Admit to Satisfaction with a Manly-Man, Sweat of the Brow, 50-hr. week of Effort


This week was alllll about the physical effort, and while I’m satisfied about doing the deeds, equally important was getting paid, because economics-based changes from previous time priorities/activities is what I’m about right now. I’m committed to similar full-time effort– with likely overtime– for several more weeks; I’m also aware of the beating considerations coming for that creaky left liability of a knee…and workers comp. And y’know, there’s that uncool tug at the top of spine thing at times, too…

This week was alllll about the physical effort, and doing the necessary deeds included a 3rd floor walk-up because the elevator wasn’t inspected. A $50 tip definitely counted.

On a Sunday full of rain, yardwork has been eliminated from To Do list, ditto washing my silver Hyundai, Bullitt2. I’m thinking of a cigar after late dinner of shrimp in red sauce on linguine, because yeah, that affirms a level of reward for a Manly-Man ‘by the sweat of your brow’ 50 hour week of effort. All the gurus say rewards are important—believe it.

Monday and Tuesday were definitely an up-close and personal view of how the moving industry works, eleven hour days of pack and lift and unpack. Job #1 was pack-moving parts of home for senior community move, #2 was a full truckload (a sweet 85 degrees), and we took pride in beating the time-crunch boss had regarding a trip to Vegas. Trust me, getting OFF the street level work as soon as possible is my Real Deal, and I’m sure boss (Scott) doesn’t want to be loading/unloading in June-July-Aug. any more than I do.

Two network events worked well mid-week, especially a FOCUS (Fellowship of Communities Uniting Seniors) luncheon Wed. While somewhat touchie-feelie for my taste– and speaker wound up leaving minimal time to chat with others because everyone ate first– I got that ONE CONTACT that makes networking events worth attending. After quick table-by-table introductions at very end, lady comes over and, because I’d mentioned ‘my 2nd book becoming a speeding bullet of a movie’ as part of the jabber session, she’d recognized my name as someone her buddy always talks about having written a book. Small world! Attagirl! for Brittany Kearney for a full house on her home turf at Golden Living.

Chris and I wound up with significant windshield time at end of week, driving to far end of 74 *twice*: Leland was a 413 mi. round trip— using my Hyundai– to unload a lady whose stuff came on truck from the CT end of this operation. The ELEVATOR hadn’t been inspected in new place, which required carrying everything up to 3rd floor. Nice people, $50 tip worked fine, but I was glad that was the last real hump for the week.

Friday was literally getting paid for just being there. We picked up four boxed sofas in High Point on a NAVIS contract, and super-friendly shipping manager literally ran them onto our truck, we strapped them in and headed to Wilmington. Toughest part of whole operation was finding the factory for pickup, because the address was wrong. Nothing spectacular about the 3 1/2 hours of NC scenery, but in Wilmington, Chris had those boxes on the dock in no time flat, and we were back in truck for 4 hr. drive back. Easy peazy, and all on overtime rate. Hello again, Newcastles…

Overall, with OT and tips, it was a $800+/wk., and it’s been a while since I hit even that kind of number with a real estate check. Yep, I’m liking the prospect of regular paychecks again A LOT. I’m also excited about attending the Queens Cup Steeplechases next Saturday, a favorite, high quality social event where I am 5-for-5 having a great time over the years.

Does any of this concern DT and North Korea vs. my own economic persistence?

Not a bit.

Loading up on Karma Doesn’t Mean You Get the $500,000 Listing (but…)

author-sunr providYesterday I did a speaking engagement at a senior community that went very well for everyone, served up a third sauce and meatballs dinner for Charlotte Fire Department Station #14 crew, made a contribution to an autism walk, and today I’ll be clearing tables and schmoozing for maybe five hours with the crowd (we served almost 700 last year) that figures to attend my Men’s Club group’s annual fish fry. (Ed. Note: Stopping to pet the doggie, who probably wants to be let out.)

Which actually means nothing to the Universe in my pursuit of the $500,000 listing that would make me feel 90% better than having three much smaller potential buyers just getting into the credit application process, BUT…that doesn’t mean I’m backing off doing good.

It’s not that I wouldn’t luuuuuv to enjoy some anticipation of a commission check that would come with having such a house listed-sold-moving towards a closing date. The reality is, small moments of Goodness don’t usually translate into paychecks—SERVICE does. One of those smaller buyers just had a third child arrive, and they’re going to need a place with more room to raise a family. Two others survived those rough years of recession, when just staying close to paying bills was a legitimate goal, and those ooops! moments when they dipped under water because of a hospital bill or unfortunate decision are still part of their financial picture.

