Kicking Puppies and 1000 RAKs

Let’s consider, for a moment, someone special in your life. Is it a spouse, co-worker, friend, family member or child? It’s the employee that always says ‘yes’ to special projects. It’s the daughter that always draws the picture for your fridge. It’s the spouse that picks up your favorite bottle of wine to relax you after a long day. As you think about this person that you deeply care about, consider how many times a day you are considerate of/to them.

I want you to think of everything. Do you make the coffee every morning even though you don’t drink it? Did you spare their feelings when they asked you if you love their new hairstyle? Did you pick up their favorite snack when you ran out for lunch? I bet, as you consider this person, you can attribute a large part of your day or month to your Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) towards them. I would also guess, as you started considering what you do for them, you started discounting it with the RAKs they do for you.

What if you stopped?

Really, What. If. You. Stopped.?

Chances are, that special person would slowly start to feel like a kicked puppy. They would keep up their end of the deal for a while. Depending on their personality, it could be a really long time before they end their RAKs. Isn’t that wonderful? This person cares for you so much they don’t expect anything in return for their kindness. Do you feel like you’ve won the friend lottery?

How would you feel if this situation were reversed?

What if they stopped?

After a while you would stop feeling loved. In would come feelings of loneliness, depression, doubt and so much more. You would begin to question the circumstances that led this person to suddenly ‘hate’ you. Your delivery of RAKs to others would lessen and contribute to an endless cycle of social exile. Isn’t it unbelievable how much these tiny RAKs affect your mood and life overall?

How many times have you taken these RAKs for granted? How many years have special people been considerate to you while you’ve taken those small things for granted?

We were riding in the car the other day with the dog. I was holding him gently with one arm while I moved something with the other in order to make him more comfortable. I jackmust have been holding him wrong because he snapped quickly, and so did I. I yelled at him since I’m always so considerate of him. I bring him toys, give him treats, let him sleep on the bed, etc., and this is how he repays me?!? I told him I was simply going to stop doing all those things for him. I’m not crazy, he’s a dog and will not understand, but it really got me thinking. (It was a long car ride)

My husband and I came up with RAKs after our meeting with the minister that officiated our wedding. He’d been married a long time and told us how he always worked to do small, nice things regularly. Grand gestures are amazing, but the random acts of kindness were the glue in his marriage. Every now and then, after fifteen years, you’ll still hear us refer to RAKs and it brings back a sweet memory about that very important talk with our minister.

Lately, I’ve been the recipient of a ton of ‘thank yous’ for things I didn’t even think twice about doing, or not doing. It opened my eyes to show me how many I haven’t said. All day, every day, I am the recipient of a thousand RAKs from the people who care about me the most. I know, beyond any doubt, my life is fuller because of you. It’s not just fuller, it’s what makes me tick. My notorious Pollyanna mood is the result of those RAKs. My ability to love my people (my agents) the same at 9am as I do at 8pm, is a result of RAKs. Now, I’m absolutely not perfect, but I am a way better version of myself because I’m surrounded by people that love me and constantly show me.

Dear kindness givers, THANK YOU for enhancing my life. You are more than appreciated…..and necessary.

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2015 World Series from a Non-Baseball Fan

In an incredible display of heart, drive, athleticism, teamwork and sheer will; the good guys won.

I’m not a baseball fan. The heat and the time commitment involved in loving baseball just aren’t for me. However, for the second October in a row, I found myself dressing in blue, rearranging plans for games and screaming at the television wherever I could find one during the games. (I even had a superstition about the fact that they won every time I worked out over lunch–lost 5 pounds!) I don’t really feel like I have to be a baseball fan to be a head over heels, and super sleepy, fan of the Royals. To me, they’re not just a baseball team. They’re a culture.

The Royals have brought everyone in Kansas City together for many years, but these last two have really been something to stop and notice. What I love about watching them is how they all lead. There isn’t one player that is singled out game after game, it’s everyone. They own their own mistakes, don’t place blame on their teammates and they celebrate their victories as one. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been listening to 610AM or watching interviews and games with tears in my eyes. The moment I was most proud was during Moose’s pregame Game 4 interview. The reporter was trying to reel him into showing some anger over the Noah Snydergaard comment about throwing Escobar off his game by pitching at his head. Sure, it was intentional. I watched Moose with this reporter with so much pride. Two times Moose repeated his statement about how it was over and they just needed to come back and win. Again the reporter tried to rile him with, “How do you retaliate?” Moose shrugs his shoulders and says, “Win.”

