We're All A Little Flawed


I have a confession to make. I'm incredibly flawed. I try not to be, but I am. Try as I might, there are times that I stumble, times that I fail, and times that I let people down. It gets to me and that's when I have a choice to either let my head play out every worst case scenario, or to dust myself off and rise to the occasion. We all have these choices and how we choose makes all the difference. 

A friend once told me about a Japanese practice called "kintsugi." In this process they repair a broken object with precious metals - liquid gold, liquid silver, or lacquer dusted with powdered gold. The process not only repairs the broken object, but highlights the breaks - celebrating them as value, not flaw. I adore this practice because it makes me think of the human story. We're all a little broken and flawed, but I have always believed that it is those very flaws that make us who we are. Each flaw has a story, a lesson, and a seed of growth. 

When I work with teams and brokerages, I often suggest an activity where they openly identify not only their strengths, but their weaknesses. I encourage every member of the team to identify these qualities both in themselves and in their colleagues. Admittedly, this exercise can get a little uncomfortable, but the result is truly amazing. What comes out of this exercise is not unlike kintsugi. Individuals not only gain a deep understanding of what they do well, but what they struggle with, too. Their weaknesses are celebrated equally with their strengths. You see, only when you identify what you struggle with are you able to improve and grow those skills. Further, you're able to leverage those around you. To me, this is what true growth is all about.

Admitting the flaw can often be the hardest part. We don't want to be vulnerable so instead, we charge ahead. The beauty in admitting your flaws is that you begin to see the strengths of those around you - both in your professional and your personal life. You begin to identify who you can turn to and lean on in times of need, and that...well, that is nothing short of perfect.  

Deliver With Care


Last night, I came home to a package on my front porch. The box was beaten up and half opened. My immediate thought was - "I wonder what happened to that thing!" My second thought, however, was, "I can't believe this was how they handled someone's package." Sure, it was a box of paper towels and nothing inside was damaged, but the nature of the delivery changed my entire feelings about what I was receiving. I went from feeling excitement and curiosity of seeing what might be inside a box to questioning everything about the box and the person that delivered it. 

Okay, I'm probably overthinking the situation, I mean, it was paper towels. But, this got me wondering - the way we deliver our thoughts and feelings matters just as much. And in real estate, we have no shortage of things we deliver - messages of excitement, tough news, hopes, dreams, and just about everything in between. What happens if we ignore our delivery and don't handle these things with the care they deserve? Someone might miss the intended message all together if delivery isn't handled properly.  This makes you think twice about how you say things, doesn't it? It did for me. I know, it is still just a box of paper towels, but follow me for a second. 

In his popular TED Talk, Julian Treasure suggests that when you approach someone with honesty, authenticity, integrity, and love - they are absolutely more likely to listen to your input. Interestingly, none of these work alone, but rather, they must work together to effectively deliver our thoughts, opinions, or even expertise. For instance, honesty alone can be rather brutal. "Mr. & Mrs. Jones, that price just doesn't make sense. Your home isn't all that nice" might very well be true, but it certainly isn't a sentiment being delivered with love or care. A simple adjustment to say "Mr. & Mrs. Jones, I would love to sell your home for that price! But, based on the comparable properties we simply cannot justify that. The upgrades you have done are beautiful and have certainly added value, but I also know that it is important to be moved in your new home before Joey starts school in August. If we price your home competitively now and market it effectively; we don't have to worry about adjusting the price later, how that may look to buyers, and we can focus on your next chapter. So, what do you say?" 


Do you see how the tone and delivery of the second version far outweigh the first? The difference was love and care. When we take the time to deliver things with love and care, the entire message can be received differently. Take for example the company Zappos, who's entire branding is "Delivering Happiness." They are so committed to delighting their customer that they want everything about the experience of dealing with Zappos to bring happiness. And frankly, as a frequent Zappos shopper...it does. You see, delivery makes a big difference in how someone feels about whatever they are receiving whether it is words or an Amazon Prime order of paper towels. So, as you kick off this new month, think about how you will deliver happiness. How will you delight your customers?

Share The Love of Where You Live

i believe in raleigh.jpeg

All month long we've been talking about love. Loving on others, loving yourself, but what about - loving where you live? I mean, doesn't the concept of "home" extend far beyond the walls and the structure? For me it always has. Home is woven into the fabric of the communities we become a part of, not just the physical place we lay our heads down at night. 

This week, I've had the good fortune of spending a decent amount of time in Downtown Raleigh where I have fallen in love with my city all over again. Maybe as real estate agents we are particularly attuned to the things around us, but this week, I simply seemed to notice things I loved about the city in a different way, from the number of bustling new restaurants to the way the bricks lay in the sidewalks - it all took on a different weight with me. Which got me thinking - are we doing enough to show off the places we love to live? 

As real estate agents, one of the best values you can offer clients is to help them get a feel for what it will be like to live in a community. After all, we spend most of our days out in the communities we live and serve rather than cooped up in a stuffy office. Almost every successful agent I speak to has an intimate knowledge of their community, too. Agents always know the best restaurants, local dive bars, boutiques, dry cleaners, even doggy daycare centers. Why? Because most of the time we love where we live and that is what motivated us to help others fall in love with where we live, too. 

