Action – The Foundation of Success

Action – The Foundation of Success

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra

My brother and I just finished our first remodel project. Together, he and I restored a house that Theresa and I bought as an investment property.

When I say our first remodel project, I mean a project that required our attention and physical presence everyday for 10 weeks to transform an outdated and heavily damaged property back to its former glory.

Built in 1931, this two bedroom 1 bath home was built on a solid poured wall foundation and featured brick and block construction for the exterior walls. The structure was sound. The house had a good roof, HVAC, and frame, but almost everything else needed replaced or repaired.

Normally, I wouldn’t do this project myself. However, the circumstances of the last few years gave me no other option.

Over the last 8 years, my wife and I have tackled three such projects. We bought and rehabbed two houses and rehabbed a house for a family member. In each case, we managed the projects and hired the contractors needed to finish each stage of construction. All three projects turned out fantastic with my wife and I choosing paint colors, cabinets, faucets, and finishes. All the while finding and managing the best contractors for the job.

However, this most recent project was impossible to manage the same way.

You see, contractors are almost impossible to find. Electricians we called told us they’d love to help but couldn’t get to us until the Spring. Plumbers were no better. Painters and trim carpenters the same. Contractors are almost impossible to find.

Luckily for me, my youngest brother Jamie just started his own business. Mainly a painting and powerwashing business, but with his skills in plumbing, electric and general construction he was willing to tackle the job.

Only he couldn’t do it alone. There were too many projects on this particular job and not enough manpower to finish in a reasonable amount of time.

So I donned my newly purchased painters pants and stepped in to do work I would normally hire someone else to do. I became the designer, project manager , and general laborer for my brother—(you know, picking up materials, taking out the trash, you know, glamorous stuff.) All the while, running my real estate practice that was maybe as busy as ever.

The project turned out better than I could have imagined and I’ll share the photos and video in future blog posts, but today I want to share with you an important idea I discovered during the process. An idea so powerful it has the potential to positively change your life permanently.

You see, my brother and I had a problem (a house to transform) and no one to help. I realized midway through the project that we followed, consciously or subconsciously a roadmap to success. We followed a really big idea.

The big idea? move.build.invest

move.build.invest is a mindset. A mindset that will help someone who wants to make changes in their life. A growth mindset. move.build.invest is not only a mindset, but a lifestyle.

I created move.build.invest in 2011 when deciding a tagline for my newly formed real estate brokerage. At the time I had been a RE/MAX agent for 9 years and decided to start my own company on the back of the financial crisis which had devastated both my real estate practice and the kitchen cabinet business I owned at the time.

Bastion Realty was born and I wanted to create a tag line to help quickly identify our brand and our principles. Something that described how Bastion was different than the rest. Given my background of working with builders and investors, the words build and invest became obvious for the tagline. The word move came later as I contemplated what our real estate company helped our clients accomplish. Of course no one likes to move from their home, but move is what we do!

So move, build, and invest became the tagline.

It wasn’t until much later did I realize how good this tagline is. (not trying to be arrogant here, but it’s SOOOOO good!)

I tell people all the time that real estate is not a real estate business, but it’s a people business.

People move. People build. People invest.

It’s inside our hearts to want to create. To express ourselves. To change. To hope. To grow.

move.build.invest is the answer to every single human problem.

Jesus put it this way in Matthew 7:7…. Ask. Seek. Knock. All verbs. All action. All faith.

In my book Salesperson to Superhero I describe it as Go. Do. Try.

You wanna lose weight? Move. Go!

You want a meaningful career? Build. Do!

You want a better relationship with your daughter? You want prosperity? Invest. Try!

Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll share with you the lessons learned on our recent remodel project as I introduce you to my new YouTube channel and a revamped Blog and Brand.

Our blog and YouTube channel will be focused on real estate, construction, and investing. We will include remodels, house flipping, construction methods, design trends, along with crypto currency and other investment vehicles.

Along the way I’ll share with you what I’m investing in, how I’m navigating the real estate world, and how I’m applying the move.build.invest principles into my life and my company.

I hope you’ll join me and maybe extract a lesson or two from my experiences.

They say action is the foundation to success. I say action, combined with faith, is the way forward in almost every circumstance.

Stories – One Giant Step for Mankind

Stories – One Giant Step for Mankind

Led by Millenials, an estimated 5% of Americans don’t believe we landed on the moon. That’s almost seventeen million Americans.

