Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Renaissance Man

So, I think I am having a sort of personal renaissance. It started about 2 months ago. So many things have become more clear. It's sort of like when Neo discovered how to manipulate the Matrix. I have discovered/accepted/learned more about myself and my relationships in the past 2 months than probably the previous 10 years combined. So, in no particular order, here are some things I have discovered about myself and my relationships. Hope this helps you get some clarity on your situation in life:

1) It's not a race or competition. I have said this for so long and still didn't believe it. The only person you compete with "at life" is you. Your fears, your insecurities, your pride, your concept of success. Life becomes much less stressful when you realize you are not winning or losing at it--you are living it.

2) I love giving. I mean, I really love giving. It is almost like a drug. I get high on giving. I am not bragging or anything, I just love giving. You might also. Try it. Give like you are not worried about money. Give like you will get paid TO give. Give to people you know and to people you don't know. Accept thanks for it sometimes and do it completely anonymously sometimes. Both are fun in their own ways. I can also give intangible items--like encouragement and praise and smiles. Surprise someone with an "I appreciate you" or a "You have made my life easier by...". It will make you feel good and will absolutely lift someone else up.

3) My spirituality is WAY more complicated than I once believed. It is also WAY simpler than I once believed. Yep, that is right. I love talking about spiritual topics and theories with whomever will discuss with an open mind, an open heart and a desire to learn about themselves and about me. I think I can learn spiritual lessons from pretty much ANYONE.

4) I have some of the best friends in the world. I realized that my friends make me want to be a better person. I have an obligation to them to be the best I can be, to treat my family better than anyone else and to raise my kids to be respectful, productive, caring and generous citizens. My friends deserve my best efforts at friendship. Their kids deserve my kids at their best. It's called community.

5) I have had this rediscovery of my wife. She is AWESOME. I know she has her faults. I certainly have my own. She cares deeply for our family as individuals and also as a unit. She is amazingly devoted to her real friends and to her closest family. I am very different. I have a gazillion friends and don't have a lot of "very close" friends. She keeps a smaller circle of friends but she keeps them much closer. I really see a value in that. She stresses over so much. I have discovered she only does that because she wants so desperately to please me, our kids and her closest friends and family. She wants things to be perfect for them. At first I thought I needed to change this about her and make her more like me and just "go with the flow". That is exactly what I should NOT do. Instead, I need to complement her and balance her out. When it is important to her, I need to make it important to me. When it is only a little important to her, I can help her not stress so much. I can also make an effort to take away some of the menial tasks that stress her out. In addition, I have made a commitment to myself to start treating her like we are still dating. I started writing her love letters again. I tell her when she takes my breath away. I hope she is enjoying the attention.

6) My kids are amazing. I have been carrying around this guilt that I am somehow "missing it" as they grow up. The kicker is that this guilt makes me miss it more because I try to make up for missing it. All my kids want is attention. It could be as simple as sitting with them while playing Wii or reading a book or sitting on the deck while they play or including them in decision making. They just need validation that I love them and care about whats going on in their 6 and 1 year old lives (ok, so perhaps its not that deep yet for Maggie, but it won't take long). So I am keeping them around a little longer. I am pushing myself to finish work early enough to spend time with them in the evening. I am not trying so hard to make up for missed time but instead to just make time. I have also released the guilt. I work--sometimes a lot. I am also a great dad. I said it out loud.

7) Finally, there is business. I think I am starting to get good at being a Realtor. I have had some success, that is for sure. I don't know that I had, or have yet, the full skill set. I am learning every day how to deal with people. I am also gaining a much more clear understanding of what my actual role is in this job. I am not a salesman--unless I need to be. My job is to help people understand and navigate the (in some ways unneccesarily) complex task of buying or selling a home. My job is to listen to their dreams, catch them and then try to help them make their dreams come true. The crazy thing is, it doesn't matter who my client is--this model holds true. It could be a bank having me list a foreclosure--the person I deal with has dreams that I can help with--get this property off the books quickly for the most money. If it is an investor and they are supposed to be "cold" and "business only", they still have dreams and I can still help them accomplish those dreams. I just have to modify the approach and give the right info at the right time. If they are a new family looking for the first place, they have more dreams than they know what do with so I have to help narrow those down and focus a bit. If they are middle aged and are contemplating the possibility of moving aging parents in, there is a completely different set of dreams there and I have to listen for them. The tough part is listening to all the extra stuff and finding the right info to grasp. I'm getting better, but I have a very long way to go before I am an "expert" at this.

As we approach 2013, think about how you can have your own renaissance. What will make you better. What will help you discover more of your potential. Can I help? If I can't, who can? Be a better you.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the World

I have a blog already written about gun control. I have been debating for the past 24 hours about posting it. I might post it, I might not. In the meantime, here are my 2 cents on the end of the world. I'm  ready. Bring it on.

On a completely different note, sometimes home inspectors make me mad. Some have a tendency to try and scare the mess out of a buyer. I know they are there to tell the buyer all the things wrong with the place and what COULD happen. They don't ever offer a percent chance that it WILL happen. They also (almost) never say things like, "in an absolute worst case scenario..." I had a few contracts fall through this year because of over zealous contractors. I want people to buy nice homes but I want the fear of what could happen to be balanced with what will likely happen. The man I use for home inspection service is just that way. Ron will say something like, "here is the problem, here is how one would fix it, here is the worst possible thing that could happen if it is not addressed, here is the liklihood of that happening." He informs thoroughly but doesn't scare. That's the right way to do it. Sometimes, there is a legitimate problem that absolutely has to be addressed. Sometimes there is a problem that should be addressed at some point. Sometimes there is a problem that could eventually be addressed but most likely just needs to be monitored.

On another completely different note, life is pretty good. It just figures that the world is going to end when life is actually going well. Oh well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I met with my tax advisor today. It was not pleasant. As a Realtor, I am paid as an independent contractor and thus receive a 1099. Unlike W-2 employees, I pay my portion of income tax AND "self employment tax" which is typically paid by the employer for a W-2 employee. You really don't know how much tax liability your job creates until you pay all portions out of your own pocket (instead of out of the paycheck before you even get a chance to cash it).

I think this is probably the smartest thing the federal government has ever done. The majority of people don't even think about how much they earned vs. how much they actually get in that check. They consider the actual check amount the amount they are paid. They are happy when Uncle Sam sends them another check in February or March or whenever they file taxes. Some consider it a "bonus". It is not a bonus. It was your money all along. You loaned it to the government interest free for a year. You didn't know that because you only look at the actual check amount each week. You also didn't know your employer paid even more than that just to be privileged to buy your labor. If everyone was responsible for writing a check to the feds each quarter, instead of it occurring automatically each paycheck, I guarantee we would have a more efficient system. Government waste would offend more people. I take it personally now because I know how much I pay in. I look to see where my money goes. I am aware because it hurts me personally to pay it.

I don't mind paying taxes. Really, I don't mind. I am thankful that I live in a country where I can earn a great living. I want to pay for the services I get--defense, roads, schools, etc. I just don't want to overpay for anything. You know that feeling you get when you buy something for $100 and then go into another store and see the same thing for $75? I feel that way when I think about government spending my tax dollars. They pay $125 for something I can get for $60. It makes me angry. Ok. I am done with my rant. Writing really is therapeutic. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How Can I Make Your Life Easier?

This question is the number one question a service provider should answer for you. A polished professional may answer this without you even asking it. If you walk away from your meeting with someone soliciting your business and they haven't given you a satisfactory answer, you probably need to move on. Why is this question so important? I will give you some anecdotes to make it relevant.

I can follow directions. I can watch a YouTube video on how to rebuild an engine. I can learn how to build a deck. I am capable of these things. You are too. That said, it would take me a very, very long time to do this. I would, no doubt, have a "learning curve" where I would screw some stuff up and have to re-do it. Once finished, it might not work quite as well as if a pro did it. I certainly wouldn't give myself a warranty and some of the parts might not be under warranty because they weren't professionally installed. A good mechanic makes my life easier with fast service, honest diagnosis, fair pricing, guarantees that the repair will operate precisely and free repair if something isn't right. I also expect them to know whats wrong with it even if I don't.

When you think about buying a new vacuum, do you want one that is more bulky, awkward and hard to clean out? No! You look for one that will make your life easier. You want one without a bag that is easier to steer, lighter and does a good enough job that you don't have to go over the same spot three times. You shop with your subconscious saying, "how does this vacuum make my life easier?"

Real Estate is the Same as The Vacuum Purchase!!

You could educate yourself and get the licenses and whatnot that are required to sell a house. You can do it as a For Sale By Owner. You are capable of that. You could probably advertise your home in such a way that you would get prospective buyers in to look at it. You could host open houses, field phone calls from prospective buyers and real estate agents. You could put together a contract and you might even be able to get the transaction to close without a hitch and not get sued later for improper disclosure. You might even carry a liability policy that covers that. You will most likely spend more money, more time and probably not get the price or results you want though. That's what I do. I have a track record that says I will make your life easier by taking care of all that stuff I listed above and much, much more.

