As a person with a forty five year career in the residential property industry I have gained an incredible amount of experience and have enjoyed some wonderful highlights but, along the way, there have been some darker moments where my resolve and resilience have been seriously tested.
In today’s Covid19 dominated world, the resilience of all of us is being tested again and I hope that I can, in a small way, offer some words to help you deal with the challenges being faced and offer some ideas to both cope with, and overcome, these situations.
One thing I have always adopted is a learning mindset and I have an insatiable appetite for my own personal development both as a human being and as a property professional. I see every situation as an opportunity to learn and improve.
Since starting in estate agency aged sixteen I have always invested time (and my own resources) in trying to be the best I can be, improving my knowledge and skills and not simply hoping or relying on others to provide the necessary input by way of training and development. Of course, I have benefitted from the support of others but I have never simply handed my career in at the door when joining a new employer and asked them to look after it for me!
I have always believed that the right attitude, knowledge and skills drives success and I have reinforced this through obtaining qualifications from RICS, NAEA, ARLA and an MBA from Reading University. This knowledge has given me confidence that I can fall back on whenever I’ve hit a bump in the road, it has helped create business opportunities to take advantage of and a huge network of like-minded industry professionals to provide mutual support.
I’ve always tried to surround myself with positive people and have spent hours reading books and listening to recordings that inspire me and helped me develop both knowledge and skills (which have required ongoing practice). The drive for self-improvement also provides a focus and a series of goals, measurable milestones that generate feelings of achievement and value which in turn makes one more resilient when inevitable challenges arise.
There is now so much high quality content available that it is more a question of sorting the wheat from the chaff and yet I still speak to people within the industry who seem oblivious to what is around them. Some even spend time and fill their minds by reading the negativity spouted by a few anonymous trolls on online platforms. Stop it!
Getting involved in organisations away from the workplace can be hugely beneficial in terms of providing focus, increasing knowledge, networking and helping develop skills and self-worth. I have always been involved as a volunteer in various community, sports and charitable organisations – Round Table, Chamber of Commerce, the local Neighbourhood Action Group and Parish Council, QED educational trust and now, Agents Together.
These organisations have given me back far more than I have probably contributed and helped build my confidence and my leadership, presentational and organisational skills as well as introducing me to a large network of like-minded and positive people.
Sport and exercise (whilst figuring less in my life now (as my body tells me I’m not as young as I was) are important too, both from a fitness and energy perspective but also in providing healthy competition, either with others, or in creating one’s own “personal bests”
As human beings I believe we are designed to survive. It is hard-wired in our DNA. We are all able to control much more than we might think and should look to do so.
I can, and do, choose my behaviour and believe it is important to take responsibility for doing so.
I control the controllables including the language I use to describe situations as they arise. I see issues as challenges and I never worry about the things I can do nothing about but concentrate on the things I can. In today’s challenging world I cannot control what happens with Covid19 or the wider economy but I can control how I react and adjust to them. I always have a plan.
When things get tough, every day can seem like there is a mountain to climb. And every day it can seem like the same mountain. It is inside our head and it is often not helpful to see your need for resilience as purely personal. If you look you will find others who are experiencing the same challenges and we need to find collective resilience at all levels. Nationally, in our communities and individually.
Leading resilience expert Dr Lucy Hone talks about “ordinary magic” in becoming more resilient, that it is not an elusive trait and that we can all learn to become stronger.
We all need to understand that suffering is part of life. Tough things will happen to all of us and adversity is common. You have not been singled out.
We need to “tune in” to the good. Avoid negativity bias and choose where you wish to focus. It’s a cliché but is your glass half empty or half full?
Ask yourself whether what you are doing is helping or hindering? Clearly if it is not helping then pivot and focus on things that will make a positive difference rather than dwelling on all the thoughts of why something won’t, or might not, work.
I have hundreds of positive reviews and testimonials on my website. Earlier in my career I carried a folder with thank you letters from clients around with me. I also have a journal in which I have documented my successes, both personal and business. If I am ever feeling down, a few minutes revisiting these provides me with a boost, a renewed focus and energy and with a feeling of self-worth. It provides the resilience to raise my head above the parapet and face challenges head on.
Everyone has things they are proud of, no matter how large or small, and these can be part of the foundations for building a better future.
I am proud to be a Founder Member and of the work that Agents Together are doing in helping people develop that resilience through creating the awareness that they are not alone and that there are people who can, and want to, help.
Michael S Day MBA FRICS FNAEA FARLA