By Monika Bhondy
Have you felt the pressure—and subsequent burnout—that comes from trying to keep up appearances as a real estate professional to push a specific narrative of success? Social media’s highlight reel makes it easy to feel like you must always put your best face forward.
As a real estate professional, the pressure to perform, produce and be “on” 24/7 has increased since the pandemic, which brought about record-breaking sales and multiple offers on just about every listing.
Enter that common feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt that tells you if you’re not careful, it will all fall apart, and the pressure to portray a façade to the outside world. Doing so, though, can easily lead to feeling like you don’t belong. Like maybe your accomplishments are a fluke. Like maybe you aren’t as accomplished as you appear. What you’re experiencing might be “Imposter Syndrome” or as it’s known in the medical community, “Imposter Phenomenon.”
You’ve likely heard the term, but what exactly is it, and why do we as real estate professionals, need to prevent it from creeping up in our social feeds?
Imposter Phenomenon is defined by the American Psychological Association as a “sense that (an individual) hasn’t heard what they’ve achieved and are a fraud.” Combined with comparison to others, which is one of the worst parts of social media, Imposter Phenomenon can make you feel like you have to keep up appearances, which means posting on social media in a way that isn’t authentic to you or your brand.
Here’s something important to consider, though: if what your audience sees is not the real you, they’ll spot it. Remember no one resonates with an imposter. This can result in less engagement and less effective social media presence, ultimately harming your business. It’s important for real estate agents to recognize and address any internal struggles with imposter phenomenon so that they can cultivate an authentic, strong presence on social media—and strong doesn’t always mean that everything has to look perfect.
The highlight reel of social media can make you feel like you’re the only one who struggles, which can contribute to imposter phenomenon. The key to preventing it is understanding that you’re not alone. In fact, a recent review of scientific studies concluded that it’s possible up to 82% of people experience feelings of imposter phenomenon. The goal is to stay focused on your long-term goals and find that inner knowing that you are responsible and deserving of your accomplishments, past and present.
Being authentic on your social media is crucial to gaining the trust of your audience (don’t forget, friends who know the real you will be on there, too). It’s also important for you to be authentic so that you don’t inadvertently contribute to feelings of imposter phenomenon.
To be genuine and transparent in your communication, start by setting realistic goals for yourself and your social media presence. Understand your brand’s values, your voice and your style, and then use that as a guide for creating content. Avoid using overly promotional language and graphics and instead focus on providing valuable information in fun, inciteful and informative ways your own way that will keep your followers engaged. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your business. Lastly, always respond to comments and messages promptly and respectfully to build strong relationships with your audience.
In a nutshell, here are some tips:
- Be authentic and true to yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not on social media.
- Highlight your accomplishments and successes. Share your wins and be proud of them.
- And on the flip side, don’t be afraid to share your struggles. That’s what makes you human and relatable.
- Connect with other agents and industry professionals. This can help you feel less isolated and build a supportive community.
- Avoid comparing yourself to others. Remember that everyone has their own journey and path to success.
- Focus on providing value to your audience. Share helpful tips, resources, and insights that align with your brand and expertise.
And above all, create a supportive community on your pages that encourages, uplifts, and feels fun! This will help you avoid the detrimental effects that imposter phenomenon can have on your mental health and well-being.
If, by chance, you find yourself down that rabbit hole of feeling like a fraud, it can be helpful to talk to others about your feelings and seek support from a mentor or even a therapist. You want to do what you can to address the issue early on, because it can have many consequences of left unaddressed. In addition to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy, imposter phenomenon can lead to increased stress and anxiety, which can lead to burnout, which is the last thing a professional in a fast-paced, ever-changing field wants.
Practicing self-compassion and recognizing and altering negative thought patterns can prevent you from doubting yourself and your expertise.
Monika Bhondy was born Brit who moved to North America and now resides in the Chicagoland area. A licensed real estate agent since 2016, Monika accomplished $2 million in sales in her first four months in the industry, earning her Million Dollar Guild™ status, which she has held since 2017. She’s a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® and a member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing™. Want to know if your home is priced right? As a Pricing Strategy Advisor, she’ll get you there. One of the few real estate professionals who is also a Certified Staging Consultant (held by less than 1500 brokers in Illinois as of 2020), she proves her passion for exquisite styling and knowing what works is always on point.