On the home buying side there are even more pitfalls. You can find a lender, home inspector, pest control company for inspection, attorney to handle contracts, title company and possibly contractors for repair work. You might even find the "generally accepted" contract forms for your state online. Do you know how to negotiate repairs? Do you know how to identify the repair work that your FHA loan is going to require? Do you know that the order in which you do inspections matters? Do you know how to get out of a contract when termites are found and still get your earnest money back? Did you know that I can represent you when buying a For Sale By Owner or any other property, no matter who has it listed, and that, except for very unusual circumstances, you don't pay me, the seller does? Did you know that in 3 years I've done more transactions than 10 "typical" individuals or families will do in their combined lifetimes?  I make your life easier by recognizing pitfalls before they happen. I see blemishes in homes that you might not have ever even thought were possible. I know the correct order and hold tight to the contract for your protection. I received the Certified Negotiation Expert designation a few months ago. That's how I make your life easier.

Bottom line, you want a Realtor that will simplify your life. They will assist you in decision making. They will always, ALWAYS work in YOUR best interest. They will not overburden you with the tasks they should accomplish. They will make it look easy because they make it easy for you. It's a great compliment to a Realtor (or any service provider) that they make the task look easy. That means they have not burdened you with the hard parts and have made your life easier.

Consider the people you pay for a service. Do they make your life easier? If not, why in the world do you still pay them?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How's the Market?

Probably the most common question I get is, "So, how's the real estate market these days?" Many people ask because they are curious in regards to their own situation. They may be cautiously optimistic that things are looking up a bit and their real estate investment is perhaps improving. Well, I have good news. In our particular area (most of Rutherford County and southern Davidson), the market has, at the very least, stabilized. Prices have stopped plummeting, inventory is drying up and sellers are not nearly as vulnerable as they were 2 years ago. There are still pockets where the recovery hasn't really started but almost everywhere has at least leveled off.

To make matters better, some sub-markets are actually starting to recover quite nicely. For example, the traditional "first time buyer house", if in good shape and priced correctly, will sell very quickly. The best part is that "priced correctly" does not mean that it is deeply discounted. This sub-market has made somewhat of an improvement and resurgence in the last 10 months to 1 year. The best part for these sellers is that their most likely target to purchase is still somewhat on sale and interest rates are still spectacular.

So, for example, let's say you have a 1300 square foot house in Westfork in Smyrna and it is in pretty good shape. You can probably get around $100/square foot (or maybe even a little more) and sell it in 2-3 months TOPS. I've sold 4 in that neighborhood this year in less than 10 days each. The average family in that neighborhood is looking to move up to a home in the $175k-$250k range. That price range in the Smyrna/North Murfreesboro area is still fairly ripe with inventory and still somewhat on sale. So, the seller in Westfork can get a great deal on a move up home and basically "win" on the sale and the purchase side!

Obviously this is all hypothetical and your situation is always unique but the point is, most first time sellers/first time move up buyers are in a really good position right now if they look at the big picture.

Does this mean that folks in the $175k-$250k range should not sell? NO WAY! There is more inventory in this range than the lower range, for sure. The thing is, there is a lot of diverse inventory--short sales, foreclosures, "As-Is" traditional sales, estate sales, etc. A normal, no weird stipulation, great condition home in this range, price correctly, will still sell. It may not sell in 10 days, but it definitely will sell. The log jam has been broken free (a little) and the water is starting to flow.

If you are curious about your situation and just want a snapshot of the market, as it pertains to YOU, give me a call. Information is always free. If you want to sell or buy but are unsure of the steps, give me a call. If you are currently working with another Realtor and don't like the service you are getting, definitely give me a call. I know you will be pleasantly surprised. 615-668-2353

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Isn't it funny sometimes how people get so excited about the past? My son was on Netflix the other day and I saw the OLD Transformers cartoon on there. I believe I let out a little squeal of delight and insisted he watch that. He only made it through an episode and a half before he said, "Dad, the characters look funny." Then he followed up with "What's that thing?" He pointed to the cassette that popped out of Soundwave's chest. Wow.

Today I was on Facebook and saw that Self, a band from Murfreesboro that I was a HUGE fan of, is playing a "reunion" show in December. I, of course, immediately bought tickets. While purchasing the tickets, I remembered seeing them at Mainstreet a couple of times and anxiously anticipating their second album and all that. It also brought up general memories of high school. Oddly enough, only good memories.

Why do we get so nostalgic? Is it that we gloss over the painful, uncomfortable parts of our own history and only choose to remember the good stuff? Then we want to escape back to a time when life was "simpler"?

Like many of you, I am thankful for my own history. I had a LOT of good stuff happen in my previous 33 years. I also had my fair share of bad stuff. ALL of it shaped who I am right now. I do get nostalgic when some songs come on the radio or I see some old toy. I think it is healthy. It keeps us connected to our own history and thus, our own identity. Embrace nostalgia but don't live in it. The past made you you and you are pretty cool. Even if your kids don't think so. Happy Thanksgiving. Hug the people you love.

What are some things you get nostalgic about? Give specific examples so we can all join in the trip down memory lane.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

He Lived

If you are Facebook friends with me or with any number of other people in and around or with ties to the Smyrna area, you know by now that on Saturday this world lost a very special little boy named Ryan Logue. Today was the first day of his visitation and his funeral is on Saturday. I knew Ryan fairly well. I've known both of his parents since high school and though our relationships ebb and flow, I've stayed pretty good friends with them since then. I feel qualified to share with you what I am about to write.

I said that Ryan was a special kid. Ryan had muscular dystrophy. It affected him in many ways. He was in a wheel chair, he had very limited control of most of his muscles due to, basically, lack of strength. The MD also affected him in that he was quite prone to pneumonia and other respiratory ailments. He spent a lot of time in Vanderbilt. Even so, I am quite reluctant to call Ryan handicapped. He had a handicap, yes by common definitions. But the thing is, in spite of his problems, Ryan LIVED.

I remember when Ryan was born. I remember hearing that something was wrong. I remember them going to lots of specialists, hearing all kinds of theories, uncertainty and then the diagnosis. This is where Chris and Manika turn into two of my heroes.

It would have been so easy for them to go down the path of "woe is me, God hates me, life sucks, etc." It would have been easy for them to use Ryan as an excuse to withdraw from friends, life, church, family, whomever. It would have been easy to constantly say, "it is just too hard to get Ryan out, we aren't going anywhere." I am sure that sometimes they did that as a matter of practicality but for the most part, they didn't. They embraced their own lives and they gave Ryan an extraordinary life. Ryan rarely missed church (unless it was unsafe, of course, due to an illness or something). Ryan rarely missed social functions. Ryan went on vacations. Ryan played in the snow. Ryan played with friends. Ryan lived.

Because of Ryan, my son does not look at people in wheelchairs weird. They are regular people, just like him. Because of Chris and Manika, I make myself do things, even when I am tired, for the sake of my kids. It is much harder for me to feel good about staying home because I didn't feel like putting Maggie in her car seat and loading her in the car when I consider the process of loading up all of Ryan's gear AND the rest of the kids.  Even when faced with Ryan's death, the Logues were strong, courageous and real. They shared their pain, they let others share with them. They acknowledged God's infinite wisdom and plan. They were as faithful to their God as anyone I have ever seen in the midst of losing a loved one. Before this, I don't think I could do the same. Because of this, I may be just a little stronger because I have a model to follow.

Thank you Chris and Manika for being awesome parents and showing how to love unconditionally. Thank you for being the kind of people that take a bad situation and turn it into something truly extraordinary and beautiful. Thank you Jordan and Hayven for helping Ryan live a fulfilling life. Thank you for understanding when your Mom and Dad had to give Ryan extra attention. Thank you Logues for helping me, my family and everyone you met, understand that a physical handicap is really just something to overcome, not something to keep you down. Thank you for being my friends and thank you for not just allowing, but encouraging and ensuring that Ryan lived life to the fullest. You guys are awesome and I love your whole family.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


It's finally over. It is a relief that the election is done and we can move forward without all the ads for at least a little while. That said, it is somewhat alarming just how split this election was. We are truly a divided nation. How can the government do any kind of reform with this wide of a gap? How can anything be accomplished with such a polarized populace?

I congratulate Obama on the win but he is not the guy to unite the country in order to make true and lasting change. Neither was Romney and neither was Gary Johnson or Ron Paul (lots of my friends are Paulies). I actually think all four of those folks had at least something worthwhile to say but they don't have whatever it is that will bring patriots on opposite sides of the aisle together. How do we get that person? Do we need that person or do we, as the people, need to do it in spite of the politicians?

Ponder this question as we go through the next four years and witness stalling, blocking and shenanigans out of both the president and the congress. When will we demand that our leaders focus on the real problems and make real changes that will actually help our country become strong again? How far in debt and decay will the country have to get before it finds "rock bottom" and is motivated to start recovering from its selfish addictions? How long will it take YOU to put aside partisan loyalties, inform yourself and actually participate meaningfully?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It's a little surreal seeing pictures of the boardwalk in Atlantic City. I was literally JUST on it not even 2 weeks ago and now it is basically gone. Too bad too, it was pretty cool. Storms never cease to amaze me and terrify me. So much power.

