Guest Blogger Ben Avery – How To Live An Extraordinary Life TODAY!

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Lake Champlain Sunset (Photo by Ben Avery)

I’m so excited to have one of my employees and friends take over the blog this week! I’m proud of my team for stepping up and sharing their words of wisdom and even more proud of them for living a life by design. I love hearing their different perspectives about how to create a life and career that they love. Take it away Ben! 


An extraordinary life. What does that even mean? Is it about wealth? Is it about time? Is it about personal satisfaction? The answer is… YES! However, many people make the mistake of thinking it’s about one of these things and chase it exclusively (often times wealth), when in actuality, the magic is in the moderation and combination of all of them.

I am a very active social media user and enjoy recording and sharing my life with family and friends. Comments I get from others on a regular basis often surround being asked how do we do it? Specifically, how do we do it ALL? I am an executive at an Adam Hergenrother Companies subsidiary, my wife is the Vice President of a tech company and we have four kids (our entire existence is a “redline”), yet we always seem to be everywhere we want to be, all the time, and from a life experience standpoint, we leave nothing on the table!

Now don’t get me wrong, hard work and professional success is the foundation (in my opinion). Anyone who works for Adam can attest that leaning in at 120% is the standard and from that effort comes freedom – both financial freedom and freedom with our time. We’ve all hear the term “work hard play hard”, but many of us lose sight of the fact that the “play hard” part of that is supposed to be somewhat proportionate.

Let’s break down the three pillars of an extraordinary life:

Wealth —> This is often the one that I see people get wrong. Chasing a number is just that – most people who chase numbers never actually catch them. While blue sky thinking is critical to growth, it’s also just a fundamental reality that we can’t all be billionaires. Sure, we all sometimes put crazy stuff on our vision boards, but I would challenge you to rethink that goal or idea into one that you can strategize how to get (maybe instead of dreaming about the Gulfstream 650, you should prioritize your lessons and flight hours starting TODAY, while browsing the internet for the cost of a used Cessna 180). This thinking will help you actually get ON the path of your goal, while matching today’s budget. Oh yeah, and instead of talking about it, you will be DOING it (using the above example, any pilot will tell you, flying is flying).

Don’t get me wrong, you need to have financial goals and you need to make every effort required to meet them. I am just a proponent of matching those financial goals to realistic and executable dreams and ideas that can enrich your life today as well as tomorrow. Most financial advisers (and our CFO) would shoot me for even suggesting this, but if you look at spending 10% of your income on enriching your life TODAY (FYI you should be saving 10% or more for the future as well), you might find yourself doing the things you want to (scaled to income of course) and chipping away at your bucket list starting today, not 30 years from now. This can mean travel, athletics, boating, fishing, whatever! I do this and it has obviously grown over the years, but my wife and I consider it a cost of doing business, a baseline for extraordinary!

How do we cover that cost offset? Well, we make compromises in other parts of our life about what we really need and what is important. Probably the number one area to evaluate is shelter and transportation. Being “house poor” and or capping that decision with a brand-new Lexus can quickly eat up the ability to chase those extraordinary dreams. Unless of course your goals are to sit in that beautiful home while looking at the Lexus in the driveway, then you’re winning! For example, we have a beautiful home, that we have been in for 15 years and renovated (out of pocket) along the way. It’s not new, but the annual cost of it is less than 10% of our income. I still have the Mercedes, but did you know that when you buy one a few years old with 50,000 miles on it you get a roughly 70% discount? Moderation is the key… I could easily eat up my lifestyle budget with a bigger house and brand new car, neither of which I really need.

