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Monday Morning Message

9/26/2016

Loyalty

Welcome to another Monday! I have a question for you: When you think of the person in your life who is most loyal, who comes to mind? What caused you to think of that person when you thought about the word “loyal”? We all have our own feelings about or definition of loyalty but, more important, we all have those people in our lives whom we love and admire for their loyalty to us. These are the people you can trust to have your back all of the time. They will never abandon you.

Think about how important it is to have those people in our lives. When we are weak, they carry us. When we are overwhelmed, they lighten the burden. When we want to talk, they listen without judgment. We need people in our lives who are loyal to us but, to attract those people, we must first be loyal friends and family members ourselves. It’s not always easy but, when you’re a loyal friend or family member, you should know that the gift of a loyal friend is priceless.

Something to Think About

In addition to the people in our lives who are loyal, pets also are very loyal, easy to talk to and love us unconditionally. If you’re ready to add to your list of loyal friends, perhaps it’s time to get a pet.

Weekly Activity

Write notes to the people in your life whom you consider to be loyal friends. Express what it means to you to have such amazing friends.

Words of Wisdom

“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.” – Zig Ziglar

“Loyalty isn't grey. It's black and white. You're either loyal completely, or not loyal at all.” – Sharnay

“Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen Covey

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” – William Shakespeare

Monday Morning Message

9/19/2016

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 Morning Message

9/12/2016

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

Monday Morning Message

9/5/2016

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!

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 Morning Message

8/29/2016

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 Morning Message

8/22/2016

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 Morning Message

8/15/2016

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

Monday Morning Message

8/8/2016

Understanding Is an Important Aspect of Communication 
Welcome to Monday! I hope you were successful in learning to listen and be present in your conversations this past week. This week, we’re going to take a look at the second skill involved in becoming a better listener: Understanding.

Understanding what the person is saying is the point in the listening process when you’re able to plan your response. Understanding takes place after you’ve received the information from the speaker and begin to process its meaning.

The best way to completely and accurately understand what they’re saying is to ask questions about what you heard, and confirm that you heard what they were saying. This allows you to demonstrate active engagement with their words and helps you better understand their key points.

Asking questions that start with who, what, where, why and how are a great way to get additional information: “Why do you think that?” “How were you feeling when that happened?” “What did you mean when you said…?” “What was it that...?” “How can I help?” Once you’ve asked several questions to gain additional information and clarity, you’re better able to craft your response.

As you learn to ask questions about details in the conversation, you’ll see that the person you’re talking with is excited to deliver his/her message – because you’re excited to hear about it!

Something to Think About
The art of asking questions will help in many areas of your life. Whether you’re on a listing appointment or working with a buyer, taking the time to ask questions before presenting solutions or properties will always result in a better outcome. And when dealing with objections, you’ll be more successful in coming up with good solutions when you first take the time to ask questions.

Weekly Challenge
This week, practice the art of asking questions ¬– after you’ve listened to what the person is saying – in an attempt to better understand what the person is communicating.

Words of Wisdom
“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.” – Unknown

“The greatest gift you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” – Simone Weil

“Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.” – Jose Ortega y Gasset

“Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.” – Jim Rohn

Monday Morning Message

8/1/2016

The Importance of Listening – and Ways to Improve Your Own Skills
Happy Monday! This week I have a very important message for everyone: The art of listening – and how to improve your listening skills.

Communication in your daily life – among friends, family, clients and significant others – is really important for a number of reasons, including fostering self-esteem, maximizing productivity and improving relationships.

Listening seems simple, but it’s more than just the ability to absorb information from someone else. Listening is a process – an active process that’s so important in business and everyday life that we’re committing the entire month of August to it. Each week, we will cover a skill necessary to improve the way you listen and communicate.

This week’s message is on Receiving: the act of absorbing the information being expressed to you, whether verbally or nonverbally. Not all communication is done through speech, and not all listening is done with ears.

No matter how you’re communicating with another person, the key at this stage is to pay attention. Focus all of your energy on the person you’re talking with by following these three simple tips:

• Avoid distractions. This is obvious. Don’t have your cell phone out, don’t text or watch messages as they’re coming in, and don’t have the television on. Don’t try to divide your attention between the person who’s speaking and “something else.” You might think you’re good at multitasking, and perhaps you are, but demonstrating a commitment to the act of listening will make you more respected among your peers.

