Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Wake Up Call

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call:

Your Motivation, Inspiration & Direction for the Week Ahead

 

Increased Intelligence

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Did you do something to increase your intelligence? You’re probably thinking, “What?! Increase my intelligence?” That’s the response most people have, but did you know that there are many great reasons for intentionally increasing your intelligence?

Intelligence has been defined in many ways, including as one’s capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, planning, creativity and problem-solving. It’s your ability to perceive information and apply it to a specific project or objective.

 

Many clinical studies are currently looking at the effects of increased brain activity as it pertains to Alzheimer’s disease. Mental decline as we age appears to be largely because of altered connections among brain cells. But research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. You could even generate new brain cells! Wow! As we get older, we can actually get smarter vs. losing what we’ve learned throughout life. What an exciting discovery! 

 

Something to Think About

Intellectually stimulating activities also may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. One large observational study looked at the impact of ordinary activities such as listening to the radio, reading newspapers, playing puzzle games and visiting museums. Investigators asked more than 700 seniors to describe the amount of time they spent doing these activities. After four years, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease was 47% lower, on average, for those who did the activities most often than for those who did them less frequently. A more recent study showed that older people with less education who engaged in activities such as reading, crossword puzzles and writing letters performed as well on memory tests as their better-educated peers.

 

Weekly Activity

Keep your brain active every day:

  • Stay curious and involved – commit to lifelong learning
  • Read, write and work crossword or other puzzles
  • Attend lectures and plays
  • Enroll in courses at your local adult education center, community college or other community group
  • Play games
  • Work in your garden
  • Try memory exercises

Words of Wisdom

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” – Jim Rohn

“Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” – Keri Russell

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

 

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday Wake Up Call

 

Monday Wake Up Call:
Your Motivation, Inspiration, & Direction for the Week Ahead

VR.jpg

 
 

Wisdom
Welcome to Monday! I hope it was a great weekend for you. Have you felt business picking up? More listing appointments? More buyers? The fall market has begun, and it’s predicted to be a great one. How exciting!
We all love a great market, which usually indicates increased sales and income. How will you manage the increased income and plan for your future? You don’t want to be one of those agents who suddenly finds themselves in a “cooled-off market” saying, “Please give us just one more boom, and I promise to save some money this time!” The time to think of the future is now, and the word that comes to mind is “wisdom.”
 
Wisdom is defined as the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Those with wisdom also possess knowledge and have an understanding of people, events, situations and the willingness – as well as the ability – to apply perception, judgment and action in keeping with the understanding of the optimal course of action. Now is the time to think about how you can secure your future. Ours is a business of ups and downs. We’re in an “up” market, but that can change. Use wisdom this year with your purchases, investments and savings.
 
Something to Think About
Wisdom is regarded as one of four cardinal virtues and, as such, is a disposition to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any given circumstance, with the limitation of error in any given action. That means the decisions you make might not always have the outcomes you want, but you have thought them through, applied wisdom and considered the outcome or consequence. 
 
Weekly Activity
Are you working with an investment professional to plan for your future and retirement? If not, this is a great time to ask those you trust who they’re working with. Make an appointment, and get started planning for your future today.
 
Words of Wisdom
“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” – Zig Ziglar
“In time of peace, prepare for war.” – Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus
“You have no choices about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how you come back and prepare to win again.” – Pat Riley 
Crafting Your Response
Welcome to Monday! As summer draws to a close and business picks up, it’s a great time to complete our series on listening. The final skill is Responding. If you’ve mastered the other skills in the listening process, then responding should be easier than ever. You’ll be prepared to address the speaker’s most important points with an awareness of the circumstances and context surrounding his/her words.

It’s important to understand the transition between listening and speaking, though, and be aware of the ways responding is still part of the active listening process:

• Don’t complete the speaker’s sentences. This is a presumptuous and rude way to respond. Why do we all do it at times? I think there are several reasons: Sometimes we’re pressed for time. Sometimes we haven’t really listened or evaluated what the person is saying, and we assume that we know what he/she is going to say. Sometimes it’s a person who always says the same thing, and it’s painful. Sometimes he/she is speaking so slow that it’s driving us crazy! Do any of these sound familiar? Perhaps we should look at it from the other person’s viewpoint: Why would he/she say the same thing over and over? Why does he/she talk slow or keep starting over when we interrupt? Maybe we’ll discover that it’s less painful when we become better listeners.

