Wouldn’t it be amazing if only ONE skill separated the $40k agents from the $500k agents? What if you could snag that corner office by applying a few simple strategies to your life? It sounds almost too good to be true, right?
Amazingly, in 2022, there is one skill that most management consultants, TEDx speakers, psychologists, and best-selling authors all agree is primary to success as a real estate agent (or any sales job). No, it’s not hard work, it’s not “people skills,” and it has nothing to do with cold calling or keeping up with technology.
It’s much, much simpler than that. It’s the ability to bounce back after failure and come back even stronger than before. It’s the hottest buzzword in motivational and social psychology. It’s even backed up by science. Of course, Barbara Corcoran figured this out decades ago:
OK, you’re probably a little disappointed now, and that Pinterest tab sure does look tempting. After all, some people are just naturally resilient, right? Maybe they’re just born with it and you weren’t.
I know the feeling. It’s a common misconception—and a comforting one at that. It’s also not true. In fact, skipping this article might cost you millions over your career. Here’s why:
In 2022, science has finally caught up with Barbara Corcoran’s killer instinct. Researchers have shown that you can build resilience like a muscle. Best of all, it’s easier than you might think.

1. Understand Your Unique Personality

In order to build your resilience, you need to understand what you’re working with. You wouldn’t start a workout routine running 10 miles every morning right?
For clinical and social psychologists, the most effective tool for measuring your personality is called the Big Five Personality Scale. Think of it like Myers Briggs’ older, smarter cousin.
Here’s how it works: Psychologists developed these five personality traits to explain pretty much all human personality (with minor exceptions, of course). The Big Five Personality traits are:
For now, take a good Big Five test and see where you stand.  Here is a great one ($9.95) designed by a former Harvard psychology professor, and here is an  OK one (less thorough) for free.

16 Strategies for Success

This tip is so crucial to success in real estate that award-winning real estate coach and Close contributor, Sean Moudry, has built his entire coaching career around it. Sean helps agents work with a variant of the Big Five to help you tailor a lead generation and branding strategy based on the results.
Here’s Sean explaining just how powerful understanding your personality can be for your career: Still not convinced? Here’s Million Dollar Listing’s Josh Altman on the importance of knowing yourself to get ahead in real estate:

Can You Change Your Personality to Become a Better Agent?

As far as changing your Big Five or Myers Briggs results, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you absolutely can change. The bad news is that if you are very low in key traits, you’re going to have to work harder to change.
Here’s something really interesting about the Big Five though: There’s an ideal combination of Big Five traits that almost all highly successful real estate agents share. More on this later.

2. Recognize Cognitive Distortions & Confront Them

Your mom was wrong about a lot of things.

It is a common misconception that sitting too close to the TV harms your eyesight, not wearing a sweater will make you sick, and ignoring negative thoughts about your career prospects will make them go away. However, modern psychologists have found that confronting your negative thoughts is actually one of the best ways to make them disappear.

A lot of our thoughts are wrong, and we internalize them as if they were true because our emotions are created by language.

This text is discussing how self-doubt and negativity can lead to burnout for agents who become top producers. Many agents who become top producers eventually burn out because they cannot maintain the same level of success for an extended period of time. The stress of self-doubt and negativity makes it very difficult to sustain success in the long term.

One of the most important things you can do to build resilience in your career is to face your negative thoughts and remind yourself why they aren’t accurate. This is the concept behind cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be effective in building resilience.

Here’s an easy way to do it:

Since most negative distortions fall into only a few categories, the first step is to label them for what they are so your brain can easily spot the faulty logic the next time it comes up.

Here are few helpful labels for distortions that are likely to come up in real estate:

Wearing rose-colored glasses: You see the best in people and the world around you, regardless of what reality might really be like. The text discusses two different ways of thinking, black or white thinking and wearing rose-colored glasses. Black or white thinking is the idea that you’re either perfect, or a failure, and you don’t see the middle ground in the situation. Wearing rose-colored glasses is when you see the best in people and the world around you, regardless of what reality might really be like.

If you lose this client, does that mean you’re not good at real estate?

Mind reading is the act of assuming you know what other people are thinking. This is impossible to do.

The listing agent might not be calling you back for any number of reasons.

Emotional reasoning is when you believe something is true because you feel it, instead of basing it on evidence or logic.

Even if you’re feeling nervous, it doesn’t mean your offer will be rejected.

Here are a few quick tips for dealing with cognitive distortions on the fly from Dr. Perpetua Neo, Executive Coach and Psychologist:

Dr. Perpetua Neo, Executive Coach and Psychologist

” A simple way to calm yourself down when you’re feeling anxious is to take some deep breaths and focus on the physical sensation of your feet on the ground. This will help you to feel more grounded and in control, so that you can make decisions more calmly.

” It’s okay to feel upset and frustrated with yourself–in fact, it’s important to acknowledge these feelings. But try to be rational and ask yourself whether the thoughts that are causing these feelings are really true. If you’re afraid that other people think negatively of you, talk to them and get their opinions. Or look to others for guidance–often, it’s helpful to realize that we’re not alone in feeling this way.

Instead of focusing on our flaws, we should focus on (1) how to make the great skills we already have even better, without downplaying them or letting our negativity obscure them, and (2) how to improve on the attributes and skills we lack right now.

