News and advice

Key takeouts from our keynote speaker: Mark Mathews

It’s not every day that you hear about an extreme big wave surfer with a fear of water! But at XCON 2022 we were privileged to learn about managing fear from Mark Mathews, three-time Oakley big wave surfing champion and fear management expert.  

So what do big wave surfing and real estate have in common? Both can be intense environments, both require you to manage and overcome fear, and both can lead to a great sense of accomplishment.  

Below you’ll learn Mark’s tips for controlling your fear, building resilience, and being grateful for the life you have.  

Takeout #1: Experience conquers fear 

“The only way through fear is experience.” 

Fear is normal unless it gets in the way of something important for you. 

When it’s holding you back, you have to face it repeatedly to develop the skillset and knowledge to move from a place of anxiety to one of excitement. In fact, scientists can’t decipher the difference in the brain between anxiety and excitement and it seems the only difference between the two emotions is your perspective of the situation.  

The technical term for facing your fears is Voluntary Exposure Therapy, meaning you must be aware, willing and choose to take on your fear. For Mark, he prepares himself for the fear of being dumped by 40ft + waves by voluntarily being pinned down in a pool to the point he passes out. In doing so, when he’s held under in the ocean, his mind and body can still function.  

How does this relate to real estate? 

Find the things you know you put off or are scared to do. The one that we hear most is the fear of cold calling and prospecting, and the best way to conquer that fear is to just keep doing it. Tip: Do it first thing in the morning, set your call target and go! 

The other huge fear we hear about is going out on your own and breaking away from the perceived safety of a franchise. Again, the only way through this is to make the leap and back yourself (more on this later).  

Takeout #2: Visualise your success 

 “You have to want it more than you fear it.” 

Studies show that being able to visualise progression towards something important, or away from something negative, you can’t produce positive emotions. 

Mark’s tips to push you through is to think of three things: What, Why and Who.

What does success look like for you? This should be personal to you and can be framed as something you’re moving to or something you want to avoid.  

Why do you want to succeed? Think here about why you do what you do. Is it to improve your life and those of your loved ones. Tying your loved ones to your success is one of the most powerful ways to overcome fear. 

Who is going to help you get there? Which people are helping you achieve your goals? With the right team and partners give you are far greater chance of reaching the success you want. Make sure you get them to articulate what success looks like for your team. Once you connect with them, you’ll put 100% in for each other.  

How does this relate to real estate? 

Stop and think about what you want from your career, both financially and within your life. Have a clear vision of your success and each day remember why you do what you do.  

If fear is holding you back from making that next call, making your next hire, or hindering your growth visualise the people you’re doing this for.  

Share you goals with your team and understand what they want to achieve too. Align and work together to achieve the best for everyone.  

Takeout #3: Perspective & the power of positivity 

 “The journey to success isn’t a straight line.” 

Mark found this out in 2016, when he got complacent at a big wave spot known as Killers. After a huge wipe-out he was pummelled into the shallow reef, wedged between the rocks, and tore his knee apart. His team managed to pull him out and get him to hospital, where after surgery he was told he may lose his leg and never surf again.  

With a nasty infection, he thought amputation was inevitable. But he was forced to put things in perspective after an out of-the-blue meeting with a fan of his, who was at the same hospital and facing paraplegia after a snowboarding accident.  

This gave Mark the motivation to push through his desire to give up, and through hard work and a positive view of his future he regained the ability to surf big waves. 

It’s a longer story with a simple message. Put things in perspective. For Mark, the chance meeting and positive outlook helped him heal and created a completely renewed outlook on life. 

How does this relate to real estate? 

Throughout your journey as an agent or director, things won’t always go your way, and this is especially true in the current falling market. You’ll take some knocks, experience setbacks, and have your doubts. In these moments, stop and reflect on the good things in your life and take stock of how lucky you are to be doing what you love.  

Takeout #4: Practice Gratitude 

“Being grateful optimises your mind and body.”  

Thousands of studies around the world have shown that being grateful can have a physiological effect on the human body, and in Mark’s case he believes gratitude played a huge part in his healing and recovery. So much so that he’s started a movement called the Wave of Gratitude with a simple premise – send a text to someone you hold dear and tell them why you’re grateful to them. They’ll feel amazing, and likely respond with a positive text back, making you feel amazing and amplify the effect.  

He also recommends Habit Stacking, where each day you take a new positive habit and stack it to a primary habit you have. For example, before you have your morning coffee (primary habit), write down something you are grateful for (the new positive habit).  

How does this relate to real estate? 

Following on from takeout 3, this is about putting thoughts into action. Do things that make you feel good and build a routine around gratitude.  

Thank your team, your family, friends, and clients regularly. Not only will it feel good, it will strengthen the relationships you’ve built and enhance your success. 

Takeout #5: Setbacks happen. It’s how you deal with them that matters

“Road bumps are part and parcel with any journey. 

How you respond to life when things aren’t going to plan has a massive impact on reaching your goals. In tough times, refocus on the fundamentals and cultivate a state of gratitude.  

How can you do this? Revisit what your success looks like, why you’re doing it, and who’s helping you get there.  

If you can cultivate gratitude in your tougher moments, you’ll be able to push through any moments of adversity and in doing so, you’ll stop fear from getting in the way of your dreams.  

How does this relate to real estate? 

F*ck the fear! If your fear leads to anxiety and creates roadblocks to your success, address it head on. You’re in control of your perception, so reframe your fear into excitement. Always go back to why you’re doing what you do and who you’re doing it for. Visualise your happiness when you reach your goals and when you get through tough times, know that you’ve built resilience that will get you through any future obstacle.  

Have you been putting off going out on your own? It's time to face your fear with our support. If you'd like more information on how we partner with over 100 agents just like you, fill out the form for a confidential chat.