[Daily Impact #8] “It doesn’t have to be complicated…”

Usually in our teens and twenties, we are in fantastic shape.

We have time to go to the gym, run, bike, climb, or whatever fitness activity you are in to at the time.

Then life happens.

We begin to get too ‘busy’, or at least that is what we tell ourselves.

“I have to clean the bathroom”

“I have to do laundry”

“I have to finish this project”

“I’m too tired”

I have to do this, I have to do that….blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Nobody cares.

Before you know it, you wake up one day, look in the mirror, see the reflection staring back at you and think to yourself, “Who the fuck this person?!”

You’ve put on weight, your clothes don’t fit like they used to, bending over to tie your shoe is now uncomfortable, you have ‘muffin-tops’, etc…

What happened?

It’s not that you are too busy. That is just a lie we tell ourselves.

It’s not even that you have become lazy.

What happened is that you made fitness complicated.

You don’t need a fancy gym membership.

You don’t need fancy equipment.

You don’t need a complicated workout program.

You don’t need a ton of time either.

Don’t believe me. Go to Amazon and get a Crossfit WOD book. Most of the workouts in those books can be done in 15 minutes, but they will leave you sweat soaked and gasping for air.

Have a deck of cards? Try the Deck of Pain workout. Each suit corresponds to a different exercise. For example: Hearts = Push ups, Spades = Pull ups, Diamonds = Sit ups, Clubs = Burpees. The number on the card equals the amount of reps you need to do. Believe me, this is not as easy as it may sound.

Have an internet connection, subscribe to Beachbody or download one of the many fitness apps out there and press ‘Play’. So many of these workouts can be completed in 30 minutes or less.

A couple of years ago, I weighed nearly 200 pounds.

All 5’6” of me was becoming a fucking blimp, and I sure as hell did not like what I looking at in the mirror.

So I made a change.

I subscribed to Beachbody, pressed ‘Play’, and kept it simple.

I didn’t have to leave my house and waste time driving to and from a gym.

I didn’t have to think about what workout I was going to do that day because a Program was already created for me.

I didn’t need any fancy equipment. Mostly just body weight exercises and a few dumbbells.

Simplicity lead to consistency which lead to success, because I didn’t make achieving fitness more complicated than it needed to be.
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#StoryAthlete

[Daily Impact #7] “The World doesn’t need another Real Estate Agent…”

I am first going to preface this story with ‘No, I am not quitting Real Estate.’

A couple of my recent stories gave some people the impression that I am quitting Real Estate, and that is simply not the case.

While I don’t enjoy being just another faceless person in a negative-reputation business, I do actually enjoy helping people finding their next ‘Home’.

After nearly 20 years helping people in the worst moments of their life, it was important that my next career continued to help people. Real Estate gives me the opportunity to be be part of the happiest moments in a person’s life.

This is a welcome change, and an important one for me.

I have always been a Protector in my community since I was a teenager.

I first started as a Lifeguard when I was just 16 years old and within a few years, was working alongside Saint Paul Fire and Police in rewriting the Emergency Response Protocols for the City of Saint Paul Aquatics.

From there I joined Falcon Heights Fire where I earned the rank of Rescue Captain after a few years.

Then I moved on to LifeLink III and spent the next 15 years as a Professional EMT, where I served on too many committees and leadership roles to list here.

Finally I finished my EMS career with the Minnesota State Fair Police as a Reserve Officer for 6 years.

When I say I have lived my life as a Protector, I have the background to back it up.

Unfortunately, Real Estate has not lived up to my expectations I had going into this industry. It is not easy being distrusted before you even set foot in the door when you served half of your life experiencing the exact opposite of that reaction.

That’s why I can’t be just another Real Estate Agent.

Real Estate gives me the opportunity to build relationships, serve and make an impact in my community, establish philanthropic endeavors, and continue to be that Leader and Protector I have been my whole life.

Real Estate is not the endgame for me. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Real Estate is the vehicle to make my dreams and visions become a reality.

My life has been in servitude to others.

To run towards danger, when others run away.

To make the hard choices, when going with the flow would be so much easier.

To serve my State and Country in Congress has always been a long term goal of mine, and my business will someday help me get there.

But right now I am learning the skills and tools to help me execute my vision.

To be a storyteller.

To inspire people to action.

