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The saying “the only constant is change” has never been truer in real estate than it is today. The amount of change we’ve seen over the past 25 years won’t come close to what’s coming in the next five.

Tech advances are moving at light speed. Well-funded upstarts and new business models (hello, iBuyers) are already flexing their muscle. The consumer experience is becoming more customized, more mobile and faster by the day.

In response to all this coming—and current—change, there’s been a lot of talk (and more than a few articles) stirring the pot of fear in the industry. Perhaps you’ve picked up on it, as well. Fear of the unknown. Fear of missing out. Fear of the upstart down the block.

The general concept of fear is an interesting one. Regardless of whether or not a threat is real, a response of fear is something we manifest in our heads; its reality is born from our own perceptions and emotions.

Consequently, when you don’t buy into the fear, it fails to exist. Here’s one way to think about it: FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real.

In this light, fear becomes something you control. It doesn’t control you. This subtle change in mindset can greatly influence how you approach your business.

Turn Fear on Its Ear
Certainly, fear shouldn’t be completely discarded. It’s part of nature, and in our DNA. Fear drives a survival instinct that keeps us alive in the face of danger.

Leading by fear in business, however, can result in the outcome you were afraid of in the first place.

Fear puts you in a mindset of protection. It inhibits innovation and the urge to charge forward. It leads to a herd mentality where you become a follower, one of the pack. Fear can paralyze you into complacency and non-action.

Simply, fear puts you on defense. And you can’t put any points on the board playing defense.

Of course, smart business people must be aware of the pressures and potential threats to their business. The important thing is to take a step back from the headlines and hoopla and assess what’s real and what’s not.

In viewing fear as “False Evidence Appearing Real,” you realize that although you may have no control over the changes around you (real or imagined), you still control your actions, your business and the direction you want to go.

So, instead of being pushed back on your heels, commit to pushing ahead even more aggressively. Attack the market. Charge forward with what you’re great at—and do more of it.

When you lead with confidence, you make others adjust in response to your innovations and the value you bring to the table. You become the one instigating the change and instilling the fear of the unknown into the competition.

Key Takeaways:

  • With all the talk surrounding changes in the real estate industry, it can be easy to fall into a mindset of fear.
  • FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real.
  • Don’t buy into all the hoopla and, more importantly, don’t let fear drive your business. This can lead to the very result you were fearing in the first place.
  • Turn the fear of change to your advantage by instilling it in the competition. Do this by being aggressive, leading with confidence and championing innovation in your business.

Contos_AdamAdam Contos is CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. For more information, please visit

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