Elite AgentFeature Interviews

You win or you learn

Real estate is a tough gig mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically too.

Taking time out to focus on yourself outside of work hours can make a world of difference to how well you perform when you’re on the clock and the pressure is on.

For many successful agents, the best ‘R&R’ is exercise, and they find the practice of religiously squeezing in a workout somewhere in the day is a recipe for success.

Deputy Director of NICM Health Research Institute, Professor Jerome Sarris, has studied the role physical activity plays in mental health for many years, and says a ‘good sweat sesh for a good day’ is more than just ‘bro-science’ – maintaining adequate physical activity is a crucial component for good mental health.

“Both aerobic and weight-bearing exercise has been shown to improve mood and overall mental wellbeing,” he says.

“Moderate exercise has a range of health benefits which flow on to potentially greater productivity.”

According to Professor Sarris, these benefits include an overall increase in stamina, along with enhanced oxygenation and blood flow to the brain. These work in combination with a range of beneficial neurochemical changes that may lead people to feeling more energised at work.

Meanwhile, the more energised people are at work, the more energy they have to work, which yields a better chance of a good rate of productivity.

Everybody’s different, for some a 45-minute pump class is church, while for others a few laps of the pool is the go-to exercise of choice.

For a very different kind of person again, there’s nothing better than ducking a punch to the face or attempting to break limbs (with consent) when it comes to getting your head space right.

The parallels between real estate and Jiu Jitsu  

In the martial art that is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there’s an old saying ‘failure is the best teacher’.

Many acclaimed black belts will tell you they wouldn’t be where they are today if they couldn’t take a loss, go back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes.

Those same parallels exist in the real estate industry where many well-respected Principals will tell you; if you want to thrive in this industry, you need to have a lot of resilience and hang in there when the going gets tough.

Three agents who live by this mantra share their stories of how the parallels between the industry they love and the sport they adore has benefited their lives as a whole.

Ben Salm, Lead Agent, Place Estate Agents Coorparoo

“I’ve got a sneaky little combo where I set up a Kimura. I wait for my opponent to defend it then sneak in a Head and Arm triangle. If they defend that, I set up an armbar.”

That statement might make no sense at all for some people, but for Ben Salm that’s what a good night in the gym looks like.

Ben has been in the industry for roughly four years and he says his love affair with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) has taught him many lessons that have translated into a successful career in real estate.

BJJ is a grappling based martial arts system with a big emphasis on  ground fighting.

Ben first discovered his hobby in a previous life, before real estate, while serving in the army and deployed in Afghanistan.

“I saw some of the boys in the gym doing something I thought was a little bit weird and boredom got the better of me.

“I decided to have a go and it all sort of all evolved from there,” he says.

Apart from the health and fitness benefits of such a physical hobby, Ben reveals shedding the mental baggage of the day is the biggest benefit he gets from training.

“From a work point of view, it doesn’t matter what happened that day. I only worry about what’s happening to me on the mats in the gym at that very moment.

“I don’t worry about deals that didn’t get done. I’m completely present and focussed and always come away feeling better.”

Gavin Daly, Sales Associate, Taylor Real Estate

In the Sydney suburb of Oatlands, real estate newcomer Gavin Daly couldn’t agree more.

Seven months fresh into the industry, Gavin has been a dedicated BJJ practitioner for around four years and credits the discipline that BJJ has taught him for helping him push through the day-to-day challenges of real estate.

“In Jiu Jitsu, something like 80-90 per cent of people never make it past the beginner rank of white belt. It’s a hard thing to do and it’s sad because I think those people haven’t given themselves the chance to find their true potential and flourish.”

Now ranked at the second adult rank of Blue belt, Gavin fondly recalls his own days as a beginner in Jiu Jitsu.

“When I was getting my a** kicked by people half my size, it really hits the ego, but I kept turning up and my hard work started to pay off. I think it’s the same in real estate.

“When you start, you’re coming up against people who have way more experience, they know the industry better and they know your area better, but you can’t let that get you down.

“If you have the energy and the passion you can get to their level.”

Andy Reid, Auctioneer/Coach, Sold By Group

Further south, Melbourne based veteran Andy Reid feels that same connection to kickboxing.

Having started in real estate in 2010, Andy is a freelance auctioneer, coach and a lifelong fan of combat sports.

Although he trains Jiu Jitsu on and off, one of Andy’s first loves was actually striking.

“When I was growing up, my old man and I used to watch a lot of boxing before it all went to ‘pay-per-view’ in the UK. We always watched Saturday night boxing, much to my mum’s disdain.”

But it wasn’t until he reached his heaviest that he picked up the gloves and hopped in the ring.

“I needed something different to do and I wanted to learn something new, so I decided to go and get punched in the face.

“One of the big reasons why I took up kickboxing was because I needed something that was going to make me focus.”

Andy freely admits he had many destructive thought patterns running through his mind in the early days, and kickboxing provided him with a form of escapism that was hard to replicate.

Andy says the biggest lesson he’s learned through kickboxing which helps him daily in the real estate industry, is how to be present.

“If you don’t focus when you’re in a fight you’re gonna get clipped and it’s the same at work. If you’re not present at work, you could lose a listing or miss a sale.

“In my opinion, the ability to stay present is one of the most important skills an agent needs.”

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