Friday, December 30, 2011

Will You Stand Up in 2012?

Yesterday I learned actress and activist Meryl Streep donated the salary she made for the movie The Iron Lady to charity. In the clip I watched, the interviewer asked her, "Why did you do that?" Meryl responded, "Sometimes you just have to stand up, you know."

Streep's philanthropic passions are varied; children's welfare, Haiti relief, and the passion to which she made her recent donation: encouraging the creation of The National Women's History Museum.*

One of my favorite songs of 2011 is "Stand Up" by Sugarland. It reminds me of the spirit in which Meryl gave. It makes me ask myself, and ask you, "won't you stand up and use your voice?" What program or cause lights your fire and forces you to think and feel in the spirit of giving and making a difference?

Giving = Participating. 2012 can be enriched by you, no matter how big or small your gift. Donating time is just as vital. Donating your blood can save another life. Will you stand up in a professional role at work? Will you stand up in a personal capacity? Giving of your talents, your ideas, or your dollars makes you stand head and shoulders above the crowd -- and your efforts will not go unnoticed!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Some Things You Can't Hate Forever...& You Shouldn't!

There are only a few foods I don't care for. I believe the majority of our general human behavior is learned, not excluding our behaviors as they relate to foods and flavors - those we say we "like" or "hate". Growing up I was exposed to a relatively diverse variety of foods, though not all interractions were love-fests.

Prior to the year 2011, I "hated" the taste of only a handful of foods - last year I moved brussel sprouts into the "like" column thanks to the thoughtful preparation and encouragement of a friend. Tastes, like other blatent behavior, can change over time - it's challenging and takes effort, but we can unlearn some things and change our minds about others, outgrowing what in some instances just became mindless habits.

In this spirit, each year I make a concerted effort to "re-try" foods to answer the question: "Is this the year my tastebuds evolve to enjoy "x"???" This year I am proud to add to my taste repertoir: both alfalfa sprouts and celery, though let me be honest. I do prefer both of them when accompanied by other supportive flavors and I must give credit to a Jimmy John's for giving me a nudge in the right direction. Although I ordered my tuna sandwich with NO sprouts, it came with sprouts -- and because I was starving and too lazy to pick them off, I decided it was time to give the little thready, slippery devils another try. IT WORKED!

So, never say never. Don't rule anything out for good. Just like most people (and places and things and ideas, too) foods deserve a second chance. Don't put them in the "hate" box forever - give yourself a chance to evolve and let them in when you are ready.

What ideas, which people, and what flavors will you re-visit in 2012 ?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Looking for Business? Grab your OOBS!

It's that time of year again when we are reminded that goals without plans are just conversations & dreams. It's also that time of year to re-visit your business plan, modify it to reflect your 2012 goals, and write out the step-by-step instructions on how to get there!

But, don't search aimlessly for your next business lead or opportunity - simply GRAB YOUR OOBS (Origin of Business Spreadsheet). Identify where each piece of your business originated, give it a catagory, then track the hell out of it. The trends can surprise you and best of all, they will serve as your roadmap for where to spend your time and resources. Your OOBS will allow you stay focused on activities that lead to paychecks.

Want to see my OOBS?

2010 top origins:

  • Being in the office/grabbing phone leads/past phone lead repeat biz (5)

  • Company relocation leads (4)

  • All with (2): inactive client referral, neighborhood visibility/networking, general networking.....

2011 top origins:

  • Company online lead generation tool/some incubated over time (5)

  • Networking/keeping in touch with inactive realtors (4)

  • All with (3): Local and State Association networking, neighborhood networking & visibility......

It took me about 30 minutes to get up-to-date with my OOBS tonight. Focus on your OOBS to reveal where your next paycheck will come from.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

There's No Crying in FedEx Office!

This post title would have sounded better if that place was still called Kinkos, but times change and acquisitions happen....

Anyway, the point of this post is to recount my teary and pitiful visit to FedEx Office** this week in hopes of reminding you of some simple steps to take in YOUR business so YOU aren't brought to tears by any antiquated systems.  Traveling away from your office can result in some business headaches, all of which can be strategically avoided!

Yes, I broke down and cried in the middle of the store when their fax machine was taking 41 seconds to scan and send each page and I had 27 pages to send!  I don't do quick math, but I knew it was going to take FOREVER!  I didn't have forever.  Nor did I want to calculate the cost of over $1/page and exactly what this mistake in planning and preparedness was going to set me back.

1. If you have to send a fax, fax it not only to the recipient, but also send it to your own Ufax.  This way you will have an electronic copy you can access from anywhere and send it on virtually as a plan B.  I left my office that fateful day without doing both of these steps, and boy was that a dumb move!

2. Call to verify the instructions & alternatives:  I like to follow directions, and the directions said to "fax" the documents in.  After the debacle and tears at FedEx I called to find out an email with the attachment would have been acceptable - of course it was.

3. Have ready at all times your mobile business tools and organize your documents in the cloud.  Some real estate companies offer the cloud computing software and systems which make retrieving and accessing documents a breeze.  Don't resist the movement --get to know these systems to make your life and business easier.

In this business, don't ever take lightly the popular notion that NO ONE will callyou or email you or need anything from you the day your are prepping to be unavailable....only once you are away from your desk do you become as essential as the air we breathe.  Be prepared!

**Thank you Mr. FedEx Office man for refunding my money.  I couldn't see your name tag through my tears to give you a proper "good-bye".

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Too Long of a Time Coming

I get to live another day. I get to live, work, love and put knowledge into action. On a heavy anniversary like today, surrounded by sights, sounds and stories of the tragic events that transpired exactly ten years ago, I am finally shaken closer to my core. A candle is lit inside me. Actually, maybe I woke up today because so many of the my recent interactions touched my soul striking every emotion imaginable.  My wick not only is lit, but the flame is so hot I can't stand it anymore!

Many fellow Realtors and industry affiliates were together on this day in 2001. Our annual Ohio Association of Realtors conference takes place this time each year and the stories they share about their collective 9/11 reactions are chilling. Each year they re-visit memories and ever year since I have been attending conferences there are touching tributes made to show our respects.

I arrived a day early to take a 6 hour education course on finding life's freedoms through planned business success. Sounds romantic. Sounds like what I have been striving for going on my 9th year now as a Realtor; but it felt like the instructor held a lighter to my wick yesterday for six hours and challenged me to take real, honest steps toward igniting my internal flame, both from a business and personal perspective.

This afternoon at the Women's Council of Realtors luncheon, an inspirational message was shared and one of our members spontaneously lead our group in singing "God Bless America". Then, our oldest member, 94, stood before us to accept recognition for her tireless service. Next, our Member of the Year whispered a teary "thank you" to the group, saying our selection especially touched her as she was experiencing personal difficulties this week. Lastly, we said "good-bye" to a retiring member who gave her sincere gratitude to her friends and colleagues.  Meaningful.

Immediately following the WCR luncheon my flame was strategically fanned by a dynamic continuing education class regarding taking your business to the next level by integrating evolving industry technology - not rocket science, not really anything I hadn't heard before, though the information carried a different kind of weight this time. It was heavy but wasn't falling onto deaf ears anymore -- my ears weren't just hearing, they were listening and so was my mind and my heart all in sync.

I spent the day surrounded by successful and driven individuals who are dedicated to their industries, their families, their charities and toward leading a thoughtful life with attitudes of gratitude - how dare I take my own personal and business gifts for granted and live another day paralyzed not making a more courageous effort to live fully and with planned purpose.

I AM AWAKE AND MY CANDLE IS HOT!  Welcome to my blog.