This should be the story the kids hear over and over again in locker rooms throughout the country. This is class. Sportsmanship. RoyalsMetsJS 10-30-2015 0008

Being a part of something so huge in a city filled with fans is simply indescribable. You high-five people you don’t even know at the bar. You find every way possible to listen or watch the 3pm games at the office. You encourage your dog to bark just because it sounds a bit similar to “Let’s Go Royals”. Half the trick or treaters in Kansas City were in their favorite Royals uniform. Cueto, Salvy, Hoz, Cain, Davis, Moose, Esky—everyone has their favorite. I’ve picked a couple of favorites. I really dig Cain’s reach, speed and ability to steal a base. How about Dyson’s speed? And Salvy, what a smile. How about Hoz? Always rallying in the dugout. The example Zobrist and his wife have set for married couples everywhere. How about the pain we all felt as Eddie, Moose and Young mourned their parents? These guys aren’t heroes—they wouldn’t want to be called that. They just love the game of baseball. But, as a team, they have represented Kansas City to the world and to children everywhere with dignity. In and out of the spotlight, they’ve provided a shining example of how games are supposed to be played and teams are supposed to act.

So, my story from last night will forever live with me and it probably blends in with so many others. I was ready to stay home, eat dinner, drink my wine and lay on the couch to watch the game. But, there was another plan. One friend says to another and then to my husband who repeated to me something that hit home….”Is this where you want to be when the Royals win the World Series?” No, it wasn’t. I have to admit that being in a room full of people 12191734_10153699786914441_4878055473510212408_nwhen they took the crown was amazing. I’m not a party on a school night person and I was not going to have wasted a trip and a relaxing night at home—so I yelled. And yelled. And clapped. And jumped up and down. We weren’t going down like this. We were going to take the crown in game 5. Period.

It’s been an awesome time to be a Kansas Citian. Thanks Royals, for being you and for another beautiful Blue oKCtober. We heart you.

Exercise and Sparkles

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It’s no secret that exercise plays an important role in the lives of the most successful people. When I lost my sparkle last year, part of the problem stemmed from my loss ofa4e52acaa9e540cb977b6a6f0970cdc7 motivation to work out.  I’ve worked out consistently for most of my life. It makes me feel good and gives me time just to be alone with my thoughts. Sweat and the treadmill create a great problem solving environment.

Recently,  I was chatting with a very successful friend of mine. We were openly talking about the good and the bad and discussing options for improvement.  When I got to how unhappy I had become with my lack of drive to exercise and excessive weight gain,  she said these super simple words.  “Well,  that’s what walking is good for.  Should we be digital accountability partners?” A few days later I re-joined the gym and starting making the effort.  I also started reading a book she recommended called The Miracle Morning. It served as my necessary reminder that exercise is not just important, it’s crucial.

It’s absolutely crazy how much better I feel.  There hasn’t been an ounce of weight loss yet,  but the energy,  drive, confidence and commitment have been so welcome.

I think it’s safe to say that another little piece of my sparkle had been found. Remember,  you are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with. I have some amazing people in my life that I forget I can lean on when I need to.

Stop telling people you’re fine! Open yourself up to receive advice and encouragement.

The Magic in Listing Preparation

If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, you’re likely to interview more than one agent. Some will show up, look at your house, discuss pricing and put the sign in the yard. Others will take the time to talk to you about staging, photography scheduling, pricing and how to make sure your house wins against the competition. If it’s been a while since you’ve sold a home, you might think the 2 agents are comparable to one another. However, you really need to look deeper.

You see, there’s something that second agent knows (and the first one might, too). Every single residential resale home that is put on the market to be sold needs to win a beauty contest in order to secure the highest price in the least amount of time. Continue reading

Grass Seed–My Personal Version of “How It’s Made”

So, you look out at your lawn and you see some bare spots. You run to your nearest Westlake, Lowe’s, Home Depot store and buy the grass seed on the shelf. The bag might say things like “Heat Tolerant” or “Sun & Shade” or “Dense Shade”, etc. You pick the product, run home and toss it on your lawn. Presto, with a little love, you have new baby grasses.