Whether through blogging, video, or even cool technologies such as Relola, a website dedicated to real estate agents sharing their local expertise; agents everywhere are beginning to provide real value to consumers to help them get the one things that isn't so easy to find -  insight. Consumers have no shortage of data and listings, but what they don't have is the boots on the ground telling them what that data means, and what it will feel like to live somewhere. 

 Sample Relola map of Downtown Raleigh

Sample Relola map of Downtown Raleigh

As agents, you have impeccable insight into what makes a community tick. You see, home is a feeling far more than it is a place. Home extends beyond the walls of where you live into the bricks of your sidewalks, the grass in the yards, or the shops along the street. As a good friend of mine once put it, "it is about how the house and the neighborhood come together so it is not totally clear where the living room begins and ends." Go ahead, share why you love where you live and I assure you - others will fall in love too.

Love Yourself

When we talk about love, most of the time we immediately think of others. How can we show others that we love them? That we care? But, what about loving yourself? Why don't we talk about that as much? 


Most of you know that I am an avid (okay...maybe more like obsessive), Peloton rider. In early 2017, I made the commitment that so many of us do as we ring in the New Year to shed some unwanted weight. I know I'm supposed to say that it was about my health, which it was, but it was also about my appearance. I felt bad because my health was in bad shape, I looked bad because I was overweight, and I felt worse because I wasn't doing a damn thing about it. Something had to change. Well, most of you who have known me for some time now know that the Peloton was my solution. Each day, I'd ride, I'd recommit, and I'd love myself enough to carve out an hour for me. On Tuesday, I celebrated my one year #Peloversary. It was a year of over 3,000 miles; 269 rides (I know, but my legs wouldn't let me get that 270th ride in); countless hours of sore muscles; pounds shed; and friends made from all over the country. But really, it was a year of falling in love with myself all over again. A year of carving out time to commit to better myself so I could be better for others. To loving who I am - flaws and all, because well, if I don't love myself - how can I hope others will?


This isn't about me though, it is about you. In business, we often put ourselves last. We fill our days with clients and to-do lists and fill our nights with activities for/with our children, friends, and significant others. We give our whole selves to everything around us, but put ourselves and our health and well-being last. Here is the problem with that though: what happens when you've got nothing left to give? My good friend Jim Wahlberg reached out to congratulate me on my Peloversary this week and I admitted to him that part of what got me through the last year was something I once heard him say..."you have to make time for your health now, or you have to make time to be sick later." Everytime I felt like quitting, Jim's words rang through my head. 

So, for you, what can you do to show yourself a little love? How can you carve out some time to pour into yourself so that you can be capable of pouring into others? 

Love Is A Verb

Well, just like that, February is here. The month of love. Love is something we're pretty familiar with in real estate. Homes are often bought and sold during moments of falling in and out of love. And of course, there is the ever-popular sentiment of "I LOVE my clients."


Now, I'm not saying that you don't love or appreciate your clients. I actually believe that you genuinely do. All I'm asking is: do you make a an effort show that to your clients on a regular basis? This thought took me back to the John Mayer song, Love Is A Verb. You see, the act of love requires effort, presence, patience, and action. My guess is that you likely showed your appreciation through a lovely closing gift, but what are you consistently doing now to continue to show your clients you appreciate them? The transaction has finished, but have you fallen out of love? Closing gifts are great, but when you have a stack of branded swag in your office that you grab on your way to closing, it comes off as a generic token of obligation.  I mean, I can't recall the last time someone sold a house because of a knife set their agent gifted them at closing. Worse yet, what if things didn't go smoothly? Still thinking a knife set is a great idea? Instead, why not jump at the opportunity to leave someone with a smile? Take the time to come up with something personalized that show you value who they are and the opportunity to work with them. Sure, it will take more time and more thought, but haven't they earned that from you?

As I was scrolling my Instagram feed this week, I came across The Amy Curtis Group's post about their Vision Board Party. I instantly thought to myself, what a genuinely engaging way to show your appreciation for your clients and friends! And what better way to connect, I mean really connect with people than to explore their hopes and dreams together. The entire idea really got me thinking how lucky we are as agents to help people navigate, achieve, and live so many of those dreams. It is pretty powerful. Isn't it the least we can do to show them, love?

Showing appreciation is a constant process. And with any process, it requires mindfulness in order to continue to deliver. But, mindfulness is hard. Much like love, it requires time, patience, and effort. But it isn't impossible. This month, I challenge you to find little ways of letting your clients - past and present; your friends; and yes, even your loved ones know that they matter and you appreciate them. Maybe it is a quick text with something that made you think of them or maybe it is an email to reach out and check-in. Maybe it is even giving the gift of your time and enjoying their company. Regardless of how you choose to show your love, make sure you remember what John Mayer says....

Love ain’t a crutch. It ain’t an excuse. No, you can’t get through love with just a pile of I-O-Us.”
— John Mayer, Love Is A Verb

Things That Matter


I've spent the last week at Inman Connect - the bi-annual gathering of the real estate industry's best and brightest. This conference always has an electric energy to it. It goes beyond the buzzing billboards of Times Square or the headline speakers and extends to the conversations between attendees. Say what you want, but this place is pure magic. 

