The phone rings, I pick it up.
“This is Justin.”
The voice on the other end usually makes some small talk explaining their situation, or has questions about a property, but it usually cumulates into the statement as to why they are calling…
“I want to buy a house.”
“I can help you with that.”, I reply. “Can I ask you a few questions first?”
At this point, people usually expect me to ask about what they are looking for, how many bedrooms do they need, how many bathrooms, what city or neighborhood do you want to live in, etc…
Everyone wants to jump right to the Golden Ring first and talk about the wants, wishes, and desires they have in a home.
They want to dream about that beautiful backyard that they want to come home to at the end of the day and relax in, or envision Christmas mornings with family, opening presents around the Christmas Tree.
They are tired of renting, tired of ‘throwing their money away on rent’, ready to start a family, ready to have a place to call ‘Home’, whatever the reason may be.
But that is not how this conversation is going to go.
You don’t get to the top of Everest, without putting in the work and laying the foundation first.
“What is your household’s gross annual income per year?”
“What is your current rent payment?”
“How much savings do you have?”
“What is your current outstanding debt?”
“Do you have any outstanding judgments or collections?”
“Do you have any recent bankruptcies or foreclosures?”
“What is your current credit score?”
“How long have you been at your current job?”
“Do you have a 401k or 403b you are able to borrow from, if necessary?”
“Have you spoken with, or are currently working with, a lender?”
They key to homeownership is not just having a solid income, or figuring that because you pay ‘X’-amount on rent each month, that you can afford a mortgage.
The true key to homeownership is having a solid financial foundation in place so that you can successfully own a home, and all of the care and maintenance that goes with it.
I recently had a client that, based on their income, could afford a $500,000 home.
Unfortunately, they had 3 cars that were less than 5 years old, all with loans on them; and substantial credit card debt due to living a lavish lifestyle.
They were paying more on rent than a mortgage on a $500k home would be, and making all of their other monthly obligations, but because of their debt-to-income ratio and lack of available credit, they could not qualify for a mortgage.
They felt they were destined to rent forever.
I referred them to a Mortgage Broker I know and trust, and together we came up with a plan to lay the financial foundation they needed to achieve their dream of owning a home.
This past month, we Closed on a beautiful ‘new build’ that they helped design with their Builder. From the plot of land the home sits on, to every detail and finish in the home, they helped choose and design it.
A year ago, they never dreamed this was possible.
Now they get to enjoy their first Christmas, and build future memories, in their ‘forever’ home.
This did not happen overnight though. In fact, it took about a year to get their debt and credit cleaned up to the point that we could get them into their dream home.
Unfortunately, for every success story, there are countless other examples of people that reach out to me for help in achieving homeownership, but are not willing to make the sacrifices needed to achieve it.
These are the people that break my heart because I know that if they can stop focusing on the short term sacrifices they have to make, and instead focus on the long term result and enjoyment they want, they could easily achieve that dream of homeownership they desire.
Achieving your goals or dreams, regardless if it is to buy a home or lose 20 pounds, is the result of playing the long game, making sacrifices, and putting in the work vs focusing on short term results.
Just like building your dream home, to win at the long game, it all starts with laying the proper foundation first.
#KJHouseAndHome #BeGenerous #IODcommitted #ImpactoftheDay#PoweredbyImpactClub
Some days we have it, some days we don’t.
Today, I don’t have it.
My head is foggy, I feel lethargic, I find myself zoning out frequently, and I just feel exhausted.
In this day and age of instant gratification, it would be easy to find something on Netflix and give into that unmotivated little devil on my shoulder, but that is not going to help me be 1% better than I was yesterday.
In the book Atomic Habits, author James Clear writes, “Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years. We all deal with setbacks, but in the long run, the quality of our lives often depends on the quality of our habits.”
Habits, ritual, routine….we all have them, and I have found that on days that I am lacking motivation, it’s usually because I have lost focus of my daily habits.
Take a shower.
Make the bed.
These seems so simple and trivial, but when combined together, they help to create the mindset I need to attack the day. When I skip one, or more, of those habits, my whole day can be thrown out of whack.