Time —> This one is critical! While many of us can create some kind of budget, few actually take the TIME to do the things they want to do. We spend a ton of professional time figuring our scheduling, allocation, prioritization and all of the things that go into effective time management. Then when we go home, what happens? Many people will procrastinate, make excuses, be lazy… if we did that at work we would be in trouble! Why are we willing to do it to ourselves? So many people I know will make up excuses of why they can’t do something on the weekend because of menial tasks (clean out the garage, a trip to Costco, etc…).  If you become purposeful about those tasks, you can create the time to get out in the world and experience the things that you truly want to do! Power through Costco on a Tuesday after work, make the garage a purposeful family task at 7am on a rainy Saturday, don’t waste the warm sunny weekend when you could be at the lake! Another big family excuse is kid’s sports. I can’t tell you how many times people let a 1 hour soccer game eat their day. I’m not saying quit soccer, I am saying be purposeful about how you approach the day and you might find that you can actually do brunch with friends, catch the game and make it for sunset on the boat all in the same day (trust me, accomplish that and your friends who haven’t figured this out will look at you like a hero). If budget allows, create time by hiring a housekeeper and/or a lawn service. The 4-6 hours a week that is freed up can be spent taking a hike, or a bike ride, or enjoying lazy afternoon cocktails with friends – anything. Those are just a few examples, but basically speaking, there is a “business” and a “pleasure” side to our personal lives, get purposeful about the business part!

Ok… So now you’ve created the time and budget, now how to execute. PULL THE TRIGGER!!! The concept here is to DO things, not think about them (that’s what you used to do). My wife is terrible about this, which is why I am the planner and I execute. Enter Google alerts for low price airfare, choose easy locations, actually USE the airline miles and hotel points as opposed to hoarding them, where can you drive to in under 5 hours? So much of what we chase is right at our fingertips, yet we don’t grab it. If you are coming from a place like Vermont, a long weekend at the beach is very good for your Vitamin D and your marriage, or a weekend in New York or Montreal can be an exciting adventure!

The long weekend is a magical thing. I have numerous friends that blow $5,000-$10,000 on a big summer vacation (I find the big vacation stressful, but that’s another blog post). For that budget I can take a long weekend every other month all year long! These little nuggets accomplish the goal of recharging your batteries without really having to disconnect from the rest of your world. My thing is Florida in the Winter. I book a 4:00pm flight on Wednesday then plan to work remotely from say 6am-10am Thursday and Friday mornings to keep things moving along professionally. Now I have really only lost a day of work (maybe) and I’m home late Sunday and back at it Monday morning. I’m not going to Disney or staying at the Delano, but wow do I feel relaxed and recharged! Another secret is the “staycation”. We are huge advocates of this, in part because you don’t lose travel days and it’s easy to control costs. In the summer it is endless days on our boat with family and friends and in the winter its condo rentals at our home mountain (we are avid skiers). Since we already have passes and we can hit Costco before checking in, our winter “ski” vacations are VERY economical, we split with another family and often have a 5 day rental for less than $500 on our end. Be creative, think local and don’t get caught up in the big complicated trip! The memories you make by maximizing the time will enhance the experience, especially for the kids!

Our rule of thumb is called the 50/50, 50 days a year on the ski slopes and 50 nights a year on the boat. Sounds crazy, but we almost always exceed that and our lives are so much richer for it. Vacation for us isn’t yearly, or even monthly… its WEEKLY! That is the goal… We make the time, we execute on the plans and subsequently, we are always where WE want to be!

 

Personal Satisfaction —> What would you do? How could your life be extraordinary? The engine for this is the byproduct of time and budget. But your dreams are the driver for how to shape those goals. Many people spend a disproportionate percentage of their time doing things they feel that they need to do. While that does bring some satisfaction, it’s not really the same as breaking through and focusing on the things that you WANT to do! The trick is to make decisions to balance that out.

It truly is different stroke for different folks. I work with one woman who just loves being in the office and working on smaller projects over the weekend. She derives a ton of pleasure from that and it is fulfilling for her, so go for it! As many of you know, Adam is a health and exercise master and pushes it to the limit, most recently as a successful Ironman competitor. His training time is his focus and those accomplishments bring him tremendous personal satisfaction. For me it’s the boat and the mountain. We are all different and what you must do is look inside and identify what it is that drives you, what gives you a complete sense of satisfaction and makes you smile. What is going to release those endorphins and how do you get started on it TODAY!

As I am writing this another team member poked his head in my office to ask me about skiing for his family (where is best to go, etc…). I gave him the best advice I had for his family of 7 (yikes!) as he is very excited about the idea of creating family memories on the slopes in the winter and exploring that lifestyle. As I am sure he will read this, I can honestly say his energy in TALKING about it was outstanding, I challenge him to EXECUTE!

