If you feel that your priorities have shifted, it’s time to develop a plan for getting the most out of every day. Here’s how to develop an intentional path forward to help you meet your goals.
The pandemic had a variety of unforeseen consequences for the real estate industry and those of us who make our living as agents and brokers. Certainly, much has been written about its impact on the markets and on buyers and sellers. There has also been some analysis of the ways that real estate professionals changed up their marketing strategies and tech adoption to meet the challenges of the past few years.
Less, however, has been written about a kind of psychological hangover that seems to have affected many of us. Perhaps it comes from the amount of introspection that occurred during the pandemic. Maybe some of it came from the loss of loved ones or the changes in personal relationships and social norms.
For a lot of us, one of the biggest lasting impacts of the pandemic is a sense of loss in our lives. Living with so much uncertainty month after month resulted in a sense of overwhelm and, most importantly, a loss of core focus.
Prior to March 2020, I think many of us felt like we were on a clear path forward and we had a sense of where we wanted to go in our professional lives. We had specific goals and a sense of urgency that helped us to get up every morning and accomplish great things.
However, the many shifts that resulted from the pandemic — and from the last couple of years of political and financial uncertainty and turmoil — seem to have upended our best-laid plans, changed our priorities and created a sense that we’re out of alignment with the goals we once held. For goal-oriented, entrepreneurial-minded folks in the industry, that’s a scary and uncomfortable place to be.
How, then, do we make our way back and regain some of the forward momentum that we may have lost? Here’s where to start:
1. Take time to reflect
While everyone experienced an unprecedented amount of time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life during the pandemic, they did so in the midst of incredible uncertainty. In addition, the active markets of 2020 through mid-2022 meant that many of us were busier than ever and didn’t have much time for quiet contemplation.
Now, however, it’s time to stop and develop a practice that will allow you to gain clarity. Consider meditation, journaling, or working with a therapist or coach to get a sense of where you are, where you want to go and what truly matters to you now.
2. Get into alignment
Once you’ve spent some time reflecting, it’s time to put your realizations into action. Are you different from the person you were prior to 2020? Have your priorities shifted? Has your personal life changed? Have your relationships changed?
Maybe you’re looking for greater personal fulfillment and your previous professional goals no longer speak to you. Maybe you got used to spending more time with your family over the past couple of years and you don’t want to go back to working 24/7. Get your schedule and habits into alignment with your spirit and develop a plan to move forward toward your new goals.
3. Develop incremental mini-goals
Once you’ve figured out what your endgame looks like, you need to reverse-engineer a path to get there. Create a visual representation, like a timeline or spreadsheet, that depicts where you are currently, where you want to go, and the steps you’ll take to get there.
For example, maybe you want to commit to a greater focus on charitable causes and service to the community. Right now, you’re not doing much toward this goal — just an occasional service project — but you’d eventually like to devote at least one full day each week to a cause you love. Your list might look something like this:
- Research local organizations
- Carve out one hour per week to volunteer with various organizations for the first two months
- Choose an organization that is most aligned with my interests and where I feel I can do the most good.
- Track my schedule and identify one day per week with the fewest obligations
- Increase volunteer hours in increments of one hour every two months
- 18 months to my goal of one day of community service per week!
4. Stay focused on your new goals and aspirations
Now that you’ve changed up your priorities and defined your goals, you need to develop strategies for staying focused day after day, year after year. It’s all too easy to fall into old habits that no longer serve you or to operate on autopilot. If you want to make changes down the road, it starts with where you put your attention today.
Daily affirmations and visualization practices can help you stay focused and keep you aligned with your goals. Journaling can be especially helpful here, too, allowing you to look back and see the progress you’ve made over time.
5. Communicate clearly to get your family, friends and colleagues on board
If you’ve changed your priorities significantly, those who know you well may be curious or even concerned. In addition, those who depend on you financially or professionally may wonder why you seem different or why you appear to be less driven.
Talk to the people who are closest to you about changes you’re making in your life and be honest about how it might affect them. If you’re the go-to, never-say-no person at work, you may need to help people recalibrate their expectations. If you’re the primary breadwinner at home, you may need to help your family understand that your priorities are shifting.
You have the right to be happy, satisfied and fulfilled. You have the power to design a day-to-day that’s aligned with your highest goals and principles. Living your best life is about moving forward with intention and purpose.
It’s natural to change over time and in the face of changing circumstances. Acknowledge and embrace those changes so that you can find the fulfillment you may have been missing lately.