In athletics, these habits are called ‘fundamentals’, and any good coach knows that when their athlete is struggling, it is best to focus on the fundamentals to get the athlete back on track.
The secret to long term success, in any endeavor, is learning how to motivate yourself, and hold yourself accountable, especially on days when you are lacking the motivation to be productive.
Falling back to the comfort and familiarity of my daily habits helps me tremendously on days that I lack the motivation to be productive.
#KJHouseAndHome #BeGenerous #IODcommitted #ImpactoftheDay#PoweredbyImpactClub
I had just got home after a 16 hour shift on the ambulance.
Often times during a long shift, you have some downtime that makes the long hours bearable. Time to get a nap in, sit down and enjoy a lunch or dinner, or just mindlessly watch TV and clear your head before the next call comes in.
Not this shift.
No, we ran non-stop, call after call, from the moment I came to work until I returned to base and called it a day.
It was only supposed to be a 12 hour shift, but that is how life in emergency services works. You quickly learn that rarely do you ever get off on time, and that you should never make plans for after your shift. The moment that you do, you are guaranteed to run hours past your scheduled ‘off’ time.
I was physically and mentally exhausted.
All I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep for the next day or two.
As luck would have it, my phone rang and it was an old buddy of mine from college that I had not seen in a while.
“Justin, my man, what are you doing? I’m at Sweeney’s right now. You should come down, have a drink, and meet this new girl I am seeing.”
No, all I really want to do is go to sleep, but I am usually not one to turn down an invitation to hang out, so I got dressed and ventured back out into the cold to go meet up with my friend.
The bar was not that crowded, so they were easy to find. It also helped that they were right by the front door.
I sat down to a table of 4, with me making 5, made introductions, ordered a drink, and caught up with my old friend. Considering how tired I was, I was having a good time.
Unfortunately, the new girl he was seeing could not say the same.
She clearly did not want to be there.
We had a couple pleasant conversations, and bonded over some paranormal experiences we both had, but if she could be anywhere in the world at that moment, it was not at Sweeney’s in Saint Paul.
Ultimately, the night ended, we said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways.
One day while wasting time scrolling through Facebook, a message popped up from that girl I met a Sweeney’s a few months back.
Turns out things had not worked out between her and my old friend, and she was asking if my offer to teach her how to snowboard still stands.
For those that don’t know me, snowboarding is my religion.
I have been involved in the sport since the days when snowboards were only allowed on a handful of hills, and we were treated like outcasts that had no business sharing those gleaming white cathedrals with skiers.
I have been competing in, coaching, and teaching snowboarding for well over a decade at this point, so I thought nothing of sharing my love of the sport with yet another who wanted to learn.
A weekend was picked.
Plans were made.
And for the first time, I actually got a chance to talk to and get to know this girl.
She was as smart, as she was beautiful, and as I would later find out, one of the strongest people I will ever meet.
8 years and a few twists and turns later, we are married and are raising 2 beautiful little boys together.
If you would have asked me after that first night that I met my future wife if we would date and eventually marry, I would have laughed at you.
Honestly, based on how annoyed she was being at the bar that night, I never expected to see her again.
Funny how life has a way of working out.
If I would have stuck to my original plans and declined my friends invite to hang out, I likely would have never met my wife.
It was midway through the second period.
Team Voigt had their best on the ice, trying to score their first goal in a 2-0 game.
They had plenty of chances throughout the game, but we were playing good defense and I was turning away shot after shot.
On this scoring chance, they had 3 players down low around the crease.
The shot came in through traffic to my right, I dropped into Butterfly to stop the shot.
The puck rebounded to an opposing player who quickly got off a shot to my left.
A quick adjustment and that was turned away.
Yet again, the puck found its way to an opponent’s stick.
The short came in hard, but I saw it the whole time and reacted accordingly, turning away yet another shot.
I heard someone yell, “Will you just let something in!”
Another shot, this time it found its way through my 5-hole.
I quickly closed my feet behind me and fell backwards, freezing the puck under me and forcing a whistle to stop play.
