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 ( https://gshorksbaselinethots2.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/im-glad-dad-understood-the-last-tabasco-comment/ ) 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.

That Last Call Before New Year’s Was A Difference Maker for 2017


Although not as classically impressive in the light of New Year’s Day as night-time version, The Choir Boys, life-sized when Dad created them in 1966, have been a standard for years.

Okay, on the 7th we should still be relatively strong on NYE resolutions  made a week ago, although I for one never said chocolate covered doughnuts were forbidden. Java in hand and laptop fired up, I’m just as susceptible to a pastry as anyone, so that leftover from Room In The Inn duty overnight Thursday/waste-not-want-not rationale works no problem.

That Charlotte is scheduled for 3″-plus of snow–on top of inch of ice that postponed our Men’s Club meeting last night– makes travel in the Queen City fairly hazardous, and opens up time for philosophy. I haven’t got an open house today, so java and a doughnut, knock out a blog, watch some football, that’s going to be legit.

Professionally speaking, I had necessary and significant talks with the BIC and Team Leader at my new office (KW- University City) on Thursday, handled all the paperwork and fees, made a quantity of phone calls and sent e-mails to let people know about the change. It won’t usually make a difference to clients where I set up my laptop, but in real estate, taking an opportunity to ‘touch’ someone is good. Even doing that overnight for homeless with RITI, talking to two long-time friends/hosts about why it makes a difference that they tell me how to reach others who have brought up the subject of down-sizing, moving, ‘thinking about’ a change, was a moment of awareness about my business worth sharing. (FYI– Statistics say once people mention it, the chances of next agent they talk to becoming *their* agent is in the mid-80s.)

That call from my genuinely dynamic boss/partner, Shaleen Young, on the 30th, asking whether I still wanted to work with her– and her documented passion and strengths in senior communities and with veterans being exactly what I want to focus on made a YES! easy– is the Good News I’ll be wrapping this entire year around. That opportunity was the first item I put on a new Facebook business page, which got 40 responses, making  clear another fact of business, about putting myself out there consistently.

Statistics show that once people mention it, the chances of next agent they talk to becoming *their* agent is in the mid-80s


January 22nd I’ll turn 60, and every time I’ve had cause to write that particular number the last couple months, there’s been a sense of foreboding about what it actually signaled. Old? Wellll… yeah, and was I actually *ready* for that designation? Mmmm… even with that knee requiring replacement propped up, will have to go with ‘not ready’. Like many people, those recession years took the heart out of what are generally the best earning years, although, as one brother pithily questioned several years ago (like when I was a mere fifty), “Are you planning on writing a best seller soon?” to make up for my earnings shortfall to that point.

Having just survived (an unfortunately too-accurate word) my first year in real estate, that call was a signal that I hadn’t made soooo many mistakes that I was irredeemably screwed. Giving appropriate thanks to the friend who put a particular Osteen book in my hands positively changed some negative attitudes, and confidence in the God-given talents I’d (almost) always believed in has been restored. I’m looking forward to putting my first sign on a front lawn, quite possibly even before that last day of my 59th year. Thursday night, when I serve up spaghetti and my terrifically moist-tasty meatballs for the crew at Fire Station #14- Cotswold— the crew that aided my Dad, and gave me another Christmas with him years ago– I’ll again be thankful for the power one phone call can have on someone’s Life.

If or when you get such a Quality Call, its not about resolutions, WORK IT!

‘Thank You’ Works Pretty Well Every Other Day, Too

Several million ‘Thank you!s’ will be offered to U.S. veterans today, and of course, deservedly so. While my father and his brothers rarely heard it from me, it almost seemed unnecessary—my Dad was in the service, hadn’t everyone’s Dad done that?

Real estate clients are often excited about a sale or purchase that goes smoothly, but also have similar expectations about “that’s how it should go.” That would be a miniature comparison I’m proud to be awarded for my efforts.


Because friends are always there for you.

I’m actually proudest of the fact Dad had served after having polio as a child, a fearsome disease that frequently took the lives of children in the 1920s and 30s. He was never an ‘iron lung’ invalid, but his left leg was obviously smaller, and he never actually played sports as a result.

I always mention his three brothers served, too: Dad and Harold were Navy guys, Don was Air Force, 19 yr. old Howard was a Marine with two island-hops in the Pacific during WWII. My nephew—Capt. Curt—is a Blackhawk pilot who just passed through Charlotte on the way to Ft. Rucker for six-months training; his wife since June, Stephanie, got her captain’s bars a month ago. I have a cousin whose son was smart enough to be trained on nuclear subs—even more impressive smarts by becoming an interpreter, with expertise in a specific Iraqi dialect.

I learned at a September luncheon for veterans that many of them are articulate as hell about their qualifications-documented job experiences. In discussing that impression vs. ‘trigger pullers’ like Uncle Howard, it turned out I was speaking with a retired Lt. Col. who’d been Rumsfeld’s Chief of Staff. Talk about straight-shooters! Another contact was Dr. Alan Freitag (also retired Lt. Colonel), an Assistant Dean at UNCC Graduate School and a Fulbright Scholar– not something achieved by tons of people. I certainly respect Shaleen Young, an outstanding Woman in local real estate, mother of four and ex-military with a K-bar sharp mind, especially regarding MRS (Military Relocation Specialist) area of her business.

The point is, ‘they’ are all around us daily. While it’s habitual to say, “Thank you for your service,” to veterans, I save my most sincere ideas on that for fire fighters, especially from #14- Cotswold, who gave aid to my father one Christmas season, which provided another Christmas with him as well. After telling that story to Joey Hagar at #11, he said, “‘Thanks’ really does mean something to firemen and first responders, maybe because people we’re meeting are enduring stressful conditions,” and maybe because they just *expect* Joey and his brothers to do their jobs.

Working with fire fighters to advance their collective mission about home-owning part of our American Dream, saying ‘thanks’ means the same dedication to finding *their* homes as they do into saving houses, and possibly important Dads. 

It’s not difficult to say ‘thank you’ on a regular basis, now certainly works.

To all the vets, OOO-___, whatever your service variation of rah! is.