Archive for the ‘Motivational’ Category

Funerals, Weddings and Real Estate

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Last week was a little bit crazy…it started off with a funeral and ended with a wedding. In between, real estate kept me busy – trying to close a few escrows, fighting with a bank, writing offers, and trying to find a better solution for a buyer that didn’t involve suing a seller. In other words, a normal week, buttressed by stark reminders of mortality and blessings. Which makes one think…

We all know that life is precious, but it is so easy to forget that and get caught up in the day to day banalities. We have the tendency to go about our routines and get through each day, but many of us do not really think about our blessings unless we are reminded of them – such as when we see a sunset or sunrise, a new baby or a puppy, a rescue, or a sick or scared person smile.

I like to think of my blessings often, but like you, I am guilty now and then of getting through a day without doing so. Life is busy, and often one has to just deal with what is on the plate that day in order to move forward to the next set of tasks. Last week provided me the opportunity to really think about all that I am grateful for, and the fullness that comes from being satisfied with my place in this world.

How is this related to real estate, you might ask?  I believe everything in life has it’s place and time. I have some buyers who are waiting to find the “right” home, and some sellers who are deciding when is the “right” time to list their property for sale. In the last year I have had to go way beyond the norm to get offers accepted for people and to close escrows, and I have worked harder than ever. I know that things will work out as they are supposed to, and I will continue working hard until my clients are satisfied.

The other day on the freeway (on the way to the wedding), a man driving very recklessly cut me off and almost hit me. I put my hand on the horn and he flipped me off. Unbelievable, yes. But I felt sorry for him – he was not truly living and accepting responsibility. Being upset at strangers when they have done nothing wrong (or worse, when you are the one who made the mistake!) suggests it’s time to reevaluate!

We should all enjoy the ride and the lessons we learn every day in life. All we can do is our best, but more importantly, we should all strive to appreciate this life and the challenges we face. So…if you haven’t found your dream home yet, that perfect investment property, or if you don’t think it’s time to sell your home, don’t worry. The time will be right when it is right. In the meantime, keep your focus and enjoy every moment, because you will never live that moment again.

Have a wonderful week!

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Daily Life Lessons

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

I had a wonderful holiday weekend wth my family, and it got me thinking about the lessons the holidays- Passover and Easter – can teach us. Both honor freedom, rebirth, involve family gatherings and being thankful. These are great opportunities for us to teach our children about what is truly important in life, and provide reminders for us as well. Let’s take a look at some of the important lessons we can learn:

1. Be kind. Holidays always involve kindness, as we all gather together and share a meal. I always tell my children that kindness is the best quality one can possess. Carrying over that wonderful feeling you have during the holidays to every day make you feel good and invites more positive energy into your life.

2. Spend time with family. My favorite part of any holiday is to spend time with my family. This is what it’s all about, what’s really important in life. If we don’t have connections, we lose our sense of self. There is nothing in life more important.

3. Appreciate. On holidays, as with any time we spend with loved ones and take time to relax, we tend to be reminded of how lucky we are, of how much we have to be thankful for. It’s easy to forget to feel appreciative once we get back into our normal routines. But setting aside a time every day to feel appreciation is a great idea, and will also keep you happier.

4. Be strong. Don’t forget the happy feelings you have over the holidays, and take time each day to be with those you love and enjoy a bit of relaxation.

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Too Much Going On? Get Organized

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

This is definitely the time of year many people feel there is simply too much going on. It is easy to become overwhelmed – we need to tie up our end of the year business, finish projects, visit doctors, plan parties and holidays, buy gifts, spend money…it can be maddening. Throw in the fast paced nature of our lives, with all the mobile connectedness – and it is enough to drive us crazy.

This morning my sixth grader woke up and realized she forgot to study for two tests today. This is my A student, who never has to be reminded to do her homework. Yesterday after school she did her homework and then had a few girlfriends over – a rarity, as there is usually too much homework (most kids barely have time for sports, after school activities and, hey what a concept – just being kids). She started off her day worried and stressed – not the ideal situation I want for my child.

The point is that we all need to be a little more organized, a little less anally retentive, and realize that we will get through it. I am thinking of hiring an assistant. I have finally come to admit that I cannot do it all myself. Delegation is permissible; I can still direct and approve. If we want to be the best at what we do, whether it be our job, parenting, or anything else, the key is organization. Believe it or not, the tech-savvy world is on your side on this one, and there are easy ways you can stay organized and be able to do it all.

Use your smart phone calendars. Yes, these devices are a blessing – allowing us to work from our children’s soccer games, access our desktops from out of state, or send documents in an instant. We also need to learn there is a time to turn them off. But for organizational purposes they really are beneficial. Use the calendars on your phones, set reminders for yourself. This is the best way to stay organized.