Like you, I had no idea what went into putting those labels on the bags and getting them on the shelves….until last week. I was honored to accompany my hubby (Williams Lawn Seed) on a live show and tell trip to Oregon. For 4 days, I was a mile deep in the lawn seed business, and it was incredible. Continue reading

Add Some Sugar: Cooperative Emailing

Years ago, during a real estate convention, I heard the incredible Tim Sanders speak about goals, being cooperative and always giving everything you can. It lead me to start following him and reading his books. I was intrigued to find someone with the same values as me that had experienced so much success. The first book I read, Love Is The Killer App confirmed that it’s really okay, even better, to be what he endearingly calls a Lovecat. There’s been times I’ve been told I’m too nice to succeed—which was a shock to hear. If I have to choose values over money, values win every single time.

Lovecat vs. Tyrant

As a managing broker of a small, but busy, real estate office, much of my job is advising the agents on working through their transactions. Trust me, when it’s the biggest transaction of a person’s life, there can be issues on top of emotions on top of issues. Most days, you’ll find me at my desk or hovering over an agent’s computer reading an email that usually trails a phone conversation about details. Why am I taking the time to do this? Well, when you’re conveying a difficult message, it’s easy to talk on the phone and in person and hear voice inflections of the other party and read when they’re concerned about something. You keep your voice calm and pause as needed to help manage and diffuse. However, there are times when messages have to be delivered or re-stated via email, so all parties can understand the same message. This takes tact. I love that the agents trust me to help them with these delicate messages. My personal “Lovecat” advice phrase is: You’ll need to add some sugar. sugar

I completely believe that the tone of an email or text can break deals, just as it can break relationships in your every day life. I receive an average of 75+ emails a day. Rarely does anyone take the time to stop and consider how the person on the other end of the web will feel when they read an email. How can I tell? There’s just no personal touch. There’s no sugar. There’s no please’s or thank you’s. Simple directives can come across as demands. Lighthearted jokes can offend. Short, quick responses can come off as cold.

Whether my agents are emailing a cooperating agent or one of their customers/clients, the importance of finding the right words remains. Reputation is of utmost importance in the service industry. Some well placed SUGAR goes a long way.

You’re Going to Need Help

I’ve been in the real estate market almost 15 years now and I’ve never witnessed a market like Kansas City is experiencing this year. We’ve been talking for months about the inventory shortage and low interest rates. What this has created is a plethora of difficulties in the real estate world. I feel like so many people are still trying to ‘go it alone’ when it comes to buying and selling and I worry, especially right now, they may be in over their heads. When people that aren’t being represented run into issues, the first person they tend to call is a REALTOR to ask their advice. This has been happening more and more, and most often, the agent will give a small piece of advice and then bow out unless they’re going to be hired to represent the deal. These situations have been common lately—are you prepared to handle them on your own?

1. Buyer bidding wars. Are you ready with your offer on paper? What will the market bear in this neighborhood, how high can you bid? What are the risks involved with going over asking price? What items can help strengthen your offer?

2. Seller remorse. A seller puts their home on the market and sells it on the first day. Some sellers are ecstatic, others are unprepared to move quickly and may think they under-priced their home. How do you deal with this? How can you help the seller feel more comfortable?

3. Low appraisal. What can happen when the appraisal comes in under contract price after a bidding war? What are your options as a buyer? What are the sellers options?

4. Backup offers and inspections. When there’s a bidding war and the ‘losing’ party still wants the house, they have the option of putting in a backup offer that will take over if the winning offer falls through. This can usually happen during inspections. What can the winning party do to keep the offer together instead of having the seller just balk and go to the next buyer?

5. Buyer remorse. Buyers today can feel like they were rushed into making an offer because of the low inventory, then feel like they overpaid. What can sellers do to keep the buyer on the line when they’re feeling some of that remorse creep in?

As you can see….You’re (most likely) Going to Need Help when buying or selling right now. Hiring a REALTOR skilled in negotiations with a calm demeanor can make all the difference. It’s an interesting market out there and I really would advise everyone to seriously consider hiring someone to help guide you through your transaction.

