Navigating the journey towards sustainable commercial real estate success

Nov 08, 2023
The importance of maintaining a healthy balance between professional growth and personal well-being

It’s time for some real talk: burnout hit close to home for me this year.

Seeing several people I know struggle through it in 2023 has been a real eye-opener. It’s led me to believe that the drive for success can sometimes lead us down a harmful path.

So, let’s get serious about this important issue. In this week’s podcast, I share my own experiences and strategies to ward off burnout, and you’re invited to join the conversation.

It's about finding that sweet spot where ambition and well-being coexist. This is something you can and should do with others, so here’s a prompt to start talking more about how to protect your greatest asset – your health, and the health of those around you.

To navigating the journey towards sustainable success, join me for episode 164 of Commercial Real Estate Leadership.


Episode transcript:

If the cost of success is your mental health, then that is too high a price to pay.

In today's episode, I want to talk about the importance of growth balanced with preserving your mental and physical well-being.

Hello, welcome to episode 164 of Commercial Real Estate Leadership. I'm your host, Darren Krakowiak. And my job is to help commercial real estate leaders grow their business sustainably.

And sustainably is the key word today because we're talking about burnout.

And I think there's been rising cases of burnout in the world, whether it's that they're being reported more or if our lives are becoming more stressful.

There's certainly more of a going on that I have seen recently, including someone I know who recently had a nervous breakdown and had to take a number of months away from their business.

And somebody else who had an anxiety attack that actually resulted in them going to hospital.

And these are obviously some extreme examples of what happens when stress reaches a point that is that's affecting our mental and physical well-being.

And while I don't think I'm contributing to that; I do encourage growth.

And I think that can make some people feel perhaps pressure, or they may conflate the need to grow with the need to work themselves into the ground.

So, I just want to reframe what it means to grow a business and to be successful, while also having the balance in your life to ensure that you're taking care of yourself mentally, and also physically.

So, I want to first of all, just let you know a few of the signs that burnout is approaching or coming or something that you can look out for whether it's in yourself or in somebody else.

One thing is chronic fatigue. So, when people are feeling extremely tired, when they don't have the energy that they used to have this feeling of enduring exhaustion, that can be a sign of burnout in its early stages, a lack of motivation.

When people don't have the drive to perform, when their motivation diminishes, when they don't have, I guess, the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from doing the things that they used to do and doing little things that used to come easily, it starts feeling like a burden, that can be an early sign of burnout.

Another one, and I was thinking about my own situation, and I think this is probably the one that that I would display, and that is increased risk taking, or perhaps not being as diligent as you previously were, or as you should be in certain situations.

And one more that can exist is increasing cynicism. So, people who were previously very, I guess, positive and effective, and had a real sense of attachment to what it is and what they do start to be a little bit more detached, a little bit more negative.

I think that can also be an early sign of burnout. So, let's talk about a more balanced approach to work in life.

And here are some mindset shifts that I would encourage you to have, that can help you avoid burnout.

The first one is that a lot of people's identity is based around how hard they work.

That is the case in commercial real estate, where it's almost like this arms race about how much we put into what it is that we produce.

And if I'm going to be competitive, I would rather my competition judge me, based on how much leverage can I create.

So, how much can I achieve by actually doing less, or the same amount that I was previously doing?

And a natural, I guess, progression of your own career is your ability to improve to do more with less.

And the way that we can create leverage as a leader is through other people through money through technology, and also through media or content.

So, instead of judging yourself by how hard you work, judge yourself by how much you can produce by actually working the same amount or less.

Another mindset shifts to make is understanding that long periods of continuous work.

While that does help you get into the flow state can actually lead to diminishing returns.

And I talked about this on episode 159 of the show. The point that at some point, we actually start being less productive, and we might even start being destructive at some point.

So, we've got to know when to take a break when we're working for long periods, but also not just when we look working for long continuous periods, so we've got to know when to take a break from work and go on a holiday.

And if you've got lots of annual leave banked up, that's not a badge of honor, that's a bad thing.

Not only are you a burden on the workplace through the ongoing liability that you are carrying, because there's all this money that's owed to you, but you're also a burden on other people, because you probably need a break.

And I personally do take 10 weeks of annual leave in this business.

And that's one of the perks I guess, of running my own business is that I get to choose how much leave I get.

And I've achieved that over the last two years in the business. Four weeks in Thailand, three weeks in Korea, one week in Hawaii, and two weeks in Singapore and Malaysia.

And while you may not be able to prescribe yourself with 10 weeks of annual leave, you can certainly make sure that you get the minimum amount that you're entitled to.

And you can also look for ways to extend the amount of leave that you get through taking annual leave when there are also public holidays, for example, to extend the amount of time that you get away from work.

It's the time that you can recharge so you can be better when you are at work.

The other thing to remember is also making sure that you've got interests, and hobbies, and things to do outside of work.

For many people in commercial real estate, and for many people who are business owners and leaders, their work is their life.

But there's got to be things outside of work in your life. And I talked about football and the fact that I was born into it this year in Episode 156 of the show.

I also go to the gym five times a week, I'm not as I guess, good at in terms of the amount of kilometers that I'm putting out every week, and the amount of weights that I'm doing as I was a few years ago, but I'm still going there five times a week.

And that I think makes me a more balanced person. It's time away from working.

