Current Times

Tension. That to me describes the current state of affairs. Our beautiful land is filled with anxiety, depression, fear, hate, and feelings of loss of control. Our lives are filled with uncertainty. People who we thought were are friends, some of our family, our leaders have shown what we believe is an ugly and unreal side. It could seem hopeless.

Perspective and pause give us a chance to put all into context. Fear drives all. Those who wish to control us, stir the fear. The only way to conquer fear is to confront it head on. Not by confrontation necessarily, but from an educated point of view. From historical comparison and by taking a look deep inside at ourselves and asking if what is being said truly matches our heart.

Observation is a powerful tool. Sympathy and empathy can assist us to work to understand another persons fears. Prayer for all including for discernment is critical.

I love our country, my life and all of my blessings God has bestowed on me. My life is far from perfect. I create my own conflict and trials. No one else does. I am responsible for my actions good and bad. Personal responsibility lies on us alone.

When others are acting out in ways we do not approve, the best way to foster change is not by debate, argument or direct confrontation, but by our actions. Actions seen and unseen. Actions of restraint. Actions of love and compassion.

It is not about winning the debate. It is about positive influence. When we are gone, people will remember the life we led quietly more that the victories won at any expense.

Today, more than ever, we need to live our influence. Live constructive not destructive. Live love not hate. We are given the gift to disagree, but no where is it written we have should live a life of hate.


We are all Americans

In the End

The End of the road

Today, tomorrow, someday. In the end, it is not where we have traveled, but who we have influenced that matters. Our journey is comprised of the routine; problems, solutions, victories and defeats. Through all of this, our actions, words or silence are observed my a nearly infinite number of eyes. Do we leave a lasting positive impression? Have we cause a pause in someone’s life that changes their course for the better? We will find out someday when the video is replayed at our heavenly home.

We are influencers. #orangeistruth

Hope from Lowly Times

nativity scene table decor

Here we are at the end of December.  The decade is over and the new year brings promise as well as a darkness of what at times feels like uncharted waters.  Life is fast.  Moving at speeds that we could never have conceived when we were young.  Technology, globalization, a society that seems to care less about each other than about fighting over differences.  A great country, lost in an identity crisis.  But, throughout history, one constant has existed.  The promise of salvation, God’s grace and divine guidance.  But the world has seemingly discarded this great gift.  We, like in the times of Christ’s birth, have become fragmented.   Government grows larger and more controlling, and we go through the motions of our lives without much hope of change.  Don’t say Merry Christmas because you might offend someone.  Assimilate to cultural pressures or be ostracized.   Life appears to be headed to the abyss.

But there is a glorious hope.  A spirit of strength.  A freely given gift from our Creator.  In a broken world, full of sin, hatred, jealousy and lust is the hope of forgiveness, unconditional love and eternal life.  This hope was born in a lowly community, in times of distress, government control and discord.   People were searching for the promised Messiah.  The One God had foretold of throughout the Old Testament.   We have the pure blessing of knowing that our Savior has been sent.  Forgiveness and love assured.

In these times of great upheaval, just like the time when Christ came into the world, we have the choice to turn from the hatred and head to the Light of the World.  The story, passed down for generations, prophesied in the Old Testament and came to pass some 2,000+ years ago is a simple and straight forward message.  All it takes is the faith the size of a mustard seed.  Seems easy.  I encourage you to find the faith to seek out the true meaning of this Christmas time of year.  Head into the next decade with peace.

Crazy 8 or Figure 8

8 year chip

Observation and reflection seem to be at the top of my mind over that past several weeks.   Today marks 8 years of sobriety.  While some might say congrats or nice job or good for you, but it truly is a celebration of personal responsibility.  It is accounting for the damage done, the amends made, humility accepted and God’s direction at the front of everyday.  That is the tall task.  That is the responsibility of sobriety.  It is far less about not drinking, but about continuing the life long process of clearing out the old debris of the past that has caused a need to self-medicate, living present each and every day to be keenly aware of those old faults that can send me into the old spiral and giving back to who I can serve now and in the future.  It is about being cognoscente of people’s pain.  Keeping ego in check as to prevent steam rolling other out of my need to be recognized.  Appreciating what I have verses what I wish I had.  Loving intensely those who have granted me their friendship and loyalty, my family and clients.  Who are trusting me to guide them, be their friend and teammate.

