How to Mentally Survive the Challenges


If for some reason you’ve heard that real estate investing isn’t a challenging industry… I have news for you. Just kidding, you probably haven’t heard that. Real estate investing is known to be challenging!

Why is it so challenging? Here are some basic reasons real estate investing can be so much more challenging than other industries:

  • We didn’t learn anything about how to do it in school.
  • There are a million different strategies to choose from, and within each of those million different strategies, there are a million different ways to do each one.
  • There are no two investors exactly alike. Even if you learn verbatim exactly how another investor succeeded, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to replicate the exact same success without implementing your own twist into the process. You can’t copy someone else’s answers, so to speak.
  • Compared to most industries, there are very few checks and balances. Meaning, most people aren’t under the control of a boss or someone who can help regulate their behavior and actions. Which can make your “co-workers” a bit difficult to deal with.
  • The real estate market environment is constantly changing. So a fail-proof method you have for some amount of time likely isn’t going to remain fail-proof. You have to constantly pivot and adjust for outside factors.

Are you asking yourself why in the world you want to deal with an industry like this, given all of these challenges? If you’re reading this article, it means you’re interested in real estate investing, so… too late, you’re already in it!

If those challenges are par for the course as a real estate investor, what’s the best process to handle them as they come up?

Here are 6 easy steps you can follow to keep you freak out to a minimum:

  1. Breathe

Sounds basic, but it’s huge, and most of us forget to do it. The best reminder you can give yourself in this moment is “This isn’t the end of the world.” Oftentimes we can react to non-life-threatening situations as if they were life-threatening. It’s human; it’s our fight-or-flight system. The first step is to get your brain and body out of this mode by just breathing.

Now that you’ve calmed your system down a little bit…

  • Put your emotions aside (including thinking you’re getting scammed…that’s an emotion)

Once your fight-or-flight system calms down and you’ve slowed your heart rate, it seems that our brains like to take advantage of this moment of calmness to chime in and give its opinions, usually in the form of emotions. Fear is a common one that pops up in this moment. We suddenly fear our investment, our money, our livelihood, and our worthiness (whether we realize that’s what we’re fearing or not). Whatever your thoughts may be in this moment, likely identified through whatever emotions you’re feeling, put them aside for now. Before you can jump to conclusions, you need more information!

  • Ask questions

Before you make any assumptions or start trying to solve anything, ask clarifying questions. In my experience, it’s very rare when someone first tells you that you have a problem that they give you all of the information you need to fully understand the situation. Once your panic has slowed down, start asking logistical questions. The more information you have about the problem and about potential resolutions, the better the decision you can make to most effectively and efficiently solve the problem. Not only can you make better decisions on how to solve the problem, but you can avoid the mental rabbit hole of thinking your investment is tanked and you’ve been scammed! (Those are very exhausting thoughts that help absolutely nothing, FYI.)

  • Reach out to a mentor

If once you have the all the information you’re unsure of exactly the best solution, or maybe you don’t even fully understand the problem as well as you should, the best thing you can do is ask someone who might be able to help you. If you have a mentor, they should be your first stop. If you don’t have a mentor, be cautious of who you’re asking for help as there will be a lot of people who won’t know the best solution for you but they’ll pretend they do. Find a trusted person or trusted source to reach out to. Don’t ever assume that you have to figure everything out on your own!

  • Figure out a solution (don’t sit around and spin on the situation and let it stay stressful)

I’ve seen so many situations where something happens to an investor’s property, and they do ask questions and get information on possible solutions, but instead of ponying up and implementing a solution, they continue to sit around stressing about the cause or the effect of the situation. Stress and inaction never helped anyone accomplish anything!

  • Implement the solution and put it to bed

Similarly, sometimes even after someone has put solutions to the problem in place, they continue to waller on the whole thing. Whether this is continuing to think they’re getting scammed, or real estate investing is risky or dangerous, or focusing only on the problem and not moving forward from it. The biggest problem with staying focused on a past challenge is that it’s usually indicative that you’re not learning from it and implementing mitigations against it happening again, or improving from it. You have to learn and move on!

Anyone who says business and real estate investing is only about the numbers is crazy. The numbers are easy once you learn them. Where the real battle comes in is with our own minds. Can we stomach the challenges? The answer to that question is going to dictate your future success.

Some helpful reminders for you to keep in your back pocket for moments like these:

  1. There is absolutely no need to immediately freak out at the mere hint of a problem—there’s a lot that can be done prior to freaking.
  2. What seems to be a big problem in the moment very often turns out to be irrelevant over the long-term.
  3. Whatever is going on is absolutely no reflection on you, and most often not on the potential of your investment, either.
  4. Only in very rare cases is someone trying to scam you. Yet, that tends to be the first place our brains like to go.
  5. There are solutions to all problems.

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