My friends Chris and Manika Logue are going through a rough time right now. Their son Ryan is in the hospital. Ryan is such a cool guy. He has muscular dystrophy but is absolutely not held back by it. He is in a wheelchair and is visibly affected by this disease but his spirit, his mind and his resolve are so strong, so incredibly strong that it is hard to even consider him handicapped. He is a model for the rest of us to follow and I am truly blessed to be even a small part of his life. For the last several days, he has been fighting for his life. He is at Vandy Kid's Hospital (unfortunately he has spent a lot of time there in his short life) and is with some of the best docs in existence. Just yesterday he started showing some really strong signs of improvement. All we can say is praise God and Lord keep helping him improve. Meanwhile, his baby sister also got sick and had to spend time at Vandy. When it rains, it pours, eh Chris and Manika! You know, for a lot of folks, kids like Ryan remind them how blessed they are to be healthy. I look at Ryan in a different way, I am blessed to know people like Ryan. He reminds me just how tough human beings can be. He gives me hope that when I am faced with something terrible, I can dig in and find the strength to fight it. We love you guys so much and admire your strength and courage. I only wish there was a way we could help.

Tonight is Trunk or Treat at church. We are dressing as the Smores family again only this time we are also cooking smores. So we are cannibal smores--ooooohhhhhh scary.

I've hit a small lull in business over the past week or so. I had 13 contracts pending at one point. I am down to 6 right now with another on the way (hopefully).

Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group will be hosting a trivia night fundraiser for St. Jude's in the next few months. I am emceeing the event and will also be creating the questions. It will be a BLAST and we would love to have you. More details soon.

I will leave you with this discussion: In 6 days we elect the man (in this case) that will be president for the next 4 years. Regardless of who wins, what can you do, personally, to make this country better?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Questions You Should Ask Your Potential Realtor

There are LOTS of Realtors in our area--literally thousands. Pretty much everyone knows someone that has a real estate license.The problem is that not all licensees are created equally. This entry is meant to give you some questions you should be asking before you make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Make no mistake, the purchase or sale of your home is a huge financial step on your road to wealth. I want it to be a step forward for you, not backward.

How a Realtor Helps
The first question you need to have answered is the most basic of this conversation--why does it even matter? What will the Realtor do for me anyway? In our Internet driven world, this question is becoming more and more relevant. You have a ton of information at your fingertips. Why do you need a Realtor? What will they do that I can't do for myself?

You can look up all your neighbor's tax information and know what they paid and when homes in your neighborhood sold and all that. What does it mean though? How do I cook it down to meaningful, relevant information? You can also get an estimate of your home's value. Where did that estimate come from? What supporting evidence is there for that value? A good Realtor provides the evidence and provides interpretation that makes pricing easy. A great Realtor also has a grasp of the "harder to quantify" items that affect value--location, trends, popularity. They have worked enough transactions recently to know what buyers want NOW, not 4 years ago.

This brings up point 2, you will probably close no more than 10 or so transactions in your LIFE. A good Realtor will do 10-15 transactions a year. A great Realtor will close numerous transactions in a year. It's their job, it's what they do. 

Last, a good Realtor is your voice of reason. They are your conscience. They present the facts and try to stay a little un-emotional in your hyper-emotional decision. A great Realtor will also tell you if they think you are making a mistake in your choice. They understand that your well-being is more important than their commission.

Job Interview
Before we get into the questions, let's set one basic premise--choosing a Realtor should be a job interviewing process. You are "hiring" an adviser, a negotiator and an expert. You are also going to spend a lot of time with this person and will share quite a bit of insight into your personal life. Your Realtor needs to be trustworthy and compatible with your personality. Please don't make the mistake of assuming that your cousin or brother or best friend or best friend's cousin's husband is trustworthy or competent just because they are that relation to you. This can be a very costly mistake. Interview them. Interview others. That relative may be the best choice but they may not be. Don't assume.You are about to involve yourself in a transaction with tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars --be picky about whose advice you trust!

Questions for Your Prospective Realtor
  1. How long have you been in the business? Honestly, this is probably the least important question you will ask--but you will all ask it. Here's the thing--time in the business does not equate success in the business. A more telling follow up to this one is, and how many transactions have you completed in the last 2-3 years? This will give you a gauge of how active they are and if they are current with their information. What I mean is, I know agents that have been doing it for 30+ years but they've only done 5 total transactions since the Clinton administration. Probably not up to speed!
  2. Are you a part time agent? This might draw some ire and disagreement from some of my colleagues. Oh well. Real estate is a 24/7 business. It is hard to get everything done in a day, especially if you are doing the volume required to be an expert. Someone that considers themselves "part time" has resigned to not invest the time it takes to be good at this job. I'm not saying that someone that has another job is not good. Sometimes they are. But the ones that are good at it understand that they are not part time. They, in fact, have 2 full time jobs. If they don't see it that way, you don't want them. 
  3. How will you help me? Be direct. Ask the question. See how they answer it.
  4. Why should I pick you over all the other folks with a real estate license? The right answer to this is very subjective. Listen for things you like in any service provider. Listen for someone that is not ridiculously full of themselves. Listen for someone that will make achieving your goals EASIER.
  5. What skills have you acquired since becoming a Realtor? You want someone who is always growing, not sedentary. 
  6. What kind of marketing strategy do you employ? Definitely ask this of someone wanting to list your home. May not be a bad idea to ask this of someone wanting to help you buy also. See what they say. Even if they have no listings, they have to market themselves. May be a very insightful question for you to hear.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. Other questions will come to mind. Some will be follow ups, some will be out of left field. Ask them. This is an interview--ask the questions. One more tip, remember that a good skill to have in an interview is to ask the prospective employer some intelligent questions. Your prospective Realtor should ask you some good questions as well. If they are not interviewing you and deciding if they want to take you on as a client, that could signal that they are willing to work with anyone that has a pulse. This is not always a good thing! This means they may have crazy people around them. Be cautious here. The other reason they need to be asking questions is that they need to be building an internal database of information on you. They need to already be figuring out ways to help. They need to be working on the relationship from the very beginning. 

One last word of advice, don't trust a Realtor that tells you what your home is worth if they have never seen your home. They may be able to ballpark it based on some vague profile of the neighborhood, but anyone who shows up to list your house and tells you exactly what to price it at having never seen it, is, at best, a guesser. 

Be careful out there. Ask lots of questions. 

What other things might be good to ask when interviewing a Realtor?

Thursday, October 18, 2012


This is the very first guest post for by none other than the beautiful Cynthia W. Harmon, Realtor Supreme with Weichert Realtors the Andrews Group.  She is also Banker extroidinaire at US Bank in the Smyrna Publix on Sam Ridley Parkway and an amazing Wife and Mother to 2 charming children...(yes, i wrote that intro did you like it?) 

We are Harmon’s, and we can have Easter any time we want!" Sound familiar to your family? Being blessed to have all our grandparents still living when we started dating, Jonathan and I had 4 different family gatherings to make it to on Easter Sunday in the year 2000. After that very stressful Sunday with really full bellies, we decided some adjustments had to be made, and we started some new holiday traditions. For example, the Waldron’s (My father's side of the family) have Thanksgiving the second Saturday in November. It's a little strange to my boss when I ask off work for Thanksgiving on that Saturday; I just tell her "We are Waldron’s, and we can have Thanksgiving any time we want!" That opens up the 4th weekend in November for Jonathan's side of the family on Turkey Day, Shopping on Friday, and the Duggin’s (my mom's side of the family) on Saturday. In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving on the 2nd Saturday in November, the Waldron's also celebrate Independence Day somewhere around the 14th of July, which happens to be Bastile Day (French Independence Day) as well as Jonathan's birthday. Perhaps this tradition started because we are frugal (it's okay to read that as *cheap, we don't mind) and want to save money on fireworks and watermelon, or maybe it started because we just couldn't all get together around the 4th of July. Either way, I still get the strange look from my boss when I request off work for Bastille Day; but isn't life all about having fun and making some great memories? What strange or fun traditions do you have with your family?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Am I the only one that craves validation and approval? I want my wife to tell me that I do a good job supporting the family and loving the kids. I want my clients to tell me I am the best agent they've ever had. I want my parents to tell me they are proud of me. I want my friends to tell me I am a good friend. I want my broker to tell me I am doing a good job representing his company. ETC, ETC, ETC. For the most part, I get that validation. I get it in the form of pats on the back or kind words or referrals to client's friends, etc. I get lots of validation from lots of sources.

Why is it, then, that I get bent out of shape when one, just one person doesn't give me the validation or approval I seek? They don't even necessarily give the opposite of validation or approval, they just don't give anything. Why does that bother me? I know in my head that I can't please everyone and, further, sometimes I mess up. I also know that some people just don't give compliments, no matter how good the service. It's just not part of who they are. I know all this, yet it still gets to me sometimes. Not every time, just sometimes. Why do I let myself get bothered?

I think it is important to tell people when they do a good job at something. People like to hear it. I think it is a good trait to be the person that makes others feel good about themselves (as long as it is sincere and not patronizing). Be that person. Be the one that notices when people do good work and then tell them. In the meantime, tell me how to quit craving other peoples' approval.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


As I get busier and busier with Real Estate I find that I am more frequently in a position where I need to be two different places at the same time and also need to be working on something else simultaneously. My wife and I talk about how I need to work on time management but I am starting to think that is a red herring. I manage my time pretty well, I just try to cram too many things in each day. The problem is I try to cram too many things in EVERY day. Spacing them out would just mean I was that much more behind. The obvious answer is to delegate some of the tasks away. I can give her some of the tasks, I have some folks at my office that could do some and I could even hire a part time assistant.