Life still can be either a crazy 8 or a beautiful figure 8.  But no matter which it is on any given day, there is so much to be grateful for.  Even the smallest of things like the first cup of coffee in the morning or the fresh smell of the desert air after a rain.

Eight years is a milestone and a dangerous time.  Observation and reflection are so necessary to keep me grounded and aware that life and sobriety are fragile.  Only with God’s help do I live life one day at a time.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I am hopeful that my experiences, failures and victories can be an example to help others that are desperately in need of hope, joy and recovery.

Tenth Step Amends Prayer

“God, please forgive me for my failings today. I know that because of my failings, I was not able to be as effective as I could have been for you. Please forgive me and help me live thy will better today.  I ask you now to show me how to correct the errors I have just outlined. Guide me and direct me. Please remove my arrogance and my fear. Show me how to make my relationships right and grant me the humility and strength to do thy will.”(86:1)

What did you learn?

What did you learn today?

In the business of real estate, the focus is on the art of the deal.  In getting the transaction to closing, to payday.  But where was it ever written that we get to choose only the fun parts of the art of the deal?  Where are the lessons learned that serve us and our clients in the future.  Where is the highest level of knowledge gained?  I would challenge anyone by saying in the art of the deal gone off the tracks.

When all goes well, we go through the numerous steps that we have become accustom to following.    This applies to any business, hobby, relationship or classroom experience we have.  While there are always bumps in the road, we navigate from our past experience and bring our goal to a successful conclusion.  But with this there is very little growth.

When our goal goes awry, we have a fork in the road.  A fork that will either lead to greater success, or a cycle of falling into the same cycle again, blaming someone else, calling it bad luck, or worse, telling ourselves that we are failures.

A more constructive path would hit the following thoughts:

  1. Seek a solution for the obstucle
  2. Seek the guidance of peers and leaders
  3. Isolate areas where a different action would have created a better outcome
  4. Be honest, admit any mistakes, rectify where possible
  5. Grant yourself a degree of latitude.  We are all human.
  6. Make note of how this experience can be used constructively in future goals or transactions
  7. Let go, focus on the next objective, find success quickly

When we view failed goals as text book and practical learning, we have bettered ourselves, added value to pass on to the next client and have prevented the cycle of self destruction.

Be a student of life, not a martyr of failure.  It happens to all, if we don’t see that, then we are just living in denial and mediocrity.




Old School, Stop, Look and Listen


In the real estate industry, there is much talk about the evolution of the brokerage and the agent.  Technology has been heralded as the future, full-service brick and mortar brokerages will die a slow death and the agent of future will be virtual, homes will show themselves and customers will be able to buy or sell their home from an app.  I had better start looking for a new job…..or NOT!

I marvel at how fast some in our industry jump to the sky is falling mantra.  One major player says they are no longer a real estate company, but a technology company.  Another has a plan where, if you recruit enough agents, you will have so much residual income that you wont even need to sell real estate.  WOW!  What will happen to the scripts we have learned,  “So all you have to do is sign the contract, so I can help you get what you want, in the time you want, won’t that be great?  Now sign the contract!”

I am far from saying that our industry is not changing; and rapidly.  We have the flash of venture capital flowing into real estate ibuyer and iseller companies who hope to make everyone’s life perfect by buying their homes, put lipstick on the pig and sell them for big money.  Of course, the market is always going up and appreciating at a breakneck clip, so the investors will never lose money……The one thing that you can count on is that what goes up must eventually come down.  Yet with all of the new innovations, what has remained the same since the first real estate transaction?  People.

I believe that people are always going to be handling real estate.  Technology cannot calculate human emotion, fear, sense of loss and ego.  All of these elements are a part of every real estate transaction that occurs.

“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Stop, Look and Listen.  These 3 words are, simple put, the words of success for agents today.   In the high tech, email, text world we live in, the huge void that is being created is Stop, Look and Listen.