My dad passed away when he was 57 and left a long bucket list behind. I was only 32, but it changed me in a way that took a while to articulate. While I am not advocating irresponsibility (Dad would not have liked that), I am advocating attacking life and identifying the things you really want to do on a scale that is manageable and can grow with your professional success. If you can find a way to live the life you want today, and everyday, then you will be living your dreams as opposed to chasing them!

You will get all of the rest you need when you’re gone. Get out there and make it count. My family and I have an extraordinary life (we really do!). Go get yours!


ben heliABOUT BEN AVERY 

As Vice President of Development, at BlackRock Construction, a division of Adam Hergenrother Companies, Ben manages the development and permitting teams for both internal and client based projects. Ben’s mission is the evaluation and creation of projects and opportunities for BlackRock Construction and its clients. Overseeing development projects from the initial negotiation through the permitting process, to construction start, while creating win-win situations for all stakeholders is his overall goal. Ben’s focus on these values makes him an asset to any type of project and an excellent advocate for our clients.

A native of Rochester, NY, Ben has resided in Vermont for the better part of the last 20 years. He has a strong entrepreneurial background including 15 years in food service including multi-unit management and franchise/wholesale ownership. For the past five years he has been a consultant to small to mid-sized businesses in the greater Burlington, VT area in the fields of general strategy, restructuring, and development. As a function of many of these roles, Ben has worked with clients in the areas of commercial investment, residential development and management, as well as redevelopment of underutilized assets. He takes an objective and fair approach to transactions and is very adept at negotiations on high value properties, permitting coordination, and complex transactions.

Ben lives in Williston, VT with his wife, Michelle, and their four children. Contact Ben at ben@blackrockus.com.

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Guest Blogger Cari Heibel – When Everything is Going Right, Make a Change

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My kids are back at school, the leaves are starting to change, and Summer is slowly fading into Fall. This time of year always causes me to pause and reflect. Recently, I was thinking about the professional moves I’ve made over the last 15 years in the real estate industry and I noticed something interesting. Each time I decided to make a move, two things were true.

First, each opportunity that I decided to take advantage of was one I needed to take a financial step back for, knowing it would bring me much further long term. And each time, I was excited to take that short term risk because I was able to see the long term benefit very clearly!

Secondly, each professional change came when everything was going exceptionally well and I was very content in my role. Somehow, despite being happy and successful, I was open to opportunity and ultimately, excited for a change.

So, it got me thinking, why do people decide to make a professional change or a life shift? It just so happens (and science shows) that change stimulates your brain, broadens your perspective, and boosts your performance!  And if you make the change at unexpected times, like when everything is running smoothly, it can be especially powerful! Who knew? It was what I was craving and I just didn’t know it!

Here is what I know today, I am a completely different person than I was 15 years ago, and much of it has to do with the challenges, experiences, and growth I had during these times of change. I am forever grateful I took the opportunities and that I embraced these times of change as they have stretched me and helped me reach levels of achievement that I didn’t even know were possible.

And as easy breezy as that story is, I get it, you probably aren’t always jumping for joy when thinking about making a change. After all, change is a bit scary and definitely pushes you outside of your comfort zone. These are the challenges that come with change.

Remember – what you focus on expands!  So I am going to give you something else to focus on… change prevents you from getting stuck or losing steam. It takes your skills to the next level and boosts your confidence!

For example, after a year or so at your job you tend to feel a sense of competency and steadiness that is reassuring. Gradually, though, your work starts to feel routine and you become comfortable. This is the time to shake things up and make some changes because you will be doing it while you are a high level of mental fitness and confidence. This type of forward-moving change will help you evolve, grow, succeed, and ultimately get you to reach your highest levels of achievement!

In fact, according to Laura Vanderkam, a productivity expert and author, “The most successful and happy people are constantly evaluating themselves and their circumstances and are looking to make changes that will help them grow.”

You too, can embrace change, and benefit in a big way!  You see, the number one thing that holds people back from pursuing a positive, productive life shift or change, is doubt. We worry about things not working out or making our life or career worse. So, instead of allowing doubt to creep in, realize you are in control. You are choosing the change, you are doing so on your own terms, and it is going to work out in the best possible way for you because of this. You are making the change when you are competent, confident, successful and ultimately, empowered!