Organizational Apps. If you need extra help, there are organizational apps available on your smart phones. I do not personally use these, but for those who need extra help I have heard they are fantastic.

Make a daily schedule. Every morning I write down a list of what I need to accomplish that day. Of course, things can change in an instant, but I know that my goal is to get through that list as best I can. I number it in order of importance. If I don’t get to everything it is not the end of the world, but I know that the most important things will get accomplished. I check my phone calendar as I make my list, and make sure I am in sync with what needs to be addressed.

Schedule personal time in advance. I schedule personal time right into my calendar each weekend, for the week. I put my workout and yoga schedule into my phone, so I know that I cannot make any appointments during that time. This way I am not trying to fit exercise into my busy schedule, but instead I am building my schedule around my health. This benefits not only me, but my clients and workload, because I feel better and can be more efficient.

Use free time to stay in contact/learn/plan. If you end up having free slots during your workday, that is the best time to do several things: call or visit your clients, catch up on reading industry news and blogs, and planning for the upcoming week. Take a client or colleague to lunch or coffee. Staying in contact with your clients and colleagues is the best way to stay on top of industry information and show people how much you appreciate them. This is my favorite thing to do.

Most people who have a high degree of stress in their business lives are not well organized. We can ALL be better organized, even if we think we are already there. This is a great time of year to look at your business plan and make those necessary tweaks, to reconnect, plan ahead and focus on your goals. It may seem overwhelming, but staying organized will benefit you in the long run.

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Four Traits Every Realtor Should Possess

Monday, December 5th, 2011

No matter what business you are in, if you work with people there are some things you should always do if you want to be successful. By successful I don’t mean financially, although if you do possess these qualities that will follow, but successful in making your clients truly feel well cared for. For Realtors, it’s not just about closing the sale, but making sure our clients are represented properly, are informed throughout the process, and that they have a strong partner and watchdog from beginning to end.

If you want to make sure you are giving your clients the best,  you need to possess the following traits. This by no means is the entire list, but those which I feel are the most important.

1.  Listening skills. If you cannot truly listen to your clients than you may want to find another business. Listening is key to understanding your client’s goals and desires, their fears and insecurities. There is nothing more important than being a good listener, since you are representing your client’s interests. It will also give you an understanding so that if you need to tackle tough issues you know how to approach them without offending your client, creating anger or stress, or coming across like you do not care. In our fast-paced world it is easy to want to move along quickly, but take the time to really listen…you will be amazed at how much easier it makes your job, AND how much happier your clients will be!

2.  Honesty and humility.  Honesty and trust must be earned, and that is especially true in fiduciary relationships, like Realtor-client. Explain everything, take time to point out the possibilities and consequences of each action, even if your client is an experienced home buyer or seller. If a client asks to do something that does not feel comfortable, let them know. Trust your instincts. Always be humble and use praise as a tool – compliments are wonderful, and you should be happy. But also tell yourself that you need to keep learning, keep educating, so that you can continue to provide the best service as the market fluctuates and needs change.

3.  Accessibility. Nothing makes me more frustrated than a representative who is inaccessible. If you are helping me through  something, you better be there when I have questions or need something! So many Realtors do not heed this advice, and I think this is one of the biggest mistakes one can make. You surely are not helping your clients or colleagues if you don’t answer your calls, emails, and texts in a timely manner.

4.  Respect for colleagues. It’s not just about your clients, but also your colleagues – other Realtors, escrow officers, mortgage professionals, title reps and others with whom you work. If you have a listing you need to call people back, provide information that is requested. Not doing so has a big impact on your own clients, and on your reputation in the industry as well.

None of the above traits are any you have not heard of in the past. But it is important to remind ourselves, especially in such a crazy world and an evolving market, that beneath it all we are simply human. Sure, we all want to make a living, but the only way we will survive this business is by putting our clients first and treating everyone with respect (even those peers who don’t seem to deserve it), including ourselves.

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Help Prevent School Bullying on October 8 (and Have Fun Too!)

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Bullying is one of the worst and most relevant things children today must deal with. It is something that we as a society need to tackle, and it will not go away unless we all work together to help educate our children. If you have always wondered how you can help, or what you can do or say to eliminate it, here is your chance.

On October 8 from 4-7 p.m. come on down to Rock for Challenge Day at The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach for some great music (by Temple of the Dad) for a great cause. All proceeds will go towards Challenge Day at Aviara Oaks Middle School, which is an award-winning program for teens to combat bullying. Challenge Day is coming to a Carlsbad School for the first time on November 7. Over 100 children and 35 adults experience this amazing workshop, to help stomp out bullying and teasing on school campuses.

