How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome as a Young Real Estate Agent

Marcus LarreaJuly 13, 2022

Impostor,Syndrome,,Mental,Health,Quotes,,Words,Typography,Top,View,LetteringNew real estate agents have plenty of obstacles to clear at the beginning of their careers. For many, impostor syndrome is a severe issue. Agents stuck with this pervasive sense of self-doubt and fear of making mistakes may inadvertently hinder their careers. It’s a shared experience among many agents, even if it doesn’t affect them significantly. Fortunately, there are many ways to combat impostor syndrome by identifying negative thought patterns and finding new ways to associate these feelings. With this information, agents can determine if they have impostor syndrome and be a successful new agent.

Know the Signs of Impostor Syndrome

Although real estate agents may doubt for various reasons, impostor syndrome can be a particular source of struggle. It’s not always easy to identify, especially for new agents. There are certain symptoms of imposter syndrome that agents can identify:

  • Difficulty talking about themselves positively
  • Trouble accepting praise
  • Struggle to complete tasks, even simple ones

Agents need to remember that having difficulties getting established isn’t necessarily a sign of insufficient talent or knowledge. By building confidence, agents can overcome imposter syndrome and achieve their professional goals. 

You Feel Self-Doubt in Front of Clients

Female,Real,Estate,Agent,Offer,Home,Ownership,And,Life,InsuranceFor real estate agents, being able to perform well in front of clients is crucial. From mortgage advice to tips on navigating a hot market, homebuyers have a lot of on-the-spot questions that agents with imposter syndrome might struggle to address in the moment, even when they know the answer. In the beginning, it’s easy for agents to question themselves relentlessly. They may feel nervous about giving clients real estate advice because they are worried they could be incorrect.

This particular aspect of impostor syndrome can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Agents who feel nagging self-doubt in the back of their minds may be more likely to make mistakes or fail to act with purpose. The way real estate agents think about themselves rubs off on clients. If they’re lacking faith in their abilities, it’ll be hard to calm down nervous clients

You Tend to Procrastinate

Agents worried about making mistakes are much more likely to procrastinate, mainly when dealing with constant self-doubt. Procrastination can be a common sign of various issues, so agents should invest the time to investigate their reasons for the delay. Experts believe that many people who procrastinate have an intense fear of failure, even if they don’t always have trouble getting work done. 

Fear of failure is familiar to many real estate beginners. Feeling like there must be a perfect time or way to approach a task, particularly with impostor syndrome. However, if agents find that fear is so debilitating that they cannot complete their tasks as required, it could spiral into a much more significant concern.

You Freeze When Making Big Decisions

Home,For,Sale,Real,Estate,Sign,And,Beautiful,New,House.In some cases, agents with impostor syndrome can do general tasks but find it more difficult to be decisive about complicated aspects of the job. Decision paralysis is a term used to describe a person’s delayed decisiveness. Clients ultimately make the decisions, but they count on agents to be able to help them sort out their options, sometimes without a lot of lead time.

When confronted with an important decision, freezing can play out in a couple of different ways for agents. For example, if clients ask an agent to help them determine whether they should look at condos or townhomes, they expect an educated, reasoned answer. They aren’t necessarily going to hinge everything on the agent’s recommendation, but they would like to have the information. An agent unable to answer the question ultimately may seem confused or even apathetic, possibly losing the client.

How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome as a New Real Estate Agent

For new real estate agents, overcoming impostor syndrome is essential to building a successful career. In the grip of impostor syndrome, agents may be overly tentative, unwilling to commit to a decision or even inconsiderate of client needs. It’s a big problem because impostor syndrome eats away confidence and can make every success feel like a narrow miss at failure. In some cases, it can make it harder for agents to get established in the first place. These tips can help agents to improve their perspectives.