4 shots, all in the span of about 3-4 seconds, and all turned away or blocked.
A few years ago, when I was nearly 200 pounds and out of shape, I would not have had the reflexes or endurance to withstand that barrage without letting one by me.
Granted, every day I play a game of Justin vs Time when it comes to athletics.
Age has a way of catching up to all of us eventually.
Someday I won’t have the reflexes to react to the puck or the vision to track the puck so I can make the save, but finding my way back onto the ‘Fitness Train’ has helped me slow down Father Time, so that I can continue to play competitively with ‘kids’ 10-20+ years younger than me.
Sure there are benefits to losing weight, and strengthening your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems; such as decreasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and stroke…just to name a few.
But the primary reason I made fitness a cornerstone of my life again is so that I can continue to participate in the activities that I love, such as hockey, and play at a level that satisfies the competitive spirit within me.
In my mind, I am still that 20-something athlete with Olympic dreams, and I’ll be damned if I am going to let my body tell me something different.
I have mountains in my life I am looking to climb, both literally and figuratively, and a commitment to fitness empowers me push forward towards achieving those goals with a strength and confidence I otherwise would not have.
One of those goals is to be standing between ‘The Pipes’ when I am 70, watching my boys come at me with the puck, and turning away the best that they can throw at me.
When people find out I was an EMT for 20 years, one of the first things I am always asked is, “What is the worst thing you have seen”.
The answer I give is not what people are expecting or looking for.
They are expecting to hear stories of blood and trauma, but traumatic injuries are not the worst thing I have seen on the job.
Of course I have seen my share of blood, trauma, and death.
I have memories I wish I didn’t have.
I have seen things I will never forget.
I have dreams that still haunt me.
Though, the worst thing I have seen, spanning the course of my career, is how fragile life is and how easily it can be taken from us.
This is also the greatest lesson I have taken away from my career, and it has given me a different perspective on things that others don’t always have.
This perspective has impacted the way I approach life, business, and relationships.
I see people everyday live their lives like they have time on their side.
They approach each day like they are invincible and nothing will ever happen to them.
I see people fight, argue, and hold grudges with friends and loved ones over the most trivial of things.
But the truth is, every time we kiss our loved ones goodbye, it may be the last time we ever see them.
This is a sad reality no one wants to think about, but having had to live that reality over and over again through others has shaped me and how I view my day to day relationships with people.
All too often I have seen people innocently driving wherever they were off to that day, hit by an initiative drive, distracted driver, or driver who was running late to be somewhere, having their life taken from them or changed forever because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I have seen seemingly healthy people fall victim to an acute heart attack or stroke, the youngest of which was only 32 years of age.
I have seen parents lose children, and children lose parents.
I have seen disease and illness ravage once healthy individuals to shells of their former selves in a matter of months.
I have seen enough pain, suffering, and sadness to last a lifetime.
Through these experiences, I have learned to not take life, or those we love, for granted.
Everything can change in the briefest of moments, and for many, it does.
So focus on what is truly important in life, and don’t let all those trivial things take over.
Cherish your relationships with friends and loved ones.
Experience this world and all the beauty it has to offer.
Love more, hate less, and learn to forgive and let go.
Remember when you were a kid, dreaming about what you were going to become when you grew up.
Maybe it was just you sitting alone in your room on a rainy day, or hanging out with your best friend laying in the grass talking about your dreams and ambitions.
Whether it was to be a professional hockey player, go to the Olympics, be a nurse or firefighter, own your own business, be a famous fashion designer, see your name up in lights on Broadway…whatever it was…
You likely had it all mapped out.
“I’m going to take these classes, I’m going to take this job, I’m going to acquire these skills.”
Whatever it was, you knew what you wanted and how you were going to get there.
Even if you had no idea what you were talking about, or how you were going to do it, you still had a plan to achieve it.
Back then the possibilities were infinite.
You believed you could become anything.
Maybe you achieved that dream and are living the life you mapped in your head so many years ago.
Maybe life didn’t go according to plan.
Whatever the case may be, do you still dream? Do you still aspire to become more than you currently are?
