Welcome to 2018 | Go Ahead, Pull that Loose Thread!

Happy New Year!

As I sat down to write this year’s New Year post, I was compelled to look back at what I wrote last year to sum up 2016 and kick off 2017. I decided to follow a similar format to launch into 2018 and reflect on a year which can – at least in my experience – be best described with one word, COMPLICATED.

After all, the 21st Century turned 16 years old last year. You remember what 16 was like. 16 comes with a lot of anxiety and emotion. The 21st Century got her driver’s license, her curfew was extended, she gave up the babysitting job for minimum wage at the Dairy Queen, she was probably asked to prom for the first time, there was a lot of peer pressure at school and, I think we can all agree, the 21st Century wanted desperately to make her presence known.

But now she is 17, a senior, and looking forward to adulthood at the end of this year. Time to get serious, right? She is going to earn the right to vote and has been looking at colleges with her high school guidance councilor to determine what she wants to do with her life. She is bucking for an Assistant Manager job at the DQ, which will result in an extra $60 per paycheck…oh, and the DOW just hit 25,000! Yeah, sure she feels like a shell of a human being some days and can barely muster the strength to put on a shirt and pants, but for the most part she can’t complain.

So, whether you can sum up 2017 with a single word like “complicated” – or need a few paragraphs and a terrible metaphor to describe your 2017 – I welcome you to walk with me from one year to our next…

For me, 2017 was a year was a mixed bag filled with a combination of disappointment, discovery, challenges, acceptance, acknowledgement, focus, creativity, balance, community, stress, family and success. Just as I stated at this time last year, I am so incredibly thankful to my wife, family, friends, clients and colleagues for cheering me, knowing more, offering help and guidance without hesitation or expectation of repayment. I owe a big thanks to Andrea Davey-Gislason, Richard Grossman, Sara Rotter, Ali Silvia, Gustavo Rodriguez, Elise Ehrlich, Mike Walker and Vinny Arbona  – among many others – for offering understanding and opportunity without any expectation of repayment. That kind of gift is invaluable to anyone who will receive it.2018

Last year I offered a list of what I call “nuggets of truth” from my 2016. Well, I am happy to announce that 2017 – despite the fact that “truth” often seemed to be a moving target – was not without its own “nuggets”. Below are a few I thought were worth sharing, and I hope they will provide another positive an motivational nudge into 2018. I will start with the new 2018 “nuggets” and tag last year’s list on the end as each of them stand the test of time:

  1. Here’s a little scientific tidbit on how the male human body functions (Note: This study was conducted with a data sample of ONE):
    • Age 0 to 39 – Working out feels good and keeps you in shape but, if for any reason you decide to take a few weeks off, your body has your back (pun intended) and just seems to maintain  – no big whoop.
    • Age 40 and beyond – Working out hurts – a lot. Worse than that, it turns out if for any reason you decide to take a few weeks off, your body swiftly reverses course and months of progress is lost in a matter of hours.
  2. Build something with your hands. It can be an incredibly healing and rewarding experience.
  3. Sometimes the best you can do is just keep your head above water. While those on the surface only see a motionless head with its chin pointed skyward, under water there is a physical effort underway akin to running a marathon with no finish line. Your effort is no less impressive just because you aren’t traveling forward. Quite the contrary, survival in and of itself is very impressive.
  4. Sometimes the doors you walk by open behind you after you pass. I advise that you stop, turn around, go back and take a look at what is behind that door before moving on down the hall. You may want to take a detour.
  5. This quote from Jim Ryun is incredibly insightful so I will steal it; “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”.Getting to yes with yourself 2018
  6. Book Recommendations:
    • Getting to Yes with Yourself by William Ury – You’ve probably heard the term “getting to yes” a time or two over the past year as it has been a popular battle cry for politicians on both sides of the isle. William Ury and Robert Fisher wrote the brilliant “negotiation bible” Getting to Yes in 1991 and it is definitely a must read. However, William Ury decided to write a “prequel” to Getting to Yes in 2015 called Getting to Yes with Yourself. This book asks the important question, “how can we expect to get to ‘yes’ with others if we haven’t first gotten to yes with ourselves?”  For anyone who negotiates in their personal or professional life (newsflash: that includes everyone who isn’t living alone under a rock), this is a DYNAMITE book.
    • If you are looking for a good short and enlightening read, I suggest you pick up or reread any of the many brilliant Dr. Seuss books. If you need a pointer, start with Horton Hears a Who. His books are timeless, and philosophical gold for a world of adults who could need a lesson or two about life, love, strength, right, wrong, and the power of a single voice…“Yopp!!!!”Horton 2018

Nuggets from 2016 (in case you are making a master list :)…

  1. When you believe in yourself it is much easier to notice all of the other people who believe in you as well.
  2. Never stop asking for help. We fool ourselves into thinking we are “bothering” those who have the ability or opportunity to help us succeed. It is a crippling mindset and complete nonsense. Most of us derive joy from helping others achieve and don’t think twice when asked to do so. And, other than proving yourself wrong, what do you have to lose?
  3. Build real relationships based on honesty and interest rather than utility and expectation. If you do you will find that #1 and #2 are even easier to accomplish.
  4. Don’t tell yourself “it isn’t worth the risk” if it really IS worth the risk. Sit down amd take the time to calculate the potential risk (and reward) and compare that to the status quo. Then make a decision and own it.
  5. If you need a motivational read, my two favorite books of 2016 are actually both from 2010 (I guess that’s what happens when you are too busy for self-reflection and self-improvement). It’s Not Just Who You Know, by Tommy Spaulding, and The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor offer perspectives on work, success, relationships and happiness which have benefited me greatly over the past year. I highly recommend them to those who haven’t already picked them up. Tommy Spaulding’s latest book, The Heart-Led Leader was released in 2016 as well. Another gem.
  6. Action is much more powerful than anger. Not everything about 2016 was sunshine and roses. Some of what happened this year will take years for many of us to understand, unpack or undo. But, hiding under that disappointment is an opportunity. An opportunity to become a stronger person. An opportunity to stand up and live your beliefs and values. An opportunity to affect change. An opportunity to use your skills, expertise and experience to help others improve their lives. An opportunity to change your approach.pull the thread

In closing, I believe 2018 is going to be a great year. The next 365 days is an opportunity waiting to be seized. Life is long, like a seemingly unending thread being pulled from the loose hem of your sleeve. One one hand, you could just leave it there and let it bother and bait you every day until you crack. Or, you can pull on the damn thing until you have enough cool thread to sew a new shirt!

Thank you for reading, Happy Holidays from Unreal Estate and my entire family, and welcome to 2018!

With Thanks and Gratitude,


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