ooner or later, everyone faces challenges in their personal life that can have a detrimental influence of their business. Whether it’s a serious illness, death of a loved one, divorce or some other life trauma, what can you do to cope when your personal life is falling apart?

As a real estate professional, you’re expected to be the calm in the storm. When transactions start to fall apart, you’re the glue that holds the deal together. When the seller is screaming and the buyer is threatening to sue, you’re the one who is supposed to calm the explosive situation.

Even on the best days, this is a tall order. It is particularly difficult when you are dealing with your own issues outside of your business. Making matters worse, the law of attraction says, “Like attracts like.” In other words, if you’re going through a messy divorce or have a loved one facing a serious illness, the probability is high that you will attract clients who are facing the same issues you are facing.

If you have a personal situation that is pulling you off focus, here are six steps that can help you weather the storm.

1. Completely describe the challenge you’re facing in writing
A difficult situation is like a continuous loop that keeps going around and around in your head. Your conscious mind keeps coming back to it because your unconscious mind is struggling with pain, grief, guilt or a variety of other issues.

A proven way to cope with this situation is to record as many details about the situation as possible. This strategy allows you to break the ceaseless pattern of self-talk.

2. Write down as many solutions as possible no matter how ridiculous
Once you have adequately described the various aspects of the issue you are facing, come up with as many solutions as possible. Even though some of the ideas may be preposterous, when you can laugh at the situation, you have taken an important step in coping with it.

3. Pick the best solution and identify one action step you can take
While you may want to shoot your neighbor’s cat who keeps using your prized garden as his litter box, that’s not a viable solution. Instead, go through the list and identify the one alternative that you believe will achieve the best results.

4. When you face the worst
If a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal disease, what can you do to ease that person’s transition? One proven approach is to recall the good times you have had together. Even when there is little to laugh about in the current situation, chances are you have some crazy or funny things you did together that will allow you to experience a happy memory together.

If you lose a loved one and you haven’t said what you needed to say or if there are still unresolved issues after the person has died, take your time to write a letter. Thank the person for what you have learned from them (even if it’s to never do what they did), as well as lay out everything they did to hurt or harm you. This process can take months or even years. Once your letter is complete, you can keep it or burn it. The goal is to get those pent-up feelings outside of you so that you can move forward with your life.

Bernice Ross
Inman Newsbusiness 1