Many of you reading this are reaching the halfway point of your life, whether you want to accept that or not.
So what are your dreams and ambitions?
What legacy are you going to leave this world in the second half of your life?
And most importantly, what are you doing to get there?
A skill set I am currently working on to achieve my vision of the legacy I want to leave behind is learning to become an effective Storyteller.
This is not an easy or safe thing to do.
It requires a willingness to put yourself out there, your thoughts, experiences, beliefs, and visions.
You have to be willing to bare your soul for the world to see and expose the content of your character.
You have to look deep inside and evaluate who you are as a person and who you want to become.
You have to open yourself up to judgement and ridicule.
You may even lose some friends along the way.
One thing I am learning is that it is one thing to effectively verbalize the message you want to share, but it is something completely different to put those words to paper.
Something much more difficult.
Writing and storytelling is nothing that ever interested me before.
As a Philosophy major, it has never been difficult to vomit words on to paper, but to use words to
convey a message,
make a point,
leave a legacy,
or create a movement…
now that is something that takes study, time, and skill to achieve.
If you study the great Leaders of the world, be it past or present, political or social, or business leaders, one quality you will see that they all share is that they were all effective Storytellers.
Today, I am essentially a nobody. Some schmuck on a computer writing stories that fewer than 500 people see, and even less care about.
That does not deter me though.
Someday this vigilance to story will pay off and lay the foundation to the legacy I plan to leave behind for my children and their children.
But that someday will never happen without a commitment to learn and practice now.
Whatever your dream or vision is, don’t wait for someday to get started on it.
I have not remained consistent with my workouts.
It started this Summer when I decided to take the Summer off from Hockey.
I was feeling mentally exhausted from 9 months of Hockey and managing a Hockey League. My body felt a little beat up, so I thought it would be best to take a break and let my body heal.
I am not sure that was a good idea.
Around this same time, we also moved, so that required boxing up the entire house and moving it 40 miles away. Believe me, if you ever tried moving with 2 little kids under foot, this is no easy task.
My current home workout also ended around this time, so it made sense to take a break from that and focus on moving.
That’s when my body decided to revolt on me.
I developed, what I believed to be, tendinitis in my knee. I will never know for sure because I didn’t go to a doctor to find out, but I developed this horrible burning and pulling in my knee every time I bent down. Not a good thing for a goalie to develop.
Then my thumb on my Glove-hand swelled and stiffened up. I think I had a sprain for a while, but never realized it until I stopped using it on a regular basis.
It hurt to bend down, it hurt to grab things and hold things, I felt like I aged 20 years in a matter of months.
Again, I decided the best thing to do would be to ice and rest my injuries so I did not continue to aggravate them.
Now I am not sure if I gained any weight during this time because I took my scale out to a field and went all ‘Office Space’ on that shit months ago. I don’t focus on numbers on a scale, but on how my clothes fit and feel. That is a much better measure of how you feel in your body.
Hockey started up again in October and I still was not 100%, not even close, but I had a decision to make, do I miss an entire season, or do I play and hope there was not anything seriously wrong with my knees.
Obviously I choose the later.
My motto is, ‘If you can’t get hurt doing it, it’s not worth doing’.
Clearly I had to strap on the pads and play.
The first couple games were painful.
Anytime I caught a puck, a jolt of electricity would shoot up my arm from my thumb, and anytime I was in butterfly position, it felt like I was going to rip something in my knee as it burned and pulled.
But then something started to happen.
I began to heal.
My knee pain and thumb issue completely disappeared.
I literally woke up one morning and felt just fine.
I’m not sure what happened.
Maybe it was magical locker room beer, maybe it was something else on a physiological level, but I am going to go with the magical beer. Yea, that seem much more likely…
But apparently at 45 years of age, I don’t need to rest, I just need to keep going.
So I am back on the ‘intensity train’ once again with a focus on functional training and yoga.
Unless I require surgery for something, no more slowing down and resting.
A month or so ago, I made the decision that I wanted to be able to do 100 push-ups in a row.
For most people, this is no easy task, and I definitely fall in to this category.
