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  • Writer's pictureVivian Chong

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome In Your Real Estate Career

Updated: Apr 8

You closed your first real estate deal, and this is a big deal that immediately propels you to the top of the chart. You become one of the top agents for that month.

However, you feel you don't belong to the top achievers category and start worrying that someone will soon exposed you as not as competent as what you are being perceived.

You are an experienced real estate agent with many awards and accolades. But you feel self-doubt and inadequateness. You think you are a fraud, and people will soon find out.

Does the above scenario sound familiar?

If yes, you probably experienced the Imposter Syndrome in real estate.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Wikipedia define imposter syndrome as below:

Imposter syndrome is a psychological occurrence in which people doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and have a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as frauds.

As a real estate mentor, I have had teammates sharing with me the imposter feeling they had about themselves despite clocking in respectable sales.

They often feel inadequate despite being in the company's top achievers category.

So, to you and those who feel this way, welcome to the club! You and 70% of the people around you feel this way! 😊

It is important to note that this is not an uncommon feeling among real estate agents, and it does not just affect new realtors.

Even among experienced realtors, we experienced imposter syndrome.

Despite years of experience, there have been situations where I feel I am not good enough. This makes me anxious that time is running out for me to become the person I expect myself to be.

The stress is real! 😩

Vivian chong real estate property mentor leader
Imposter syndrome affects both new and experienced realtors.

Ways To Overcome Imposter Syndrome In Your Real Estate Career

Imposter syndrome can have a significant impact on an individual's performance.

For most people, the imposter moments they experience are transient. They occur during periods of transition or when faced with new challenges.

A good example is when someone new to the real estate industry experiences a career breakthrough. To many, this is an achievement worth celebrating.

However, for someone who is experiencing imposter syndrome, this is an imposter moment. They feel that they don't belong and are not as competent as others think they are.

So, while we celebrating the achievements, we must be mindful of how they perceived them.

imposter syndrome
We must be mindful of how the one receiving the award perceives their achievement.

While most imposter feelings are transient, they can become more chronic and interfere with the ability to perform at the best.

Here are a few ways in which we can overcome imposter syndrome.

1. Recognise and acknowledge imposter syndrome

First and foremost, the most important thing is to become aware of and acknowledge that we are experiencing imposter syndrome.

This is a familiar feeling in the workplace.

It is interesting to note that many successful individuals, such as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Tennis icon Serena Williams, Actor Tom Hanks, and Superstar Lady Gaga, have gone through it too!

real estate career mentor
Tennis icon Serena Williams has experienced Imposter Syndrome too!

2. Challenge negative self-talk

Imposter syndrome often involves negative self-talk and self-doubt. It is common to hear comments like: "I don't think I am good enough", "I can't do it!" etc.

One good way to challenge our negative self-talk is to look for evidence of our competence: successful transactions, challenges we have to overcome to close that deal, satisfied clients, positive feedback from teammates etc.

Constantly remind ourselves of our accomplishments and the value we bring to our clients.

imposter syndrome
One good way to challenge our own negative self-talk is to look for evidence of our competence.

3. Focus on your strengths

Identify and embrace your strengths and expertise in real estate. Recognise the unique skills and qualities that have contributed to your success.

I know teammates with warm personalities who can quickly convert cold leads into warm prospects.

And some teammates are strong in numbers and analytical skills. Their strength lies in convincing with facts and figures.

Of course, there are those who are good at content creation. They can easily post video after video on their social media.

We can build confidence and counter feelings of inadequacy by emphasising our strengths and applying them in our real estate careers.

vivian chong property career mentor coach leader
What are the skills and qualities you possess that have contributed to the success in your real estate career?

4. Continuously learn and improve

Invest in ongoing professional development.

Within Huttons and Navis, we have so many ongoing courses and trainings.

Within RealTeam, we have weekly trainings, during which we practice real-life case studies and learn from one another.

We can keep ourselves updated with property-related news by reading newspapers and real estate publications.

The more we educate ourselves and keep up-to-date with industry trends, the more confident and capable we feel in our role.

5. Set realistic expectations

Imposter syndrome can be fuelled by setting overly high expectations for ourselves.

It is essential to remind ourselves that nobody knows everything. It is ok to ask and learn.

