Some brokers are true entrepreneurs in that they own their companies.
But all brokers have entrepreneurial traits. When your job is to approach strangers, build a relationship and convince them to spend money, you’re entrepreneurial. When you’re a person who manufactures new business out of thin air, you’re an entrepreneur.
The best brokers have “entrepreneurial” personalities. That’s a good thing because entrepreneurs are savvy, driven and hard-working people.
Society puts a lot of emphasis on entrepreneurism. We place successful entrepreneurs on pedestals and look up to them. Much of humanity’s progress has been borne by risk-taking visionaries who were hoping to make a profit.
I have a lot of respect for entrepreneurs. Hell, I am an entrepreneur who owns a couple businesses! But there is a downside to entrepreneurship, and it’s not just the financial risks: it can consume you, take over your life and own your soul.
I read a Wall Street Journal article the week by April Spivack: “Entrepreneurs Famously Work Hard. For Many, Dangerously So.” Research shows that some entrepreneurs are so devoted to success that they cross the line from workaholic to addict.
Using the six traits that commonly define addiction, Spivack and her colleague Alexander McKelvie found that 2 percent of entrepreneurs surveyed have all six addiction traits. Approximately 15 percent had three of the traits. Having just one trait can be damaging, according to Spivack, and 38 percent of entrepreneurs did.
Here are the six traits:
- All they think about is business
- They have manic cycles
- Their self-worth is tied to the business
- They become one-dimensional
- They keep raising the stakes (addictions tend to escalate)
- They do things in secret and suffer alone
If real estate brokers share many of the same characteristics of entrepreneurs, it stands to reason that brokers can also become addicted to their work.
It’s a fine line that separates high-achieving versus addictive personalities, and it’s not always easy to strike a balance. Most top-producers are workaholics (or at least they were in their younger years). If you’re highly ambitious, it behooves you to assess the healthy and unhealthy aspects of your life. Be self-aware.
In the WSJ article, Spivack says it is easier to step over the line and become a work addict than it is to step back into healthy living.
One of the best ways to keep working hard while still being able to enjoy quality time for family, friends, hobbies, recreation, etc., is to employ good time management practices.
Many of the entrepreneurs and brokers I know who are unhealthily stressed out, are poor time managers. If you make priorities, stick to a schedule and lead time-disciplined life, you can be that top producer who still enjoys high-quality living.