Until last year, I would have laughed at the ridiculousness of such a conspiracy.

How could our government possibly fake such an international event? Wouldn’t someone have caught it? Surely, such a large conspiracy would produce whistleblowers and truth tellers who would come forward and end this silly idea. 

Last year I saw a documentary called “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Moon,” by Bart Sibrel.

The film dives into the details of the Apollo mission using NASA’s own data and storyline, and questions how, even with today’s technology, a moon landing could have possibly happened. 

This documentary changed my view of NASA, and convinced me that the space agency isn’t being completely honest with the American public. Their story just doesn’t hold water. 

That’s why stories are so important–stories make sense of the world. 

In order for NASA to win me over, their story must make sense. Their facts, dates, and data must align in a way that forms a believable narrative.  The astronauts supposedly called President Nixon on live television? With 1969 technology? They succeeded on landing the rover in space when they couldn’t do it with training here on Earth? They made it through the Van Allen radiation belts in 1969 but they can’t do it now? Get outta here. 

NASA, because of the Van Allen radiation belts, admits they can’t escape “low Earth orbit”, 50 years later. Why? Technology has gotten worse since 1972? Really?

If the moon landing is a hoax, how did NASA fool the American people? They leveraged the fourth wall. 

What’s the fourth wall?

The fourth wall is the pretend wall between the actors and the audience on the set of a play. 

There are three very real walls where the action of the play takes place, but between the actors and the audience there is an invisible wall that allows the audience to suspend belief and enter into the story.

Television programs and movies work because we, the audience, joyfully suspend our belief and enter into the storyline to follow the characters as they begin their journey.

Most of what we know about the moon landing is from the video and photos that came back from the mission. Using the fourth wall, they fool us into believing their narrative.

Ask yourself, have you ever seen an astronaut do a 360 degree panoramic shot from the moon or a space walk? Do you find this odd?  This is how the fourth wall works, you must gleefully join the narrative and view their missions through the fourth wall in order to believe. It’s how magic works. It’s how the wizards hypnotize you. 

Government agencies however, are not the only institutions who use the fourth wall to take advantage of their audience. 

Marketers, politicians, and news organizations also take advantage of our suspended animation to sell us during our moment of hypnosis. 

However, when you decide to study stories, you become immune to the deception. 

Storytellers know the difference between a story that makes sense and one that doesn’t. Storytellers understand the fourth wall. 

What does this mean for you as a professional? As a real estate agent.

Knowing our minds are constantly putting together narratives for deeper understanding, shouldn’t we as advisors learn the craft of storytelling?

Isn’t it our job to help make sense of the complicated real estate process? To help clients understand the dynamics? Isn’t this what stories do best? To make sense of the world?

Confidence in life is everything. Real estate is no different.

Storytelling can bring confidence to your clients, and in turn build trust.

Whether you believe we went to the moon or not will not impact your day to day life, but now that you understand the fourth wall, will you ever look at NASA in the same way? 

That, my friend, is the power of story.

If you’re considering a real estate career, or you’re already licensed and searching for a better way, let me encourage you to learn the art of storytelling for relationships.

Begin with a free copy of my book. Visit my website www.SalespersonToSuperhero.com to receive your copy.

The Bastion Spider

The Bastion Spider

An Open Letter to Bastion Agents:

Dear Bastion Agents :

Last week I tried to get into the Bastion World Headquarters garage. As I stretched my hand toward the keypad and tried to type in the code, I realized there was a spider’s web in the way.

Normally, I don’t like to interrupt God’s creatures doing their work, but in this case there was no way to open the garage door without tearing down the spider’s web. So I did.

As the night went on I began to feel guilty about destroying the web, maybe I could have used another door.

The next day, I had to get into the garage again. As I reached for the garage door pad to type in the code I noticed the spiders web had reappeared!

Now what? Do I tear it down again? Doesn’t God have a purpose for this precious spider? Who am I to interfere?

After carefully considering tearing down this spider web for the second time, I pulled out a broom and took every inch of it down. I felt like this spider was intruding on our place of work. (Sometimes you’ve got to assert your position in the natural order of things.)

The next day I had a property to list so I needed a sign and lockbox. As I approached the garage I noticed the spider had rebuilt the web I had torn down twice already, only this time it was rebuilt to perfection. It was so remarkable, and so symmetric, there was no chance I would destroy this web again. Truly, it was a work of art.