We all move a million miles an hour on any given day and at conferences, we speed up even more to what I affectionately call "conference speed." But what this week has reminded me of is the magic of slowing down and having those personal conversations with people. Over the last week, I have reconnected with wonderful friends from all around the country. I have learned new things and re-focused on strategies I learned long ago. While the content has been nothing short of remarkable, the biggest gains I've made have been the relationships. And when it comes to those relationships, you've got to slow down and connect.


I have Inman to thank for a lot of things in my career, but the thing I am most grateful for are the connections and relationships that I have built over the years. Relationships that go far beyond business deals and contracts, but relationships that mean the world to me. Relationships that heal the soul. For me, Inman has been a place where building my business and feeding my soul have gone hand in hand. In a world where "fast and furious"  is often translated to better - I say, what about slower, more connected? 

Last night, Lynn and I shared dinner with some dear friends of ours, including Andrew Flachner, CEO and Co-Founder of RealScout. I bring up Andrew specifically because he is going to officiate our wedding in June and he is one of our dearest friends, despite living on opposite sides of the country and only getting to see him a few times a year. Of course, we relish any time that we have with Andrew, but last night was extra special. Earlier in the day, Andrew had interviewed one of my role models, Simon Sinek on the main stage. Andrew shared with us at dinner that Simon is someone he'd like to catch up with personally the next time he visits New York City, but would rather not prioritize it this week over spending quality time with the people who helped build him up each and every day. This isn't about and us versus Simon Sinek thing. It is about Andrew doing exactly what I am encouraging you to do: slow down and spend time with not only those who feed your intellect but your soul.


Again, I tell you this story not to brag about my dinner company (although it was admittedly pretty stellar). I tell you this because it is a great example of how much relationships matter. I know it isn't always easy to carve out time for your people. Things get busy, transactions come up, we're moving a million miles an hour. 

What if you slowed down? What would really be impacted? My guess is that you are who would be impacted in a more positive way than you ever imagined. 

Overcoming the Mid-January Blues

We're about 5% done with 2018, and for most people, that means beginning the process of giving up on their goals. Not you. Not this year. Instead of feeling the mid-January pressures to give yourself a break, you would be much better served to stay on track and adjust your approach to make achieving your goals a reality. 

Photo by Cn0ra/iStock / Getty Images

The problem with setting and achieving audacious goals is that we are often setting big goals while not wanting to compromise anything we currently have going on. I liken this to the mid-January situation in my kid's playroom. Over the holidays, they had their embarrassment of riches in Legos and the latest trendy toy. Prior to the holidays they already had full toyboxes of toys they loved, but as the new toys came - the old ones got pushed to the bottom and now I see them as they sit in the toybox and the new toys grab their attention. 

Adults are really just slightly more evolved versions of kids. We set ambitious goals and New Year's Resolutions and spend much of our time laser-focused on those goals, often completely abandoning other secondary goals or even strategies that got us to the point of our current success. But we must be aware of this trap. Forgetting the tried and true strategies that allowed us to succeed to this point are not things that should be abandoned for a shiny new model of marketing, branding, or prospecting. No, these are the things that should be doubled down on to continue to build our success. 

So, how do you overcome these mid-January blues and stay on track to achieving your goals? Regardless of what goals you find yourself working toward this year, I challenge you to consider this: if you were limited to five major moves to make that goal happen, what would they be? Now, consider these "major moves" more of a category of activities that move you closer to achieving your goals. Once you have the knowledge of what those activities are, break them down further into tasks (with deadlines) and get them on your calendar. When things end up on our calendars, they get back to the forefront of our awareness. It is like pulling the toy from the bottom of the toybox and placing it back in their field of view. No longer does it get treated as "that old thing," but a treasured part of their day. So, what will you treasure today?

Sure, you may not be a kid anymore and you've got things more pressing than Legos and Barbies determining your success, but who says you can't use the same tried and true strategies to tackle keeping things top of mind?

Honor The Struggle


We have established the importance of incremental growth; however, what we didn't dive into is the struggle associated with that growth. Trust us when we tell you, we get it.  The struggle is real. But, the struggle is also necessary to achieve great things. When we are growing, building, and advancing - the natural desire is for an easier way. We're in a time of life hacks and shortcuts, but as a coach, I assure you - there is no hack to success. There is a struggle, but instead of fearing the struggle, we must learn to honor the struggle as part of the larger process. 

As I coach, I am particularly attuned to what differentiates high performers from low performers, and while habits are the main differentiator, more recently I have been intrigued by specifically what habits make a difference. In Brendon Burchard's book, High Performance Habitshe explores this idea of honoring the struggle in depth. 

He makes the point that our society has glorified avoidance of the struggle versus honoring the struggle, which is a big mistake. This concept of an easy way out is particularly prevalent in the training and coaching industry. People want you to simplify the content, find an easier process, or even a shortcut; but my question remains - if we are always telling people to do what is easy, why would they ever embrace the things that are hard? Well, they wouldn't. Are you looking for the easy way out? Hopefully not, and here's why...

