Over and above the call of duty

It’s the Sergeant who heroically dives through a hail of gunfire to save one of his soldiers.

It’s the Fireman who risks life and limb to save a family from a burning house.

It’s the teacher who spends a few extra minutes with a student during lunch or after school to work through the tricky math.

It’s the nurse who pauses long enough to connect with each patient and offer an extra dose of unexpected love and tenderness.

It’s the eye doctor who meets a patient at 9 PM to examine an eye injury.

The Dentist who stays in the office after hours to wait for the arrival of a patient with a toothache.

The Garbage Truck driver who gets out of the truck to pick up the trash that spilled.

The REALTOR who remembers little details like alarm codes and answers the phone when the buyer calls after the closing.

The restaurant server who keeps the water glasses full AND is willing to share his opinion of his favorite menu item.

The person who walks her dog every day and carries an extra bag to collect trash she finds along the way.

The person who always holds the door for others – ALWAYS!

The guy who ALWAYS stops at traffic accidents to see if everyone is OK . . . and does anyone need a phone?

The sales person in the mega department store who LEADS me to the department I seek.

The guy in the grocery store who knows where the pizza crusts are . . . and the playing cards.

We are all these people. The only difference between the ones I describe above and most people is that these folks PRACTICE their art.

It’s almost as if they wake up each morning and remind themselves to be nice . . . and then navigate through their day with eyes wide open for opportunities to help others.

These no measurable cost of going over and above the call of duty.

The benefit is priceless. Each of these exceptional displays of “nice” results in untold volumes of nice being paid forward . . . even to the point of significantly enhancing lives – and in some cases, saving them.

and so it goes . . . You have many opportunities every moment of every day to choose excellence.

Will you?

I’m just sayin’



Supporting one of our own – REALTORS and the Local Community

The most powerful tool I believe that we each personally possess is our influence in our local community. Some of the things that come to mind when I think of the importance of being involved in our communities are:

– You never know when life might happen in your world – whether it be a Natural disaster, or sudden unforeseen illness, or tragic accident . . . Who’s “got your back?”

– The more connected we ALL are to others in our communities, the safer and more secure we all will be.

– Strong communities have a good sense of “securitization” . . . That is, the people feel Financially, socially, emotionally, and physically supported . . . connected!

– Businesses thrive in strong, tight-knit communities.

– All boats rise with the tide.

I am a REALTOR and owner of a real estate firm Pareto Realty, LLC. One thing that I notice consistently is the passion most REALTORS have for supporting others within the local community AND the REALTOR community. REALTORS understand the direct correlation between community securitization and their livelihood (Home Ownership) . . . and they tend to Have behavioral profiles that include a high level of interpersonal traits.

Most REALTORS are passionate CONNECTORS within the community.

Of course, the community also includes many other businesses with similar passion and willingness to take responsibility for the betterment of the community.

A few weeks ago I learned of 2 families in need and felt compelled to offer support for these families . . . So . . .

We are organizing a benefit concert February 2 at 12th & Porter 8:30-12:00 to support the William Wood family and his sister Janice Wood Malone Family. William and Janice are Brother & Sister of Lori Caste who is a Nashville area REALTOR with whom I served on the 2010 Board of Directors for the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS.

William Wood has been very ill for some time and needs a new kidney to get better. Fortunately, his sister Janice is a perfect match and has been approved as a donor. The transplants are scheduled for End of February 2011 at Centennial Transplant Center in Nashville,.
William and Janice will have an eight to ten week recovery period. During this recovery period no physical labor will be allowed which will effectively mean that both families will be dramatically impacted financially. This benefit will help supplement their loss of income. 

William is a self-employed contractor with two young children.  His wife has started working part-time in a factory to help ends meet while helping run his business as well. He goes to a dialysis clinic 3 times a week and does another type of dialysis every night while he sleeps.  

Janice is a UPS driver with a husband and three young children. UPS will not let her go back to work until she can lift 75lbs and push 150lbs. 

We have assembled a collage of 4 fantastic performers for this show and hope you can help us help Janice and William and their families get through this challenging time. All you’ve gotta do is show up . . . and/or make a donation to the funds indicated below.

If you’re a blogger or tweeter, you can also help by distributing a link to this blog post to your followers.

The date of this benefit will be Wednesday February 2, 2011 at 12th & Porter in Nashville, TN.

Please contact me with any questions . . . Hope you can help us make this a great event.
PS: fund for “Friends and family of William Wood and Janice Wood Malone”. If you would like to send a donation please see the instructions below.
William and Claudia Wood         Phone: 731-968-9406
105 Roberts Rd.                         Mobile: 731-695-0143
Lexington, TN 38351                                731-614-2787

How Generosity gets you more of what really MATTERS

Yesterday, I decided to start a book club to meet the 1st Thursday of every month @ 10 AM. I’m not sure why. It just seemed like a good thing to do 🙂

I decided the first meeting would be next week which doesn’t give folks much time to find, buy, and read the first book, so I decided to keep it free and simple by making our first book be free and downloadable from the internet.

Wherever you are, you can participate in this book club by reading the books (I’ll announce each one in a blog post) . . . and perhaps inviting others in your market to join you to discuss.