If you have not read one of my previous blogs about Challenge Day and do not know about it, you can go to MTV’s website and watch an episode of “If You Really Knew Me.” http://www.mtv.com/shows/if_you_really_knew_me/series.jhtml This show is a reality show that highlights the Challenge Day program at campuses across the nation. You can pick any episode, but make sure to have tissues handy. Share it with your teens too. Challenge Day is the most real, raw, intense and inspirational wake up call to kids. NO ONE IS UNAFFECTED by this program.

Our biggest dream is that Challenge Day can one day be on every high school and middle school campus, but we need your help. It is not free, and there are few people who are trained to run the program, so there is a waiting list. Here is your opportunity to really make a difference in preventing bullying, and all you have to do is come to the Belly Up and enjoy some great music with friends, have a drink, and relax.

To find out more about Rock for Challenge Day on October 8, Challenge Day itself, and to order your tickets, please visit http://www.villatortuga.net/ChallengeDay/ChallengeDayBenefit.html. Tickets are only $15, and will be $20 at the door. The Belly Up Tavern is a 21 and over venue.

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9/11 Anniversary Message

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

I woke this morning and watched the memorial services in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, contemplating the enormity of the attacks of 9/11/2001, and what they meant to us as a nation and as individuals. As I the names of those who died were read, with the beauty of the World Trade Center memorial in the background; as I listened to Vice President Joe Biden give a heartfelt speech about the resiliency of America; as images of that day were superimposed onto images of the peaceful skyline of lower Manhattan today…I felt such a mix of emotions.

Bringing back those memories – the utter disbelief, the horror, the sadness, the anger…the realization that we are not invincible – has an effect on every person. Yes, we need to be thankful for the beauty in our lives, for those we love, for those with whom we were lucky enough to be with, whether it was for a moment or many years. We have to still strive for love, above all else, because once we give up on love we distance ourselves from the greatest joy life has to offer.

I am humbled by the sacrifices that so many make for American freedom. I am in awe over the unity and brotherly love that grew from the dark ashes of death and destruction. I hope that we all carry in our hearts the appreciation for what we have, for what America stands for, and that we don’t ever forget September 11, 2001. It is not only history, it is a clear message to us all to be amazed at and thankful for what we have been given…not just today, but every single day.

 

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Power Outage Brought Families, Neighbors Closer

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

It is rare that you see a time when all the neighbors are out walking around – I mean entire families and their dogs just strolling around, talking to each other. No televisions, no phones, no computers, no distractions. That is what it was like during the power outage in my neighborhood.

Sad that it takes a power outage to get neighbors together, but I have to say that it was something we should all do every so often. I played board games with my daughter by candlelight – completely cut off from the world. I had no phone access, no portable radio, no internet, and cell lines were down. I followed news updates on my iPad, but really that was the only connection to the outside world for seven hours. My neighbor came over and let me borrow his generator to cool my refrigerator down so food would not spoil. I saw so many neighbors in the street, it was almost a party!

The power outage, while a big inconvenience for most, really makes one think about things…like how important it is sometimes to turn off the phone and computer, get out and see your neighbors, and just sit with your kids doing something fun.  It was like going back in time, and yes it did make us all think about how vulnerable and dependent we are, which of course is another good thing to do every now and again. Most importantly, this little stray from the norm strengthens our sense of community, kindness and goodwill toward others.

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The Secrets to a Good Life (as Learned from Lori)

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Today would have been my sister-in-law Lori’s 51st birthday. She was that person you knew who was always full of life, always laughing, creating, joking, happy. She loved to play pranks on her friends, to decorate and remodel homes, to plan. She was an amazing photographer, wife, mother, sister and friend. What I loved most about Lori was her attitude. She always saw the bright side of things. She didn’t harbor regret or bad feelings toward others, never held a grudge, but truly understood that life was meant to be lived. She was one of the rare ones.

Losing Lori was a reminder that life is precious. We are all subjected to this message in our lives, and it can change the way we view life for a moment, for eternity, or somewhere in between. It is how you let it affect you that counts. When things are going well for us we don’t tend to dwell on the “what if’s,” but when we hit a bumpy spot in the road we react – it is how we react that can change the course of our lives.

Here is what I learned from Lori:

* If you are bored, paint the walls and rearrange the furniture.

* If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on traveling, plan where you will go once you do.

* If you need a change, cut your hair.

* If you want to do something/be something/go somewhere and cannot, dream.

* (My favorite) No matter how hard life becomes, laugh.

Nothing in life should be so  hard as to make us want to quit or give up, because, as Lori truly understood, life is what you make it. We create it as we go, and she sure did, up until the last minute. I love you, Lori.