As I thought about this amazing creation, I realized how crazy talented and incredibly determined this spider has been over the last week.

Then, it hit me. Like the literary spider from Charlotte’s Web, this spider was giving a crystal clear message for ALL OF US.

1) Fulfill your life’s purpose.

2) Don’t quit.

P.S. If you need a sign or lockbox this week, please carefully reach around the spider’s web.

Fist bump to the Bastion Spider. May your web produce much success. May our business, and our lives, be forever inspired by your example.

Those Were the Days

Those Were the Days

Sometimes I feel sorry for kids growing up today.

Not that life is more difficult now, but that life is probably too complicated.

At least it’s not as simple as when I was a kid.

Growing up in the 1970’s was special.

We spent a lot of time outdoors. In fact, in the summertime we would leave the house in the morning and not come home until night time when mom would holler for us at dinner. (Holler is a technical term, look it up.)

We’d skate. Ride bikes. We’d build ramps for both. No helmets of course.

We’d Jump rope, play home run derby, basketball, kick the can. We’d swim in ponds, creeks, and rivers.

There was no internet. No cell phones. Hell, most people had one rotary phone in the kitchen with a 20 foot handset extension so you could have “private” conversations. Fancy people had push button phones. Fancier people had two phones.

My baseball team had one or two games a week and we played at the local field.

Gas for cars was expensive so folks didn’t make unnecessary trips. Most families had only one car, which we would pile into without seat belts and head to the local drive-in movie.

Yeah, the seventies were special. In a weird kind of way, what made things so special was a certain sense of scarcity.

Instead of an infinite amount of television options we only had four channels to choose from and on a good day we could pick up a few channels from Dayton.

Baseball was on television but only the away games. Home games were only available on the radio. Going to a game was a rare event.

Kings Island was a special trip. We’d normally only go on GE day! Thanks Uncle Jerry. LOL.

Believe it or not, going to a restaurant was a treat.

Attending a movie for most people wasn’t a weekly event. It was rare. Special.

As a kid, a visit to the Dairy Whip was only once in a while. It was truly a treat.

Cartoons were only available on Saturday mornings. After my morning cartoons I’d start looking for my favorite show of all time, This Week in Baseball, a half hour show that covers the entire major leagues in one show. No ESPN. No 24/7 coverage. That show was special!

As I think about today’s land of plenty, and our 24/7/365 internet connected world, I feel like it would be good to consider that simpler lifestyle.

Maybe we only visit restaurants and movie theaters on special occasions. Maybe the drive-in.

Maybe we consume less in general.

Maybe our kids don’t play on teams that play 60 games a summer.

Maybe instead they ride their bikes, play in the creek, and build some ramps.

Put Yourself Out of Business

Put Yourself Out of Business

Now that our kids are raised, my wife are looking towards the future. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m getting older and probably need to get prepared for the Golden Years.

What’s next and how do I prepare? Especially financially. How do I build wealth?

Plenty of my writing over the last few years has focused on the five capitals. Capitals are assets for which we all need to operate successfully in life. The Five Capitals are : Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual, Relational, and Financial.

All of these are valuable and although I’ve given quite a bit of attention to the first four, lately I have begun to focus more intensely on finances.

I’ve become obsessed with investing.

Stocks, bonds, real estate, (of course) and a new subject for me–digital assets.

In the not too distant future, every asset on the planet is going to be digitized. Real estate. Stocks. Bonds. Securities. Cars. Boats. Everything.

Digitized so you and I can buy or sell them online from our computer in an online marketplace.

In order to purchase those assets, you will need a digital form of money.

Crypto currency is a fascinating subject. It’s money, but in digital form. Instead of paper cash and a leather wallet, users employ digital tokens and a hard wallet such as a computer or a USB storage device.

Crypto is short for cryptology, which describes the technology and computer code that allows for security and privacy of the information. Blockchain technology makes the online transfer of the currency possible by giving the two parties involved verifiable evidence of the chain of custody.

Bitcoin is the best known crypto currency. As of today, it’s selling for about $10,000 per coin. When it first came out, you could get one coin for 3 cents or in many cases folks were giving it away for free.

I’m not really a fan of Bitcoin as it has no intrinsic value. It’s not tied to a real asset. It’s value is arbitrary. Is Bitcoin worth 3 cents or $10,000? It’s just a matter of opinion because it’s not tied to a reliable and stable asset like gold or silver. It has no utility.