Share Your Feelings With a Mentor or Peer

Impostor syndrome thrives from secrecy. Agents may think they cannot reveal how they feel out of fear of exposing what they perceive as gross incompetence. Without the ability to share concerns with a mentor or peer, agents may find themselves spiraling into worse levels of doubt about their abilities to fulfill the job requirements.

Sharing your feelings related to imposter syndrome can reduce their control over your behavior. Agents should seek the companionship of an experienced mentor, real estate coach, or peer. Talking about these issues may help agents to realize that they are not alone in worrying that they aren’t up to the task. It’s also a good opportunity for the mentor or peer to offer positive feedback to counter these opposing feelings.

Check the Facts

Although facts and feelings aren’t entirely separate, it’s essential to ensure that both have an appropriate role in an agent’s decision-making. A good way for agents to determine if their concerns are spiraling out of control is to sit down and quantify them in some way. 

For example, an agent trying to gain experience with luxury homes may start to worry that they just don’t have the knowledge or experience to make it happen. They might be able to counteract negative thoughts with data. For example, they could write out the number of luxury home sales they have assisted with for other agents. They can also detail the time they have put in to understand the needs of luxury home clients. Spelling it out might make the doubt start to dissipate.

Learn From Your Mistakes

It’s not exciting to make a mistake, particularly an error that costs a client or the possibility of a commission. However, agents must find a way to face their mistakes and learn from them. Mistakes are common, particularly for new real estate agents. Sometimes, agents test out a new approach, which falls completely flat with a lucrative client.

It’s easy for agents to get stuck on the idea that mistakes will always cost them, but this perspective can be destructive. Instead, agents might take the opportunity to step back and evaluate their choices that led to the mistake. In many cases, mistakes can be a much more effective learning tool than accidental success. Agents who can own up to their mistakes and work to correct them show integrity and dedication that will help them in their careers.

Recall Positive Experiences

Emphasizing positive experiences over negative memories can be a helpful way for agents to overcome some mental aspects of impostor syndrome. Research shows that people remember negative experiences better than positive ones. Experts say that it may be an evolutionary aspect that helps people to survive during times of hardship. However, dwelling on the negative can cause problems, mainly when it makes agents unwilling or unable to progress in their careers. As an alternative, agents could consider a few different ways to highlight positive experiences:

  • Try to re-create the feelings of an outstanding experience with a client
  • Write down the story of a positive interaction as a narrative
  • Highlight the positive aspects of a negative experience

Agents may be able to retrain themselves to focus on the things they learned instead of the things they didn’t do well.

Embrace Humility, Let Go of Fear

Agents need to discern the difference between failing to act because they don’t have the skills or information necessary and failing to act because they are afraid. Impostor syndrome is a difficult path for agents to tread because it can make them sound humble even if they are not. Humility is vital for an agent’s success. Agents who are arrogant or overconfident have difficulty building rapport with others and are more likely to make mistakes.

Bridging the gap may involve embracing humility without letting it overshadow an agent’s skills. There’s a difference between an agent eager to turn the conversation back to what they can do for clients and an agent who simply cannot hear any kind of praise. It’s a balancing act, and one that agents will continue to work on it for the duration of their careers.

Don’t Let Impostor Syndrome Hinder Your Success as a Real Estate Agent

Most agents understand feelings of being unprepared or unqualified. It might be as simple as a few good experiences at the beginning. However, these feelings of luck can quickly turn sour, leading agents to believe they do not deserve praise. Impostor syndrome causes severe problems for agents, so they should try to mitigate it when they notice it. Learning the common signs and the best ways to embrace positivity can help agents build a career that can withstand difficult times.

About the Author

Marcus got his Florida real estate license back in 2016. He then assembled a dynamic team of talented young individuals working alongside seasoned real estate professionals to facilitate and optimize the customer’s real estate experience. Their sales volume in 2021 was $164M (up 140% from 2020)  and their 2022 Sales Volume YTD is $107M.

Last Updated: 7/13/2022

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