• Address the speaker’s points. It makes it easier for the speaker to transition into a listener when he/she knows exactly which part of the message you’re addressing. Examples include, “When you said… my first thought was…” or “If I can go back and ask you about something you said. You said…”


Something to Think About
While each stage seems like a lengthy process, it all happens in a very short amount of time and should feel natural during a conversation. All you’re doing by practicing these tips is making yourself more conscious of the way you communicate and the bad habits you should avoid in the listening process.

Listening is the most important part of communication, because if you fail to understand the message being expressed to you, you also will fail in providing a substantial and meaningful response. This is the root cause of many arguments, misunderstandings and complications, whether at home or at work. Being able to take control of the listening process will turn you into a better communicator overall.

Weekly Challenge
This week, be aware of your conversations at home and in the workplace. Apply all of the skills that we have discussed this month, and watch what happens in all of your relationships.

Words of Wisdom
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

“This is the problem with dealing with someone who is actually a good listener. They don’t jump in on your sentences, saving you from actually finishing them, or talk over you, allowing what you do manage to get out to be lost or altered in transit. Instead, they wait, so you have to keep going.” – Sarah Dessen

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of reading between the lines is a lifelong quest of the wise.” – Shannon L. Alder

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” – Zeno of Citium

“It takes a great man to be a good listener.” – Calvin Coolidge

“Defensiveness is usually someone silently screaming that they need you to value and respect them in disguise. When you look for deeper meanings behind someone’s pain you can then begin to heal not only yourself, but others.” – Shannon L. Alder



Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Monday Wake Up Call

 

Monday Wake Up Call:
Your Motivation, Inspiration, & Direction for the Week Ahead

VR.jpg

 
 

Happy Labor Day!
I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend. It’s fun to have that last summer fling! Of course, we also want to be observant of why we have this holiday. Labor Day celebrates the creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the achievements of American workers. It’s a tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. That means we were celebrating your achievements this weekend too!
Home ownership is a BIG part of the American dream, and you make that possible. Did you know that buying and selling a home is considered to be one of the top three stressful events in a person’s life? However, great agents make buying/selling a home less stressful and more joyful. A recent NAR Home Buyer/Home Seller Survey indicated that more than 80% of home buyers and sellers had a positive transaction and would recommend their agent and use him/her again when buying or selling another home.
Congratulations, and keep up the great work! This week we celebrate YOU!
 
Something to Think About
Not everyone has a great real estate transaction, but 78% of consumers indicated that they would use an agent recommended by a friend or family member. That’s terrific news for agents who are doing a great job and staying in touch with their clients. Statistics also show that 10% of the people in your database will do business with you or refer business to you each year if you stay in touch! If you have 400 people in your database, that’s 40 transactions per year!
 
Weekly Activity
We are at the start of the fall market. It’s predicted to be a great season, so touch base with 10 of your clients each day to see who wants to buy or sell a home – or who knows someone who wants to buy or sell a home. Your efforts will definitely pay off!
 
Words of Wisdom
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela
“We need to find the courage to say no to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.” – Barbara De Angelis
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor Frankl 


Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday Wake Up Call

 

Monday Wake Up Call:
Your Motivation, Inspiration, & Direction for the Week Ahead

VR.jpg

 
 

Crafting Your Response
Welcome to Monday! As summer draws to a close and business picks up, it’s a great time to complete our series on listening. The final skill is Responding. If you’ve mastered the other skills in the listening process, then responding should be easier than ever. You’ll be prepared to address the speaker’s most important points with an awareness of the circumstances and context surrounding his/her words.