My problem is that I am not a very good "delegator". I want to do it. When I delegate I wonder if the person will do the task as well as I would. I also wonder if I am being a burden on them. Both of these "wonders" make it very difficult to assign tasks. I need to get better at it though. You reach a point where taking on more work without more hands is detrimental, both to the hands and to the work.

For those of you in a position like mine, pass along some tips to make delegation easier and how I might be able to better manage having assistance.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Great Idea

At yesterday's sales meeting we came up with a great idea that every one of you needs to do. Get a flash drive and mark it "sales pictures." Then, over the next year or so, take pictures of cool stuff about your house.
  • In the spring, take pictures of everything in bloom
  • In the winter, take a snowy picture
  • In the fall, take pictures of the kids playing in the leaves (just take it so you can't really see their faces)
  • If your neighborhood has a cookout, take a picture of the party
  • If you and your neighbors get together on 4th of July and shoot fireworks together, get pictures of that
  • If one window in your house has an amazing view of the sunset, take some pictures of that
  • If your back deck is perfect for entertaining and you have a party, take a picture of the party
  • If your neighbors do up the lights for Christmas, take some of those pictures
Whatever is unique about your home and the way you live in it, take pictures. Put them on that flash drive and save it till you are ready to list. Those pictures are marketing GOLD. A good Realtor will integrate them into the marketing in order to not only sell the house itself but to sell the way the house is a HOME. It won't take you long, just don't lose the flash drive!! If you don't think you will ever sell the house, do it anyway. EVERY home will eventually be sold.

If you want to chat about selling your home or just get a check up on value, let me know.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Conventional Wisdom

I have been leading a series of discussions on Wednesday nights with the college kids about "conventional wisdom" type sayings and their validity. Specifically we have been looking at those sayings through the lens of scripture and seeing if they are fact or crap. It has been some good discussion of late.

Our topics have included:
"God will never give you more than you can handle"
"Everything happens for a reason"
"He's in a better place now" (after someone dies)

The main point of doing these discussions is to get the college students to challenge "conventional wisdom". Sometimes that which is commonly accepted is a bigger pile of manure than we might think. In other words, just because "everyone" believes it, doesn't make it true.

If you are a Christian, I challenge you to do a little digging into these commonly accepted tenets. You might be surprised at how easy it is to provide a valid challenge to them.

If you are not a Christian and someone delivers one of these "wise" sayings to you, I ask you to be polite and thank them for the encouragement. Often people say things like these because there is nothing else to say. They feel that it would be rude to say nothing, so they fall back on "conventional wisdom" that seems to be profound.

Whether you are a Christian or not, I ask you to consider the words you say to people when THEY are in crisis. What you think could be profound may actually prove to be an annoyance or possibly even offensive (think about "he's in a better place"--a spouse passes away unexpectedly, wasn't sick or anything, maybe a car crash, does the surviving spouse really think that the dead spouse is in a better place than right there with his or her family watching their kids grow up--doubt it).

Hope all is well for you. Would love to hear your thoughts on these sayings and any others that I could maybe use for my class.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ONE Answer

People are funny creatures. I say that a lot but it is true. We do things all the time that we know are wrong. This particular blog is about that phenomenon. We are constantly looking for the "right" answer. I know this could go into deep religious discussion but please try to refrain from steering it that way. We don't even have to get that philosophical. Look at politics, marriages, game shows, our obsession with science, etc. Humans constantly bicker over whose answer is "the right one".

Take politics, we are, for all intents and purposes, right now, a two party system. I know there are groups outside those two parties that have tremendous influence and may eventually become major players, but for now, we have two main parties. Both parties point fingers at the other party saying how they are "wrong". The parties insist that they have the answer to fix everything. Neither party can admit that it is possible both could be right, both could be wrong or there is somewhere in between. And it doesn't even matter which particular stump they are standing on!

Looking at marriages, we tend to want to mold our spouse into carbon copies of ourselves on certain issues because we are right and they are wrong. We leave out the possibility that they are right too, just raised differently.

Why do we do this? I think it is because we want verification of our own insecurities. In other words, if I can make you see the light that I was correct and you were wrong, I must, in fact, ACTUALLY be right. I think I am right, but if I win the debate, I have PROVEN I am right and I feel good about myself.  It makes us uncomfortable to think we could be wrong, or worse yet, the other side could be right ALSO.

What do we do? I think the first thing we do is accept that FACT that we can be wrong. We also accept the fact that, just because we were taught something growing up, doesn't make it infallible. This is a hard lesson for folks. We also need to constantly seek the company of people older, wiser and more intelligent than ourselves so that we can stay humble and continue to grow. Don't surround yourself constantly with people just like you!!!

That's all I have today. Go Blue and be nice to each other.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How Old is Too Old?

I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately for some reason. I know this is a touchy subject for people and one that is nearly impossible to NOT get emotional about. I am trying to approach this from a "what would I want" and an objective standpoint. Tell me what you think.

As people age, their bodies fail. We all know this. As time goes on, medicine "improves" and our ability to fight ailments, sustain life and reverse aging increases. Is this really a good thing? That is the over all question of this blog entry.

Do we really do anyone any favors by sustaining their lives when they are completely invalid and have virtually none of the faculties they used to have, mental, physical, even emotional? At what point do we cross from keeping them alive and sustaining a quality life to prolonging the inevitable and potentially inflicting more pain (not just physical)? How big of a role does the health care industry itself play in this? In other words, they play into our emotions to sustain a miserable life in the name of being "humane" and make big bucks doing so.

Think about it, you are a fully functioning, completely independent 60 year old. You have a massive (fill in the blank with some terrible physical episode) that causes permanent damage and ensures you will never be able to be independent. Do you really want to be sustained? Fast forward, you are the same only 80 when you have this episode, do you want to be sustained? Do we sometimes sustain life for us rather than for the sick person? In other words, who is this life sustaining medicine really for? Sometimes I think it is more for the healthy ones who are unwilling to let go.

I am not condemning the behavior, I totally understand. But, is it really humane? I know the obvious argument is, well what if they could have gotten better? What if there was a miracle cure of some kind. I get that, really, I do. But, realistically, how long can someone hold out for this? How long before we are really just causing misery instead of holding on to hope?

I am undecided on this issue. I don't know the "right" or "moral" thing to do. I do know that it should be discussed. I also know that it makes people uncomfortable to think about because it reminds us of our mortality. I would never want someone to "quit" but at the same time, I don't want people to suffer if there is no chance of recovery. I am not advocating purposely ending someone's life (like a Dr. Kevorkian thing), but perhaps consciously NOT sustaining life.

Ok, your turn. Please be respectful. People carry a LOT of baggage in this area for an assortment of reasons.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What is a Professional?

I interact with lots and lots of people on a daily basis. Most of the people I interact with call themselves professionals. Some truly are, some really are not. This blog is basically an exploration of what I think defines someone as a professional. Feel free to disagree, agree, discuss, call me names, whatever. It will be delivered in bulleted list format.

A professional is:
  • An expert in his or her field--a true professional understands his or her field and continuously hones their knowledge, skill set and ability. The professional never settles for "good enough" when it comes to self improvement. At the same time, the professional knows that they can't know everything, be the best at everything, etc. and always leaves room for correction. They are open to suggestions!
  • A great communicator--because the professional is an expert, he or she knows the field well enough to tell others about it. The professional can communicate to lay persons in such a way that they can understand it. The old saying--"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." is 100% false. Those that can, do and should be able to teach it as well. If you can't explain it, you might not be as good at it as you think you are.
  • Focused on growing instead of maintaining--again, never settle for good enough. A professional looks for ways to improve business and to grow the business. A professional tries to streamline the process, looks for ways to make things more efficient and focuses on the parts of his or her business that will grow while eliminating the rabbit holes.
  • Not afraid to take calculated risks--and they know how to calculate the risks!!
  • NOT willing to take advantage of his or her clients--This is important. I know nothing about HVAC. Any HVAC person knows that I know nothing about HVAC. It would be very, very easy to take advantage of me. I only trust professionals, however, that won't do that.
  • Courteous of your time and resources--a professional will respect you and your time. They will not try to spend all your resources just because you trust them. They call you back! It is amazing to me how much money is spent by people to advertise their name and phone number and then they won't even call you back!!!
  • able to anticipate needs/wants--a professional has been there, done that and can often anticipate what you will need or want before you ask for it. They can also read your reactions (most of the time) and will make good suggestions to help you better reach your goals. They are also focused on that, YOUR goals, not their own.
  • consistent--a professional doesn't change with the seasons. They are confident and knowledgable enough to give you the right answer the first time. They may amend their answer later, since they are always growing, but they don't just flip flop all the time.
  • not afraid to say "I don't know"--they are self assured enough that it doesn't scare them to have to find an answer or ask for help. It does not hurt their ego to need help. This is huge--it is impossible to know everything and a true professional acknowledges this fact. A true professional does know, however, how and where to find answers.
  • not lazy--man, there is nothing more annoying to me than lazy people who expect to be treated as professionals.
 This is my list. What else, in your mind, defines someone as a professional?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I have written about "success" in the past. What is it, how do you define it, how should we view it, etc. In this blog I want to look at another aspect of success. What determines whether or not a specific person will attain financial success?

It's interesting to listen to people talk about the success of others. I think these conversations offer a direct window into the talker's personality and general disposition on success. It is also really interesting to hear someone discuss the success of someone they only know about through the media. How can they possibly know all the events that led to someone's success?