High performers don't just honor the struggle, they welcome the struggle. They shift their mindset to prepare for the struggle, then welcome the struggle, and eventually even build off their struggle to grow their character into who they need to become rather than leaning on who they are. What if you adopted that mindset? What if you were willing to meet your challenges head-on instead of trying to avoid them? Would your life look drastically different? I bet it would. 

Setting big goals requires big work. Big work requires big belief. And, well, big belief requires big faith. Faith not just that you are already capable of achieving great things (which you probably are), but that to achieve things beyond your wildest dreams - you will do what it takes to get there - struggle or not. You're committed to refine your skills, learn new skills, and build a big, badass life. So go on...what are you waiting for?

Growth Is A Process

As we embark on a new year, many of us are finding ourselves focusing on the year ahead. But think on this for a moment...2018 is only a year. Just as 2017 was and every year before that. And chances are, there will be more years to come as well. So, instead of focusing just on 2018 and what we will achieve this year, wouldn't it be more useful to focus on how we can make 2018 a year of incremental growth so that we can achieve greater things in the years to come?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not implying that you should sell yourself short and set goals with little growth in mind. I'm a big fan of audacious goals, but why not focus those goals on the process of growth versus a destination? Why set some arbitrary day to be a better you instead of focusing every day on how you can be better than you were yesterday? 

For example, in 2017 I set a goal to lose 25 pounds. 2016 had been a year of big transitions in my personal life and my health was reflective of that. The thing about losing weight and getting healthy is that it provides a lot of perspective on incremental growth. You can't just go for a run and meal prep for a week and poof! you're back to your prime! Much to our chagrin, that's just not how this works. Instead, you better get comfortable with incremental growth. So, this is how it went for me...


On February 13, 2017, my Peloton bike arrived. I had been lusting after it for months at that point and couldn't wait to take my first ride. I had space in our guest room perfectly reserved, my water bottle was filled, and I was ready for the delivery guys to set it up so I could ride! As soon as they set it up, I hopped on and took my first ride. Truth is, I don't know if you can call the flailing that I did a ride as I thought the instructor had plans to kill me the entire ride, but I just kept pedaling. I got off the bike and felt defeated (and exhausted) and almost started to cry. Here I was, sitting on the floor in a puddle of my own sweat, out of breath, overweight, having spent thousands of dollars on a piece of equipment that I felt like I couldn't even do. 

But that night, I got on the bike again. This time only for 20-minutes, unlike the 45-minute deathwish ride that I'd done earlier. It was still hard, but I kept pedaling. My stepkids sat on the bed watching me asking questions like "why are you sweating so much?" and "is that hard?" the entire ride as my fiance encouraged me knowing that I was struggling. Even though it was hard, it was a little easier than earlier that day. This continued throughout 2017 and I ended the year more than 25 pounds lighter than I began it, completely asthma free, and with a heart rate that was well within a healthy range for my age. So, what does my weight loss journey have to do with your audacious goals for 2018? Well, a lot. Much like my goal seemed almost too big to imagine in January; when I was able to break it down into small, achievable steps - it seemed more realistic. In order to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year, you need to lose roughly 1/2 a pound per week. Sounds doable, right? 

This is incremental growth. So, maybe you're struggling with the size of your goals for this year. Or maybe you're having trouble thinking about how you get from A to Z by 2020. Start by defining where you want to be in a year, three years, five years, maybe even ten years then be honest with yourself about what it will take to get there. What skills do you need to refine or even learn? What changes do you need to make? What strategies must you master? You won't get there today, but thinking about the incremental growth makes you a lot more likely to get there eventually than your zero to sixty plot you've made up in your mind. Take your time. Make incremental changes. Celebrate your wins. And go crush it. 

Small steps add up. You just have to choose the direction. 


2018: Bring The Joy

Photo by lzf/iStock / Getty Images

Someone asked me the other day what my New Year's resolution was going to be. Last year, I had committed to investing in myself and making myself a better version of me. As 2017 rolls to a close, I think I have succeeded for the most part. I am without a doubt the healthiest that I have been in recent memory, I am more balanced in my days, I feel committed to my work and to my family, and all in all - I'm the happiest I have ever been. Sure, I've got bad days just like anyone else, but I also have good days. Really good days. And as I reflect on 2017, I don't judge myself just on what goals I achieved or didn't achieve. I judge myself on a life well lived. 

You see, attitude is everything. It is more important than your past, your education, your successes or even your failures. Attitude is more than your appearance or your innate skill. My coach has a saying..."bring the joy" that he uses to keep your mindset in check when things don't go as planned. Sure, it is easy to bring the joy when you're rolling in the dough, landing clients left and right, your relationships are on track, you're in love, etc. But what is your attitude when things don't go right? You are responsible for the energy that you bring into the room. You cannot blame others for your misses, but rather, you must look inward and bring the joy to your situation. I loved this sentiment the first time I heard it because I love the idea of forcing yourself to see the silver lining and learn from your failures rather than lean on them.  