To be the change I want to see in the World.

The World doesn’t need another Real Estate Agent.

What the World needs is someone that is willing to stand up for, and fight for, those that cannot stand up for themselves.

And that someone, is me.
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#StoryAthlete

[Daily Impact #6] “Why I write…”

How well do we really know one another?

Think about your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, etc… How well do you really know them?

Do you know what they believe and why?

Do you know the lessons they learned in life?

Do you know their success and failures and how it impacted them?

Do you know the multitude of experiences and relationships that make that person who they are?

Last Spring I started writing and sharing the stories of my life, but I struggled with it. Not because I couldn’t write, or that I have nothing to say, or that I am worried about what others might say or think.

No, I struggled because I did not have a concrete ‘Why’ to give to my voice.

This Summer I was reminded of a few people in my life that had passed away over the past few years, and I got to thinking about how much I didn’t know about them.

Then I thought about my Grandparents and Great Grandparents and while I have memories of experiences with them, I realized that I really don’t know much about who they were in life.

I started thinking about my own parents, and if they were to pass away tomorrow, how much I really don’t know about their lives.

After nearly 20 years working in EMS, I know all too well that tomorrow is not guaranteed.

I saw it over and over again.

A car accident, heart attack, stroke, homicide, random trauma, etc…

Each time we say ‘Bye’ to a loved one, we never know if could be the last time we see them.

My experience working in the back of an ambulance has given me a unique perspective on life. I know I look at things different than most other people because I got to be a witness to the worst days in people lives over and over again.

I remember one call where I was talking a patient to hospice care and she began to tell me about her life in East Germany after the War. How as a little girl her family crossed through the Back Forest into West Germany while soldiers took shots at them as they ran, and not all of her family made it to the other side. She told me so many other stories of her life, and I was on the edge of my seat for all of them because this woman lived an amazing life.

When I mentioned how proud her family must be of her and all she experienced and overcame, she told me that they don’t know about the stuff she told me because it wasn’t important.

I often think about that day, that patient, and how much her family never knew about her.

Our own mortality is not something that most of us want to think about, but every day you, or your loved one, walks out that door could be be the last.

I think about my two little boys and what if something was to happen to me tomorrow. They would have little to no memory of me and who I was.

Someday I am going to move on from this world. It could be tomorrow, it could be 40 years from now.

When that time comes, I want my boys to have a record of who their Dad was, what he believed in, what moved him or inspired him, and just the day to day stories of his life.

What if something happened to you tomorrow?

What have you left behind for your loved ones to remember you by?

This is my ‘Why’ and the voice I struggled to look for.

This is why I write.
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#StoryAthlete

[Daily Impact #5] “I fired myself…”

Being in real estate is a tough business.

Hell, any form of self employment is a tough business.

Often times you are CEO, CFO, Agent, Assistant, Coordinator, etc… You end up being one person wearing many, if not all, of the hats.

You work hard to find and retain clients, learn about them and their needs, work even harder to meet their expectations and promises you made to them, put their best interest above your own, create order out of chaos, and try to make the home selling or buying process as smooth and stress free as you possibly can.

People watch HGTV and think that real estate is easy money.

I used to think that.

The reality of real estate is that every day you wake up, you are broke.

You never know when and where your next paycheck is coming from.

Even if you have Closings scheduled, a dozen different things can happen between going under contract and the actual Closing that cause the transaction to get cancelled.

You can go weeks or months with no clients or payday in sight.

No, if you like stress and uncertainty, then real estate is the right job for you.

In order to survive in this profession, you must be dynamic and not static.

You need to be constantly flexible and open to change.

If you are not, you will die a painful death.

That is why I fired myself this week.

Let me explain…

Real estate is cyclical. It rides a wave of 10 year highs and lows. There is no escaping this. If you look at real estate from a historical perspective, the pattern is quite clear. Real estate prices climb, then enter in to a period of adjustment where the Market corrects itself, and finally the cycle starts all over again.

The signs are there, if you know what to look for.

The last market adjustment was in 2008. It is now 2018. You do the math.

Now, do I think we are going to enter a Crash like we did in 2008? No I do not. The 2008 Crash was the byproduct of deregulation and a ‘Perfect Storm’ of conditions, but over the next couple years, we are going to see an adjustment in the current Market.