This is one of those "age old questions." If we can determine what makes someone financially successful, theoretically, we can mimic the actions and thus repeat the outcome. The problem arises in cooking one's success down to a list of actions, providence, connections, etc. that is repeatable. Here are some things I have seen people "blame" other people's success on.
  • they were born into it--i.e. it was nothing they accomplished
  • God blessed them randomly
  • they are of a certain race/religion/sex/creed/ethnicity
  • they cheated others to get there
  • they were "just lucky" (many variations--right place, right time, pure luck, happenstance that something caught on, etc.)
  • they worked their butt off
  • they made the right connections
  • they kissed the right rear ends
  • they earned it (though I don't hear this one enough)
So which of these is "typically" responsible for success? I tend to think that it is never one or two things that lead to a person's success. Take Bill Gates. What did he do to become financially successful? He invented/created/devoloped something. Did he do it alone? Was he just walking along and "WHAMMO" he has this computer and operating system and whatever else? How did he get the knowledge necessary to develop his ticket to success? Once he had it, how did he know what to do with it in order to actually turn the product into $$$? How did he know how to sustain growth at his upstart company?  How did he finance his upstart company? What made him more successful than the Commodore people and the Tandy people? There is always more to it than just having a great idea.

My point is this, we tend to look back at the long, long road some successful person has traveled and pick a few "milestones" in that person's life that we think are the only important episodes in their success. We do that because it gives us hope. If we could just have that golden idea...If I could just meet that angel investor...If the right person would notice me...If, if, if. The truth is, in order to attain that success we want, we have to take thousands and thousands of baby steps toward the goal. Hopefully we never actually reach it. Successful people never stop developing. That's why they are successful. Notice I didn't say "never stop working." Working and developing are not the same. The cool thing about developing is that you don't have to pick one single, narrow path to focus on. You CAN do that but you don't HAVE to. Some of the best ideas are offshoots of offshoots of other ideas. You just have to be open to receiving those ideas when they come. In the meantime, connect to people, be curious, develop yourself. You are the most valuable resource you own.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What to do, what to do...

I have so much buzzing around in my head to write about tonight. I normally try to do my blog in the morning on Wednesday. It was not feasible to do that today so I am trying to write it now. Problem is, my head is clouded with so much info that I want to write about that I can't focus on one thing.

Big topic is the whole Chick Fil A thing. Here is my take, this whole debacle has done absolutely NOTHING to actually further anyone's agenda and has definitely not done anything to further God's kingdom. The end.

Primary elections are tomorrow. I know who I am voting for and who I am definitely NOT voting for. I hope you do as well.

Led a discussion in college class tonight about social media and if it is a useful tool in evangelism. Interesting topic. We ended the discussion with basically the idea that the Bible teaches about how to use social media--Do everything in love. 1 Cor. 16:14.  Also posed the question--Is it Biblical to "stand up for your Christian rights"? Would Jesus have encouraged us to fight for our "rights as Christians"?

Real estate is still going strong for me. I am on track to close 30+transactions this year. God is good.

Also, the realization that my son is 5 and going to kindergarten is very, very real. I HAVE to embrace this time as it is slipping away very, very quickly. Guilt is pressing on me so much right now. I just want him to look back when he is 20 and say, "man, my dad was a hard worker but he always had time for me." I want my actions to communicate to my children just how precious they really are. It is very hard to balance time with them, with Cindy and with my clients.

That about sums it up. Oh yeah, and glad I didn't buy Facebook stock. Good night.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Best People for My Business

I am discovering that the best supporters of my business are other Realtors that do a lousy job. Seriously, people become giddy when they meet a Realtor that ACTUALLY wants to help them achieve their goals and is COMPETENT enough to do that. I know there are lots of other good Realtors out there but I also know there are a whole bunch of Realtors that either lack the knowledge, the critical thinking or the work ethic to be a truly effective advocate for their clients. Those Realtors help make me look good. Please don't misunderstand, I am not arrogant. I am confident. I know that I do a good job because I WORK at doing a good job. I ask questions, I constantly learn, I dig in and do the work at odd hours because it is what my clients need. Not everyone does that.

I also know that my profession is not the only one where this phenomenon happens. I am sure there are others within your chosen profession that are really good and motivated and there are some that just plain stink at what they have, for whatever reason, chosen to do. I challenge you to be the one that benefits from the lousy colleagues. I tell people pretty often that I don't mind being their second choice if the first one doesn't work out. Probably 50% of the time, I get my shot. The cool thing is that those people are clients for life because they have seen bad service first hand and, most importantly, followed that up with good service.

Please share your experiences with either bad or good service. What makes service either bad or good in your book? Do you share your bad experiences with others? Most importantly, do you share your good experiences with others? If you get great service, you return the favor by talking about the provider and recommending him or her. Don't forget that!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Financial Responsibility

Most of you know how I feel about government involvement in the economy and the like. Even so, I would like to spark a conversation. This is not a conversation about Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives or Liberals. I don't really care for the tags. I am more interested in doing the responsible thing and finding the best solution for a problem. In that, I may have to give some stuff up but so might you and your neighbor.

I taught high school economics for 3 years. We always started the semester with a discussion of wants and needs and then transitioned into a discussion of The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. I always found it interesting that high school seniors sometimes had a tough time distinguishing wants from needs. I will look at this in a moment, back to the Adam Smith book. One of the main themes of this book is that if each individual does what is best for himself, the group benefits. In other words, if everyone looks out for themselves, the group doesn't have to help and thus the whole group flourishes. I used to think it was that simple. Now I am seeing how much more complicated it is.

I can take care of myself to some extent. I am greatly aided by the group as well. For example, I could go cut down a tree on my property and sell it. I am aided by the group in that I have roads to help me transport that tree to my buyer. For the most part, I don't have to worry about someone killing me and stealing my tree because I have police protection. I also have the benefit of a stable monetary system (which is a whole other argument but for this illustration it is a benefit) that allows us to have a medium with which to conduct business. Just in that little example, I am aided by three different entities, at three different levels of government (state or municipality for the roads, municipality or county for the police, federal for the money). Did I sell that tree on my own?

At the same time, I am utilizing vehicles already in place that enable me to take care of myself. It was my entrepreneurial spirit that told me to cut the tree, set a price and sell it. It was me that did the work and it was me that reaps the benefits. Should a portion of my reward be required to go to someone who chose not to work or to an entity that wastes money like a crazy person? It's truly a tough call. I did what's best for myself, I am not a burden on the group but I benefit from the group.

On the flip side, there are people who cannot care for themselves. What do we do with them? Is it private charity that should care for them? Is it government that should care for them? Is it individuals that should care for them? Should anyone care for them? I don't know the right answer here. I tend to think the private sector would do a better job if they didn't have the government crutch saying they will just handle it but I have no evidence of that.

I still think that less government involvement is best and I can't stand the thought of a "benevolent" government that is there to care for and nurture it's citizens. That makes me very uncomfortable. If they care so much for us then they start to have a say in our liberties, just like our parents did. That said, I certainly see the need for safety nets. I just don't want those safety nets to become comfortable cocoons for lazy people on my dime.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

No is a very difficult word. I have a hard time hearing it but I have a harder time saying it. I end up overloading my schedule/life because I can't seem to use this tiny, one syllable, two letter word. Part of it is that I want to please people. Part of it is I don't want to "miss out on something." Both are terrible excuses.

Think about this from a basic economic principle, every decision has trade-offs. When you choose to do one thing with your resource (time, money, brainpower, etc.), it is impossible to do something else with that exact resource. How you allocate your resources is called budgeting. This principle is so very important when you are a dad with a very demanding job. Every minute I choose to work is a minute I don't spend with my kids, my wife, my friends. This is ok if I am aware of it and make those decisions consciously. The problems arise when work becomes a compulsion or when I am addicted to "yes." The issue is further complicated by extra activities--church, friends, other family, hobbies, Facebook, etc. Every time I choose those items, I DON'T choose the rest of them. Prioritization is essential. Inability to say "no" is devastating.

How do you say no? How do you prioritize? Are there some tricks you can share to make this easier?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Jesus Fish

So this blog is really one big long question that I hope leads to a discussion. Here is the question and I will follow that with a discussion starter. What is your opinion of people that try to leverage their faith in the marketplace? In other words, what is your reaction to someone that advertises they are a Christian and uses Bible verses, "spiritual talk" (God has blessed me, have a blessed day, etc.) and the like in their advertising, sales pitch or even on their business cards?

I see it fairly often in the real estate business--"use me because I am a Christian and I will act with integrity because I am a Christian" or they have the Jesus fish on their cards or they have a Bible verse on their website--front and center. I also come across people in industries that work alongside Realtors (lenders, inspectors, etc.) that try to leverage their faith into the business transaction somehow.

I am a Christian. I like being a Christian and I am not shy about being a Christian. I will share my faith with anyone willing to listen. That said, I am not going to shove it down your throat and I don't really want you doing the same (or worse) with whatever you choose to believe. Honestly, I am very hesitant to use anyone that feels compelled to advertise their faith in a manner that seems to be directed at attracting business. I would rather find out about their faith by the service provider's actions. If you have to put it on your card or website in order for people to figure it out, are you really living it? When I see that, I instantly think of Pharisees praying on corners and flaunting their faith. Maybe I am too harsh.