I admit that I struggle with this. I'm a regimented person by nature and when things go off course, I sometimes struggle. My mood shifts, my mind gets the best of me, and my attitude can really suffer as a result. But, in 2018, I am committing myself to bring the joy. I love this goal because it is the epitome of personal growth. When you take ownership of your energy and your attitude - you are taking ownership of your life and who better to control your life than you?

Bringing the joy won't always be easy, but I am certain that it will be worth it. That is why it is a goal of mine for 2018. Not unlike 2017, my goal is always to strive to be the best version of myself and now, with Compass South, to help others like you be the best version of yourselves too. So, what's your goal for 2018?

Why Can't All Year Be Like A Holiday Card?


My favorite part of the holidays is the holiday cards that we receive in the mail. I scramble to the mailbox in the afternoon, ensuring I am who opens them. I "ooh and ahh" over how much kids have grown, how happy my loved ones look, and what has transpired over the past year.  At the holidays, mailboxes are overflowing with staged pictures of kids in adorable clothing that they probably argued about having to wear; holiday letters filled with the happenings of the wins and losses of the year; even the occasional sweet treat that a loving neighbor wanted to spoil you with. 

But, I'm left wondering - why do we only do this at the holidays? As a coach, I preach that consistency breeds results in all things - our relationships, our work, our skills. All of these are made better with consistent performance, but in practice, we struggle. I'm not saying that it is easy  to find the time throughout the year to consistently write handwritten notes, send emails, make phone calls, or simply stay in touch; but I also question - is it any easier to do so at the holidays? I would argue it is actually more difficult than in say, April. 

When I think about how holiday cards make me feel, I smile. I feel loved, valued, cared for, and important. And when we think about it, we don't not feel that way throughout the year - we just don't always take the time to acknowledge it. When we pause for a moment to be present in our own lives, reflect on our blessings, and show our gratitude - we are truly able to feel the impact the people we care for have on our lives and our businesses. Doesn't that warrant acknowledgement all year long?

It is the holidays, so I won't pick on you, but I will challenge you. As you wrap up 2017, think about how you can incorporate more consistent communication into your business and your life. How can you show people they matter to you beyond closing gifts and the annual picture of your family in matching outfits? Find more opportunities to say thank you, to show others they matter, and even to surprise someone with something unexpected. I promise you won't regret it. After all, magic is wherever you choose to create it. 

Start Small, Think Big


By now, most of us have heard the story of Apple, which started in a garage with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in 1976. A true bootstrapping effort of brains, wit, and ambition that built one of the most successful companies in the world. The remarkable thing about their story isn't just the amazing growth of their company though. It is the fact that they were willing to start small to build something they truly believed in. 

Apple isn't the only example of this type of story. Take ice cream moguls, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (better known as Ben & Jerry's) for example. They started their careers taking a $5 class on fine points of preparing ice cream. They opened their first location in an abandoned gas station eventually growing their business to developing creative flavors and selling ice cream to distributors - now a household name. 

Entrepreneurs are really more similar than they are different. Most of us don't work just for the money. Entrepreneurs could trade the unpredictable nature of their business for a stable job, reliable paycheck, and health insurance whenever they want. So why don't they? 

The truth is, we're in it for far more than the money. Sure, money pays the bills, but our motivation is found in customer satisfaction, great experiences, and a desire to make a difference. It can be a little daunting when you're in the garage starting small, but my advice is keep going. It doesn't matter if you start small, it just matters that you start something that matters. 

Opportunity Actually


Ah yes...the holidays! A time for enjoying your loved ones, snuggling by the fire with your favorite holiday movies and building your business. Wait, what?!? Who can build their business during the holidays? The answer is you can. 

In one of my favorite holiday movies is Love Actually, Hugh Grant says "If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around." Well, the truth is, opportunity is all around during the holidays, you just have to look for it. 

The reason many professionals struggle and stress over the holidays is that they are consciously taking time away from their businesses and not replenishing their efforts in other areas. In real estate, the holidays afford us tons of opportunities to rekindle connections, deepen connections, and make new connections - but just as Grant mentions...you have to look for it.

Here are a few ideas I have for how you can breathe some life into your business for 2018 and make the most of the holiday season...

  1. Write a handwritten thank you to everyone who gave you a review in 2017. This may seem like a no-brainer, but during the holidays, we are often so pre-occupied with sending holiday cards that we forget the value of a handwritten note. The holidays are about gratitude, so what better way to give thanks than to actually reach out to folks who have helped your business. Also, since people are receiving so much mail, they are often more engaged than normal in their mail allowing your note to really stand out. 
  2. Prepare a holiday pop-by gift for some of your past clients. A lot of agents are reluctant to use pop-bys as a way to generate business because they have such large databases and think they simply can't afford it. The great part about pop-bys is that you don't have to give them to everyone. Consider segmenting your database to folks that you know stay local over the holidays and who can really benefit from what you are giving them. 
  3. Shake hands with 10 strangers this month. Simple, right? For whatever reason, most people are particularly jovial during the holidays. Take advantage of the good spirits and spread cheer. Offer to help a neighbor that you see putting up lights or with a package, pay it forward at the coffee shop, or simply say hello. (Editor's Note: due to the high instance of illness during the winter month's, we also recommend using hand sanitizer or washing your hands frequently. ;-) )
  4. Thank your service partners. Lenders, home inspectors, attorneys, and so on. These folks that you work so closely with all year long deserve thanks as well. Taking the time to write them a note, give them a call, or even get them a small token of your appreciation goes a long way in getting your deals to the closing table all year long.
  5. Set appointments for AFTER the holidays. This is a big mistake that a lot of agents miss during the holidays. While you take the time to prospect, you are discouraged when prospects push you off due to their time constraints over the holidays. Instead of pushing for an appointment now, go ahead and build your pipeline by setting a future appointment where you can kick off your 2018 with a bang! 