Same goes for the U.S. dollar. Also, tied to nothing. Fiat currency.

The word fiat is latin and means “let it be done.” You know, kind of how parents explain complicated questions to their kids –”because I said so!” Lol.

Fiat currency will be displaced. Digital currency, tied to a real tangible asset like gold or silver, is the future. This displacement will negatively impact many businesses. One is a company called SWIFT.

Currently, they dominate the cross border payments industry. In essence, they settle payments from one entity to another even though they have different currencies. For example, an institution in the U.S. sells a product or service to someone in China. China pays in Yuan, yet SWIFT allows the U.S. entity to collect in Dollars.

It’s cumbersome and expensive to translate one currency to another and SWIFT profits from the transaction. However, their technology was built in the 1970’s and hasn’t been improved much since.

SWIFT knows that crypto currency and blockchain technology threatens their very existence yet they seem to be fighting the change.

Instead of fighting the technology, wouldn’t it be better if they adopted and embraced the technology?

Years ago I heard Gary Vaynerchuk tell his audience, “everyday I try to put myself out of business.”

Brilliantly, Gary realizes that your competition, or technology, will ultimately put you out of business, so why not beat them to the punch.

What about you and me? Should we put ourselves out of business?

How you and I operate today is obsolete. Eventually.

In our business life.

In our personal life.

Change is coming and along with it will be exciting opportunities.

Let’s put ourselves out of business.

Energy, The Only Metric

Energy, The Only Metric

My entire life has been an active one.

Starting in middle school and all through high school I had long days. Early mornings to school followed by basketball , football, or baseball practice.

Once married, my long days continued.

For long periods of time I’d work two jobs. Or worked a job and went to night school. Or worked a job and at night practiced martial arts. Always playing basketball. Or working out. Or golfing. Always moving. Always active. Plenty of energy.

Until now.

My health has not been good.

For almost two years now, I’ve been battling daily with a lack of energy. I’ve been lethargic, I’ve had no enthusiasm. Literally, I could go to sleep nightly at 6 or 7PM without difficulty and sleep through the night.

I’ve tried decreasing my sugar intake. Extreme workouts. No breakfast. No carbs. I’ve tried vitamins. I’ve read books. I’ve prayed.

Try as I might, I still have not solved the problem.

What is energy? What is it’s source? How do we create it?

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. In essence, energy can only be transferred from one form to another. Apparently, energy just IS.

If this is true, how do we gain access to it? How do we convert it and apply it in our lives?

As I contemplate this problem, I’m encouraged by the notion that the energy is available. Somehow I just need to tap into the source.

I’m reading the book by Swami Chinmayananda, A Manual of Self Unfoldment, recommended to me by a friend.

A Swami is a male Hindu religious leader, and as someone who knows next to nothing about Hinduism, I’ve been reading with great anticipation as to how this viewpoint aligns with the life of Jesus and his teachings.

Although I’m not quite through the book, I’m pleasantly surprised with the synchronicity of these ideas with the life of Christ.

What’s super exciting to me are the chapters around mindset and the timely topic of chapter 4 : Conservation of Energy.

The essence of the chapter is that we have three areas in life where our energy, which already resides inside of us, dissipates, or leaks. The Swami teaches first to conserve your energy by stopping the leaks.

The three leaks are represented in the past, the present, and the future.

The past takes our energy if we focus on regret.

The present robs our energy if we focus on the excitement of unhealthy pursuits.

The future steals our energy when we focus on anxiety and worry.

Our energy is conserved and increased when we focus on the present and replace our excitement of unhealthy pursuits with enthusiasm for good and moral endeavors. This righteous purpose ultimately becomes an energy source all it’s own.

What I’ve learned is that the energy we seek is already present. We must first conserve it. Once we’ve stopped the leaks, we can take the energy conserved and begin to build.

Scott Adams, one of my favorite authors, puts energy in perspective. “The way I approach the problem of multiple priorities is by focusing on just one main metric: my energy. I make choices that maximize my personal energy because that makes it easier to manage all of the other priorities.”

Energy is our only metric. Mental, physical, and spiritual energy. Energy that can be given away to benefit our neighbor, all the while making the world a better place.

Here’s to the builders and creators who harness their energy to forge a future that benefits us all.

Here’s to you and me, reclaiming the energy within.