For the past several years, I have stuck to the same Business Plan with little adjustment to that plan. It worked well for a while, but the data does not lie. It is time for a change, and I have been ignoring the data that has been staring me in the face.

Most often it is not unforeseen circumstances or forces beyond our control that result in failure in a business. Most often it is ourselves and our egos that get in the way. We unintentionally create a bottleneck that stands in our way of adapting and scaling to a changing market.

Over the past several weeks I have come to realize that I am my own bottleneck to my business. I am holding myself back from what I am capable of achieving.

So this week, I fired myself.

It is time to re-imagine and restructure my business to a changing market.

It is time to invest in myself.

It is time to take the ideas and concepts that I have been studying and put them to practical use.

I am destined to be more than just a real estate agent.

It is time to commit to making a positive impact in my community and beyond.

I owe it to myself and my family.

Now is the time.
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[Daily Impact #4] “The Great Metallica Hoax…”

It was my freshman year of University, and my roommate was a big metal and Metallica fan.

Metallica’s Black Album was still at the top of the charts.

‘Enter Sandman’ and ‘Unforgiven’ were enjoying heavy air play, and made Metallica a household name.

One day, a friend of ours, who worked in the computer lab, comes over to our dorm to show my roommate a picture of the 4 faces of Metallica that you could find on the insert of that particular CD. He had drew them on the computer free-hand. At the time, this was a pretty cool thing he was able to do.

To this day, I don’t know how the conversation started, but we all loved to play practical jokes around campus. And soon a plan was hatched to play a practical joke on campus that Metallica was coming to the UMD campus to perform a free concert to get live footage for their newest video ‘Of Wolf and Man’, following a visit to the Ely Wolf Center for more footage for the video.

Flyers were printed up and hung all over campus and at the local High Schools.

Quickly, word began to spread and a buzz began to grow.

“Did you hear Metallica is coming?”

“Are you going to go to the free Metallica concert?”

“Can you believe Metallica is coming to campus?”

Everyone in our dorm knew my roommate was a big Metallica fan and they would pop in, “Scott, are you excited? Metallica is going to be here. Are you going to the concert?”

He would reply, “No, I have to work that weekend in the Cites and can’t find anyone to cover my shifts.”

They would leave and we could barely contain our laughter.

Soon, the local radio stations caught wind of this and started talking about the upcoming concert on the radio.

This was getting big.

We devised plans to wake up in the middle of the night before the ‘concert’ and put out signs for ‘Metallica Parking’ and ‘Metallica Line Forms This Way’, etc…

(A couple years later, I even found out from a friend that worked at the theater where the ‘concert’ was to take place at, that they hired extra security for that day because they knew no concert was taking place. They literally were expecting a riot once the crowd found out there was no Metallica concert.)

Unfortunately, a day or two before the ‘concert was to take place, word began to quickly circulate that the Metallica Concert was a hoax.

You see, in an attempt to make the flyers look as realistic as possible, our friend even put the record labels copyright on the flyer, but spelled it wrong. He spelled it ‘Electra’ instead of ‘Elektra’.

Someone with an attention for detail noticed this and word quickly spread that the concert was an elaborate hoax.

All of the hours designing, planning, and implementing our grand scheme never came to fruition due to the smallest of mistakes in the details.

Oh well, we’ll get them next time.

And next time, we did, well…they did. I was out of the Country living overseas at the time, but that is a story for another time.
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[Daily Impact #3] “My greatest athletic failure…”

For those that know me, cycling was my sport growing up.
I had dreams of racing in the Olympics and riding down the Champs-Elysees in Paris on the final day of the Tour de France.

Every day after school, I would train. Riding my bike 20-60 miles a day, and up to 100 miles a day on weekends that I wasn’t racing. Sprints, intervals, hills, long steady distance, etc…

My training was planned, structured, and with purpose.

Needless to say, I was in cycling shape.

And that is the key phrase here, ‘cycling shape’.

My family has a cabin near Mora, Minnesota. Mora is famous for a cross country ski race called the Mora Vasaloppet that thousands participate in each year. In my teenage years, they put on 4 sporting events over the year that comprised the Mora Classic: a canoe race, half marathon, bike race, and ski race. If you completed all 4 events in the same year, you received a special medal.

I wanted that medal.