Whether it is using these five tips or doubling down on your own strategies don't forget to take time for yourself and your loved ones this holiday season. 

Like these suggestions? We have so much more in our Holiday Hustle program! 

Practice Makes You Prepared, Not Perfect

As I sit here watching the rain pour outside my window, I am reminded that perfection is all in the eye of the beholder. For some, a perfect day consists of the sun shining, time spent with family and friends, great food and better company, maybe even a little bit of work thrown in. Most people don't think of a rainy day as perfect. That's where sayings like "saving for a rainy day" make sense. Rainy days just aren't perfect. But, what if you prepare for the rain? What if you're the agent that has the umbrella or the raincoat? After all, even in the most beautiful climates it rains every once in awhile. Rather than be brought down by the rain, what if we prepared for it ahead of time? Then it doesn't have as big of an impact as it otherwise might. Are you preparing for the rainy days in your business?

I've always been a big on practice. It is one of the things that first drew me to coaching. The importance of practice, of preparation, of commitment - that is the stuff where legends are made. Just watch The Karate Kid. Right? As a kid, I played softball. I loved the outfield, but I was also a talented catcher behind the plate. After practice, my coach used to have the whole team line up and take turns throwing balls in the dirt toward me. I would spend 30 minutes dropping to the dirt, covered in dust blocking the balls from hitting the backstop. It was frustrating to say the least, but it made me a better player all around. It refined my focus. It helped teach me the fundamentals of committing to a goal and achieving it. It prepared me to field grounders in the outfield and behind the plate. It helped speed up my reflexes. My coach used to say "practice makes perfect" every time I begrudgingly took my spot preparing to practice. But, as I've grown older (and hopefully wiser), I've realized that she was wrong. Practice doesn't make perfect. It makes you prepared, which is close, but not the same thing as perfect. 

Okay, this is probably making any perfectionist twitch as they read, but stay with me for a moment. Perfection isn't what we're after, right? Why? Because perfection doesn't exist. It is a pipe dream. It is something that we have made up in our minds to justify our actions. Does that mean we shouldn't chase it? No. I think chasing perfection is perfectly acceptable. Yes, I understand the irony there. I just think we need to be okay with where we land. Even top agents feel the ebbs and flows of the market shifts. 

Practicing to prepare. That's different. It is a far better business (or even life) strategy. Preparedness allows you to pivot when outside factors impact the circumstances.  Preparation allows you to stay calm in moments where someone who chases perfections is feeling panicked. Prepared professionals have far more successful careers than those that strive for perfection because they adapt to their circumstances instead of constantly trying to shape them. This is what your practice should be chasing. 

So, what are you chasing...perfection or preparedness? 

Big Picture Business

Just like that, the first quarter of the year is over. If your market is anything like Raleigh, you didn't see much of a lull during the winter months. You continued to face low inventory and buyers continued to compete for the best homes. But, how does the market impact your business goals? 

We are working with the agents at Bamboo Realty for their quarterly coaching sessions this week, which got me thinking, do you track your progress? We are all taught to plan for the year ahead, but did your planning end after January? For a lot of agents, that is the case. They spend the holiday season and the month of January pouring over a business plan (Pro Tip: this should be done well in advance of this point. We recommend Q3 business planning for the following year) and they have forgotten the goals by March. Worse, the agents adjust their goals based on their production. No! This is backward approach! One of the tactics that we use with our agents is to help them break large goals into smaller, more consumable goals. If the agents consistently hit their smaller goals, they will ultimately hit (or surpass) their larger annual goals.

For example, say that you want to complete a total of 36 transactions this year. Great! The first thing you should do is divide your total goal by 12 (representing 12 months in the year). Okay...so that tells you that to hit your goal, you need to complete a minimum of 3 transactions per month. But wait...when you set your initial goal, did you factor in other expenses (i.e., Association dues, MLS dues, marketing expenses, administrative expenses, taxes, etc.)? No? Well, then you may need 1-2 (or more) transactions to subsidize those expenses and still hit the goal number of income that you want to achieve. You see, there is a big difference between your Baseline Goals (what you need to survive) and your Growth Goals (what you want to achieve). Many agents make the mistake of setting Baseline Goals then wonder why they aren't growing or why they're constantly in debt. 