It’s important to understand the transition between listening and speaking, though, and be aware of the ways responding is still part of the active listening process:

• Don’t complete the speaker’s sentences. This is a presumptuous and rude way to respond. Why do we all do it at times? I think there are several reasons: Sometimes we’re pressed for time. Sometimes we haven’t really listened or evaluated what the person is saying, and we assume that we know what he/she is going to say. Sometimes it’s a person who always says the same thing, and it’s painful. Sometimes he/she is speaking so slow that it’s driving us crazy! Do any of these sound familiar? Perhaps we should look at it from the other person’s viewpoint: Why would he/she say the same thing over and over? Why does he/she talk slow or keep starting over when we interrupt? Maybe we’ll discover that it’s less painful when we become better listeners.

• Address the speaker’s points. It makes it easier for the speaker to transition into a listener when he/she knows exactly which part of the message you’re addressing. Examples include, “When you said… my first thought was…” or “If I can go back and ask you about something you said. You said…”


Something to Think About
While each stage seems like a lengthy process, it all happens in a very short amount of time and should feel natural during a conversation. All you’re doing by practicing these tips is making yourself more conscious of the way you communicate and the bad habits you should avoid in the listening process.

Listening is the most important part of communication, because if you fail to understand the message being expressed to you, you also will fail in providing a substantial and meaningful response. This is the root cause of many arguments, misunderstandings and complications, whether at home or at work. Being able to take control of the listening process will turn you into a better communicator overall.

Weekly Challenge
This week, be aware of your conversations at home and in the workplace. Apply all of the skills that we have discussed this month, and watch what happens in all of your relationships.

Words of Wisdom
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

“This is the problem with dealing with someone who is actually a good listener. They don’t jump in on your sentences, saving you from actually finishing them, or talk over you, allowing what you do manage to get out to be lost or altered in transit. Instead, they wait, so you have to keep going.” – Sarah Dessen

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of reading between the lines is a lifelong quest of the wise.” – Shannon L. Alder

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” – Zeno of Citium

“It takes a great man to be a good listener.” – Calvin Coolidge

“Defensiveness is usually someone silently screaming that they need you to value and respect them in disguise. When you look for deeper meanings behind someone’s pain you can then begin to heal not only yourself, but others.” – Shannon L. Alder



Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Wake Up Call

 

Monday Wake Up Call:
Your Motivation, Inspiration, & Direction for the Week Ahead

vr.jpg

 
 

4 Ways to Maximize Happiness When You Give
Abstain from Judging, and Listen with Sympathy
Welcome to another week and a great Monday! As we continue our month-long series on the art of listening, the next skill is a tough one: Abstain from Judging, and Listen with Sympathy.

As someone once advised, “Grow antennae, not horns.” If you prejudge someone as shallow, crazy or ill-informed, you automatically cease paying attention to what he/she says. So a basic rule of listening is to judge only after you’ve heard and evaluated what the person has to say. Don’t jump to conclusions based on looks, what you’ve heard about the person or whether he/she is nervous. Go into each conversation with an open mind, eager to hear what the person is going to say.

Sometimes it’s really hard because you may have a predetermined opinion of the person. No matter how outrageous, inconsiderate, self-centered or pompous the person you’re talking to is, remember: He/she is simply trying to survive, just like you. We all deal with stuff in our lives, but some of us have better survival strategies than others.

Listening with empathy means asking yourself, “Where is this person’s anger coming from?” “What is he/she asking for?” “What can I do that’s reasonable?” You’re not a therapist, and you don’t have to carry other people’s monkeys on your back. But on the other hand, if you can think through what makes people behave like they do, perhaps you’ll be inclined to cut them a little slack. Genuinely listening well is – at its heart – an act of love and, as such, may help heal.

Something to Think About
The art of listening is different in every situation. Sometimes it’s fun, lively and interactive with friends and family. Sometimes it’s a little painful with strangers, family, co-workers, etc. But learning to listen in any situation is a true gift.

Weekly Challenge
A good exercise is to go out of your way to listen to a difficult speaker. Maybe he/she talks with a thick accent or talks very fast or very slow. Or maybe he/she uses a lot of big words. Whatever challenge the speaker poses, seize it as an opportunity to practice your listening skills rather than to judge. Given some time, you’ll soon become more comfortable and effective at listening to diverse styles.