Getting a chunk of $500k, yes, that would improve my personal situation significantly. Getting on the phone, following up with, touching those who might become clients—or who KNOW OTHERS that might have need of my expertise– that counts a lot more than being nice to the dog though.

Last night, I met ‘the brother’ (fire fighters are clearly a brotherhood) at #14 who is a successful ten-year realtor, and there is essentially one of those in every station, even if most aren’t at his level. If I’m lucky, the guys who agreed my meatballs were moist and delicious might speak well of me when home buying comes up at the next block party, because I *know* Eric won’t miss any opportunities from up close.

The Truth has always been that people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Those little old ladies who said my 40-minute talk was very interesting don’t have any houses to sell. Having recently written a Value Proposition I was proud of because it accurately reflected who I am and what I do, being True to those core values means walking the talk. It wouldn’t *HURT* if the Universe was paying attention, but…

When there’s a *Working* Engineer on it, That = Results


Chef Chris at Oyster Roast, another great community event. (Monthly mtgs. 1st Fri.)

I have to give a small, generic, shout out to the efforts of a couple guys from my men’s group. After over a year of knowing the disposal in our school kitchen was absolutely shot– and repairs would cost $1,000s— three guys whipped the whole kitchen at St. Gabriel into significantly higher productive shape.

The guy who handled everything but the disposal, Seth, was hired help, and he got several other faulty elements (a second oven was big news, unkink a gas line), and all those fryers we’ll be firing up for our annual Fish Fry on March 10th tested-operational. Last year Men’s Club served almost 700 parishioners and others between 4:30-8:00, when almost everyone is gone. Fryers check was important, the oven appreciated, but that disposal represented an expensive choke point.

Kurt and Pete getting down with a $350 repair kit (that manufacturer sent Kurt for free) required taking the element apart down to its guts, and rebuilding from bearings up. Although neither guy really expects or needs kudos, I still feel– as a journalist, in these more often petty times if you will– its legit to point out simple above-and-beyond deeds.  Trimming chicken and talking at the Men’s Shelter yesterday, Pete made it sound like he barely held a wrench, just read some of the complex directions, which Kurt, lynch pin do-er engineer on the project, was often a step ahead of.

Our organization, St. Gabriel Men’s Club (SGMC) has a legacy of doing good, beyond our post-Thanksgiving sale of Christmas Trees and this upcoming fish fry, which is actually our biggest one-day community event. The fact that kitchen is *100%* righteous for this event, that a couple someones you’d given a gnarly, long-term negative situation to, and gotten a REALLY great result from them, that’s still worth pointing out.

Same idea: Open house for new six-unit Hospice opening at Southminster. Not only was hors d’oeuvres cuisine of roast beef-small rye breads, or seared ahi on cucumber (plus) and desserts delightful, its actually fare available to residents. Everyone from the wine server to tour guide, white-coated others, and the bus driver back to car at far side of the impressive Southminster complex, could articulate their part of that community’s mission. As a networking event attitude, having extra time to talk with/learn about people, I told him about Charlotte Bridge Home, because he’s ex-military.

Your Personal ‘Value Proposition’ Gives Purpose to Actions


As part of on-going Keller Williams training classes, yesterday I was asked to articulate my Value Proposition, that specific-personal rationale I bring to the challenges of my chosen career. I’ve said it often along the way, sharing it with potential clients, friends, and others now feels right.

People have often labeled me “a good talker,” and therefore a natural salesperson. Beyond a lot of jobs like scholastic fundraising or real estate negotiator for outdoor advertising (billboard leases) industry, I always qualified that as ‘really really good communicator’, because a core belief is that my interview-writing skills are a God-given Strength as well.

Nobody ever said I lacked skills in digging for facts while writing sports-business pieces-blogs, or in getting things done sales-wise. People like and trust me, and that includes when I’m focused and direct, like when I had 40 minutes to nail things down with a teacher about fundraising, or getting the cooperation of members during a Junior Chamber of Commerce project.

Doing the significant amount of Q&A necessary with real estate isn’t about interrogation, it’s 100% about developing the best possible understanding of what’s important to a client.

Two special areas of concentration for me are senior communities and fire fighters-veterans, because I feel that while people often give lip service to their importance, they don’t get any extra solid payoff on that. At one point, fire fighters helped my Dad and gave me another Christmas with him, and that alone makes me want to do more for them. Monthly spaghetti dinners is my thing, and nobody disses my meatballs.