If this is you, don't worry. This is a pretty easy fix. We recommend backing into your goals. Establishing what you need to make, what you want to make, and what you're willing to do in order to achieve those goals. Then, work with a coach (hey, we've got those too, just drop us a line! ) to help track your progress. Approaching your business with a "big picture mindset" can have a drastic impact on your success. Many agents ask if this cost vs. benefit approach of a big picture mindset will impact their level of service. My answer, "don't let it." Evaluating the cost and benefits of transactions, relationships, etc. doesn't make you an impersonal business owner, it makes you a smart business owner. Remember, the biggest payouts aren't always in the form of a check. Sometimes, it is the relationship that has all the value. 

Until next time...

Time Flies

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Today is my step-daughter's 7th birthday. I look at her and see how much she has changed and grown over the past year, let alone the last seven and think to myself, what is it going to be like in seven more years? She'll be 14 then. Woah. Okay, I'll dial it back. 

But, as any coach might do, I draw connections. I see the last seven years and think about how my business has grown and morphed into more than I ever could have imagined. No, not every step has been planned or even predictable, but every step has been a result of previous actions. What will your business look like in seven years? What do you want it to look like? 

You see, a lot of people can't answer that question. Sure, you won't be able to predict every moment, action, or result of the next seven years, but planning and strategic actions can help determine the likelihood of accomplishing your goals. I read books, work on math problems, or answer those pressing questions that a 7-year old has swirling around in their mind with the goal of preparing Sunni for things beyond 7-years old. This isn't touting my parenting skills. Trust me, I've got plenty to work on. What I'm trying to explain here is that we have the ability to be proactive about the future, many of us are just proactive about others future instead of our own. Why is that? Why are you less important? Before you answer, let me tell you...you're not. 

So, if you're reading this and you have neglected making plans and taking actions, it is not too late. The secret is, it is never too late. Your business (and your life) thrives when you begin to take an active role in the future. You take the time to plan your actions, prepare for the outcomes, and scale accordingly. You can train with the best, but no one can ever say with full certainty that you will experience a future outcome, you can just stack the odds in your favor. An Olympic athlete spends every day training their mental, physical, and emotional capacity to win a gold medal, but only some do. They train for gold, even if they win silver. You should do the same. Train for gold. Train for goals. You still may end up just short, but at least you're on your way. 

Doing Things That Scare You

Have you ever been up at 4 am and watched the crazy infomercials that come across TV? As a business-owner, I actually suggest watching once in awhile. Sure, some of the stuff is cheesy, catchy, and borderline crazy; but some of the products do exactly what great products should. The product solves a problem. What most of these products have in common though is that someone watching is sitting on their couch saying "I thought of that!" Here is the difference though - the person on the couch never did a damn thing about it. 

I think Eleanor Roosevelt was onto something when she gave the advice to "do one thing each day that scares you." Reading quotes like that inspires us. They ignite the fire inside us that make us feel like we can achieve anything. But then, we are faced with executing on ideas. Talk about something that scares you! Taking an idea from execution is just about as scary as it gets sometimes. Especially if you're a big thinker. Ideas inside are head are safe - from judgement, from failure, from difficulty; but when we bring our ideas out into the light of day and say "I'm going to _____!" Well then, shit gets real. 

Last week, I wrote about your team and how we all have one. What I alluded to is that your team is the group that gets you through the tough stuff. Well, your team is who gets you through the stuff that scares you. Having outside perspective can often provide much needed clarity to situations because the outsiders aren't emotionally tied to the idea. They are in execution mode - emotionally unattached, laser-focused on how to get from A to B - without much concern as for why B is so important. This is really difficult for the "idea person" to face. Why? Well, when ideas are faced with judgement, possible criticism, or worse - pivot - it can be really difficult for the person who was originally tied to the idea, but it is the key to great execution. 

You see, you don't have to be an "idea guy" to have great ideas. People have great ideas all the time. And almost just as frequently, people talk themselves out of great ideas. What you have to have is the people that help push you from idea to execution. Who are those people for you?



We've All Got A Team

Teams have been all the rage in the real estate industry for quite a few years now. They proudly boast about the higher level of service and satisfaction that consumers will receive due to their setup, their larger marketing budgets, etc. While I understand the argument, I have come to believe that we've all got a team. Whether it is real estate or any other area of our lives, we don't tackle things alone (or at least we shouldn't). 

Over the past few weeks, our leadership team here at Bamboo Realty has been tackling "sprint work". This style of work dictates following a 12-week process to take a project from idea to execution & roll out in 12-weeks. You spend three-weeks in each phase - planning, creating, shipping, and assessing - and ultimately end with a really refined vision and end product. The process, originally taken from our CEO's coaching club, 108 Collective, has been enlightening for all of us working together. We've grown as a company, but more importantly as a team. We've been able to truly uncover each other's strengths, compensate for each other's weaknesses, and trust our guts. 

