How to Deal with Stress and Doubt in Real Estate

This has been a crazy year for me so far. I bought a huge building; I have had a lot of flips going; I started a real estate brokerage; and I have had to let people from my team go. It is really easy to get stressed and freak out about everything. But getting stressed and freaking out will not help anything get better. How do I deal with things when they are not going exactly as they should be? How do I deal with stress or the fear that I am making huge mistakes? How do I deal with the feeling of doubt about if I am making the right decisions? It is not easy, but there are many things I do to calm myself down and reassure myself that things are on track. Even if everything blew up, I would still be just fine.

How can fear, doubt, and stress be a good thing?

Too much stress is not good for us. Stress is one of the leading causes of health problems. However, that does not mean that all stress, fear, or doubt is a bad thing. I like to get out of my comfort zone because it makes life more exciting. If I was always doing the exact same things and never had any fear that things would change, it would make life very boring. While too much stress is not good for us, some stress lets us know that we are living life. To make it big in this world, you must take chances, do things you don’t always want to do, and take a leap.

Why getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing.

When I get stressed out, it is usually about big things. I try not to let little things worry me, or maybe I have too many big things going on to even think about the little things. If you are getting stressed over everything in life, no matter how big or small the issue is, maybe you should think about your attitude. However, if you are stressed because they are big exciting things going on in your life and business, that may not always be a bad thing.

How I bought a 68,000 square foot commercial property.

How have I reduced stress in my life in the past?

When I was growing up, I was extremely shy and worried about everything. I hated school and would give myself stomach aches because I was so worried about going every day. I was not stressed about big exciting things but little things that had no bearing on my life. As I got older, I calmed down and realized that life was much more fun when you realized and did not worry about everything constantly. I am a much happier person now but still not a huge fan of big crowds. I still had stress about money and where my life was going in my 20s. One thing that helped relieve much of that stress was changing my outlook on life. I was super worried about if I was investing my money well, if the real estate market changed, if I lost my income, etc. One thing really helped me ease my worries about money:

If I lost all my money and went bankrupt, I still have the knowledge to be successful. The most valuable thing is not money but the knowledge gained on how to earn money. 

Some of the most successful people in the world lost everything at one point in their lives. In fact, losing everything may be the catalyst that pushed them to become so successful. When you lose everything, you have nothing to lose, and it is easier to take chances. For those of us who have good jobs, steady income, and decent investments, it is much harder to risk those things we have worked for years to obtain. I am not hoping to lose everything so I can start from the bottom. But the idea that, if I did lose everything it would not be so bad, helps relieve stress.

Another thing that really helped me reduce stress was buying rentals. I had something substantial to show for my hard work that would produce income forever. Those rentals also give me a safety net. I can take chances and do exciting things because I know I have those properties making me money no matter what happens.

How can rental properties reduce stress?

What stresses me out now?

While I am a pretty happy guy today, there are still things that stress me out or cause me doubt. This year has been particularly crazy:

  • I bought a 68,000-square-foot commercial property
  • I have had up to 20 flips going at one time
  • I started a real estate brokerage
  • I had to let a couple of people go from my team and hire new people
  • I have had issues with people who I hired to help with the blog

With everything that has been going on, I could work nonstop trying to get it all done and make sure it all goes perfectly. However, I have 6-year-old twins and a wife who also need me. Even though I am stressed, my idea of working late is staying until 5:30, and I spent time at the office on a weekend for the first time in almost a year a couple of weekends ago. While I was there, I brought my son with me. Even though things get crazy, my family will always come first. I think that helps reduce the stress as well because I know I will never get that time back with my kids.

I have not told many people this, but I also bought another car this year (I know first world problems). I bought a 1981 Aston Martin V8 Volante. I bought the car in February and have only seen it once! The car needed emissions work and even though it is at a mechanic who is only 30 miles away I have not even seen the car since I bought it. I know things are a bit crazy when I buy a car I have dreamed of having for decades and I have ignored it for months.

How I was able to afford a Lamborghini Diablo thanks to real estate.

How have I been able to reduce the stress and doubt in my life?

There are a number of things I do to reduce the stress and anxiety I feel when things get a bit crazy. One of the main things I do is realize that something is wrong. If I am feeling off, I don’t pretend everything is fine. I tell people like my team or wife, and I try to figure out what is bothering me. Here are some of the things that I realized were causing me the most stress:

  • While I have had a lot of flips going over the last three years, and that is stressful, my biggest worry was that I have not been buying as many flips this year. I have only bought four flips in four months when I wanted to buy 3 every month! Luckily, I have three I am buying at the end of this month.
  • It has been tough starting a new office. The actual creation of the brokerage was easier than I expected, but the designing of the new space has been much harder. I think it has frustrated my contractor as well.
  • It has taken a lot of money to create the new office, flip so many houses, buy a huge rental, and buy a car.
  • I usually have what I call problem properties when I am flipping. These are properties that need a ton of work, have major problems, or take up a lot of cash. I usually have one or two problem properties at a time. This year I have had four or five problem properties at a time.

The act of figuring out what is bothering me usually makes me feel much better. However, that is not the only thing I do to reduce stress. Next, I try to figure out if these are real problems I can fix, and if so, how do I fix them?

  • I have not been buying as many flips this year, but that may not be a horrible thing as my project manager Nikki keeps reminding me. I have a lot of other things going on, and having fewer flips could actually be a good thing. It still felt really good to get two properties under contract last week!
  • It has been stressful designing the new office, but much of that is my fault. Nikki and I usually design the houses (well, mostly Nikki). On the office, my wife is involved, my team is involved, the contractor is involved. Everyone is excited and wants to help, but it is causing confusion and delays because of all the ideas being thrown out. To fix this, we have reduced the number of people with input and will create a master plan so everyone knows what is happening and what is expected.
  • It is easy to stress about money! However, I usually get stressed without looking at the balances and what is actually happening. Once I look at things, what we have coming up, and what I spent money on, I relax a little. I spent a lot of money in the last year, but much of it was on rental properties, which will make me money for many years to come. Yes, I bought an expensive car, but I got a great deal on it, and it actually increased my net worth quite a bit.
  • When I look at my problem properties, many of them were houses that I knew would have problems when I bought them. I knew they would take a lot of money, time, or have other issues. I could have easily avoided many of these problems by being more selective about what I buy. I will still make money on them, but they probably have not been worth the time and hassle they have caused. In the future, I am working hard not to buy the problem properties, which may be another reason I have not bought as many houses this year as well.

Below is a video of a problem property:


Something else that makes me feel better and reduces stress is writing about it! The act of writing this article has helped me plan out what I can do better and if I should be worried. A lot of us get stressed and ignore the stress or what is causing it. Ignoring things is usually the best way to make problems worse. Figuring out what is causing you stress and what you can do to make the situation better is usually the best way to immediately feel better.

I also wrote a book on attitude and success. There is a huge correlation between how much money I was making and my attitude towards life.