Thoughts on Leadership: Winning the New Year

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me starting Monday at home with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I participated in the Berkshire Hathaway Energy meeting in the morning then filmed videos for multiple HomeServices of America acquisitions we’ll be announcing very soon. Today, I spent the morning at the virtual Berkshire Hathaway Energy Executive Leadership Conference, themed “Building for the Future.”

It’s noteworthy that this is the very first Thoughts on Leadership post of the new year. Ah, the new year, a time for resolutions to make … or break.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Happy Holidays

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me at home, starting Monday with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I had three succession calls and on Wednesday I had meetings and spent time writing this for you.

Of course, this week we celebrate the holidays and for some, that means spending time with friends and family. Each year around this time, I think about St. Nick, and what a wonderful leader he is and always will be. Wondering about the reasons why? Let’s list a few:

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Thoughts on Leadership: Dedicated to AAPI and AREAA Leaders Worldwide

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels started on Sunday when I flew to Orange County. On Monday I completed my WIG calls and attended the HSF Affiliates holiday party followed by a holiday dinner with business associates. On Tuesday, I joined the Berkshire Hathaway Energy call in the early morning followed by four succession calls. In the evening, I was honored to be at the 2022 Installation Gala for the Orange County chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA). Julie Tran, friend, and REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, was commemorated as the outgoing chapter president and helped install the 2022 president, Peter Au, also of California Properties. Today, I am writing this post between a virtual presentation at the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty Statewide Managers Meeting and various conference calls.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Giving Thanks

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me at home, starting off Monday with the Berkshire Hathaway Energy call followed by my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I had succession calls and today, I’m reviewing slide decks and material for upcoming presentations and meetings. Of course, tomorrow and Friday, I’ll be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with my family.

As we approach Thanksgiving, this week is all about gratitude, though as leaders, gratitude is the foundational element to a positive mindset, so gratitude is always an ongoing aspect of our work and lives. But this week especially, gratitude takes center stage.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Feeding the Good Wolf

According to a Cherokee teaching, there are two wolves fighting inside all of us. The first one is evil and the second one is good. So, which wolf wins – evil or good? It’s whichever one you feed. Read on to learn how I’ve fed the good wolf over the last 33+ years of my career.

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me starting Monday at home with my morning Berkshire Hathaway Energy call and my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Sales Convention creative presentation and a visit with Semonin Realtors® led by CEO Brad DeVries. For the Sales Convention planning meetings with Corporate Magic and CEO Jim Kirk, we toured the conference center and participated in the creative presentation for our general sessions, keynotes and award presentations. I also had the opportunity to spend some time with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CEO Christy Budnick as we explored Louisville’s highlights. Next it was off to the Semonin Realtors®  office where I presented to top agents and managers. Today as I write this to you, I’m traveling back to California.

It was certainly a week that was less than routine, which made it all the more important to follow my morning routine, no matter what city I’m in because it helps frame my mindset to have a positive and productive day.

For our blog post today, I ask you a simple question: What is a routine?

Merriam-Webster defines routine as “a habitual or mechanical performance of an established procedure.”

And in fact, it is. It’s an act you perform regularly; however, the meaning behind that act –as it relates to leadership–isn’t something you’ll find in the dictionary. For leaders, a ritual solidifies your mindset and allows you to focus on maintaining the correct attitude to accomplish your goals. It allows you to tune out the unimportant, the chaotic, the negative and center yourself around a ritual that grounds you as it uplifts. I have several rituals (my M.E.D.S. for one – meditation, exercise, diet, and sleep) and they’re all an important part of getting my mindset right to take on the day. I’d like to share two of those rituals with you now, in the hopes that they may inspire your own morning routine and the positivity that it will bring into your day – and life.

As a new agent, I remember when I first saw Og Mandino speak, and then had the opportunity to meet him backstage. The experience had such a profound impact on me that early in my career I committed to reading every single book Og had ever written. There was one excerpt from “The Seeds of Success” that stuck with me. It’s a bit long, but I think you’ll find it worthwhile and it’s one I’ve recited as part of my morning routine for the past three decades:

I will live as all good actors do when they are onstage—only in the moment. I cannot perform at my best today by regretting my previous act’s mistakes or worrying about the scene to come.

I will embrace today’s difficult tasks, take off my coat, and make dust in the world. I will remember that the busier I am, the less harm I am apt to suffer, the tastier will be my food, the sweeter my sleep, and the better satisfied I will be with my place in the world.