In true Bamboo fashion, we decided that we didn't want to tackle one sprint, so instead, we opted for three sprints. No big deal, right? Now, the magic of the 12-week sprint is that it is long-enough to fully think through something, but short enough that you're unable to overthink any particular element. This is a fantastic perk for us creative types. We're analytical of the details, so rather than over think them, we focus on executing them with precision, yet we're still comforted that we can adjust the dials during the Assess phase of our sprint. Last week, on the brink of beginning the Create phase, I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. As I shared my concerns with our VEEP, Zach, he said something that I have taken such comfort in. He told me, "Don't worry about the amount of tasks. That's why we're here." As supported as I felt in that moment, what struck me about his comment was the truth to the statement. We're here. Zach & Sarah care as deeply about the projects that I champion as I do about theirs. We all have different roles and responsibilities within the company, but we're after the same thing - making Bamboo the best version of itself. 

So I began to wonder, is it any different for agents? I'm not sure that it is. Explain that you too, have a team. No, a solo agent doesn't have a formal team per se, but they have a team just the same. They work with photographers, appraisers, lenders, home inspectors, attorneys - the list goes on! You have a group of professionals (that you probably think are the best at what they do) working to get the best results for your clients. If you ask me, that's pretty great. A team doesn't have to mean that your checks are signed by the same folks, it just means that you're working toward a common goal. More agents need to leverage this to consumers. 

When I reflect on the greatest moments of my life - my greatest achievements, my happiest memories, and the things that I am most proud of - they have one thing in common; I wasn't alone. So, perhaps I don't have a team, perhaps agents don't have teams either, but as the Beatles put it best, "I get by with a little help from my friends." I think we all do, don't we?

Two Words That Can Change Someone's Day

In the age of the iPhone, we're awful at delayed gratification. If you can't figure out how to tie a bowtie or cook that recipe - Google is at your fingertips with the answer, or at least the guidance. Our emails are constantly alerting us to pause our lives and respond. If we can pull ourselves away from our emails, our Twitter & Facebook notifications pull us right back in. Not to mention, with the divisiveness that our country we are often left exhausted and discouraged that we're all human and we all have hearts. 

I still believe that. Despite the hate and turmoil that is going on, I believe that we're all human, and that a thank you goes a long way in reminding each other of that. I'm not alone either. Last week, at our monthly Karma Keg event at Vita Vite in downtown Raleigh, I had the pleasure of meeting Mimi Shankin, a local professional who is inspired by the idea of gratitude. Discouraged by the political rhetoric that she saw cluttering her social media feeds, Mimi decided to do something about it. She is offering Free Thank Yous and shared this with us at our Karma Keg. 

Mimi showed up to the event with a purse full of ready-made thank you cards that were all blank inside. She had a variety of designs and a variety of cards by photography, Teresa Stephens. All of her envelopes were pre-stamped and she didn't care who you decided to write to, she just wanted you to express gratitude. Her hope was that she could begin to unite people as humans - to understand that we're all different and that we all have the right to (and often do) believe whatever we choose, but we're still human and that we should be thankful for all of the blessings that we have in each of our lives. Mimi impacted me more than she probably knows. The desire to unite us as people first runs deep within my veins. It is something that I was taught from a very early age, and something that I work very hard to instill in my step-kids. After thinking for a while about who I would write my thank you note to, I decided to write it to my parents. After all, they were the ones who taught me the original importance of giving thanks. 

Life goes by fast. There are a million things that can distract us at any given moment, but when we stop for a moment, most of us are overwhelmed by one important feeling - gratitude. Taking the time to show the people in your life how important they are to you, to say thank you, and to take a moment to show that others matter - these things are what make me proud of humanity. These are the very same things that can drive you to lead an extremely successful business. This week, I want you to stop for a few minutes and take some time to write some handwritten thank you notes. If you're really ambitious, start the habit and take the time more often than just this week. I think you will be encouraged when you watch your business take off because you said two little words. 

hank you. 

What If You Had To?


Some people may have the perception that coaches have it all figured out, and I am quite certain that I'm not alone when I say, we don't. We question ourselves and our abilities, too. We have fears of failure and we have to work to attack our distractions every day. What coaches have is greater perspective, not ability. We know that not everything works, we just don't believe that is reason enough not to try. 

As a coach, I work with agents every single day who question their abilities. My role helps agents find innovative ways to grow their business, hold them accountable to their goals, and ultimately - assist all of our agents in living #LivesThatThrive. I love what I do, I really do. Another part of my role is helping agents dig deep to achieve things that I know they can, when they are still unsure. 

I have quickly come to believe that our abilities truly don't limit our achievements, our minds do. Sure, it is easy to rattle off a list of why something won't work, but what happens when you ask yourself, what if it does work? What if you stop telling yourself "I don't think I can do this," and you start asking yourself "what if I had to do this?"

Soak on that for a moment. Do you know what you would achieve? Would you push a little harder at the gym? Would you go after the listing in the neighborhood that seems out of reach? Would you work just a touch harder? Would you try that creative marketing idea you've been mulling around in your head? I hope so. 

Some of you still may question how you would act in a certain scenario. But, look at moments where people had to do great things. Moments where a parent needed to act swiftly, ER doctors day-to-day, or a Coast Guard rescue. No, real estate normally isn't fast-pace, life or death moments. That said, real estate is our career. It is our have to. Have your moment. Do your thing. Take those leaps and hope that you fly. Rather, build wings so that you do fly! Our human bodies are wired for fight or flight. So I'm asking you to fight. I'm asking you - what if you had to?