Social Media is Driving Some Real Estate Investors to Depression and Anxiety


social media road lights

By Don R. Campbell

The impact of the social media revolution has been analyzed to death. However, there has been one big area where it has been ignored, The Negative Side Of Positive.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. A quote used for many situations in life, the sub-text being whether or not you have thought through the unintended consequences of your actions. And truthfully, most people don’t.

A great example of this lack of unintended consequences thought plays out very obviously in Social Media. But I am not here to make social media bad or good, it is just an information delivery system. I am definitely not going to dive into analyzing the impact of the negative comments, the nasty posts and the trolling, as that has been analyzed to death. By this point, anyone with any life experience knows to ignore/delete/report or laugh at those people.

Why Does Everything Seem Perfect Except Me?

However, there is another side of Social Media that can, unintentionally, have a negative impact, especially on entrepreneurs who are working hard at building their real estate portfolios or businesses. This is the negative impact of the Everything is Perfect posts.

Yes, I know and I completely agree that given how this world is evolving into knee-jerk reactions of yelling about every issue large or small, the last thing we need is more negativity. However, a sense of realism is also needed, especially for those of us who are building businesses, creating real estate portfolios, and generally getting on with taking control of our futures.

Along this journey, many investors and business builders have their moments of Is this right or Is this really worth it or I must be a fool, everyone around me is doing so well, what am I doing wrong??

In a recent Inc. Magazine article titled The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship, we discover that most successful entrepreneurs find themselves questioning their direction despite an outward façade of success. It is a façade that costs a lot to keep up, both emotionally and financially. This leads to many feeling alone on their journey despite being surrounded by friends, family, and employees. In North America, we seem to idolize the successful entrepreneur and paint them in a golden light that NO human could ever live up to.

That is why, when many of these successful entrepreneurs end up acting human, or showing human failings with faults, doubts and mistakes, the blogosphere and social media vilify them. The subtext is How Dare You Not Be Super Human, You Let Us Down!? when, in fact, the bar set by all of this idolatry is too high for even the best to reach.

The Cult of Perfect

If you are an entrepreneur building your business or real estate portfolio and fit the mold as described in the Inc. Magazine article, social media can dramatically increase anxiety and the dreaded F.O.M.O. (Fear of Missing Out), something that people will often Click here to read more about ways to help keep it under control. You see, in our culture, it is not habit to share our mistakes, worries or concerns in a public social setting in case we are judged as being weak or not up to the task at hand (that is why there are so many support groups). This also goes for Social Media.

When you review the majority of entrepreneurs posts, they are exactly how they should be: celebrating or sharing their wins, their life experiences, their generalized thoughts, plus, randomly, a few complaints. However, if an entrepreneur or investor is in the midst of a bumpy patch in their business and they aren’t seeing anyone else experiencing the same bumps, anxiety can take over. This is when it might be a good idea to visit one of these Ohio dispensaries to see how you can manage it.

Sure, you see the random rant or complaint when reading people’s feeds, but mostly you see people winning, while you struggle to get momentum. You can gladly use these good news stories as motivation for a while, but eventually, in the privacy of the night at 2 am, the questions inevitably show up:

What was I thinking
Maybe my family and friends are right??
Is this the right path??
Oh no, I may have another failure on my hands
What will people think??

This is when all of this filtered reality can become a source of demotivation as the entrepreneur works harder and harder at keeping up the façade, as struggles continue. The façade of success many entrepreneurs have created makes them less inclined to ask others for help or get answers to their problems whether they be financial, emotional, medical (such as with opting to try growing cannabis, as one example), relational, or business related.

The Cycle Deepens

The cycle continues and deepens the longer they go without getting answers. So back on social media they go to get some motivation, which leads to further I must be the only one struggling thoughts.

If not dealt with honestly, this lonely existence (with the nice smiley façade) can continue for a couple of years until suddenly, poof, the dream disappears, confidence ebbs to a new low, and the motivation to pursue their chosen path disappears. This new hole is then filled with a new and exciting project where they feel like they are winning again for a while. These entrepreneurs justify the change by labelling what they used to do as bad or wrong or blame others for their situation, so they don’t have to take personal responsibility.

That is until the inevitable ?Dip? (as described in great detail by Seth Godin in his aptly named book The Dip) arrives again and the negative cycle begins all over. They find themselves no closer to the success they crave, in the midst of the next trough. All the while, looking at others on Social Media (whether new colleagues or those from past pursuits) creating win after win.

Find Honest Support

This is one of the major reasons we, the Members of the Real Estate Investment Network, get together every month across the country. Yes, we have fun; yes, we speak of real estate strategies; yes, we discuss national and international economics and how they affect our real estate investments – all of which are very important.

However, in the last couple of years, we’ve also identified the psychological effects that building a business have on the entrepreneur. That is why we have recently introduced important discussions, strategies and tools for Members to tap into so they can deal with the inevitable ebbs and flows that investors experience. There was a key gap that needed to be filled in order for all of us investors to be able to weather the storms.

Without having the knowledge and proven tools to turn these unavoidable experiences to their advantage, it becomes very easy for an investor to get stuck, or pushed way off track, making bad choices and bad investments. This incredibly important area of business and portfolio growth is ignored in our industry because the Get Rich, Be Happy story is much more compelling. That is why I, along with Richard Dolan and Patrick Francey, are so proud of dealing with it head on at REIN so Members flourish (even during those 2am freak-out moments).

Real estate is a long term game for most investors. Throughout the decades, we at REIN have witnessed the ups and downs of the journey discourage some investors who feel they are alone in their experiences. The truth is they are not; through social media we get an inaccurate and filtered view of an investors’ life. Our job as strategic investors is to face reality, use the tools and strategies to reduce the impact of the ebbs and flows, and just as importantly, be brave enough to get our questions answered and our issues dealt with by those who have already solved the problem.

The reality is, as stated beautifully in the Inc. Magazine article:

We celebrate the blazingly fast growth of the Inc. 500 companies. But many of those entrepreneurs harbor secret demons: Before they made it big, they struggled through moments of near-debilitating anxiety and despair–times when it seemed everything might crumble. Times many would reach for the Blessed CBD oil, or a similar product. It’s like a man riding a lion. People think, ‘This guy’s brave.’ While at the same time the entrepreneur is thinking, ‘How the hell did I get on a lion, and how do I keep from getting eaten?”

If you feel like you are alone in riding your own lion, know that you are not. Ask for help, reach out to those who have already blazed the trail for the journey you are on, know that Social Media can be a positive tool for your business, but never ever compare your life to the lives people portray in that realm.

Perspective in everything is critical. Make sure you are getting a real life perspective, not a filtered, well managed look at the world. With real perspective you can make real decisions and use proven tools to support yourself on the financial journey you are on.

don campbellDon Campbell began his investing career in 1985 with a house purchased in Mission, BC. He is Founding Partner and Senior Analyst at The Real Estate Investment Network and currently owns nearly 200 doors in BC and Alberta. A seven-time best-selling author, Don’s expertise and passion for teaching Canadians how to create wealth through real estate are far-reaching and have made an impact on the lives of thousands. Follow his daily insights on Twitter.


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