially, but for every other part of my life. I discovered that there was a threshold where despite working more hours, I wasn't even making much more money once taxes and everything else was accounted for. At the end of the day, no amount of money in the world can replace those moments you lose when you let someone you love down.

My Mission to "Simplify-to-Multiply"

I needed to learn how to get more done in less time, get more organized, and take control of my working hours. One of the things I developed on this mission was my Hour of Power. The Hour of Power is an hour I set aside every day to organize my to-do list. I write everything down and put it in my calendar. Taking this hour allows me to actively control my daily schedule, instead of being reactive to all the tasks that pop-up in a day.

Ever feel like you are constantly putting out fires but never actually getting anything done? That's being reactive. Putting out fires is part of the job, but when you are stuck in a reactive work mode all day, it prevents you from doing other things. The stress of staying reactive can push you to working through your breaks, your lunch hour, and late into the evening just to get everything done. This is the fast-track to burnout!

Think about this: It doesn't matter how many homes you sell or how many buyers and sellers you can juggle. If you are not able to put your family and yourself first, you need to be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, "What's getting in the way of my priorities?" Most of time, the thing that is getting in the way is a lack of personal discipline.


Personal discipline is being able to say "no" to the things you don't need to do. It's saying "yes" to the things that, if you do them consistently, will bring you enough clients. Enough clients means that you don't need to take just any client that calls you - you have enough business with the clients you like.

If you are burned-out or burning out, it's critically important to know there is a way through it, but you need to make a plan. You need a plan because you can't get out of a burn-out cycle just by being reactive. You have to step out of that reaction-cycle and take action.

Start Taking Action

Take a sheet of paper and put a line down the middle. On one side, write down "What I need to be doing." On the other side write, "What I need to give up." There is only so much of you to go around. You are a limited resource! Please stop wasting it.

Here's a few examples:

What I need to be doing: I need to send something consistently to my database.

What I need to give up: I need to give up all the groups I'm involved in that feed my ego but don't feed my business and my family.

To prevent burn-out, you have to take care of yourself. I am a super-busy person. I know what it's like to juggle-and struggle-with this. However, if you can find a system for taking care of yourself, it will unlock your potential while protecting you from burning out.

My system is really simple. Monday through Friday, I do my hour of power to keep me organized. Then I protect my energy with certain rules. For the last few years, one of those rules has been, "I don't join groups or sit on any boards." I've been the President of several boards in the past, but it took a lot of energy and kept draining away my me-time. I resigned because I wanted to be president of me.

As agents, we have that drive to close a transaction or help that client that needs us. Unfortunately, that can push us to take on too much, too fast, and for too long. That's when we burn-out.

Think about burn out in your life and how you can prevent it. If you're already burned-out, it's time to start recovering. Make a plan to reduce stress by identifying things you can actively and consistently do to take stress out of your life. Decide what you can give up to keep stress out. Then stick with your system.

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By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

 Categories: Work-Life Balance