The most push-ups I have ever done in a row was about 25, and I remember struggling with the final few before collapsing into a puddle of exhaustion.
I can’t imagine being able to get out of bed like Bruce Wayne in ‘Batman Begins’, dropping to the floor, and pumping out push-ups like it is nothing, but that is exactly what I am trying to do.
There are 2 primary ways you can go about accomplishing this task…
1 – Drop to the floor and do push-ups until you collapse, repeating this daily until you hopefully can get to 100, or…
2 – You can be a little more strategic and play ‘the long game’. For example: On Day 1 you may do 10 Push-ups. On Day 2 you do 10 Push-ups and a negative rep. On Day 3 you do 10 regular Push-ups and 1 Push-up on your knees, and so on… with the goal being a 1% improvement every day.
Certainly you can take the all or nothing approach in Example 1, and many do, but most people that take this approach get frustrated, overwhelmed, and quit after only a week or two, because this approach does not build the foundation you need to succeed.
To be able to do 100 Push-ups, or Pull-ups, or run a marathon, or bike 100 miles, you must first build a foundation and one does not do so by rushing into things.
To build the foundation to do 100 Push-ups requires a dedication to slow and steady improvement, and a commitment to the Science of the 1% Rule.
Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you’re trying to improve. That’s it. Just 1%.
It might not seem like much, but those 1% improvements start compounding on each other.
In the beginning, your improvements will be so small as to seem practically nonexistent. But gradually and ever so slowly, you’ll start to notice the improvements in whatever it is that you are doing.
It may take months or even years, but the improvements will come if you just focus on consistently upping your game by 1%.
You’ll eventually reach a certain point in which a 1% increase in improvement is equal to the same amount of improvement you experienced in the first few days combined.
That sometimes can be hard to get your mind around, but think about it: 1% of 1 is just .01; 1% of 100 is 1. You’re maybe at a 1 right now, and will only be making tiny improvements for awhile. But stick with it. You’ll eventually reach that 100 level (and beyond) where you’ll be improving by a factor of 1 every day.
That’s the power of the compounding effect, and the Science of the 1% Rule.
This is applicable to all aspects of life.
Want to be a better husband or wife? Try to be 1% better than you were the day before.
Want to be a better parent? Try to be 1% better than you were the day before.
Want to be better at your job? Try to be 1% better than you were the day before.
Want to run a marathon? Try to be 1% better than you were the day before.
Keep at it, stay consistent, and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish over the course of a year.
Small and simple actions, over time, can compound into life changing results to our mind, body, business, and relationships.
As for my road to 100 Push-ups…I am not to 100 yet, but I am better than I was the day before.
I get asked all the time if I am a Vegan, or why I don’t eat meat.
Yes, it is true, I embrace a Plant-Based lifestyle whenever possible, but this decision is not as simple as slapping a label on me and calling it a day.
About 2 years ago, my wife and I made the decision to experiment not eating meat for the month of January.
Unfortunately, my wife suffers from an autoimmune disease, and stemming from a belief that Food Is Medicine, we started researching ways to eat healthier.
This started simple enough, try to eat organic, look for food without high fructose corn syrup, cut back on refined sugar and sodium, and so on.
Some of these changes definitely resulted in improvements to her health, but it was never enough.
One thing she definitely noticed was that when she ate more plants and less meat and processed food, she felt much better.
About 2 years ago after a Christmas Day dinner wreaked havoc on my wife’s health for days, we made the decision ‘detox’ for the month of January and focus on eating only plant-based meals.
The catalyst for not eating meat during that month had nothing to do with animal rights, or anything like that. The reason we decided to cut out meat was because most meat is injected with additional sodium to enhance it’s flavor. Since sodium is a major cause of inflammation for my wife, it was decided that we would try not eating meat and see what happened.
Prior to this point, I had always been a ‘I like my meat wrapped with more meat’ kind of person. In fact, other than your standard ‘Midwestern’ vegetables, I did not like many vegetables at all, and I was not a big salad person either.
But, I loved my wife and I was willing to support her and do whatever it took to help her feel better.