I will free myself today from [an obsession] to the clock and calendar. Although I will plan this day in order to conserve my steps and energy. I will begin to measure my life in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not seasons; in feelings, not figures on a dial.

I will remain aware of how little it takes to make this a happy day. Never will I pursue happiness, because it is not a goal, just a by-product, and there is no happiness in having or in getting, only in giving.

I will run from no danger I might encounter today, because I am certain that nothing will happen to me that I am not equipped to handle with your help. Just as any gem is polished by friction. I am certain to become more valuable through this day’s adversities, and if you close one door, you always open another for me.

I will live this day as if it were Christmas. I will be a giver of gifts and deliver to my enemies the gift of forgiveness; my opponents, tolerance; my friends, a smile; my children, a good example, and every gift will be wrapped with unconditional love.

I will waste not even a precious second today in anger or hate or jealousy or selfishness. I know that the seeds I sow will harvest, because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction. I will plant only good seeds this day.

I will treat today as a priceless violin. One may draw harmony from it and another, discord, yet no one will blame the instrument. Life is the same, and if I play it correctly, it will forth beauty, but if I play it ignorantly, it will produce ugliness.

I will condition myself to look on every problem I encounter today as no more than a pebble in my shoe. I remember the pain, so harsh I could hardly walk, and recall my surprise when I removed my shoe and found only a grain of sand.

I will work convinced that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. To do anything today that is truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger but jump in the gusto and scramble through as well as I can.

I will face the world with goals set for this day, but they will be attainable ones, not the vague, impossible variety declared by those who make a career of failure. I realize that you always try me a little first, to see what I would do with a lot.

I will never hide my talents. If I am silent, I am forgotten, if I do not advance, I will fall back. If I walk away from any challenge today, my self-esteem will be forever scarred, and if I cease to grow, even a little, I will become smaller. I reject the stationary position because it is always the beginning of the end.

I will keep a smile on my face and in my heart even when it hurts today. I know that the world is a looking-glass and gives back to me the reflection of my own soul. Now I understand the secret of correcting the attitude of others and that is to correct my own.

I will turn away from any temptation today that might cause me to break my word or lose my self-respect. I am positive that the only thing I possess more valuable than my life is my honor.

I will work this day with all my strength, content in the knowledge that life does not consist of wallowing in the past or peering anxiously at the future. It is appalling to contemplate the great number of painful steps by which one arrives at a truth so old, so obvious, and so frequently expressed. Whatever it offers, little or much, my life is now.

I will pause whenever I am feeling sorry for myself today and remember that this is the only day I have and must play it to the fullest. What my part may signify in the great whole, I may not recognize, but I am here to play it and now is the time.

I will count this day a separate life.

I will remember that those who have fewest regrets are those who take each moment as it comes for all that it’s worth.

This is my day!

These are my seeds.

Thank you for this precious garden of time.

Another affirmation I’ve recited my entire career is “If” by Rudyard Kipling:

If you can keep your head when all about you  

      Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,  

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

      But make allowance for their doubting too;  

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

      Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

      And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  

      If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;  

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

      And treat those two impostors just the same;  

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

      Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

      And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

      And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

      And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

      To serve your turn long after they are gone,  

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

      Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  

      Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

      If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

      With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,  

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  

      And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

So, what’s the message? When you get up in the morning, you have a choice – you can feed the evil wolf or the good wolf. Like a hungry wolf, your brain is in an alpha state and anything you put in it tends to stay with you throughout the day. By reading these two excerpts, you’ll be starting each morning by feeding the good wolf.

Thoughts on Leadership: Leadership Lessons from the Italians

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting Monday with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I began the morning with a Berkshire Hathaway Energy call then celebrated Italian Day … but more about that later. On Wednesday, I attended the Berkshire Hathaway Energy Sustainability Summit, which began with opening remarks from Greg Abel, Vice Chair of Non-Insurance Operations at Berkshire Hathaway Inc.; and Chair, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Cathy Woollums, Senior Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer for Berkshire Hathaway Energy. I also attended the Long & Foster shareholder meeting then traveled to Orange County. Today, I attended the Berkshire Hathaway Energy Executive Leadership Conference themed “Transforming Our Business” all morning then it was off to beautiful Laguna Beach for the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties LUX event, where I introduced my good friend and great coach/speaker Tom Ferry and in the afternoon, participated in a photo op with California Properties luxury agents Cristal Clarke and Nigel Copley. Tomorrow, I’ll attend LUX in the morning then travel home.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Fleet Week

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in Henderson, Nevada, starting Monday with my typical WIG calls, which were hosted at the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties headquarters. On Tuesday, I had the Berkshire Hathaway Energy weekly meeting followed by the CEO Leadership Q3 meeting. Yesterday and today, I held four CEO succession planning calls.