Here’s the truth – you are more flexible and adaptable than you give yourself credit for. Of course you can handle a change. In fact, there are no limits to the amount of changes you can make! Don’t underestimate your abilities. Don’t cheat yourself out of personal and professional growth by avoiding change! Embrace it, look for it, choose it at the most unexpected times, and watch who you will become along the way!

Cheers to your journey!

 


cari heibelCari Heibel was a Top Producing Real Estate Agent in the Twin Cities for 10 years prior to becoming the CEO of the Maple Grove office of Keller Williams. During those four years, the Maple Grove office became the number one office in the state of Minnesota in closed transactions. Cari has recruited over 500 real estate agents and assisted in the growth of over 50 real estate teams in the past four years.

As Director of Growth for Hergenrother Realty Group, Cari recruits and coaches all expansion Regional Directors and CEOs and assists them in growing their teams through recruiting and increased productivity.

Cari is also a coach and trainer for Adam Hergenrother Training Organization. Her next online course, Recruiting Without Limits, starts on October 24. Click here to register.

Connect with Cari at cari@herggroup.com.

Guest Blogger Matt Bex: Overtime, Over Time, is Overrated

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I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of books that talk about grinding, hustling, and working your ass off. Go in early, stay late, repeat. I agree, at the end of the day, most people lack the work ethic required (especially long-term) to be as successful as they say they want to be.

I’ve been reflecting on this a lot over the past three days after dropping my oldest son off at kindergarten this week. For me, being a great husband and dad, getting enough sleep, and improving myself every day matters more than work. I love real estate. I’ll be nest, some days I love it more than my kids! But the reality is, if you don’t find that balance, if you’re not fulfilled on a personal level, you’re not going to be the best you can be on a professional level.

As we head into this holiday weekend, I want to leave you with this: Overtime is overrated. Overtime, over time, is highly overrated. You don’t have to be a workaholic to work super hard. The grind and the hustle have to be purposeful. When we’re hustling, we often neglect the things that matter most. It’s okay to love your job. Take time this weekend to reflect on what truly matters in life. Be purposeful. Turn off your phone, pick up a book, and enjoy life. The grind will still be there on Tuesday, and after a long weekend of friends, family, and fun, you’ll be fulfilled and ready to hustle even harder.

Make it a great weekend and a great holiday everyone!


ABOUT MATT BEX

matt bexMatt Bex is the CEO of Hergenrother Realty Group at KW Vermont.

Matt is an active duty military veteran and is married with five children under five years old. Matt has lived in Alaska for the past nine years and is excited to return home to the east coast, as he and his wife, Martina, grew up in upstate New York. While in Alaska, Matt built a $30M real estate team in three years, and was also a KW ALC Member, the chair of the Technology Committee, an Ignite Instructor, and a four-time BOLD graduate.

Matt loves learning, building businesses, finding new opportunities to lead, teaching others, trying new restaurants with his wife, playing with his kids, and fly fishing.

If you are interested in a career in real estate, please contact Matt at mattbex@herggroup.com.

Guest Blogger Ann Zuccardy: 5 Habits of Smart Thinkers

Brain training sells.

Brain training claims to help you be more productive.  Think faster.  Improve your memory.

But is it worth the money to join one of those brain training websites that claim to promote intellectual fitness?

Some recent studies say no – these sites just make you better at playing the games on the sites and do little to promote your ability to solve problems or adapt to new challenges.

In my 2013 TEDx talk, I identified qualities that I believe make people smart.  A 2011 brain injury forced me to create compensatory strategies to use my brain in ways I had previously taken for granted.  It wasn’t until I began preparing my TEDx talks that I realized much of what I was learning was backed up by neuroscientific studies.

I have identified five habits of smart lifelong thinkers – the folks who stay sharp and productive until the day they die. I know these qualities won’t cure or slow down the ravages of many neurological diseases, but for the otherwise healthy, they re solid brain training habits that won’t cost you a dime.