Stop and observe. Stop and evaluate. Stop talking about ourselves.  Clients today do not need raw data, they need guidance, counsel and wisdom.  No app for that.

Look and see.  Body language speaks louder than the spoken word.  Thoughtfully consider how we posture ourselves.  Look at how our clients are either open or closed in their stance.  When someone is closed, more questions need to be asked.  Understanding what has caused them to close up.  What might we have said that played a part in their posture.

Listen.  The most important.  While Siri can listen and crank out an answer, we have the tools and gifts to listen to what is said and what is between the lines.  So much of our business is counsel.  It is not just trial close after trial close.  It is truly taking interest and concern in our clients dreams, goals, fears and vision of success.  The same is true with the agents we work with on the other side of the transaction.  When we listen, ask questions, listen again to the point of silence, the other side will give us the clues we are seeking to formulate a plan of attack to bring success to our clients.

We must keep up with the technology changes.  But, they will not replace the emotional component of people.

No one cares about how many millions of dollars of real estate we have sold, or how many homes, what awards we have earned or how heavy the card stock is on our postcards.  That is vanity.  People are dying of thirst for authentic people that will Stop, Look and Listen.   I will take Old School interaction over virtual interaction any day of the week.


The struggle is real, dad’s just a plain old human


Another father’s day is upon us.  A day that means something different to every single person in the world.  It is a day filled with celebration, golfing, fishing, boating relaxation, grilling, neck ties, gifts, cards……………and sadness, grief, pain, unfulfilled expectations, guilt, disappointment.

Dad’s.  I had one.  I am one.  My dad had one, my kids have one.  So many different approaches, different expectations, different experiences and outcomes.  But all have one common characteristic, all are simply human.  Humans full of hopes, dreams, fears and their own struggles.

When I was a child, from what I remember, my dad had all the answers.  He was an invincible force.   A man who I idolized with the blind faith of a child.  As life went on, I formed my belief system from his examples.  How he viewed child rearing, work, recreation.  How he acted as a husband and a son to his parents.  Again, even though I was getting older, we remained in the parent/child role with those beliefs in dad having all the answers, being a “super hero” of sorts.  Sometimes when his actions didn’t seem to align with my unrealistic belief, a sub-conscience frustration would occur.  And now that he has been gone for nearly 5 years, a developing clarity of the human condition that he actually lived in.  Like every other person on earth.

Today, I see my dad in a whole different light.  Oh that I had this clarity 20 years ago.  An appreciation for his human condition.  An ability to understand that he had hopes, dreams, desires……fears, failures, frailty and disappointments.  He operated based on the beliefs from his own childhood.  Framed by his father who operated under the same pretenses.  The cycle continues.

Fathers Day is here.   Give dad a break.  Love him for his human frailty.  Love him for the fact that he does or did the best that he could based on flawed information that he was provided.  He did his best to meet our needs while balancing his own and many times at the sacrifice of his dreams.  Cut dad some slack.  Whether you are connected to him or not.  He did the best he knew how to do.  It is a tough job and a blessing.  I am thankful my dad was up to the task.  I do miss being able to go to my super hero once in a while for his wisdom.

Take Another Look

Is there something you have failed at in the past? Revisit it and try again. Maybe enough time has passed that you have learned a new approach or technique that will help you succeed with this attempt. If you fall into a mud puddle, there isn’t much you can do to make matters worse—unless you stay there. – Tony Dungy 

Our culture is driven to succeed.  Push, push, push and push some more.  70, 80 90 hours a week.  In the Real Estate industry, because of phone, email, text, Facebook messaging, LinkedIn messaging, Instagram, Snapchat and more, we have created a 24/7 culture.  One of the fallout of this can be one of two things.  First if something doesn’t work, we quickly abandon it because of our desire for fast results or second, we push forward, sometimes through brick walls without taking the time to assess the plan, the path and the cost of a “bull in a china shop” approach.