• Don’t interrupt the speaker. You might want to make an assumption about what the speaker is saying or is about to say, but don’t. It’s rude, and you may find your assumption is wrong, which doesn’t benefit anyone. You can, however, practice nonverbal feedback cues such as nodding to demonstrate your attention.

• Don’t rehearse your response. Not yet. At this stage, your only job is to listen. If you start to plan a response while the other person is speaking, you’re going to miss certain points and not be able to respond to his/her larger message when it’s your turn to talk.

Something to Think About
We all know people who always seem distracted when we talk to them, or who never turn their phones off and feel compelled to check whenever they hear someone trying to reach them. Maybe you are that person.

I recently took a trip with two good friends to relax and unwind. Both are very successful business people, but an interesting thing happened when we arrived at the airport. One friend was on her phone in the car, at the airport, in the elevator up to the lounge and in the lounge. She kept saying, “Sorry, but this is important.” My other friend said, “This is a really important lesson for me. I’m going to apologize to my family when I see them. That’s usually me when I take a vacation with my family, but no more! I never realized how it makes them feel until now.”

It’s interesting that the friend who was observing the behavior suddenly realized how rude it was. The people our friend was talking to were “more important than we were.” Talking to the people on the phone was more important than being present in the moment.

Weekly Challenge
This week, be present when others are talking to you. Don’t get distracted. Don’t interrupt or cut them off. Just listen, nod, and show them that what they’re saying is important to you.

Words of Wisdom 
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we’re listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” – Menninger

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” – Zig Ziglar

“Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated.” – Jill Bolte Taylor

“Sometimes, what a person needs is not a brilliant mind that speaks, but a patient heart that listens.” – Unknown

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” – Doug Larson

Monday Morning Message

7/25/2016

4 Ways to Maximize Happiness When You Give

Was last week a great week? Did you do something to help someone else? If so, fantastic! If you got caught up in “life,” no worries; there’s always someone in need, so you’ll have many other opportunities to help others.

Here are 4 ways you can maximize your happiness when giving:

  1. Give to clear, tangible projects. When you feel like you’re giving directly to a project rather than “overhead,” you give 3 times as much – and feel better about it. When you know that your donation is going to something concrete and tangible, it combats a sense of futility (i.e., Will my donation even make a difference?). You feel like you’re making a more direct impact. This feeling of personal impact makes you more likely to give and increases your satisfaction level after you have given.
  1. Give more frequently in smaller amounts. Giving, like consumption, has diminishing returns. Giving $1,000 doesn’t give you 10 times the high of giving $100. Because of this, you really should be giving more often in smaller amounts so you get that pleasure high more often. Look for a monthly donation programwhere you can see the ongoing impact of your donation.
  1. Give with no strings attached. Making a donation to get something tangible in exchange can limit that high you get when giving. The same is true when you purchase something where a portion of proceeds goes to charity. These things can take your decision-making from, “How can I help others with my resources?” to a logical thought process of, “If I buy this, it helps a cause.” It’s not that you shouldn’t purchase products that give to charity, but your brain does not emit the same feeling. Nothing beats a straight up donation directly to a charity with no tangible strings attached.
  1. Give when you know whom your donation will help. Child sponsorship programs have been putting this to use longer and better than most. While it’s sometimes heartbreaking, putting a name and face to the cause gives you a big emotional boost. People will donate 60% more when there’s a name, age and picture of the person who will benefit from the donation. This is called the identifiable victim effect, where we care more about the one person we know compared to the numerous others that are just numbers.

Something to Think About

Giving to others gives us pleasure. It makes us happier which, in turn, leads us to give more, which makes us even happier and... you get the picture. And don’t forget: It doesn’t have to be money. You can use your talents and time to help many in need.

Weekly Activity 

This one seems simple… Let’s find a way to continuously give to help others.

Words of Wisdom

“To be poor does not mean you lack the means to extend charity to another. You may lack money or food, but you have the gift of friendship to overwhelm the loneliness that grips the lives of so many.” – Stanley Hauerwas

“I am a huge believer in giving back and helping out in the community and the world. Think globally, act locally I suppose. I believe that the measure of a person's life is the effect they have on others.” – Steve Nash
“Giving back involves a certain amount of giving up.” – Colin Powell

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” – Mandy Hale

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” – Lao Tzu

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