I already competed in the bike and ski races, so why not do the other 2 and get that special medal.

The canoe race was easy. One of my uncles did it with me and it really wasn’t much more than a nice day out on the river.

The half marathon. Well, that turned out to be one of my biggest athletic failures ever.

At this point in my life, the only running I ever did was Track. I ran the 400m almost exclusively, and my ‘cycling shape’ definitely contributed to my success on the track. The couple miles and sprints we ran each day at Track practice were a cakewalk for me, so I figured I didn’t have to put in too much training for this half marathon. Besides, it took place less than a month after the Track season ended. I should still be in pretty decent running shape by then….or so I thought.

The day of the half marathon arrived and I was ready. I was in the best ‘cycling shape’ of my life at that point and I felt like I could conquer anything.

The first 4-5 miles were easy. I was running effortlessly, like I had the legs of a gazelle. I was smiling, barely breathing hard, and enjoying the event. I remember seeing a timing clock a few miles in and I was running roughly 5 minute miles.

I couple more miles down the road and my legs were getting heavier. Nothing of concern, but I could tell I was slowing down.

I was half way through the race by this point, my spirits were high, and I was enjoying the experience.

I remember running past the Mile 8 marker, and about a minute later, everything changed.

My legs began to feel like lead weights, and my breathing became more labored.

As I pushed on and my running technique became sloppy, I began to cramp up. Each stride became a jolt of pain as my heel struck the pavement. I was in agony.

The next mile seemed like an eternity.

I was 9 miles in and I was ready to throw in the towel.

My once effortless strides turned in to shuffles, I was gasping for air, and every inch forward was agony.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I hit ‘The Wall’.

Any energy I had left in my body evaporated. I felt weak, tired, and dizzy. The world around me became a blur and I felt like I existed in a bubble of pain. In fact, I don’t remember any other runners out there on the road with me, even though there were many.

By this point I was 10 miles in and my shuffle turned to walking. I was dizzy and out of breath. Everything inside of me begged me to stop. I still had 3 miles left to go and all I wanted to do was sit down and make the pain go away.

But that is not who I am.

I knew if I was to finish this race, I had to change my perspective.

I had to stop focusing on how much further I had left to go, and instead focus on how far I had already come. I had already run more than 10 miles, 3 more miles is nothing.

And with that simple change in mindset, everything changed.

The will to keep pushing forward returned stronger than ever, my head cleared, and I regained control of my breathing. I was still cramped up and in pain, but now I was mentally back in control.

I would be lying if I said those last 3 miles were easy. Far from it, but I finished.

1 hour and 45 minutes after I started, I finished my first, and last, half marathon.

My arrogance that day contributed to my greatest athletic failure, but at the same time, it also taught me a lesson I have never forgot…that perspective is everything.

That day I learned that when life is hard and you feel like giving up, sometimes it’s best to stop focusing on how far you have left to go, and instead remember how far you have already come.
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[Daily Impact #2] “No more excuses…”

A couple years ago, I started Beachbody Workouts.

21 Day Fix
Core de Force
PYIO
22 Minute Hard Corps

In the process, combined with a drastic shift in my diet, I lost 50 pounds. I went from 190 pounds to 140 pounds, and a size 33” waist to a 29” waist.

For someone who started with Olympic dreams in their teens, athletics and sports have continued to shape my life in some form or another. Whether it was cycling, Track, speed skating, snowboarding, hockey, etc… I have always participated in some form of competitive athletics.

But as I had gotten older, became a parent, gotten busier with work, etc… It became harder to find time to work out and focus on my health and fitness…

Oh, see what I did there? See how easy that was? See how easy it is to bullshit yourself?

No, what I did was become lazy and make excuses.

“I’m too tired. I’ll work out tomorrow”
“I have to be up early and need to get some sleep”
“I just don’t have the time”

Do these sound familiar?

No, the truth is as we age we need to stop bullshitting ourselves and stop making excuses. We MUST make taking care of our health and bodies a priority. The alternative is a life of meds and trips in and out of the hospital as our bodies begin to break down and betray us.

The human body is an amazing thing. It can compensate for years and decades of abuse, but once it reaches a tipping point, things are never quite the same. Think about something as simple as spraining an ankle. Sure it may heal in a couple weeks, but that ankle is never quite the same. It is easily injured again, you don’t usually regain the range of flexibility you once had in it, and sometimes it just hurts for no reason.