  1. Smart thinkers frequently try new things.
    I’m not saying you have to learn Chinese or travel the world (though these things will improve your neuroplasticity). Try brushing your teeth using your non-dominant hand for a month. Learn techniques for memorizing lists. Try a dish you’ve never eaten before. Learn to play a new musical instrument. Walk around your house blindfolded for a day. Walk backwards. Teach someone else a skill you know well. All these suggestions exercise your brain by forcing your neurons to connect in ways they’re not used to.
  2. Smart thinkers think about thinking. This is known as metacognition. It means we become aware of our habits of perception and learning. Smart thinkers use this awareness to assess their effectiveness and approach and adapt their learning strategies according to the demands of new challenges.
  3. Smart thinkers try to figure it out. I’m not saying asking questions is a bad thing, but smart thinkers look for patterns, work on cracking the code, and read the manual before giving up on a task or asking for help. There is a happy medium between figuring it out for oneself and asking for help. When we figure it out using strategies we already know, we build confidence and seal it into memory more effectively.
  4. Smart thinkers laugh and play. Recently, I became a certified laughter yoga leader. Laughter yoga isn’t yoga the way we usually think about it.  It’s deep breathing and stretching combined with laughter.  Think it sounds a little “woo-woo” and nutty?  Think again.  Science shows us that our brains do not know the difference between manufactured and spontaneous laughter.  Both release endorphins and activate the limbic system.  Laughter and play positively affect empathy, creativity, and physical health.
  5. Smart thinkers eat omega-3 fatty acids. There’s a supplement out there for everything. It’s hard to know what to eat and what not to eat.  Omega-3 fatty acids, however, are backed by science as affecting brain health.  Your brain comprises about 3% of your body weight and yet it requires about 25-30% of the fuel you put into your body.  Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fishes like salmon and sardines.  They can also be found in flaxseed oil and some nuts and seeds.  You can also take a good omega-3 fatty acid supplement to improve brain and heart health.  Anything that’s good for your heart is also good for your brain.

There are many other habits of highly effective thinkers and there are many ways to work out your brain without breaking the bank.

Smarter thinkers are more productive, focused, and creative.  They know how to take care of their brains so their brains take care of them for many years.


annzuccardy-2015-cropABOUT ANN ZUCCARDY

A fall in a German bathtub in 2011 dramatically changed Ann Zuccardy’s life. 

Using the ingenuity she discovered after the brain injury she sustained in that fall, along with three decades as a corporate communicator, social media marketing expert, and teacher, Ann challenges conventional ideas about intelligence, self-care, and innovation. 

After her first TEDx talk in 2013, How a Brain Injury Made Me Smarter, Ann discovered a new passion and now speaks professionally on the impact of humor on our brains and resilience in the face of change. 

Additionally, Ann is a certified laughter yoga leader and works with businesses, non-profits, and schools to introduce the scientifically-proven benefits of laughter on productivity, innovation, and physical health. 

Ann splits her time between her home in Vermont and New York City.  She is working on her graduate degree in English and expects to graduate in 2018. When she’s not speaking, or studying, she enjoys photography, gardening, writing, traveling to little-known places, and spending time with her rescue dog, Jackson. 


CONNECT WITH ANN

For brain tips, follow Ann on Twitter @annzuccardy

For stress reducing laughter yoga training at your organization, contact Ann at zuccardy@gmail.com.

Guest Blogger Jay Mitiguy: What Does Lifestyle Design Mean to You?

For those that have read and buy into Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Work Week, that may mean literally working 4 hours or less per week, traveling the world, sitting on a beach, and checking items off your bucket list.

For others, maybe it means that they still work 40+ hours per week, but at a job they enjoy and get satisfaction out of daily; better known as work/life harmony.

And still for others, it could be a combination of things. Some people get fulfillment through varying periods of work and play, just from the sheer shift in focus.

The point being, that I believe lifestyle design has become this mythical, one size fits all, Nirvana that everyone is working to achieve. It’s important to remember though, that we as humans experience different things in life, and have unique perspectives and beliefs because of those experiences.

So let me ask again – what is lifestyle design TO YOU?

jay-blogRather than focusing on the end goal, we should concentrate on the concepts that lifestyle design teaches us, directly or indirectly. For me, building a life of my own choosing, is what it means. A prime example is how I’ve approached my real estate investments. Back in 2009 (when I graduated from college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan and credit card debt), I began seriously considering my long term financial future, and realized that I didn’t want to be chained to a job for the rest of my adult life. At that point, I made a decision to find a way to start buying investment properties. After a year of re-igniting my passion for real estate, I created a plan to acquire my first rental property. A couple years passed as I was building my plan, paying down my debt, networking, and educating myself, but I ultimately ended up having the opportunity to build my own home, which was not in my original blueprints.

