As a young, hungry 25-year old broker, I was fortunate to launch my career during an incredibly vibrant time in the market. Although I may have started with the market in my favor and was beginning to see significant growth in my business, everything quickly changed as a result of the COVID 19 crisis.
My first reaction was to buy into the panic and let the negativity start to creep in. But then I began thinking of all the ways I could learn from the past and make something positive from this situation. I began to remember all the success stories I heard from clients and colleagues who described immense professional growth following the last recession. For everyone, the last downturn was one of the scariest times of their lives, but for some, it brought an abundance of opportunity. So, what was the differentiating factor?
Those who saw great success following the last recession were those who had put their heads down and worked hard despite the uncertainty.
There are always factors we cannot control, but there are also plenty of variables we can control no matter the circumstances. Victor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor and author of one of my favorite books, Man’s Search for Meaning, once wrote, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” I try to remind myself of this perspective when life gets challenging because adversity is a catalyst for growth.
I’m trying to see this as a great opportunity to do a little “housekeeping” in both my personal and professional lives. When business, real estate and the stock market are all struggling, now is the time to fortify my most valuable asset of all—my potential. Instead of letting the “cabin fever” set in, I want to use this quarantine as a great incubator period for personal development and future growth.
For me, now is a great time to organize my tools, resources and business systems and to improve efficiencies for when I get back on the offense. Now is a great time to show my team extra support and leadership so they can remain empowered during this downtime and be excited to relaunch when we’re back in the office. I’m also using this time to check in on my clients and let them know I’m here to be a resource for them if they need my help. I know that creating allies and maintaining strong relationships during a time of crisis is invaluable and will make the times of prosperity that much more rewarding.
I’ve also tried to remember that we are all in this together—lenders, borrowers, brokers, buyers and sellers, landlords and renters. We have all been equally impacted. Thus, we’re all greatly incentivized to work together. We all must do our part to remain calm, keep a long-term perspective and to continue looking for opportunities. I am a firm believer that how you do anything is how you do everything, and this holds true in both good times and bad. Eventually, the pendulum will swing back in our favor and I want to be positioned properly for when that time comes.
About the author
Matt Feo is a director at Essex Realty Group, assisting in acquisition and disposition of clients’ investment real estate properties. He has been involved in the completion of more than $100 million in investment real estate transactions.