Here is the rub though, I know that there are some incredibly strong Christians out there that do this. I feel like, unfortunately they are slighted by being lumped in with the bad apples. Bottom line is, for me (and I can only speak for me), seeing the advertising with Christian symbols, verses, etc. front and center instantly makes me question their motives and instantly makes me suspicious. Maybe I am not strong enough in my own faith. Maybe I am too cynical. I actually count "the Jesus fish" in business as a downside. Don't misunderstand me, I like working with other Christians, I just don't want to work with Pharisees. Show me your faith, don't just tell me you have it.

What do you think? When you hear an advertisement or see it on a business card what is your reaction (if any)? Do you trust someone who puts their faith out there like that? Do you think there are better ways to express and share your faith in the business world? How do you think God wants us to share our faith in the business world? Please share your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Overbooking ourselves

I am an overbooker. I will pretty much always try to cram more in a span of time than I could possibly actually accomplish. It is not necessarily in any given time frame, just in general. For example, right now I have 10 active listings, 5 pending contracts, an 8 month old, a 5 year old that WANTS to be with me, a wife that wants me around AND a fireworks tent that is very demanding of my time and attention. I am also trying to get one of my houses rented out. To say that I am busy is an understatement. I was busy before the fireworks tent. Why do I do this? One reason is that I enjoy it. I enjoy the activity and the people. The other reason is that I have a hard time turning down "opportunity".

The problem is that I forget to pay attention to the opportunities that don't ask, they just exist--like my 5 year old. I forget that he is only 5 once and he only loves his daddy like a 5 year old once. Soon he will think I am old and out of touch and know nothing. Soon he will only love me for my keys and wallet. Now he loves me just because I am his dad and his ultimate super hero. I have to make time for him and for my wife and my daughter. Everything else is a waste if I squander these "ever present" opportunities.

What's my point other than the self-guilt trip? Don't overbook yourself on things that don't matter in the end. Make it a priority to include those that matter the most in your plans. And finally, do as I say, not as I do. I am guilty of taking my family for granted in the name of "I have to work" but I am trying to do better.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


"Wise men don't need advice, fools won't take it." -Ben Franklin (allegedly)
People and advice. Can be a volatile combination. Often people are terrible at taking it, even worse about giving it and downright ornery when you don't take it. I am offering some observations and some commentary on this common topic of conversation.

Have you ever noticed how quickly people offer advice, even when it is not solicited? People offer advice for all kinds of reasons. Maybe they were asked for the advice. They, may think they have something valuable to contribute to one's situation. They may get a sense of self importance from being "in the know." Offering advice may give them some kind of validation of their own past trials and tribulations. For some it may completely altruistic, i.e. they truly just want to help.

Then there is the person receiving the advice. So often the receiver has in the front of their mind "this person cannot possibly understand my situation. I am so unique that no one has ever experienced this." The fact is, most likely, you are not that unique. OR, more accurately, you are unique, just like everyone else. In other words, there are not a lot of truly unique, never-before-seen experiences out there. As for your everyday trials, most likely, someone you know has been there. Also, we tend to devalue the wisdom that experience brings. We feel like someone is just preaching to us or is just enjoying themselves talking. Then the receiver completely discredits the advice.

Finally, my favorite is the reaction of the giver after the taker didn't listen to them. "Well, I told them what to do. I don't know why they didn't listen," typically in a very high and mighty tone. I am very guilty of this. I told them exactly what to do and they didn't do any of it. Now look where they are (and boy don't people hate being told "I told you so"). I sometimes forget that I got that wisdom by screwing up. I discount the lesson of pain. Without pain it is very difficult for some people to learn a lesson. I want to help them avoid pain but I forget how it helps.

So why do I write about this? Well, I am in the advice business. People frequently ask my opinion on things. Most of the time I give pretty sound advice. I also see friends do things in my field of expertise that do not seek my advice. I see them do it wrong all too often (not that I am right 100% of the time, but there are some basic things I ALWAYS do right and many Realtors do not). I want to give my advice, not to get their business necessarily but to help them out of their personal tight spot. I know that my advice, especially unsolicited, will be construed as attempted business stealing but I still feel compelled to give it. Most of the time I do not but I really want to. Can anyone else relate to this? I find it so hard to keep my mouth shut.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ok, so this is dangerous but...

I love politics and I love religion. I love studying the two topics and digging into the histories, the "whys" and the "hows". I love finding peoples' motivations. I love discussing the two topics in face to face, civilized conversation. I typically do not love writing about the topics in my blog. It is entirely too easy for people to misconstrue what I say because the blog lacks tone and inflection. It is also much easier for someone to say something hurtful because not having a face in front of you allows greater boldness. That said, I do sometimes tread into these topics. This is one of those weeks. I can't help it. This topic has been on my mind since Saturday and since my blog is mostly for my own therapy...

So, this particular blog entry will be dealing with Christianity. Specifically it will be dealing with the "old law" and how it relates to my faith. If this is offensive to you, please stop reading now. If you plan on commenting about how all Christians are hypocrites and stupid to believe in some man in the sky, please refrain. If you plan to say that I am some kind of hate mongering, whatever "-ist", please don't speak to me anymore. I think that covers it. If you choose to disagree with me and would like to comment on why you disagree, that is great. I will read and respond lovingly and civilly. Just keep it on topic.

Thanks and enjoy.

How the "old law" relates to my faith.

On Sunday morning I taught the high school group at church. For the past several weeks we have been looking at 1 Timothy. This week I was assigned to teach on chapter 1, verse 8-whatever I wanted. I stopped with verse 8, "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly." That was the basis of my lesson. I have always wondered about this--If we are Christians, we are under the new covenant created by Jesus and we are no longer bound by the law. If that is the case, why is it still in the Bible? I did some research online and found a really great lesson outline on this topic. In this outline, the author said that the old law serves as a "mirror of perfection" ( and that its sole purpose in New Testament Christianity is to remind us of how much we fall short. In other words, it is there to go right against the mindset of "I am a good person and God is love anyway." God is love, but he is also perfect and his laws are perfect and unchanging. What changed is the opportunity we have for atonement.

Basically, the old law (as found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are there to remind us that we are nowhere near perfect and thus need a savior. In other words, the law leads us to Christ. A person cannot know they need directions unless they know they are lost. A person cannot desire to escape unless they know they are trapped. You can't ask for a pardon unless you know you are guilty. You can't need a savior until you know you have sin.

This mindset has massive implications in pop culture. One of popular things to do is to use the "absurdity" of the old testament law to justify modern pet sins. The beauty is that we are NOT under that law. It is still perfect and so is God but since Christ fulfilled it, he is sufficient and we are free from it. That said, it still convicts us. It still is the perfect plan that we fall short of, thus the reason we NEED Christ. The next popular thing to do is to present Christianity in an "incomplete" light. So many Christians present Christianity as "a better way to live" and that the Christian life is just plain better. I am here to say that sometimes that is 100% false. Sometimes it is harder. Sometimes it flat out stinks. If we evangelize just based on Christianity being easier or better, we have fallen short and we will lose new Christians. We have to use some of the old tactics. In other words, "here is God's standard of perfection. You fall short (and I do to) because you are a sinner. All sinners go to Hell unless they are forgiven by Christ." In the meantime, I believe that the Christian life may not be easier or more fun, but it is more fulfilling and it does provide comfort in ways that no other "way of life" can. It also gives purpose to events that are otherwise meaningless. AND I have a huge family that loves me because I am me and He is God. That is the power of the old testament law. It completes the purpose of Christianity--better way to live, best way to exit the world.

My point is simple. Christians, do not discredit the old law. It serves a powerful purpose for us NOW. It is God's standard of perfection. It is what convicts us. It does show us just how profoundly lost we are and how much we NEED Christ.

Other verses to check out:
Galatians 3:24-25
Romans 3:20
Romans 7:7
Psalm 19:7

Since I am on the subject anyway, I want to vent another religious pet peeve of mine. It bugs me to no end when people say "don't judge me" because of the way they act. They say this in such a way as to insinuate that God does not want people on Earth to make judgement calls as to what appropriate behavior is. This is so not true. God's command on not judging is for us not to look at someone and say to them that the act they committed is sending them to Hell. He absolutely wants us to use judgement and to judge people. He wants us to warn our fellow humans that the body of acts they commit are contrary to his law. He wants us to recognize sin in ourselves and in others and warn them to repent and to repent ourselves. We cannot make the "final call" so to speak but we sure can, and have been commanded to, tell others that they are sinners and need a savior. That said, there is a tactful and loving way to do this and, though I don't think we are commanded to be tactful about it, it makes sense to approach the subject when we are in a position to do it lovingly. I'm just tired of people putting earthly filters on God's commands.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Lie I Never Addressed

So, I had this series of blogs I wrote a few months back called "Great American Lies". In that series I rambled on about various lies built into our culture. It was a good series and got lots of comments. I'm sure not everyone agreed with me and that's what made it fun. It also got me started blogging on a regular basis instead of randomly. I have a few lies that did not make the first series and I will write on them sporadically if nothing else interests me on a given Wednesday. Today I am going to write about the lie that "you can be anything you want to be."