SENIOR COMMUNITIES are a big deal for me: The Tampa, FL realtor and transition teams that made Mom’s move to Charlotte in 2015 almost totally stress-free set the standard for my personal effort when I got into real estate. The electronic signing of documents from 600 miles away, getting every receipt for things sold or donated, and her coming back from a trip to NY and having an apartment with all her furniture in place and pictures on the wall was, in a word, outstanding. I believe that her happiness– and the smooth completion of 101 other factors for us, the family– is what everyone wants for their parents.

People like and trust me, and that includes when I’m focused and direct, like when I had 40 minutes to nail things down with a teacher about fundraising

Buying or selling a home is stressful, and there are a lot of sometimes complex parts. As one sales guru—I think Zig Ziglar—says, “If you get others what they want, you’ll inevitably get what you want.” Enlightened self-interest is a legitimate economic goal, being of service the key. I get better with every experience and transaction, and I *know* I’m in the right place, a career that can challenge me for the next 10-12-15 years.

You should want my help on managing the important project that buying/selling a home constitutes.

An AHA! Moment About Mom, Dad, and Senior Transition Teams


Yesterday was a particularly fulfilling day of sales prospecting, beginning with an Aha! Moment over quiche at an 8am networking event, proceeding through a terrific discussion with a Battalion Chief about spaghetti dinners for my ‘adopted’ fire stations, and ending with a superb pepper-crusted and optimally seared, rare ahi tuna steak (and flirting with the waitress). Dinner also included accepting an invitation to participate in a Belk Bridal Fair, because after rings and the ‘I do’s, home buying is the most stressful event most people will need extra guidance with.

The aha! was significant to all the ideas I have about serving the senior communities here, and beyond talking about tomorrow being the 4th anniversary of Dad’s passing ( ) was my explanation of a Tampa, FL realtor handling my mother’s sale and transition to Charlotte in such a super smooth way. It literally became my standard for helping seniors and their families.

Relating how we closed the door on her home of 24 years, waved good-bye to the furniture truck, put her on a plane to upstate NY for my niece Maria’s HS graduation, then welcomed her to the apartment at Carmel Hills ten days later, where her furniture was in place and pictures on the wall, and she slept in a bed she’s had forever, was optimal. The cookout with our Charlotte family (with brother Mike, Steve, Mere and the three nephews), and a Sunday SouthPark concert in delightful June weather, were two big cherries on top.

Every time we pick her up for church, Mom comments about it being another great day in Charlotte, which it usually is, and that she really likes the one bedroom (vs. studio) where she lives, and that we’re all close enough to do things together.

My explanation of a Tampa, FL realtor’s smooth handling of my mother’s sale and transition to Charlotte literally became the standard for helping seniors and their families.

My personal focus as a SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist) is to minimize the strain this usually final move can be for seniors and their families. That Mom or Dad’s happy is what I believe everyone wants in such situations, and selling their homes is often a necessary economic factor when initial move-in costs for such communities is around $200,000. Building a ‘team’ of people who can handle the range of details involved in this home transition is an agent’s dream, because WE actually get-deserve credit when moves work as well as my Mom’s did.

Two aspects of that breakfast came through extra clearly: First, we were given exactly the healthy breakfast promised in the (Brookdale-Rea Rd.) e-mailed flyer; the quiche was approved as delicious by all present. Having eaten both lunch and dinner at Mom’s place, there shouldn’t be negatives on that front if you’ve checked things thoroughly. As I told the Brookdale Regional Director of Business Development (Chanel Jackson), when leaving, I have always been impressed by how closely front desk people *listen* when I come to visit sales and activity directors, and attentive staff is another factor for those deciding where to place senior family members.

It was impossible not to smile at the designation on Kiera Deschamps (Chaos to Calm) business card, which capsulizes the essence of what putting together a team means beyond ‘just’ selling a house:          Administrator of Calm.

A Brave New World? Go After What You Want Starting NOW


Is it going to be a brave new world in 2017 and beyond, or should you plan on thinking ‘holy crap!’ on a daily basis because maybe-somehow it’s a  different world now?

If we take a page from the Chicago Cubs long time mantra of “Wait till next year,” almost everyone knows that meant 108 years of resignation before the rousing, electrifying, its-okay-to-die-now joy of the Cubbies finally winning the World Series. True, there’s now a WHOLE lot of world playing baseball that wasn’t involved in deciding who was the best so long ago, which fits with  certain declarations that ONLY America should be considered, but work with me.

Having made it clear about Glenn Shorkey’s change in careers decision path at my 40th reunion, then getting the training/certification/paying the fees to become a realtor, and, after a tough 2016, gaining a specific break I needed-wanted just a couple weeks ago, *I’M* not letting many potential negatives slow my roll.