I am not only thankful for that opportunity, but realized that my “luck” was paying off and I was going to be able to leverage this into something more than my own home. I had built relationships with executives of a local bank during this time and I’d have instant equity in my new home to use via a Home Equity Line Of Credit. With that HELOC, I found a duplex in St. Albans that cash-flowed enough to meet my minimum criteria, and made an offer. We negotiated for a couple of weeks, and I ultimately bought the place. It now puts $300+/mo in my pocket after all expenses (real or anticipated) are paid. After 12 months or so, I had the property reappraised, and refinanced it to buy a second and even larger property with a partner. I’ve done this several times now, and what started out as a $1,500 out of pocket expense to an appraiser and doc fees to close on my personal home, has snowballed into 7 figures worth of real estate that I own/control.

That is the power of knowing what you want, educating yourself in a way so that you can achieve it, then executing the plan and making tweaks along the way. The road hasn’t always been smooth, but the journey is what matters most. It’s what teaches us and provides the opportunities for each of us to grow and improve.

Why is that little story so important? Because that journey among many others are what make me HAPPY and provide FULFILLMENT in my life, all while working towards a long term financial goal. Like most people in this world, I suffer from undiagnosed ADD. My mind is constantly switching gears, changing focus, and finding new things to enjoy, be passionate about, and indulge in. One day I may think that sitting on a beach in Tahiti is the ideal dream, and the next day I’m in tune with my charitable side and want to donate all my time and money to those in true need. But that is me and me alone. Each and every one of us is different; we have different wants, different needs, different desires, and different goals to achieve.

Lifestyle design should be about understanding exactly what it is that makes you happy and fulfilled, at each stage in your life. It’s not the end goal of sitting on a beach sipping cocktails surrounded by supermodels. It’s about understanding who you are, and finding ways to achieve your highest levels of success, in all facets of your life.

What is it that makes you happy and feeling fulfilled? Is it building businesses? Volunteering at the local animal shelter? Maybe it truly is sitting on a beach drinking cocktails. Whatever it is, understand it, and make decisions in your life to support your progress in reaching those goals. No matter how stuck you feel, nobody is holding a gun to your head and saying you don’t have the freedom to make those choices. And if by chance, you’re in a position where you feel like someone is, then change your position.

vermont photographer

Jay Mitiguy – President of Dowling’s, Inc. 

After graduating from UNC-Wilmington, Jay joined his family’s enterprise at the ground floor, ultimately working his way up to President of Dowling’s. In 2016, at the height of their business, he led them through an acquisition with the second largest national distributor, and has since reignited his passion for investing in and selling commercial real estate.

Jay has a burning desire to help people realize their dreams through commercial real estate and business brokering. He is a believer in lifelong learning and strives to give back to the community in ways that will empower the youth and underprivileged to chase their dreams! 

Read more from Jay on his new blog: jaymitiguy.wordpress.com

 

Guest Blogger Pat Kilner: Win at the Little Things and Massive Results Will Follow

What drives you? Is it fear of failure that gets you out of bed or the recognition that failure is an opportunity for growth?

Do you challenge yourself habitually, or do you honestly not want to take on “too much” in the way of challenges?

At what point does a challenge cause paralyzing fear for you?

In our incredibly comfortable culture (in the history of the world, no culture has enjoyed as much wealth as we do, here in the US) the lessons in life that afford us natural opportunities to build the muscles of intestinal fortitude and perseverance simply do not present themselves. We pay for trainers to “really kick our butts” realizing that we need to stretch ourselves as human beings. But no longer do we have to walk a few miles for water. No longer do we lay our hand to the plow. On the whole, our kids cannot even be found playing outside, developing the playing skills that would prepare them to persevere later in life.

Add to this lack of natural habituation of these virtues the ability to get anything we want almost immediately. Fast food, shoes arriving same-day, even the thrill of a car chase on our game console… without the possibility of enduring pain or even minor inconvenience, for that matter. We get all of the thrill without any of the sacrifice.

