A few years ago I needed to replace my Chevrolet Silverado and instead of purchasing, I decided to lease a brand new 2016 GMC Sierra pickup truck. 

I loved the truck and had no complaints, but as the due date for the end of the lease approached, I decided I was going to buy this time.

Only I wasn’t going to buy new. Have you seen the prices for new full sized pickup trucks?

So, I set a reasonable budget for our purchase and started to look online. 

After looking for a few days it became clear to me I wasn’t going to be driving anywhere near as nice a vehicle with my limited budget. 

I told Theresa, “listen, we might have to go down to one vehicle for while as I’m not just going to settle for any old truck. This might take some time.”

So, we started the search fully expecting to be sharing a car for a while.

The following Sunday rolled around and as we sat watching television she looked and me and said, “Let’s go look at trucks.”

Really I wasn’t feeling it, but since my Cowboys weren’t on television until later that day, I acquiesced. “But, we’re just looking, I’m not buying a truck today!”

We arrive at the first dealership, and after eliminating every truck on the lot I saw a truck I couldn’t eliminate.

Upon closer inspection I thought to myself, “this truck is too new, surely it’s out of our price range.”

Only it wasn’t. It wasn’t an unreasonable distance from our budget.

I looked at the salesman and said I’ll buy this truck with two conditions. First, it needs to fit in my garage. Second, you need to come to price terms with my business manager, as I pointed to Theresa.

So, the salesman got in the back, we drove it to my house, raised the garage door, and carefully started to back into the garage.

Literally, only an inch or two clearance, but it fit! 

As we drove back to the dealership, there was only one left hurdle to the purchase–Theresa’s negotiating skills and the willingness of the dealer to sell at our price.

How’d it go? 

Let’s just say my wife can haggle.

What’s so exciting for me is that although I lost a truck I loved, I ended up with the same year truck for about half the price of the old one, and the more I drive it, the more I love it.


Keyless entry. Never had it before, but it allows me to leave my keys inside the truck and not carry them around everywhere. 

Automatic lights. Automatic sync for cell phone. 20 miles to the gallon!

Yesterday as I filled up the tank, I opened the lid, reached for the gas cap to unscrew it, and there was no gas cap. Instead it has what Ford calls an Easy/Fuel system. 

Silly as it sounds, I was pleasantly surprised.

As I thought about it I wondered to myself, “why was I so happy when I realized there was no gas cap to deal with?”

Simple. It’s one less thing to worry about. 

Less friction.

As I thought about my frictionless vehicle I realized that everything’s better with less friction.

It’s true at the movies. Too many subplots ruin the experience. 

It’s true with songs. Too many words or too much repetition get the song booted from the playlist. 

It’s true in business. Service department appointments that require a 1–800 call to someone who doesn’t speak English make the experience frustrating.

It’s all friction.

For me, it’s been helpful to view life as I view my writing.

Everyday, as I write the story of life, I try to edit out the friction. 

Like words, sentences, or paragraphs that slow down a story, our daily living requires some editing.

Junk food, television and social media. All just slowing down the story.

All can use some editing.

For the sake of the story.

Maybe, if we do some editing, our life can be more like my Ford F-150 pickup truck–frictionless.

Game Management

Game Management

I love chess, and play almost everyday.

Mostly online, but once a month in person with my brother Jamie.

My earliest memory of the game was playing with my childhood friend Carl Ealy when were in grade school.

Although somewhat complicated, especially for kids, we played quite a bit.

Sometime around the 7th grade, I joined the chess club at school and played with Mike Bradford and Kenny McClellan, two of the smartest guys I knew.

Later, my buddy Ronnie Turner and I became obsessed with the game as we’d stay up all night playing while listening to Zenyatta Mondatta by The Police. He was an intense competitor and every time I beat him he’d scream, “one more!”.

He’d beat me. “2 outta 3!” He’d beat me again. “3 outta 5!”

So, we’d set it up and play another. And another. And another.