This is a lie that starts at our very core. America is the "Land of Opportunity" and as such, we believe that someone can dream big and make it bigger. The problem with this lie is that it is so very incomplete. In other words, there are LOTS of caveats to this statement. "Want" is not enough. You must identify the small steps to make it to your end result. You must work through the inevitable setbacks. You must gain the skill, education, experience, credentials, friends or whatever to make it to that final goal. In other words, you can't be anything you just "want" to be.

I find it interesting/annoying also that some folks look down on people that arrive at a destination in life because of a friend or family name. Some people do have a better launching platform than others. For some the journey to "what they want to be" is much shorter. One of the beautiful things about this lie is that there is some truth in it, though. It IS possible for someone with nothing to be something spectacular--IF and only IF they are willing to make the sacrifices, do the work, make the connections, take the risk, chart the path and again, do the work to get there. It is absolutely possible for someone raised in poverty to become a brain surgeon or a major politician or whatever. WE OURSELVES make this more difficult by holding onto the lie that all we have to do is "want" to be something.

Then we really mess things up when we look at this lie as a lie but from the wrong angle. What I mean is that some people identify this as a lie by saying, "In America, you can't be anything you want to be because you are _______" and they fill in that blank with anything from a specific race to a specific religion or "not from a certain family" or whatever. They identify this as a lie but they miss what the lie actually is.  The lie is in the statement's incompleteness, it is not actually a lie in and of itself. You CAN be anything you want to be IF you are willing to work for it. Call it a lie of omission.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Odd Day of Reflection

I have a problem sometimes. I get in a rut of remembering strange events from my past. It's almost like an earworm (random song gets stuck in your head and you hear it in your head over and over and over and over) only with memories. I have had a collossal "Day of Reflection" over the past 24 hours. Just random memories flooding my brain. I will post a few of those in rapid fire fashion now. Hopefully this will be therapeutic. I will not publish names unless they are essential to the story.
  • My little brother once strangled me so hard I puked. I was probably 12 or so. I had been aggravating him (nothing new) and he turned demon on me. I ran. He ran faster and jumped on my back and strangled me till I almost lost consciousness and then I threw up. I deserved it.
  • I had this old Lincoln Continental. Technically it was my dad's but really, it was mine. Especially after I tried to take out a fire hydrant with it and left a "little scratch" on it. He paid $800 for the car so its not like it was a huge loss but still. That car had no driver's window. It also had no upper door frame so we had to tape in a piece of plexiglass. This meant I had to crawl across from the passenger side to get in and out. Classy. I got pulled over in it once and couldn't roll the window down. The officer yelled at me then felt sorry for me. We got 14 people in that car once. It was better than cramming a telephone booth because we could drive to Waffle House.
  • I once took cops to Eric Brown's house because of the way I drove through town. He was not happy. We were going to a church devotional and the cops showed up.
  • I admit it. I rolled people--several people. I'm not ready to name specifics but, if you knew me fairly well and got rolled from 1995-1998 or so, it was probably me.
  • We lost a kid one time rolling someone. A car was coming so we all hid. He hid better than the rest of us and we couldn't find him for like 10 minutes.
  • I used to jump my old Lincoln and a Ford Taurus I had "Dukes of Hazzard" style at the Smyrna Rescue squad, the railroad tracks on McNickle and the two hills that I later nearly killed myself on out on Rock Springs Road. In the Taurus a kid got chocolate milk all over the headliner because he didn't know what was coming at the Rescue Squad. I always dodged the question when my dad asked me what was on the headliner. It was chocolate milk
  • I once asked a girl "out" by playing the song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" by the Ramones. I broke up with that same girl by playing "Free Bird". Man was I lame.
  • I once pulled a knife on a guy that would later be my best friend. His dad came down to my house and talked to my dad. I was in HUGE trouble but I deserved it--and then some. Sorry about that, Daniel.
  • I had this hat, this fisherman's hat with a bunch of buttons on it. Honestly, it was really dumb but I thought it was the coolest thing EVER. I wore it all the time. I used to trade the buttons with TGI Friday's waiters.
  • I decided to bleach my hair one time. I bleached it too light and the chemicals actually burned my scalp and left scabs. I am pretty sure that was a main contributing factor to my baldness.
  • I never could climb that stupid A-frame at Meribah. Yes, chaperones, it was me, Bobby, Daniel, Chris and Brandon that raided the kitchen that night.
  • I got kicked out of the cabin by the other kids at the very first church retreat I ever went to. Daniel and I had to sleep on the dock at Guntersville. It was awesome though.
Would love to hear some of your short memories that flood your mind sometimes. Confession is good for the soul and good for a little laugh too.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Media Bias

You know it is funny, liberals and conservatives alike accuse media outlets of showing bias toward the other side. Liberals claim that talk radio and Fox news is slanted toward the right and is therefore not trustworthy. Conservatives always use the term the "MASS media" is heavily liberal slanted. I would say that ALL media shows bias, favoritism, preference, whatever you want to call it. The thing is, I think our society has missed the picture on HOW the bias is shown.

Many will say that reporters show bias in the words they use to describe events and the inflection they use. This may be true but it is not the most dangerous form of bias. I say it is not the most dangerous because it is fairly easy to recognize and see through. Others will say that the length of time a news story is on shows bias. Again, this is true but still not the most dangerous bias.

In my opinion, the most dangerous bias is when a news organization chooses NOT to report certain stories. Obviously there is so much going on that there is no way a single outlet can cover EVERYTHING. That means they have to be selective about what gets aired and how much time it gets. When an outlet spends 5 minutes covering some story about a Hollywood celebrity and spends 15 seconds or no time at all covering the true picture behind unemployment numbers and people pulling themselves out of the workforce, there is something seriously wrong, slanted and even irresponsible about that outlet. What the media DOESN'T say is far more biased than anything they actually report.

I challenge you to be a conscientious consumer of media. Take in multiple streams of news, from multiple sources--including the ones that are known to be "slanted." Once you take them in, dig deeper in the stories that could have been slanted or the ones that interest you. If the TV news story draws outrage from you, chances are you need to dig deeper. It was probably written in such a way as to evoke that emotion. It is probably at least a little slanted. Take a few extra moments to try to be informed and not just spoon fed by the media.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I posed the question to the college students at my church last Sunday. What is budgeting? I see budgeting very simply--allocation of a finite resource. Notice I did not impose any qualifiers here--I did not say "proper allocation" or "wise allocation"--just allocation. We all budget. Some of us do it poorly, some of us do it accidentally, some of us do it well. Then again, some of us do it in such a way that others think we do it poorly but it works perfectly well for us. I write this blog to inspire thought. This particular entry is to inspire thought about how you budget your most valuable resource--yourself.

Budgeting money is pretty simple. You have a list of bills, you have a set amount of income and you pay the bills. Whatever is left, you apply to other "wants." That's basically it. Granted, sometimes we have more month than we have money but the concept is simple. Budgeting yourself can be MUCH more tricky. What do I mean by budgeting myself? I have the capacity to accomplish so much per day. Part of that capacity is my time. I am allotted 24 hours in a day. Part of that capacity is my energy--mental, physical, and emotional. I also have certain obligations, appointments and relationships to keep. Those are basically my "bills" for the 24 hour "pay cycle" (stick with my analogy here). I have to decide how I am going to "spend" my 24 hours worth of capacity. If I know I have a particularly difficult (mentally) activity in the day, I may want to look at taking it easier at night. If I have a tough day physically at work, I might not want to schedule a competitive game of racquetball after work. You get the idea. The challenge is to budget yourself. Try not to drift through life accidentally. Get more out of life by applying some real basic budgeting skills. Also, beware of people that "bust your budget." Don't get caught in the Ponzi scheme of life. Some people are just there to waste your time, your emotion, your brainpower and never put anything back in the tank.
How do you budget yourself? What are some methods you use to budget yourself? Do you even think budgeting yourself is important?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Makes the Best Realtor?

I like Ralph Bristol. I don't always agree with him but I like his demeanor and I like that he takes phone calls. I like his ability to explain things in a very common sense, grandparent-ly sort of way. He did say something the other day though that provoked a little bit of thought. I would love to get your feedback on this topic also.

So Ralph says (in an advertisement for a Realtor), "I know he is the best Realtor because the best Realtor sells the most houses." Is this true? Does the best Realtor sell the most houses? If not, what makes someone the best Realtor? I have my opinions but I would really, really like to read yours first.

This is NOT some ploy to make me look good by the way. I really want your opinions on here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


This is a topic I am pretty passionate about. This blog could even make you feel like I am calling you out. Maybe I am.

I hear so many people gripe about how much the government gives away and how the government gets too involved in private life and over reaches. I don't disagree with the people that gripe about it. My question, however, is this--What are you doing to decrease the perceived need for all this government involvement?

Sometimes the government gets involved in areas of need because no one else will. In other words, some politician sees or hears about something that needs to be addressed and no one is doing it. They adopt it as their little project so they can stick a feather in their own cap and VOILA--more government involvement. Once that occurs, good luck getting them UNinvolved. What if there was nothing for them to stick their nose in because the private citizens were already taking care of business? What if every hungry person, every homeless person, every sick person, every "at-risk" child were already taken care of by churches, community groups, civic organizations, individuals, and private charities? What if every citizen of means was involved in his or her community to the point where the government had no people to "rescue."