This is what we wanted, though, right? Less pain, more convenience, more control, less responsibility?

But what happens when we dream to achieve something that cannot be obtained immediately? We’ve trained ourselves to not wait for anything AND not built the fortitude to go make it happen. In facing down obstacles, we say to ourselves: “If I were talented, it would happen immediately for me. I guess I’m just not cut out for it.” or “She’s a natural, that’s why she does so well at that. Even if I worked at it I couldn’t do that.”

We have, in the words of Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, a fixed mindset.

Growth mindset people realize that failure is the process by which they grow. Fixed mindset people see failure as an affirmation of their lack of talent. We tend to believe that talented people are that way by nature. Most of these high performers would tell you that they have had to work incredibly hard to get to where they are, that their talents had to be nurtured, and that they began as very average or even low achievers.

Michael Jordan is a classic example of perseverance. Having been cut from his high school squad, he put in the hard work to become the greatest player of all time. He came into the NBA as a dunking showman and exited as the most complete player we may ever see. Other, more naturally talented players of the same era made excuses for their failings. Michael failed, then worked on his weaknesses.

What excuses are holding you back? What fixed mindset (some may also call these limiting beliefs) do you have that keeps you from being excellent or from even attempting something new? Who else are you holding back in your life through a fixed mindset?

The power to persevere – to grit through tough times – is the weapon of men and women who grow and ultimately change society.

What is the opportunity cost of not persevering daily, of not winning the battle to get out of bed, or to get to bed on time?

Or of not exercising?

Or of not planning your week?

Or of not making time to read?

Or of not allowing yourself to be coached?

Of checking your email when you need to stay focused?

Persevere and win at the little things, and massive results will appear.

 

pat-kilnerPatrick Kilner is the CEO of the Kilner Group, based in the DC Metro area. The Kilner Group has represented hundreds of buyers and sellers in a variety of real estate transactions in the past decade. Passionate about forming leaders through the vehicle of real estate, the Kilner Group has tripled in size in the past two years and has begun to expand operations and coaching of agents outside of their home base.  A graduate of the Catholic University of America in 2001 and earned his Master’s degree from the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain in 2003. Patrick currently resides in Maryland with his wife, Elena, and their five children.

 

Guest Blogger Leigh Horton: Getting Outside of My Comfort Zone

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Leigh Horton. I was raised in Penn Yan, NY, the home of my childhood memories and the beginning chapters of my life story. Fast forward to the current chapter… I live in Georgia, VT with my husband Justin, and our three boys – Foster (15), Parker (13), and Oliver (9). So, what has filled my book so far? What has happened on the pages in between? I know my story page by page, but what would it be like if I had made different choices along the way, not crossed paths with those that mentored me, and perhaps, most importantly, not taken any risks and gotten outside of my comfort zone along the way?

leigh horton

You see, I was the kid growing-up that could never stay overnight at a friend’s house. You know, the one that had to call Mom in the middle of the night (from the home across the street) because she didn’t “feel well”.  The one that chose colleges to look at by which ones wanted me on their soccer team and weren’t too far from home…my comfort zone.  Looking back, I’m very grateful for how that chapter in my life panned out. If it hadn’t, I’m not so certain I would be where I am today.

So, when did I truly begin to break outside of my comfort zone?  I think I actually broke out of it while trying to stay in it. Remember, I was a homebody. So, when Mom and Dad told me they were moving, guess who decided they needed to change colleges to not be so far away from them? Yours truly. I was going into my junior year and if I wanted to continue playing soccer, I would need to tryout as a walk-on at my new college. Trying out as a walk-on wasn’t too bad, but when the head coach told me that I could be on the team but most likely sit the bench, that was a moment I’ll never forget. The kicker is (no pun intended), I was on a partial scholarship at Saint Bonaventure University (D1), and transferred to Plattsburgh State (D3), without a scholarship and told I might be riding the pine for the season… ouch! Sports had always been a part of my life (and not on the bench). So, for me to possibly see it end was crushing. If I didn’t have that, it almost felt like I would lose my identity.  A part of me would be missing if I didn’t play soccer at my new school. So, I called my Dad and recall him saying, “You should play. Why not? Why wouldn’t you want to go for it and give it your best, versus walk away from it?  Better to move forward knowing you gave it your all than gave-up.” So, that’s what I did. Despite my loss of pride and questioning if I was no longer a collegiate level player, I gave it my all and pushed myself beyond my comfort zone of play. Guess who was on the starting line-up by mid-season?