Still I play, almost 40 years later.

Why so addicting?

Mainly because every game is different, depending on the opponent’s strategy.

Their move requires a defensive countermove. All along you’re looking for an opportunity to take the offensive.

Good players, over time, learn to manage the game.

You’ve got a piece count lead and there’s not much time? You get defensive and run out the clock.

You’re behind and running out of time? You get aggressive.

It’s game management.

Living our lives is no different.

Weight loss goals require a strategy. Life countermoves with a donut? Gotta adjust.

Bible study requires a strategy. Overslept? Make adjustments.

Business goals require a strategy. Fall short one day? Make it up the next.

Life, the ultimate game.

Game management is the key.

Greatest Running Back Ever?

Greatest Running Back Ever?

Watching Joe Burrow perform in the National Championship game was like witnessing Mozart compose a masterpiece.
Pure joy.Followed by deep sadness.
Joe Burrow is one of the good guys. Great player true, but maybe a better person.
This game, unfortunately, will be the highlight of his career.
We won’t have the opportunity to see him develop into the one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Because he will most likely be selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the number one pick in the NFL draft.
Truly, I feel so bad for him.
For most of my life I was a Bengals fan.
My son was donned in Bengal gear when he was just a baby.
For over 30 years, I watched every game. Rooted for my hometown team.
Until, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
After the founder Paul Brown died in 1991 the organization declined steadily. I hung in there for almost 20 years and one day asked myself the following question:
“If Mike Brown doesn’t care if the Bengals win, why should I?”
Been following my Cowboys ever since.
As I thought about all of the great players to come through the Bengals organization, and the unfortunate fate of poor Joe Burrow, I had a revelation.
Is former Bengal Corey Dillon the greatest running back in the history of the NFL?
Dillon ranks 20th all time in rushing yards, and number 18 on the all time touchdown list.
Emmitt Smith, who’s at the top of the rushing list, had an amazing offensive line and played on Cowboy teams who had excellent quarterbacks and wide receivers. An excellent supporting cast.
Corey Dillon had no such support.
He played most of his career with the Bengals.
Who. Were. Horrible.
Year after year he was pretty much the only offensive weapon on teams that collectively won 34 games and lost 78 during his tenure. Not to mention the offensive line was not regarded as very good.
Think about it, Corey Dillon is the 20th All Time NFL rusher on teams who had no real options. Against all odds.
Still yet, he excelled. One of the greatest ever.
As good as he was, Corey Dillon could not win by himself.
Football, like life, is a team sport. To be successful, you need a good supporting cast.
Unfortunately for Joe Burrow, the Bengals haven’t shown they can provide that support.

Going The Distance

Going The Distance

Crossroads church in Oakley is an interesting place. I know, I know, church isn’t a place, it’s people. (Thinks it over, scratches chin, rewrites opening line)

Crossroads church is interesting people.

Last Sunday, the message for the day was ‘winning’.

The Crossroads band comes out without uttering a word and hammers out a few very familiar notes.

Immediately, I knew it wasn’t your run of the mill Christian song. No, this is a song for which I am intimately familiar.

My entire mood changed. Instinctively my body started moving to the rhythm, my head began to bob, and a huge smile came across my face.

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line
Engines pumping and thumping in time
The green light flashes, the flags go up
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup

The song? “The Distance” by one of my favorite bands–Cake

He’s going the distance!

He’s going for speed!

Honestly, it was the best cover of the song I’ve ever heard. So good! So fun!

It set the tone for an excellent message about winning for which Brian Tome delivered flawlessly.

Winning requires going the distance.

As I discussed the sermon and the amazing song opening with Theresa, I marveled aloud how they totally nailed that song.

How could a church band do that kind of song justice?

As I thought about it, the answer came.


Someone in the Crossroads Band, or maybe all of them, were truly excited about doing the song. Truly, they were enthusiastic about doing it. Truly, they had to be Cake fans!

Authenticity in music and in life, creates magic.

