Your Lizard Brain in Conflict | The Zebra Blog

Your Lizard Brain in Conflict

Have you ever been in a really stressful situation, perhaps one in which someone was upset with you, and your instinct was to flee? Or perhaps your body flooded with adrenaline in preparation for a fight? In both cases, your “lizard brain” – or that part of your brain that is primitive and is what causes that flight or fight response – takes over.

Lizard Brain isn’t all bad. In fact, it is responsible for keeping you alive! However, your Lizard Brain is also responsible for you either going overboard in your response to conflict and stress or fleeing and not dealing with it at all.

In real estate, we are exposed to stress and conflict on a very regular basis and while most of us have had some training on negotiation, we don’t really have an opportunity to professionally learn how to deal with conflict.

Where do we learn how to deal with conflict? From our upbringing – and our family dynamics don’t necessarily translate to working with buyers, sellers, and other agents.

In order to learn how to effectively deal with conflict and stress in real estate, you need special training that helps get your Lizard Brain and Family Dynamics under control so you are in control. Since we can’t control how others are going to react to information, all we can do is control how we react. The best tools you have are those that slow and calm your Lizard Brain down so you can remove the emotion, go to the facts, and de-escalate the situation.

I am going to say that one more time.

The best tools you have are those that:

  • Slow and calm your Lizard Brain down
  • Remove the emotion
  • Go to the facts
  • De-escalate the situation

It is important to know that de-escalating the situation doesn’t mean rolling over. De-escalating the situation means slowing the other person down and calming their Lizard Brain.

Think about the person that causes the most conflict for you in your life. It might be a spouse, a family member, a colleague, or someone who just causes that Lizard Brain to run amok. There is a dance that you have developed with this person over the years – a dance in which your Lizard Brain works one way and theirs works another. What would happen if you were able to change the dance with some new tools?

Some new tools might include:

  1. Affirming what they are feeling (“It sounds like this is really affecting you and it is important that we get to the bottom of it.”)
  2. Asking more questions
  3. Not getting defensive
  4. Giving the discussion more time (“You’ve given me a lot to think about. Can I sleep on it?”)
  5. Telling them how important they are to you and why it is important for you that a resolution is reached.

There are plenty of other strategies that you might use depending on the situation.

I have been paying attention to the wildfires in the West lately, and have learned a bit about how fires behave. A wildfire will flare up if it has oxygen and fuel. If it is windy, the fire gets more oxygen and is more likely to torch, or have those dramatic flames that go from treetop to treetop. Humidity will calm the fire activity down and it doesn’t even have to be raining.

When people get defensive or fight, that to me is the equivalent of adding more fuel and oxygen to a fire. But tools that calm the situation down is like adding humidity in a fire. It is like a salve. Having the right tools is like having a salve.

Those agents who can control their Lizard Brain and have tools for handling conflict make more money in real estate. My background in Corrections and the restaurant business taught me a lot about handling conflict in real estate and these are tools I am excited to share with you at my upcoming Speak Up and Make More Money class!

Speaking up and being strong isn’t easy for everyone. That I why I am so happy to announce that in just a few weeks I will be holding a very special class co-taught by Jay Agoado to help agents in the field with this very issue.

Speak Up and Make More Money will be unlike any class you have taken before. We are going to be getting into the nitty-gritty of conflict, speaking your truth, and finding resolution in everything from conflict with your clients, with other agents, in a presentation, and more. We are going to get uncomfortable with the goal of moving forward towards resolution. We have fewer than 20 seats left for this class, so make sure you reserve yours today!

Join us at the Lynnwood Convention Center September 22nd -23rd for our Conflict Workshop with Denise and Jay Agoado to learn how to Speak Up and Make More Money!


You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Tell Us What You Think!

Awesome, timely advice for real estate agents. Delivered weekly.
  • Fresh trends
  • Best practices
  • Research and statistics

Enter your email and stay on top of things,