Set realistic goals and break them down into manageable steps. This allows us to learn and grow along the way.

imposter syndrome
It is important to set realistic expectations of ourselves, and learn along the way.

6. Practice self-compassion

One of the mantras I always share with others is:

Don't be so hard on yourself.

Though I know it's easier said than done.

It is essential to be kind to ourselves. And treat ourselves with compassion. Accept that making mistakes or facing challenges is a natural part of any career.

Instead of beating ourselves up over perceived failures, we view them as opportunities for growth and learning.

7. Seek support and mentorship

A man is not an island.

One of the most effective ways to counter the effect of Imposter Syndrome is to speak up. We can share our feelings with our mentors or trusted teammates who can provide guidance and encouragement.

Combating Imposter Syndrome Within The Team

As team leaders and real estate career mentors, it is crucial to identify and work with teammates who may be experiencing imposter syndrome.

Below are the ways I find helpful in reducing Imposter Syndrome within the team.

1. Look for red flags.

Not all who are experiencing imposter syndrome will open up and share readily.

Look for behaviours that suggest imposter feelings. These include unsustainable working habits like long working hours, withdrawal from a social outing, and hesitancy in speaking up or asking questions.

These are signs that they are hiding their insecurities.

Recognizing these behaviors and initiating open and supportive conversations can create an environment that promotes trust, growth, and well-being.

imposter syndrome
Have an open and supportive conversation with teammates who show behaviours that point to insecurities.

2) Focus on individual progress

The real estate industry is a highly competitive environment. Besides the annual Top Achievers awards, there are also monthly charts that highlight the top achievers,

From the management's point of view, these awards are meant to encourage and honor achievements.

As a leader, while we honor our teammates who achieve exemplary results, we should also emphasize personal growth and development rather than comparing individuals.

Encourage individuals to reflect on their journey and acknowledge their strides.

Perceived imposters frequently view themselves as lacking but “everyone else” as competent. They also tend to measure their success against unrealistic or skewed benchmarks.

Initiate conversations to dispel uncertainties about expectations. Offer specific and timely feedback that highlights individual achievements and contributions.

Recognise their efforts and the positive impact they have on the team. Regularly remind them of their accomplishments to reinforce their confidence.

imposter syndrome real estate career
As a leader, it is important to emphasise individual growth and progress than comparing individuals.

3) Share your professional insecurities

One of the ways we can combat imposter syndrome is by normalizing imposter feelings.

We can share some of our professional insecurities and challenges, especially the perceived failures that we ultimately overcome.

When we are willing to share our vulnerabilities, it helps people relate to us and normalizes the setbacks they had.

More importantly, it teaches a lesson in resiliency and pushes them to keep going,

imposter syndrome property agent career
By sharing our vulnerabilities, it helps people relate to us and normalises the setbacks they had.

4) Do not allow your teammates to give you all the credit

Be vigilant to the tendency for imposters to credit luck, extreme preparation, or their mentors for their professional successes.

Women are especially likely to attribute success to luck or their teammates or credit mentors for achievements while downplaying their talent and achievement.

When a teammate with imposter syndrome gives you credit, express thanks and then highlight in no uncertain terms how she deserves the lion’s share of credit — and explain why.

Lastly, I like to share this quote:

Everyone loses when bright people play small.— Dr. Valerie Young


I would like to share this video in which Michelle Obama discusses her struggle with imposter syndrome and how she overcame it.

If you or any of your teammates are going through imposter syndrome in your real estate career, I hope what I have written has been helpful.

If you are looking for a mentor in your property career, drop me a Whatsapp or schedule an appointment using the link below.

Let's see if we have the chemistry to work together!

See you soon!


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About The Author

vivian chong huttons era propnex orangetee

Vivian joined the real estate industry in 2002.

Having been in the real estate business for more than 2 decades, she knows the rewards and challenges that a real estate agent faces.

While the real estate career offers lucrative income and flexible work hours, it also presents many challenges - financial insecurity as we do not have basic pay and time management as we juggle work, children, and family, all at once.

Only those who have walked the same journey will understand.

Vivian would now like to pay it forward by mentoring fellow agents, especially women who want to build a real estate career.

It is her vision to see women achieving their dreams, and live their lives with purpose and passion through a successful real estate career.

Call Vivian at 98577714 to embark on this journey.


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