I’ve moved one of the fire fighters I made spaghetti dinner for last week on to a mortgage person in the office, and while it will undoubtedly take time to make that an actual sale, steady effort gives him, myself, and the economy a desirable ending to work towards. He has several elements going for him—including more money in the bank than I have—but doesn’t know enough of the ABCs-123s of programs that can help him get a house, maybe one with the basement for a work area like he dreams of. My job is to *help him*, and I have.

I’m going to the office on a Saturday morning to review the three pages of possibilities I sent my boss/partner Shaleen at Young Realty & Associates of Keller Willams yesterday; we’ll be working on a game plan for some clearly ready projects, and sharpening my focus on turning ‘maybes’ into something better. If that universal equation about ‘for every action there is an equal reaction’ is true, it makes no sense to sleep in, or worry about the signing on that condo I’m going to list moving to Tuesday. ‘Next’ is *always* going to count, and while politically and socially speaking a lot of America is holding its collective breath today, I’m going to continue putting as great a volume of possibilities into gear for the business situation I’ve created as possible.

For clients who don’t know enough of the ABCs-123s of programs that can get them into a house, my job is to *help them*, and I have.

Whether or not a lot of coal miners are probably going to be disappointed their jobs DON’T come back, or that 30-year mortgage rates tick upward to 4.3 or 4.5%, I can’t affect that. One of the ‘7 Habits of Highly Successful People’ (Covey) tenants is not to sweat things that will happen whether I worry about them or not. Why a potential client thinks it’s a better idea to put a FSBO (for sale by owner) sign in his yard than consider plans we talked about for listing, THAT is going to be examined more closely.

All systems GO! on a much better professional outlook for 2017


Green Bay Packer analogy in article aside, Success rarely comes without being willing to stick your head in and PROVE how much you want something

Ending my first work week of 2017 with a satisfying ten-mile bike ride in terrific weather, there was a decent check list of accomplishments to go with a cold one and football on TV:

  • Getting ‘first ink’ of year, by signing a listing agreement on a small condo
  • Having a conversation at a networking event that felt strongly like a successful recruiting
  • Earning a Continuing Education credit after a quiche and wine gathering
  • Getting a great connection on a developer for a $700,000 listing (while closing a bar—very ‘guy good’) after a community project group meeting
  • Serving up meatballs at a spaghetti dinner (with salad and cake) for the crew at a fire station, first of 3 monthly dinners to put something solid with thanks I’ve given easily for their first responder help for my Dad several years ago
  • Gaining a major possibility to utilize both my writing skills as a volunteer and professional real estate abilities from attending a delightful organizational luncheon for a military support group

We’re often told if we keep doing enough of the right things, ‘if we want it bad enough,’ we’ll get a break that makes the difference. All I actually got was a phone call just before New Year’s, asking if I wanted to be on the just formed Young Realty & Associates team, a timing that constituted ‘just inches’ from a less-successful-than-desired 2016 and a confident, all systems GO! start on a much better professional outlook for 2017. As terrific a feeling as doing some small extra Goodness for those fire fighters was, the results of my decision to change offices and work with the dynamic Shaleen Young, gaining both her expertise with senior communities and military relocation, became that break.

All of the joy stemmed from one last phone call at the end of last year, and its legitimate to make an analogy with the Green Bay Packers razor-thin 34-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

The difference between thrilling Success and devastating failure is frequently very small things. For the Packers, it was a foot-dragging-while-falling-out of bounds- reception, followed by TWO long-distance field goals that ended a great comeback by the Cowboys. There wasn’t anything lucky about Aaron Rodgers 40-yard throw to tight end Jared Cook—he credits ‘muscle memory’ for gauging all the physical factors. Anything less than a perfect, laser-like throw and that inches from out catch would have resulted in overtime. (Then the kicker had to do his job a *second* time, because Dallas attempted to break his concentration by calling a time out just before his first successful kick.)

I’ve always said not to bet against Rodgers in the clutch: He is a winner who– more often than not– will put his team in position to win. It’s a great feeling when others have the same faith in you or me, or when you trust them in that way. Was I *close* to making positives happen like this past week if I’d continued on the same path? Possibly. Sometimes you get the break you want/need because God or the Universe seems to have dropped it on you, and other times you might’ve done something to cause-deserve it. Sometimes it’s a little of both.

Congrats to the Packers, and even to the Cowboys, because for them, in many respects it was a season of resurrection for a proud franchise. I know the feeling.