However, most of us struggle finding our authentic self.

We all want to be better. Better spouses. Better siblings. Better in our careers. Better in our health.

So we begin the search.

Searching for answers, somewhere out there, we overlook the obvious–who are we?

Better said, who are we really?


Last week I met with a young man who is asking this very question.

During our talk I shared with him what used to be a major flaw in my approach to life.

“I always looked for answers out there”, as I pointed outside.

“What I’ve learned is, the answers are in here.” as I pointed to my chest.

Our authentic self lies inside of us.

Our DNA. Where God resides. Where our hopes and aspirations live.

Our mission, should we choose to accept, is to spend our lives uncovering it, and go the distance.

Whistleblower Tells Real Estate Secrets

Whistleblower Tells Real Estate Secrets

Friday, while sipping on his morning coffee, my dad asked me, “What are you doing today?”

Meaning, what do you have planned for work today?

“I have no appointments, so my day will be spent getting appointments!” I laughed.

Really, it’s all there is.

It’s the life of a real estate broker.

You’re either taking care of a current client, or trying to get a new client.

When it comes to real estate sales, it all comes down to getting the appointment.

Recently I heard an ad on the radio from a local real estate company who will offer to buy your house and close in 14 days.

This particular character has been in our market for quite a few years with his “guaranteed sale or I’ll buy it” program.

Why in the world would a real estate company want to buy your house or even go so far as to guarantee the sale?

Here’s what you need to know.

These real estate companies don’t want to buy your house and their guarantees are more difficult to qualify for than getting accepted into Harvard.

Really, they just want you to call them. They just want to get the appointment.

It’s the life of a real estate agent. Get the appointment.

Years ago, I studied all of the “techniques” in the real estate business.

As I dove in and tried to implement the strategies I realized how deceptive they were.

Call capture was one that I fell for and implemented into my business. Here’s how it worked: I put a phone number on top of the sign of a house I had listed, and when you called, I “captured” your cell phone number.

Once I had your number I would just keep calling you until you gave me the all important “appointment.”

Slick huh?

After a few interactions with customers who didn’t know they were giving up their cell phone with this call, I realized I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t deceive people into doing business with me.

Open houses have a similar goal. They aren’t done to market property, instead agents use them to meet new buyers.

“Sign in here, the homeowner wants to know who has come through the house for security reasons.”

At least that’s what they tell the visitor. Truth is they want their name, email, and phone number so they can follow up and “get the appointment.”

Other tactics:

Cold calls. Especially folks who’ve tried to sell their home in the last year and failed. In the industry they call them “expired listings”.

“For Sale by Owners” get this telemarketing treatment as well.

Then there’s Robo-dialing. (telemarketing only on steroids).

Do you know anyone who likes to be on the receiving end of a telemarketing call?

Me neither.

Now agents have turned to the internet to deploy their deception.

They’re called “Instant Offers”. Offered by giants like Zillow, or iHomebuyer, and national real estate brokerages.

Ask yourself, why would they want to buy your house?

There are two scenarios:

First, they want your equity. (where they can turn around and rent your home)

Second, they really don’t want your house, they just want your name and phone number. (where they will turn around and sell to local real estate agents for profit)

Now, do you understand why real estate agents have a lower reputation than a politician?

At Bastion, we believe that there is a better way.

We believe the homeowner should think like an investor. You know, instead of selling your house to an investor with an “Instant Offer”, why don’t you the homeowner become the investor and maximize your profit?

Most folks like this scenario, however, they are not investors and aren’t quite sure where to begin. Well, that’s where we come in. We are experts in this area.

To give you some guidance we’ve created – The Ten Commandments to Selling Your Home.

I know, I know, it’s a little corny, but we needed a way to make it memorable and wanted to ensure that clients know that they are not just suggestions.

If you know a friend or family member who would like a FREE copy of the 6 page “Ten Commandments”, just text me at 513–675–1777, or email me at

Oh, and one more thing, I’m available for appointments!