If you want to explore more ways to address cognitive distortions, check out the Positive Psychology Program.

3. Learn When to Invest Money vs When to Invest Time into Your Business

You will have to make a lot of important decisions about your business as a real estate agent, including when to invest your time in learning new skills and when to invest money to achieve different business goals. These decisions can be difficult to make.

It is almost always better to invest money than time when it comes to social media marketing. It can be difficult to learn how to design graphics, write copy, and determine what and when to post on social media. AgentCrate offers an easy solution with hundreds of Realtor-specific templates and a marketing calendar that shows you exactly what and when to post. They also provide blogs, listing presentations, scripts, and much more. You can have a dedicated marketing team for less than what you may spend on coffee every morning.

4. Ask Yourself These 2 Simple Questions to Build Resilience

According to Dr. Srikumar Rao, there are two powerful questions you can ask yourself to help build resilience in the face of adversity. So the next time a client stops returning your calls or your deal falls apart, ask yourself these questions to help process the negativity into something constructive:

-Could this actually turn out to be good someday?

2. How can we make this situation better and turn it into something positive that we can all celebrate?

Here is the main idea: Before you ask yourself whether something is bad or not, think about why you are labeling the event that way. What do you think will happen? just asking these questions will create new possibilities for you.

5. Prospect, Prospect, Prospect

It’s wise to keep a full pipeline, according to Beverly Hills Realtor Thomas Hilal at Nourmand and Associates. Most top producers agree that if you keep your pipeline full, you’ll have fewer problems bouncing back in the first place. So, when you do lose a client, it’s not the end of the world.

You dig deep and find the grit to get through it. What can you do when you don’t have a full pipeline or lose a major client? You can find the strength to continue. Here’s Thomas:

Do not take things personally that are not meant to be personal. A real estate transaction is generally connected to a major life event where there are many things happening that you may not be aware of.

6. Get a Good Night’s Sleep Every Night

Arianna Huffington knows how to bounce back from failure. She took a failed presidential bid and turned it into one of the most successful websites on the internet. It wasn’t luck or connections that did it, she worked incredibly hard. Eventually she worked herself to exhaustion and passed out, waking up in a pool of her own blood. That was her wake-up call.

Formerly, she worked 18-hour days and slept only five hours per night. Now, she employs the same work ethic to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Here are some tips:

As tempting as it may be to answer that email that just came in, resist the urge. It’s not worth looking desperate by replying to emails at all hours of the night.

quietly list 10 things you are grateful for that day

The science behind mindfulness meditation is overwhelming, with Harvard University backing its resilience-building properties.

If you’re not convinced that four hours of sleep is a good idea, and you still think it’s something to boast about at work, you need to rethink your priorities.

Here are some of the scariest effects of sleep deprivation, as described by Arianna.

A recent study found that lack of sleep can lead to false memories. The researchers, from the University of California, Irvine, found that participants who slept five hours or less were significantly more likely to report memories of having seen a news video they hadn’t, in fact, seen.

Turns out, some of the hardest-working people in the world are getting by on even less Some people who work very hard only sleep four hours a day.

7. Learn the Big 5 Personality Traits Every Successful Realtor Shares

All successful real estate agents share an ideal Big Five distribution.

Having a high level of conscientiousness is similar to having grit, as it is an important factor in being resilient.

If you’re an introvert, don’t worry – you can still succeed in real estate. You just need to find the right lead generation strategy and brand to work with your personality. In fact, many top producers think introverts are better set up for long-term success in real estate. We have an article on this subject if you want to learn more about the debate.

Mid- to low levels of agreeableness, openness, and neuroticism may lead to problems in the real estate industry as these traits can make negotiations difficult and creativity is not often rewarded.

Where do you fall on this spectrum?

8. Find a Motivation Outside of Real Estate or $$$

This means that if you are only motivated by money, you will not perform as well as you could. Find another motivation outside of money to improve your performance.

In her successful book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth found one key trait that all successful people seem to share: Grit. This is similar to the trait of conscientiousness, which is the ability to persevere and keep working hard no matter what.

If you want to be successful, find something you love to do and work hard at it. Practice as much as you can and have a purpose or goal that is bigger than just achieving success.

If you want to know more about grit, you can by Angela Duckworth’s book or watch her talk at Google.

9. Learn From the Best: How Barbara Corcoran Bounced Back

Now that you have some tools to build your resilience, let’s take a look at another real-world example of someone bouncing back from a challenging situation. In this TEDx talk, Barbara Corcoran goes over how she turned a humiliating public speaking failure into a career-defining moment. Corcoran didn’t know about the tools we talked about when she bounced back, but as you’ll see in the TEDx Talk, she used almost all of them.

10. Never Stop Learning

If you want to be a top producer, you have to be obsessed with real estate and becoming successful.

This means that if you want to be successful, you have to make an effort to learn something new every day.

Bottom Line

To be a successful real estate agent, you need to take the time to learn your unique personality and then prospect as if your career depended on it. You should also get a good night’s sleep, find motivation outside of real estate, and never stop learning.

Although it is not simple, anything worth having is not easy to obtain. So, continue learning and working hard and you will eventually achieve your goals.