 

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Change for the Better

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Change. It is a powerful word that conjures up a plethora of emotions, from excitement to fear. The very idea of change can make you panic or it can energize you, but you shouldn’t let your response to change prevent you from making it, as you could end up missing out on some fantastic opportunities. The fact is that the world is moving so fast, and change is always inevitable – but happiness should be your main goal.

Obstacles. It is human nature to accept patterns and situations in life, and oftentimes that means putting up with things we don’t love (or even like), for fear of the unknown. Countless people go to jobs every day that they don’t enjoy. They may dream of opening a bed and breakfast, selling homemade blankets or granola bars, starting an organization to help latch-key kids have something to do after school. The reason they don’t act on their passion is because they are afraid of the unknown: what if I don’t make money for a long time? How will I finance my dream? Where do I start? How do I get my product approved by the FDA?

Baby steps. The answer to all the fear is to make a plan and then DO IT! The founders of some of the biggest companies started from their homes and garages and kitchens. They didn’t know they would end up building multi-million dollar companies, but set out doing what they were passionate about and stuck with that. Because they loved their work, good fortune came from it. I am not saying you should quit your job today and go home and start baking your famous brownies, but you need to start with generating a business plan.

Business plan. If you don’t know how to create a business plan there are websites you can visit and books you can buy to help you do so. Talk to other people in similar businesses and see what types of equipment they use, who they go to for materials. Get out there and do some research. Then, when you have compiled that and have a list of sources, create a plan and figure out what you need to start up. Do you need a patent? Trademark? What is the minimum amount of money you will need to start up? Do you have enough savings, or need a loan, or an investor? Do you need to go back to school? Speak with your accountant and figure out how you want to form your business (Corporation, LLC, partnership, etc. Each has different benefits). You can have a legal site like LegalZoom.com draft up your documents, and you can register your ficticious business name with your county.

Start now. Make time to take the steps you need to start working on your passion. It may take months, or even years, to get off the ground and get to the point where you can leave your job and start to build your passion, but you will feel good knowing that you are working toward that goal.

The most important advice to remember is to not be afraid of change…instead, embrace it!

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Quitting Is So Easy

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

There are times in life where everyone feels the urge to give up – whether it be your job, a relationship, exercise routine, diet, or learning something. At those times it is easy to find a multitude of reasons why quitting would be so easy, and we tell ourselves this we can actually justify it. If we quit our job or just stopped working so hard, we could take the day off, see a movie, go to the beach, read a book. If we skipped the gym we could sleep in, go out to breakfast.

In tough times it is even easier to give up. But if you stay the course, trudge onward, persevere, you will find that you will not only learn much, but feel a lot happier. Here is what you will gain by staying the course:

1.  Strength and confidence. The easy way out is just that; if you stay the course you will actually become stronger and gain self confidence. Anyone can quit, but it takes someone special to stick it out and find a way to make it not only tolerable, but enjoyable or beneficial to you.

1.  Knowledge. Those who don’t run away from things that are tough or scary or plain frustrating actually come away with a great deal of knowledge. It can be knowledge of self, of others, of an industry or skill. Often those who stick around and find ways to make it work are the ones who will rise to the top. If you dream of having your own business and you are working for someone, use the skills you learn for your future business. If you stick to your diet you will gain the knowledge of how it feels to have a healthier body, to understand what it feels to be free from lethargy or illness. Knowledge is always power, in any situation.

1.  Happiness. Those who quit tend to feel down, unhappy. Even down the road you will always know that you quit, and that tends to make people feel bad about themselves (sure there are definitely some situations where quitting is necessary, or even the better choice). Those who stay the course and become stronger, more comfortable with themselves and their decision making processes, tend to be happier people.

I have a friend who owns her own business. A while back she was completely unhappy with the way things were going. Her partner was making demands and money was tight, product was not getting to customers quickly enough. She was ready to throw in the towel and start all over in a new business. I asked her why she didn’t instead try to make some changes that would make her happier, stay with it. After all, she had built up the brand and had a reputation in her industry. She ended up making a new business plan and writing down what she wanted in both the short and long term. Good things are happening now and other big companies are considering buying her out or taking over, keeping her on as a salaried consultant. She is happy.

So when you are feeling down and think giving up is easier, do this: take some time away from whatever it is that is making you unhappy – take a day off, or even a few hours, from work, go somewhere alone to be outside of a troubled relationship, do something that involves relaxation and not food so you don’t think about that diet…find time to just be. Then come back and make a list of your expectations, your dreams, your goals. Stick to that and stay on your path. You will be happier in the long run.

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