The amazing thing was within a week of focusing on eating plant-based, I began to notice a difference in how I felt, and it was not subtle at all. It was a noticeable, slap in the face, kind of feeling.
I had never noticed before how inflamed and sore my own body was. I just thought that was what it felt like to get older.
Everyone always would talk about aches and pains they would have when they aged. Why would I think any different.
But this is what was amazing to me, my body literally felt better, and this was not happening over a period of months. This was happening in a matter of a week. What would I feel like at the end of the month? I was committed to seeing this through in order to find out.
Over the month of January, I lost weight by changing no other variable other than what I was eating, soreness in joints disappeared, and an overall ache I was not even aware of disappeared, I had more energy, felt more alert, and just generally felt ‘better’.
I knew that changing one’s diet can have a major impact on one’s health, but I was not prepared for something this dramatic.
Food IS medicine.
Since that experiment almost 2 years ago, we have made a commitment to eating plant based in our home, and I choose that word very carefully because the is a big difference between being Vegan and eating plant-based.
Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. Vegans eat a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey – as well as don’t use products like leather and any product that has been tested on animals.
Calling yourself a Vegan is as much a political statement, as it is a lifestyle choice.
A plant-based diet is a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products.
The key words here are ‘few or no animal products’.
While myself and my family choose to not eat meat and dairy product in our home, I refuse to impose my dietary choices onto others. Therefore I live by a simple rule that when outside of my home, I eat what is served. To do otherwise, I think is simply rude.
If we go out to eat, I will do my best to find a plant-based restaurant or option on the menu, but sometimes that is not possible, so I do the best that I can.
Now I am not going to lie, since going primarily plant-based, most meat and dairy products taste putrid to me now. I rarely eat mammalian meat anymore, and will choose avian meat, if given a choice.
Though, Meat is not so much the ‘enemy’ to me as Dairy is. To be blunt, when I consume dairy products, it will fuck my body up for days. Inflammation, bloating, skin irritations, and GI issues are all common issues after consuming dairy.
If there is one thing I am adamant about removing from my diet, it is Dairy.
I could write a thesis about the adverse health effects of Dairy products.
So no, I am not a Vegan. I choose to eat plant-based due to the improvements to my health that a plant-based diet gives me, not because I am trying to make a political statement or live a particular lifestyle.
#KJHouseAndHome #BeGenerous #IODcommitted #ImpactoftheDay#PoweredbyImpactClub
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
– Bruce Lee
That is what separates the amateur from the Pro.
It’s not the one that has the most talent, or works the hardest. It’s the one who perfects the details that form the foundation of whatever it is they are trying to do.
You don’t climb Everest without knowing how to tie the knots that tie you into the mountain to perfection. To overlook this little detail of tying a knot could cost you your life.
Let’s look at a Quarterback, for example.
In the beginning, the athlete wants to know everything about their sport, position, etc…
They workout, practice, study anything they can get their hands on, watch and study games, study their favorite athlete, study defenses, learn and know the playbook until it becomes second nature to them, and so on.
But it’s the big things that are focused on at this point, not the nuances of the position.
If they have the talent, and work hard enough, they likely will excel at their position. Maybe even earn a scholarship and play at the collegiate level.
But those that take it to the next level, those that become Masters of their position, will do something more.
They will begin to study and obsess over the details, the fundamentals, of their position.
Hire coaches and trainers to help them perfect their footwork, arm mechanics, release.
This attention to detail is what separates the amateur from the pro.
To further illustrate this, watch Facebook’s series ‘Tom vs Time’ which chronicles Tom Brady’s 2017 NFL season with the New England Patriots.
Or, watch Netflix’s series QB1 which follows 3 elite high school quarterbacks during their Senior year.
Now contrast that with Netflix’s series, ‘Last Chance U’ which documents the journey of several D1 players who were released from their teams and find themselves at East Mississippi Community College where the work and struggle to fix the mistakes that got them there.
The thing you begin to notice is that those athletes who play at the elite level, or have the potential to be elite, have a discipline and attention to detail that few others have.