I know it is fantasy and a dream world but still, we can start on it. YOU can start on it. Look at how you spend your time. Do you spend any time at all caring for other people besides yourself and your immediate family? Don't misunderstand me, those are obviously the most important people for you to care for. If you don't do at least that, you become a burden. But if you have that down, how much more could you do? I reconnected with a former student that is currently deeply involved in our community. She is working tirelessly with kids and adults in one of the most notorious parts of Smyrna (yes, there are some notorious parts of Smyrna). She saw a need and jumped in to help. She did not see the need and wring her hands wondering when the government was going to take over. Why did she do this? Because it feels good to engage your community and it IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

I challenge you--go find something in your community to get involved with. If you need help, let me know. I can point you in several directions. Give them a few hours a week. I know you are busy and you value time with your kids and all that. Take them with you. They will benefit more than you know. Quit being a spectator and complainer and engage, participate, build your/our community.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Team Edward/Team Jacob

Humans are funny. We like to "pick sides." We like to be on the winning side--unless there's a compelling underdog. This phenomenon transcends gender, age, generation, ethnicity, race and every other category you can think of. It is obvious in the most trivial things and in the life and death situations. And what's even more crazy, we get REALLY passionate about it. We make t-shirts (team Edward or team Jacob), shed tears, make signs (picture every rally, demonstration, etc.), riot (so many big cities after a major sporting event) and even take up arms. Why do we as humans do this?

I think it feels good to belong to something. It is good to be important and it is great to feel "right." It's also fun to be "in the know" and in the "in crowd." So when the Titans win the Super Bowl, I feel great because I've always been a fan and I feel like I am a part of their success (I'm not, by the way). When people join "Team Jacob" they publicly profess their opinions about a wildly successful story line. They proclaim that they would have chosen Jacob over Edward. This frames them as sympathizing with the tragic hero. The lovable underdog (pun intended) that has a seriously messed up problem with love.

Sometimes the side choosing is for a little more of a significant cause, like politics (I know, the significant tag is arguable). We have a passionate opinion about the right way to do something. We look for a leader to represent our opinion and then throw our support behind that leader. And we get pretty dang passionate about it. We forget that the other side is made up of fellow humans who have passionate opinions just like us. We forget that, ultimately, both sides are attempting to do what they feel is "right." We marginalize the human and push the opinion to the forefront. This makes it easy for us to justify our unacceptable actions as just the means to get our "right" point across.

What is my point? Simple, before you get so wrapped up in being right, don't forget that you are human and so is the other side. Be civil. Be compassionate (not just passionate). Be nice! Also, take a moment to think about your opinion. Is it really as important as your pending actions are going to paint it?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Professional Tolerance

First let me say that this blog is not directed at anyone or any specific situation, its just a topic that has been on my mind.

I don't know why people put up with some of the crap that they get from "professionals". It blows my mind sometimes some of the stories I hear. My philosophy is simple, if you hire me to do a job, I am going to ALWAYS try to work as hard for you as I am capable. I consider it a privilege for someone to hire me when there are literally thousands of choices. As a service to my fellow service providers, I have compiled a list of rules to follow. I know many of you won't do this, but at least I am trying to help you help yourselves.

7 Basic rules for excellent customer service:
1) Communicate. Find out how your client likes to communicate and use that medium. Remember that communication is a 2 way street. Just because you are blasting your client with emails, does not mean you are communicating if they never check their email.
2) Don't be afraid of your client. It is never fun to share bad news but it is necessary. If you messed up, own it and come up with a way to move past it. If something happened outside your control, find out why and be ready to explain it. Either way, tell the client!!
3) Be grateful for the business. I look at listings sometimes and I wonder how in the world some Realtors make any money. They are obviously not grateful for the business. If they were, they would do a much better job. Eliminate typos, use a full arsenal of methods (whatever is appropriate for your industry) and NEVER STOP learning how to make yourself better.
4) Remember that you are an employee. Be humble and don't get so full of yourself that you think you are above making mistakes. My clients catch things sometimes that I miss. Its ok to make the mistake, just don't be a jerk about fixing it.
5) Get fulfillment from a job well done. I sit back sometimes and look at the body of work I do for a single client and feel good about it. I know that I have given them my all and that they will benefit from my work. It makes me happy. Find out how to have those moments
6) Do more listening than talking at first. Hear what your client is saying. Listen to their expectations. Tune in to their needs and personalities. It will help you out in the long run.
7) Tell the truth no matter what. I have lost business by telling the truth. I will tell you what your home is worth. Sometimes you don't like what I tell you. I won't lie to you and I will do the research to back up what I say. Other Realtors will tell you what you want to hear just to get a listing. Then they will pressure you to lower the price. That's not right. Of course this practice is common in all fields. In the long run, the liar never wins.

So there they are. If you have some to add, feel free.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Payments and Why, a Two Part Blog

One of my favorite US myths is that you will always have payments, specifically credit card and car payments. I often wonder who started this myth and why it has been perpetuated. I do not have a car payment and I do not have a credit card. I do have some debt but it is 100% tied to real estate. I am not better than anyone else out there. I just decided that I will NOT always have a car payment or credit card payment. I made that decision because it provides freedom.

There are lots of myths out there. I have written about many of them. One surefire way to identify a myth is to look for absolutes--you will always have a car payment. Before you blindly believe things like this, don't be afraid to ask, "why?"

Part 2
"Why?" is a dangerous question for some folks. It challenges the status quo. It makes you stop and think about your actions. It may even make you realize that you don't know why. That means you have been doing something blindly, like sheep. That makes you uncomfortable. I love "why?" If I can't come up with a good reason, then the answer has to be preference or tradition (pretty much). I am ok with those answers if, and only if, you are ok with giving me those as the reasons. If you have thought about it and your requirements are your requirements because of your preference, great. I am for it. If I want whatever it is from you, I have to go with your preference. Whats dangerous, however, is when you tell me to do something, I ask "Why?" and you have no idea. I am not ok with that. That means the action is up for debate or adjustment.

I asked "Why?" all the time growing up and I used to get frustrated with my parents for saying things like "because I said so." That was never good enough for me. Give me a reason. Even if the reason truly is, "no reason, just my preference." I think it is lazy to not give a why. Believe me, I catch myself now saying "because I said so" to my son. I acknowledge that it is laziness.

When folks ask you "why?", don't be offended, don't feel like they are challenging your authority. Perhaps they are building their own basis for understanding and trying to use you as a role model. Most kids build their sense of morality, right and wrong, from their parents. Finding out the motivation for things--the "why?" is an absolutely essential part of this moral code. Not just that you do something but why you do it is very important.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


So this morning I was contemplating what to write and I thought about expectations. Specifically, the power of expectations and the role expectations play in shaping our culture, our lives, our experiences. You may not ever really give much thought to the idea of expectations but they are always present, shading your every move. 99% of the time they are subconscious, only rising to the surface when they are NOT met. For example, your boss is a jerk. You go to work expecting to be mad at him or her. Guess what, you get mad at him or her. No surprise, you expected it to be that way. But what if the jerk boss surprised you with an encouraging word, a raise, a promotion, a cupcake or something like that. Your expectation would NOT be met and it would certainly shade the experience. Perhaps you would change your opinion of your boss, perhaps you would expect the hammer to fall at some point. Those expectations turned something fairly ordinary into an event shaded with fear, suspicion, elation, contemplation or some other emotion simply because what you expected to happen did not happen. Keep this in mind, we have lots of names for expectations--fear, anxiety, anticipation, restlessness, motivation, etc. Different names, but the same thing tied to differing emotions.

Expectations are super important in my line of work. When I meet with a buyer for the first time it is essential that I find out what their expectations are. See, they may have set their expectations from gathering information from sources like Trulia or Zillow. These sources are notoriously incorrect. They may have set their expectations from a previous experience with another Realtor. I need to find out if that Realtor was competent, a good communicator, etc. They may have set their expectations from the national media. If thats the case, then I have a TON of work to do! Regardless, I have to find out "where they are coming from" in order to best serve them. My goal is always to exceed their expectations, or at least meet them. I never want to fall short. Why? Because expecations color the experience and determine whether or not they will become fans. Most importantly, I am in the service industry. If I didn't meet or exceed my clients' expectations, what did I really even do for them?

So, how do I do this. Number 1, I simply ask them. What do you intend to happen? How much do you intend to spend? What kind of time frame are we dealing with? What information have you already gathered? From where? Have you purchased a home before? Was it a pleasant experience? You get the idea. For sellers, it is basically the same thing, just a little more in depth about the specific home and financial situation.

What other ways do expectations cloud our perceptions? How about in the dating arena? Like it or not our parents' relationship often sets our expectations. Our intake of media sets expectations. Our friends set expectations. Be very careful in relationships to acknowledge where your expectations come from and if they are worthwhile expectations. Often, they are not. They are unrealistic, unhealthy and unattainable. I'm not saying to lower your criteria, but rather to simply look at it from a holistic perspective.

Think about some areas of your life where your expectations hold you back. How about your spiritual life? Are you afraid to go to church because you expect the people there to be judgemental? Totally understandable but unhealthy. What about your job? Just because you never got a promotion does not mean you won't be promoted. BUT, you definitely won't be promoted if you go through your job everyday expecting that the boss hates you.

I would love to hear about how your expectations held you back and you overcame those. I would also challenge you to identify and to challenge the expectations in your life that might be detrimental. Have a great week.