Our health is the same way if we neglect it for too long. Why wait for some medical emergency to befall you before you have that realization that you are not 20 anymore? Sure you may recover from it, but your health will never be the same.

Health and fitness does not need to be complicated. It does not require a gym membership or hours lifting heavy weights. In fact, it is actually detrimental to the body to lift heavy and go hard after a long period of inactivity. It is this mentality that often leads to injury in the aging athlete.

As we age, our bodies begin to lose the elasticity and coordination we had when we were younger. A fitness program that incorporates functional training and focuses on flexibility is actually more beneficial to ourselves in the long run. Most of us have a lifetime of unaddressed muscle imbalances that need to be corrected before starting any strenuous workout program. A fitness program that focuses on functional training and flexibility will help correct those muscle imbalances and allow you to build a proper base that will allow you to move on to any fitness goals you may have.

Unfortunately, I am far from perfect. I have been telling myself those same bullshit excuses for months now and am not at all happy with myself or my current physical condition of health. I have a goal of still standing between the pipes stopping pucks and laying out some Euro Carves on my Oxess at 70 years of age.

That’s not going to happen if I keep making excuses and sitting on my ass every day.

No more excuses and no more bullshit.

I am better than that.
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[Daily Impact #1] ‘Why I make my bed…’

Every day I wake up and make the bed.

This is not something I have always done. In fact, up until this past year, it is something I never did.

I always felt it was a pointless task. I mean, why make the bed when you are just going to sleep in it again in 12 hours. Seemed like a waste of time and energy to me.

Every day I participate in some sort of personal development, be it reading a book, article, or listening to a podcast. I don’t remember what I was reading at the time, but the author talked about how they have a routine that they do every morning. This routine helps them focus and get their mind ready for the day ahead.

One component of that routine was making the bed every morning. They reasoned that even if they don’t do anything else all day, at least they accomplished that one simple task.

At the time, I was in a funk. I was struggling to wake up and be productive. The simple task of responding to an email would sometimes take hours because something inside of me wasn’t clicking.

That day, this simple concept of making the bed every morning resonated with me and I figured why not give it a try.

So I made the bed.

Nothing magical happened that day. The sky’s didn’t part and a chorus of angels didn’t sing. I didn’t feel more productive. In fact, nothing changed at all.

But one trait of mine is that once I decide to do something, I go all in and do it.

So I stayed committed and every day I made the bed. It may not have always been right away in the morning. Sometimes it was just before going to bed, but I stuck with it and made this simple task a habit.

Over time, this habit began to change me, and making the bed began to to become a switch inside of me.

Much like Sylvester Stallone’s character, Lincoln Hawk, in ‘Over the Top’.

If you don’t remember this ‘80s movie, Hawk was a struggling trucker who arm wrestles on the side to make extra cash while trying to rebuild his life. Before he arm wrestles though, he would always take his baseball cap and turn it backwards. This was the switch that would transform his mindset so that he could arm wrestle at his maximum level.

Making the bed each day has now become that switch inside of me. Once I do that, I feel I am ready to be productive and tackle whatever the day throws at me.

Making the bed daily also has had some side benefits that were not readily apparent at the start. There is just something calming about climbing into a made bed that helps ready the body and mind for rest, my wife and I no longer fight and pull covers because one of us has more bedding than the other, and I actually sleep better than I did before.

Change usually doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it usually happen due to macro changes in our lives and habits.

Instead, change is the result of micro changes in our lives that often times results in improvements to our health, happiness, relationships, productivity, etc…

Making a commitment to ourselves to improve just 1% daily or weekly is a powerful thing. That 1% compounds on itself and improves our lives in ways we cannot imagine at the time.

Today marks my re-commitment to something I started back in April of this year, daily writings, also known as Impacts of the Day.

It is sometimes hard for me to open up and share my thoughts and feelings with the world, but I know this commitment to ‘Mind, Body, Business, Relationships’ is the next step needed in my journey of personal development.

Over the next several months and years, this simple exercise will transform me, my relationships, and my business in ways I cannot imagine right now. But one thing I know for sure is that whatever happens, it will be for the better, and I will not be the same person I am today.

Micro changes…1%….

This is why I make my bed.

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