Find out what it is for you that you can have an interest in, that you can commit to yourself, that you can have for yourself to be able to take some time away from work, so you're not just working all the time.

I think if you don't have these shifts in mindset, you may get to a place where you accept that burnout is the inevitable conclusion of just working hard or you may become numb to when you see other people exhibiting the signs of burnout.

If you're at risk of that, a few things that I want you to remember. Number one is you've got to take responsibility for yours and other people's well-being.

You can do that through technology. Like if you've got a smartwatch, every hour it tells you to stand up if you haven't stood up.

And you can take that as a note to step away from your screen just to take a bit of a mental health break.

You can also monitor your diet. You can have a look at your heart rate, the quality of the sleep that you are getting. There are all ways that technology can help you measure your well-being.

You can also look out for negative self-talk. So, if you find yourself saying harsh and nasty things to yourself, then that's not going to improve your mental health, that's not going to get you closer to physical well-being.

So, build with a kinder to yourself and make sure that you're saying things to yourself that are positive.

And if you find yourself speaking in a way to yourself that you would never speak to anybody else or say out loud, because it's so harsh, then you need to start more intentionally talking to yourself in a positive way.

And the other thing I would say about our attention and our focus in our mindset is what you consume impacts the way that you think and feel.

And with everything that's going on in the world right now, it's easy to get distracted by negative news, strong opinions, things that can I guess, make you feel negative emotions.

And if you find yourself getting distracted by the news by social media, then you need to take steps to take yourself away from that content.

Just the other day I noticed that (in fact, I didn't notice it for the first few days) the homepage on my browser started to put just one top story.

And I would click on that and I'd be looking and I'm just, "Why am I consuming this news?" It's because there's this sneaky little top story that's popped up underneath the search bar on my home page.

And there's an option just turn that off, which I did. And now that's no longer distracting me.

So, if you notice that there are notifications, home pages, certain apps that are distracting you, you need to take some steps to stop the distraction.

Because they can be having a negative impact on your mental health which can, I guess lead to potentially in the most extreme cases; burnout, nervous breakdowns, anxiety attacks.

The last thing I want to say here is your reflection of the five people that you spend the most time with.

And while you have choices about who you spend time with outside of work, it's very possible that you're spending a lot of time with people at work.

And to the extent that you can, we want to try and create a better environment at work, which brings out the best in the people who are there.

And while in commercial real estate, many people tell me that the environment, the culture of the workplace is very masculine, and very conservative, there are steps that you can take to create a more empathetic and authentic environment where people are willing to share what's going on in their lives, perhaps be a little bit vulnerable.

And it's a bit corny, but they say, when you share a problem, you have it because someone else helps carry that burden.

And one of my clients was telling me recently how he's tried to foster this culture of sharing within his team.

And one of his team members started talking about the fact that they were feeling a little bit anxious about a new arrival in their family, wife being pregnant, and just what is the financial, I guess, costs of having a child, which was something that is, I guess, a really personal thing.

And that he did not expect to hear that person say, based on the culture of the office.

But when once it was said, it was probably something that other people think and it also shows that other people can talk about their problems.

And hopefully, that person sharing the fact that I'm feeling a little bit anxious about that meant that carrying around a less heavy burden moving forward.

Look, the point of today's episode, we're getting close closer to Christmas, which is a stressful time in itself.

But there is more, I believe, mental health challenges in the world today.

And I just want to make sure that people while you're listening to this show and wanting to grow a business and improve yourself from a professional standpoint.

That we also remember to take care of ourselves personally, because what good is professional and financial success if it's not sustainable, or if it comes at the expense of your long term mental and physical health?

Now, before we wrap up today, I do want to remind you of our free guide for commercial real estate leaders, which is called multiply growth.

And you may say, "Well, hang on, you've just been talking about stopping burnout. Why are you pushing this growth agenda?"

Well, the way that I want to help my clients and people in my community to grow their business is not by working so much by having a business that works.

Not by doing all the work themselves, having a team that can help them do the work.

Not by working with any client but working with clients that you actually want to work with.

That's what multiplied growth is all about. And you can grab your free copy at

That's our episode for tonight. Thank you so much for listening, and I will speak to you soon.

About the author


Darren Krakowiak, Founder, CRE Success

Darren Krakowiak, the driving force behind CRE Success, brings over 20 years of hands-on experience and a legacy of success in Commercial Real Estate. His passion for the industry is matched only by his commitment to nurturing the growth of others. Darren’s vision extends beyond coaching; it’s about building a community of thriving professionals in Commercial Real Estate.

About the author


Darren Krakowiak, Founder, CRE Success

Darren Krakowiak, the driving force behind CRE Success, brings over 20 years of hands-on experience and a legacy of success in Commercial Real Estate. His passion for the industry is matched only by his commitment to nurturing the growth of others. Darren’s vision extends beyond coaching; it’s about building a community of thriving professionals in Commercial Real Estate.

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Sign up for the latest news and free training from CRE Success


CRE Success

Level 1, 10 Oxley Road
Hawthorn VIC 3122

+61 3 9005 8473
[email protected]

© CRE Success


Sign up for the latest news and free training from CRE Success


CRE Success

Level 1, 10 Oxley Road
Hawthorn VIC 3122

+61 3 9005 8473
[email protected]

© CRE Success