This was a milestone in my life.  Yes…it was just soccer, a short chapter in my book, but it did help set such an important mental foundation for me. It’s ok to get out of your comfort zone and push beyond what your perceived limits are. This is what brings change to your life and success and happiness that perhaps you once believed couldn’t ever happen to you or even better…never imagined!

I look back on the many positive changes in my life, personal and work, and many of them began with me leaving my comfort zone:

  • If I didn’t move away from home to VT, I wouldn’t have met Justin and had the experience of working as the Global Brand Marketing Manager for what became Bauer Nike Hockey for 10 years (with a move to NH).
  • If I didn’t leave Nike (a company and career I was very settled and comfortable in) so my husband could transition his career, and our 1st new home (that I absolutely loved), I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work as an Account Manager at an amazing VT design firm, JDK Design, for 10 years and raise our boys on beautiful Lake Champlain in the area where Justin grew up.
  • If I didn’t decide to leave JDK, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be a Real Estate Agent which I honestly believe was foreshadowed very early in my work career.

where-the-magic-happensThese are milestones, substantial life changes, for me and my family that happened by taking leaps of faith and leaving my comfort zone. There has certainly been struggles strewn throughout the journey, but the success, joy, and fulfillment brought by them far outweighs any challenges and it has definitely been worth everything it has taken to achieve them.

I’m pretty happy where my book is going. I know there will be challenging chapters along with the exciting ones – which is a wonderful thing, as the challenges will continue to push me out of my comfort zone.  Which maybe…just wasn’t all that comfortable after all…

Leigh Horton is a Real Estate Agent at KW Vermont. To learn more about her journey or her real estate business, please email leigh@leighhorton.com or call 802.233.3982.

 

Guest Blogger Kathy Holmes: Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People for Business & Personal Success

kathy holmesI feel both honored and privileged to be asked to contribute to the Herg Life blog. To put into mere words what this means to me, is a challenge in and of itself.

But that is one huge aspect of what the Herg Life is… to challenge yourself on a daily basis – whether it’s running up and down three flights of stairs to be in better shape, rather than take the elevator, or it’s still jumping fences on my horse when I’m in my 60’s.

I joined Adam Hergenrother’s world almost three years ago when I moved my real estate business to Keller Williams Vermont and I am still amazed by what it feels like to be surrounded by and supported by a group of like-minded thinkers and doers, people who “walk the talk” and set examples for the rest of us. Individuals who actually believe that I can do whatever I set my mind to. They challenge me to challenge myself and take the harder route or set a bigger goal. It is not always easy (usually it is not), but it is where I experience the most personal growth.

Why I Love the Herg Life:

  1. I am in a space where the people around me understand that your business and personal life are intertwined and not separate worlds. They understand that to be the best you can be in business, means you have to be at your best physically and mentally as well.
  2. I know that when I say things that the “main stream” thinks are weird, like, “Whatever you think you create,” or “Whatever you put your attention on expands,” I will be completely understood, supported, and encouraged.
  3. I am encouraged to take time out of the work day to meditate, not once, but twice, because it will make me mentally sharper and physically in a better space to handle the daily stresses that come from business.
  4. kathyI am challenged to ask myself the question, “What more can I do or give?” -whether it be to my fellow agents, the community or friends and family. Because of that, I recently began a conversation with the Boys and Girls Club to volunteer to read to young children – something that is very  much beyond my comfort zone, because I have to allocate time and travel to do this, but I know I would get more out of the giving of my time and myself.

I am so glad that Adam brought Keller Williams to our little state of Vermont and that it came at a time in my life when most people my age are winding down. The culture and environment at Keller Williams Vermont gives me the tools to create what I need for what’s next in my life… for a better quality of life than I ever dreamed possible.

Kathy Holmes, licensed since 1982, is CEO of The Holmes Team at KW Vermont. To learn more about her journey or her real estate business, please email holmz4homz@aol.com