Around the Table

I went to the grocery store the other day; a task I’ve skipped for a few weeks due to working on our daughter’s wedding plans. As I was thinking through dinner plans and remembering how much I/we love to cook, I remembered the event that brought my family around the table several years ago. Our son was young, he’s 22 now, and he was throwing some sort of tantrum about dinner. I was fixing them a quick frozen meal, AGAIN. In his tantrum, he mentioned that all he wanted was for us all to sit around the dinner table and have dinner like a family. Wow. Being a mom that really cared about my kids, I thought I was doing a pretty good job handling the kids, the sports, the job, the household, etc. After all, I was making sure their basic needs were met, right?

Well, here’s my kid telling me one basic need wasn’t being fulfilled. The ordinary family dinner. There’s something to be said for this turning point. My hubby and I rediscovered our love of cooking while the kids found theirs. And I’m not kidding, my kids are skilled cooks now. Around the table, we talked, sometimes we argued, but we always made a point to do this one activity together several times a week. It wasn’t so much about what we were having as it was about the act of making time for each other.

After all this time has passed, I was reflecting on what this simple family activity actually DID and found myself comparing sitting around the table to finding the right home. You see, to my son, having us all together may have felt like a warm, caring hug. That’s exactly the feeling people are looking for when they’re choosing a home. To them, it should feel like togetherness. The right home will feel like a warm hug. Most of the time, buyers will forego several details of what they wanted in a dream home when they find the house that promises a future of family dinners and movie nights. That happy future is way more important than a fenced backyard.

Sellers, you never know when there’s someone in that buyer’s family wishing for that kind of family time. Appeal to the dream. Help them picture themselves around the table.

Finding the Sparkle

The end of the year always causes us to reflect on our lives and I’m knee deep in reflection this year. Looking back I feel like I lost some of my spirit this past year. It’s not as if I didn’t give my work 110% of myself-I always have worked hard. It’s more like my sparkle dulled a little. 

There were several job offers, which should have been flattering, but they succeeded in making me realize I wasn’t in a position they respected. I was ‘gettable’.

Being loyal to the core, this was really hard for me. Honestly, the last thing I want to do is change jobs or companies. However, if my people weren’t getting my sparkle, would they be better off without me?
The first thing I had to address was my sparkle. Where had it gone? Was it simply lost forever?

Every single one of us is susceptible to simply maintaining the status quo. Anything can get you there. A rude comment, blown out of proportion can rock your world for days. Or being treated unfairly by someone you respect. Some don’t have the ability to rise above these things. The smallest thing can be detrimental to the strongest of souls. There is a point that takes you to the intersection of giving up and making a drastic change.

Second, I need to G.Y.S.T. (get my stuff together) I’d encourage anyone at this point to step back and look at things from a different viewpoint. Question everything. Why have you chosen this path (or has this path chosen you)? What purpose have you served? Where was your passion directed?

My friend, Laurie Davis, posted this quote the other day and it sliced to my core. “One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is to let go of what is hurting your heart and soul.”—Brigitte Nicole.
In my opinion, you have to consciously decide to get up in the morning and change your mind. This was my third and final step. Change my mind. Let go of everything.

I feel like I have it easy. I love my people. They inspire as well as challenge me and all the reward I need is to nurture their success. There it is. Therein lies the sparkle.

The end of 2014 was a gift. A self reassessment of sorts. My future is bright and clear. I’ll continue doing what I love and keep giving every ounce of myself to it.

Be. Here. Now.

This post is a little over 2 years in the making. I didn’t feel like I deserved to write it until now.

Be. Here. Now.bag-and-hands phone

For the last few years, I’ve heard this phrase more than I care to admit from my best friend. Be with ME, present in this moment right now. Experience this with ME. Make ME feel important. You see, social media can become an addictive drug for some. It certainly sucked me in. While at dinner, I would check my email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Not just at dinner. Every second of every day. I had to know what was going on in my online world. What my digital friends were doing at all times. While this addiction gained me some very important friends, knowledge and Klout points; it lost me almost as much. I had to be stopped. I needed an intervention.

Be. Here. Now.

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