The Urge to Not Judge

My dog, Coda, is a toy poodle. She thinks she’s a mountain goat. Can climb steep rock and cliff faces, as good as any ram. Doesn’t need a leash. She obeys commands and sticks by my wife, daughter, or me whenever she’s out for a walk.

Four weeks ago I was walking my dog on Bell Rock Trail, just down the block from our house. Dirt trails that wind around spectacular red rock canyons.

As I was rounding a bend, my cell phone rang. I answered it. A woman walking her black lab was passing me as I talked on the phone. Coda was right behind me. All of a sudden this woman was yelling at me.

“Hey, ya Chucklehead! Is that phone call more important than your dog?! Huh? Ya Chucklehead!!

Sweet Myrtle! Where did that come from?

My first impulse, my first bodily reaction when someone attacks me like this, is to pounce on them with my words. Usually with something sarcastic or quippy. A REACTIVE retort at the very least.

However, I didn’t do that. For some reason, I didn’t offer a ‘come back’ to her attack. I didn’t go to that place. My brain was working on some other plane. Neurons of compassion instead of anger were firing away.

What came out of my mouth was, “Thank you.”

When I got home, I told my wife what happened. It really affected me.

For the next few weeks, I would jokingly approach my wife and refer to myself as a Chucklehead. I had no anger or animosity toward this woman, and figured something must have been going on in her life to react the way she did. I didn’t judge her for it. Nor did I condemn her.

Every time I walked the trail with my dog from that day on, I wondered what would happen if I bumped into her again. I heard the word “Chucklehead” in my head. I’d never been called a Chucklehead before, but I’m guessing what I was feeling was how an actual Chucklehead must feel.

Yesterday I took my dog to the trail again. As I walked on a narrow stretch of path, guess who was coming toward me with her dog? I picked up Coda so she could pass me. As she passed, she stopped and looked at me.

She said, “I owe you an apology. I was really rude to you last month and you handled it really well, with what you said. I’m sorry. I was having a bad day.”

I said, “I appreciate the apology. Thank you.” As she walked away, I called to her.
“What’s you’re name?”
“I’m Dean.”

I watched as she walked with her dog toward the main trail.

Now when we’re out on the trail, we can pass each other and say hi. And I am no longer a Chucklehead.

I remember this whenever I’m talking to loss mitigators at the bank. Aware of the crappy day they may be having. To show compassion, to realize what they’re going through has nothing to do with me. And by caring, you can change their day.

I Wanna Smack Seth Godin

You heard me. I wanna smack Seth Godin. Not because he done me wrong, or got up in my face, but because he provokes. He stirs up my soup. He says things that deep down you know you should be questioning about yourself and your business, things you cover up and hate to admit to, but never do.

The guy pushes buttons. He pushes my buttons. One minute I’m reading his blog or one of his books and get all excited about some new idea or blazing insight or unique spin on an old paradigm, and the next I’m ticked at myself for not following through on something, or zooming, or looking at my business the way I should be looking at it…like through a ferocious lens. (He’ll appreciate the ‘lens’ reference…squidoo)

He’s provoked me a lot lately. The provocation is usually a fine mix of inspiration and self flagellation. I get all hepped up about the idea, ready to implement, can’t wait to show the world the light bulb glowing above my head, while at the same time saying to myself, “Well why didn’t I think of that! How come I’m not already doing that? It’s so darn obvious!”

I’m going to keep reading Seth Godin. He’s got my attention. And that’s a good thing.

Must-watch video

I just saw this video and was completely captivated. It really is a must see, no matter what you do or who you are.

It will truly inspire and get you on the right track. If you’re feeling stuck, in a rut, need a change, want to achieve a goal, feeling confused or going in circles, do yourself a HUGE favor…get quiet, turn off the phone, avoid any distractions, and don’t get up. Just focus your eyes on this wonderful piece of content. And I guarantee you’ll feel different when it’s done.

View the video below and tell me what you think.

Where it all began…

My wife, 1 year old daughter, and I were living in Los Angeles back in 2001. The townhouse we were renting was haunted. No joke. Saw shadows moving, sounds, noises all the time. What bugged me most was that I was paying rent and the spirits were squatting rent free.

On top of that, the neighborhood where we resided was prone to crime. So just about every night, police surveillance helicopters whomped above us and blared their high beam search lights right into our bedroom window.

My daughter was having breathing issues due to the poor air quality. Couple that with the choppers and apparitions, I’m pretty sure the universe was sending my wife and me a message to get out of Dodge.

Well, I’m not one to mess with the universe, so I listened.

I was in LA because of my work. I was in the entertainment industry, freelancing at various production houses and studios in town: E!, Fox, Saban, NBC, writing and producing for film and television. Enjoyed my work, but had to do find a way to improve my daughter’s health and preserve our sanity.

In short, we needed a better quality of life.

Our goal was to get to Sedona, AZ. In fact, this was our goal for years. How to get there and what to do for work once I did get there were the answers I was looking for.

Well, as fate would have it, I was led to real estate. Don’t ask me why or how. I didn’t know the first thing about real estate investing. Didn’t know the language, how to get started, or even how to spell the word “howse.”

In a very short 3 months, between Feb and April of ’01, my life changed. With my wife’s insight to the world…my world… she said real estate ‘is it.’ She knew, I didn’t. But I listened.

We had very little money. I worked paycheck to paycheck. When I mentioned to her that I met a couple–who were very successful real estate investors who learned what they know at a ‘big shot guru’ real estate bookcamp–she said, “Go! This is it. This is our ticket out of here. I know it.”

I charged the $5k we didn’t have to our credit card and spent 5 days at a real estate seminar, feeling totally lost and depressed.

But something happened. I followed the “Action Guide” the guru gave us. The guide said that if I followed the steps outlined, I’d make $10k within 90 days. I never made $10k in one shot in my life.

45 days after leaving the bootcamp, my heart skipped a beat when one of the many offers I put in on houses in AZ got accepted. Needless to say, I was scared to death. Now what? Well, within 3 weeks we lease optioned the house for a $15,000 profit and $311 a month cashflow. I was floored.

Within 6 months, we bought 5 more rental properties in Northern AZ with none of our own money and moved out of LA and to Sedona in November 2001.

Today, my company specializes in short sales. We’ve been negotiating short sales for the past 6 years. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

I love to negotiate.

Stick around for some great insight and secrets on how to effectively negotiate mortgage and lien discounts with loss mitigators, creditors, the IRS, and any lienholder.