Words of Wisdom
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill

“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Listening is active. At its most basic level, it’s about focus, paying attention.” – Simon Sinek

“Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.” – Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton



Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday Wake Up Call

 

Monday Wake Up Call:
Your Motivation, Inspiration, & Direction for the Week Ahead

VR.jpg

 
 

Giving Gives Your Brain Pleasure

What Does Your Body Language Say?
Welcome to another Monday! I hope you’re enjoying this series on listening. It just seemed like a great time to review something important to all of us, in all aspects of our lives. The ability to communicate makes you more successful both personally and professionally. This week’s listening skill is: Be alert to your body language.
 
What you do with your eyes, face, hands, arms, legs and posture sends signals as to whether you are – or aren’t – listening to and understanding what the other person is saying. For example, if you noticed the person you’re talking to… 
• Glancing sideways
• Sighing
• Yawning
• Crossing his/her arms
• Looking at the ceiling
• Checking his/her watch or phone
• Cracking his/her knuckles
• Watching the activity around you

…what would you think? Like most of us, you’d very quickly get the impression that the person has no interest in what you’re saying.
Try these instead: 
• Look into their eyes
• Smile if appropriate
• Raise eyebrows periodically
• Grin at appropriate moments
• Tilt head on occasion 
• Lean toward the person if appropriate
 
These things show that you’re interested in what the other person is saying. In addition, the active listener usually acknowledges the speaker verbally with comments such as “I see,” “Wow,” “Mmmm” or “Really?”
 
Some people are contact-oriented, while others are much less so, preferring more space between themselves and the people they’re talking to. You’ll be a better listener if you honor those preferences. Again, when you acknowledge the other person both verbally and nonverbally, you build trust and increase rapport. And you’ll probably learn something too!
 
Something to Think About
Mary Kay of global cosmetics company Mary Kay Inc. was known for her ability to make whomever she was talking to feel like he/she was the most important person in the room, even though she was usually surrounded by crowds of people when she was talking to someone. If she could do it, as busy as she was, each of us can too!
 
Weekly Challenge
Listen – really listen – to one person for a day. Choose someone you could relate to better. Commit to listening to – not just hearing – him/her for one day. After each conversation, ask yourself: Did I really make an effort to go beyond superficialities? Did I observe verbal, vocal and visual clues? Did I note what was not said as well as what was said? Once you’re in the habit of nudging yourself to listen better, extend this exercise to successive days, then to other acquaintances. Listening well is a gift you can give to others. It’ll cost you nothing, but it may be invaluable to them.
 
Words of Wisdom 
“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“In today’s rush, we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just being.” – Eckhart Tolle
“It’s not about ‘having’ time. It’s about making time. If it matters, you will make time.” – Unknown
“Slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Trust the process.” – Alexandra Stoddard
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Why Buying a Home That Needs Work May Be Right For You


Whether it is your first home or your fifth, when entering the market you are faced with many options, one of which can be a huge decision – buy a home that is move-in ready or a home that needs a bit more work? Commonly referred to as a “fixer-upper”, these homes are typically older and require some kind of maintenance or renovation. While the amount of work that is needed can vary per home, it is important to be in good financial standing before starting any home project. If your pockets are full and you love a good project, here are a few reasons why buying a home that needs work may be right for you.

You want a unique and personal space

With a fixer-upper, you are able to customize every room to your liking. From the curtains to the cabinet handles, they will all be a reflection of your personal taste and not someone else’s.

You want a home with character

You like the idea of being able to call the shots when it comes to the design of the home, but you want a space that has an antique feel and historical traits that a newer home does not have. Those old claw foot tubs, rustic beams, and detailed wood trim moldings won’t come with a move-in ready home.

You love projects and getting your hands dirty

Buying a home and remodeling is a large task to take on. You have to be patient and prepared to encounter some setbacks along the way. Older homes come with baggage, but in the end, you can have a space that successfully mixes the old and new together to create a beautifully distinctive home.

Special thanks to Mark Moz for the image.