A few thoughts before one throws up their hands and gives up:

  1. Some of the greatest creators, leaders and athletes went through a few do overs
    1. Michael Jordan.  Most will remember the quote, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”  
    2. Babe Ruth struck out almost twice the number of times thae he hit a home run, yet is still considered one of the greats.
    3. Abraham Lincoln lost almost every political race he entered, until he was finally elected president of the United States.
    4. Thomas Edison, went through thousands of attempts before inventing the light bulb.

Lesson?  Everyday presents itself with new opportunities.  In reflection of the failed attempts, we can glean a valuable education, then file those events into the history books and use what we have learned to bring success to our new, fresh opportunites that are there for the taking.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston S. Churchill 

When you run into a difficulty or failure, grab a trusted friend or mentor.  An unbiased view may give you the perspective you need.   Look not just at the failure of the venture, but look for the successes.  There are always positives in every attempt.  Build on those and change the aspects that did not work.   Remind yourself of your passion and committment to your calling.  We are our own best cheerleaders.  As they say, “Get over it, get up, and try again”. 

Olympian Eric Liddell one said, “In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best”.



Moms, a Perfectly Imperfect Form of Love

Moms.  What would be do without them.  There has always been a very high expectation put on mothers’ from my perspective.  The unsung hero’s of the family.  They are the ones who enjoy the pain of child birth, nurse their child at all hours of the nights, hold the household together and in most cases carry on a career to boot.  Simple super hero’s.

But as I have come to understand, mom’s are just human beings with a God given task of bearing the next generation with the same human frailty that everyone has.  Mom’s are a product of their own DNA, environment as a child and have learned the good and the bad from their mother’s and father’s.  As we get older, we seem to expect that our mom’s should not make mistakes, should not have their own wants and desires and should be perfect.  Impossible due to the human element.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to dive deep into my past, take a look at my mom from a third party point of view and have come to understand that she, like all mom’s does that best that she can with the information and training she has as a child.  We expect that our mom’s will have all the answers, will make all the right choices, will not falter , become jealous, be angry or be selfish once in a while.  But that is unfair of us.

Mom’s are just as human as the rest of us.  Only they have a weightier responsibility.  Today, as we at times superficially celebrate Mothers Day, go beyond the card, flowers or candy and tell mom how thankful we are for her heroic leadership, sometimes in the most difficult of situations, as acknowledge her human frailty.

I appreciate my mom so much more now that I have a clearer understanding of her humanity and understand more of the whys of the past and cherish the wisdom she has now as priceless.


So what about 2017?


This past year, 2017, was a year full of what I would call “radical” change for me.  Not in job or relationship or health, but in areas that are hard to quantify, self.  The number one lesson that the rest build on is “Let go of the past, Live in the present and Look to the future”.  I continue to learn about myself and how I relate to other in many ways, but here are the top few that top the list:

  1. Success is achievable in anything we set our minds to.  It starts with self-belief.  We are our own greatest cheerleaders and truly are the only ones that can convince ourselves of your greatness.
  2. Success starts with giving more value than someone has paid for.  In its simplest form, serving our family, friends and clients first and with our whole heart without expectation of rate of return on our time or money. That monetary success arrives when we are focused on everything but that as our motive for what we do.
  3. Success moves to its highest level based on the number of people we help and influence without expectation of self, but expectation to influence others in a positive way to their greatest success.  One of my favorite quotes by Zig Ziglar is “you can have everything in life you want as long as you help other get everything they want”.  The is plenty of opportunity to go around.  Help someone achieve their opportunities.
  4. Faith.  Simple unwavering faith.  God, who created this unlimited all powerful universe desires nothing more than for His people to have wild success and happiness.  What is required is faith in Him to provide, listen to the lessons He allows in our lives and never doubt that God is in control.  Stress, lack of focus and
    “wheel spinning” is caused by lack of faith in God and ourselves.  He has blessed us with the talents to accomplish all we desire as long as we have faith and do all to His glory.
  5. Finally, gratitude.  From the simplest of blessings such as getting out of bed, sunshine, a warm smile from a stranger to success of our children, closing the big deal and living in the United States of America.

Much has been learned, 2018 brings a new promising outlook on all aspects of life.  The daily challenge is to have faith, fear not, believe in ourselves, let go of past limiting beliefs and do not let others negatively influence the great people that we are.