And this is true of anyone who is a master of their craft.
Be it sports, business, firefighter, teacher, etc…
The true ‘pros’ of their craft are not satisfied with knowing just enough to get by, or even 95% of of what they need to know.
They are up early, or staying late, studying and perfecting their skill set or knowledge base, so that they are something greater than their label.
Today, my mentor spoke about mindset.
A mindset is something that you believe, that empowers you to become.
They are amplifiers of our natural ability. Negative mindsets destroy our natural ability, keeping our potential trapped inside of us. While empowering mindsets amplify our natural ability, making it possible for us to unlock our potential.
Like Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t…you’re right.
I’m often asked, “what do you do?”
I hate this question because I am so much more than what I do to make money.
I am an entrepreneur. I am a business owner. I am a problem solver. I am a philanthropist.
But this question about ‘mindset’ today really got me thinking and looking inward at myself.
Who am I?
What do I do?
What is my mindset that empowers me to become?
What I came to realize is that I am truly a Protector.
I know I have written about that before, but when I really looked inward at myself, my moral compass is hardwired to Protect.
The question then becomes, ‘What do I Protect?’
In short, everything.
My businesses. My health. My relationships. My mind. My Family. My Friends. My Community.
I find myself slipping into old protective roles all of the time.
If I am at a pool or lake, I can’t relax and enjoy myself because my mindset slips to my lifeguard days and my head is on a swivel making sure everyone is safe and protected.
If I am out with my friends or family, my police and EMS training kicks in and I am constantly surveying the scene looking for any dangers and establishing ‘scene safety’.
Like I said, I am hardwired to protect.
I read today that NAR (National Association of Realtors) estimates that 6 out of 10 agents act unethically.
6 out of 10!!!
Because most agents act and behave as salespersons first, personal profit usually is at the forefront of their actions.
Usually the unethical act is subtle. Telling a client that a particular home is unavailable because it pays out a lower commission, or encouraging a client to make an offer on another home because the agent who sells it receives a bonus at Closing.
I can’t imagine behaving in such a way.
I remember when I was in my 20s and selling skis for a living, the store I was working at would give a bonus for every set of skis sold. When you are making minimum wage, every little bit helps.
One day this girl came in looking for a new set of racing skis. We went through every ski on the rack and spent hours trying to find a ski that was the right fit for her. Rather than sell her something that would have ‘worked’, I sent her to another store so that she could find the optimal ski for her.
Yes I lost out on a bonus, but it was the right thing to do. Rather than waste her time and money, that internal, moral compass made sure she was Protected first.
(As a side note, that same girl was hired by the store I sent her to and we actually started dating a while later and eventually married for a while.)
Like I said, my mindset is that of a Protector.
I arrive early.
I do more than what is expected of me.
I find problems and fix them.
I stay late.
I will help cover shifts.
I will work holidays without question.
I will not do bullshit work just to look busy.
I am not saying this because I am lazy, or that I don’t want to work hard, or am Oppositional defiant, or don’t follow direction, etc…
Bullshit work takes away from one’s ability to see beyond the ‘big picture’, to see problems before they arise and address them, to work on any personal shortcomings that will improve your skill set, and so on.
Companies like Apple and Google thrive because their employees are not weighed down by the burden of bullshit work, but are instead given the freedom to problem solve and grow.
I am a problem solver.
This trait does not make for a very good employee because employers generally do not want problem solvers working for them. They want employees that will do their assignment without question.
Fortunately for me, this trait is perfect for entrepreneurship.
As an entrepreneur, I am free to identify problems I see in my industry, and among agents as a whole, and work to establish protocols and solutions to address them that result in superior outcomes for my clients.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, I am not confined to a limited skill set or single way of doing things.
I am able to be more than just a real estate agent.
This is important as I begin to transform and shift my business from being just a real estate agent to a Media Company, comma real estate agent.
To be able to grow and evolve.
To lead, instead of follow.
To see the changing landscape of real estate before it happens, and be able to position myself instead of reacting to it.
At my core I am an entrepreneur, and entrepreneurs make terrible employees.