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to check out San Francisco Fleet Week (SFFW), which includes an air show, a parade of ships and even a K9 rescue demonstration. It’s the largest Fleet Week celebration in the country and honors the contributions of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. SFFW also encourages cooperation and knowledge among civilian- and military-based Humanitarian Assistance Personnel.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Leading with Rituals

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in Denver, Colorado at the Mavericks Meeting hosted by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate CEO Scott Nordby and his team.

The Mavericks Meetings are regular gatherings with a small, think-tank group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices independently owned and operated franchise CEOs. We meet every six months to exchange ideas and brainstorm. Each meeting is hosted by a different company; this one was hosted by our fantastic brokerage in Denver.

In a sense, the Mavericks Meeting is a twice-yearly ritual. Together, we reignite our collective purpose: to help each other grow.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Happy New Year!

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting Monday with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I began the day with the weekly Berkshire Hathaway Energy meeting. Wednesday, I handled some legal matters and Thursday I’ll attend the virtual NAR RES Advisory Group Meeting. I also spent some of the week preparing for the October 12th CEO leadership meeting and next week’s Mavericks meeting in Denver, hosted by Scott Nordby, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate, and his team.

To put things in perspective, Friday is October 1 and we just finished up the third quarter. Why is that important? Well, the significance of October 1 in real estate is that it’s the actual start of our new year. Here’s why:

In real estate, we operate on a 90-day cycle. All the prospecting, lead generation and planning we do now is going to pay off three months from now. It’s why our new year doesn’t begin when the clock strikes midnight on January 1. No, our new year starts October 1, so essentially, it begins tomorrow.

Each new “real estate” year requires a new business plan. To get you started on yours, access Business Planning Essentials by clicking HERE.

Creating a business plan now will help you avoid a Q1 slump. Understandably, when the Q4 holidays arrive, people get off schedule. But if you skip ahead 90 days, your holiday lag will show up in January and February, just as you’re kicking off Q1. During my 30+ years in the real estate business—as an agent, a manager, and an owner of a company—I’ve found that there’s always a cash flow problem in the months of January and February. This applies as much to agents as it does to brokerage owners.

A business plan allows you to plan for what’s ahead, and it ensures that the busy holiday season won’t stop you. Remember, business planning isn’t all about business; one important aspect of a business plan is your schedule, which you should complete for the entire year. The first thing to schedule are the most critical business meetings that you can’t miss. Knowing when those occur will help you plan when you need to work and when you can take days off. The next thing you do before you schedule anything else is put in whatever gives you balance, like your vacations and days off. This will ensure that you take the time off you need to recharge and you won’t schedule meetings or calls during the time you’ve blocked off for rest and relaxation. Once you have done that, never make a commitment with your time without checking your schedule first.

Here are a few more reasons why your business needs a plan:

  • To establish goals and milestones.
  • To take time to examine your competition as you outline your own competitive advantages and the areas of your business you need to focus on and improve.
  • To deal with economic conditions effectively. When you look at your business model from a planning perspective (and not while in the midst of a heated obstacle), you have a more objective view of how it can be adapted during times of challenge and change.
  • To discover new opportunities for revenue and growth. As you plan, you’re taking time to critically examine your client base and business model, which may help you discover new ways you can grow your business.

So, what’s the message? Over the years, I’ve been tuned into the cash flow problem of agents and brokerage owners during the months of January and February; but with a business plan, you can avoid those issues. This post is your reminder of the importance of a business plan, which will allow you to start the official new year with momentum and a solid plan for sustainable growth.

Thoughts on Leadership: Guided by Authenticity

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting Monday off with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I participated in the Berkshire Hathaway Energy weekly executive team meeting and the monthly CEO Leadership Meeting. On Wednesday, I joined the HomeServices of America monthly corporate team gathering then traveled to Las Vegas to meet with Mark Stark, Gordon Miles and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties leadership team.

If there’s one word that definitely does not describe the city of Las Vegas, it’s authenticity. This is a place for escape, where showstopping entertainment meets extraordinary dining experiences under the glitzy lights of Las Vegas Boulevard. But maybe when we’re confronted with such geographic charisma, we recognize the importance of authenticity even more.

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