If the shoe fits, wear it!

Seth Godin practices what he preaches. Most of his “preachin'” is as one of the world’s most read Bloggers . . . and he writes books – Simple books with BIG meaning.

I have always liked his work because he says a lot without all of the words many authors feel they need to write . . . and what he says just makes sense.

On the surface, what Seth writes about is marketing (and how traditional marketing is no longer effective) . . . Underneath, his message is all about “shipping” . . . That is . . . doing the right things to have a marketable product and build a brand that is desirable.

I’ve always been a believer that we cannot create loyal, long-term clients by “SELLING” them our wares & services. Better to find out what the market wants (that competitors are not offering well) and build a brand that ATTRACTS the right people.

Towards the end of 2009 when the economy was clearly dysfunctional and many folks were in search of new and interesting ways to “skin the cat” (similar to how many people feel today), Seth Invited 70+ GREAT BIG THINKERS (not big people – just big thinkers) to write a page for a book entitled: 

What Matters Now

Seth agreed to put the book together and distribute it FREE to his loyal following through his blog site. That book is still available as a PDF download (click the link on the Title). Our book for Jan 6

The assignment was that Each Author would simply write a page about a word . . . It’s nothing short of a magnificent gift.

Seth’s word is “GENEROSITY” . . . and he clearly practices what he preaches – always coming from contribution.

An excerpt:

“we’re rewarded for being generous. Generous with our time and money but most important generous with our art.

If you make a difference, people will gravitate to you. they want to engage, to interact and to get you more involved . . .

This year, you’ll certainly find that the more you give the more you get”

I launched a new real estate firm in Nashville, TN a few months ago – Pareto Realty. I chose “Pareto” as the name because Vilfredo Pareto was the Italian economist who theorized the 20/80 principal – that 20% (the Vital few) of the people/work yield 80% of the results . . . and conversely 80% (The Trivial Many) of the people/work yield 20% of the results.

I believe that The Vital Few are the “Performers” . . . That is, the most successful folks who understand generosity as Seth Godin describes it and come from contribution.

These performers also understand that what they are doing and how they are living is truly an art . . . a life rhythm.

If things aren’t going as you wish, don’t be so hard on yourself . . . just take a step back and focus on your art and you’ll take one giant step closer to making a REAL difference in the world.

I live in a world of invitation – that is, I invite people in and believe that whoever comes (shows up) are the right people.

I wish you the best of success in 2011 and hope that you will practice your art with generosity.

I’m just sayin’



Monday Morning Coffee – Are Historians REALLY Liars?




Christmas day has passed, and Santa was good to us. Here in Nashville, we were treated to the very rare experience of a White Christmas (Only the 8th on the Official record) . . .

That “Wintery mix” of ice and snow did some pretty cool things, not the least of which caused folks to stay HOME and enjoy each other . . .

At the Owen house, our Christmas eve tradition is to invite Friends and family to our house to enjoy slow cooked ribs and good company. That happened in a slightly different way this year . . . 2 parties . . . One group of folks arrived at 1 and departed as the 2nd group began showing up around 4 . . . couldn’t have been better (and was NOT according to plan).

Christmas morning, the feasting continued with the traditional Egg Strada, sausage rolls, and grapefruit and the ceremonial opening of gifts – one at a time – beginning with the oldest person in the room (me) . . . I would label this Christmas the “electronic toy Christmas” which led to a full day of installing batteries and learning how things work.

While walking the dog, we saw families outdoors TOGETHER playing football in the snow.

The day after Christmas was “Hang Out time” . . . and SLEDDING!

When families gather, there’s something I notice . . . No matter how old we get, we each are still the same person. When I talk to my siblings, many of the pet names and much of the goofy talk from our childhood shows up – uninhibited. I realize that we are each the same people as before even though we each now have our own families and careers . . . and what we have in common (other than genes) is years of accumulated HISTORY together.

Some of that History is magnificent memories – some painful – all of it is remarkable. It is these holiday gathering times when I notice that I can actually “pause the game of life” for a few days and reflect on how I got to where I am today . . . That’s when I can see the clear (rugged) path I have travelled and who was with me along the way . . . and Christmas is a time when I appreciate those people – Family, “adopted Family” and friends.

Harry Truman had some very difficult decisions to make during his Presidency and towards the end of his term as President, he reflected on the whys and hows of all that happened. “He had “tried to increase my knowledge all my life by reading and reading and reading” – especially biography and History, insisting,

“There’s nothing new in human nature . . . the only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.”

(From Presidential Courage – Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 by Michael Beschloss)

We write our own Histories as we live our lives and make our choices along the way. Harry Truman thought of Historians as being liars and propagandists . . . I can only say that each of us has our own story that only WE know . . . and the people who matter most in our lives are the ones who understand and respect this – and accept us as we are unconditionally without judgement.

I saw a LOT of that this “Holiday season” and feel great about my “prophesy” that 2011 is going to be a challenging year for many people . . . AND a VERY rewarding year for most folks because THIS is the year we will learn volumes about unconditional love and support for each other . . . and we will prevail together.

All boats will rise with this tide.

Thanks for listening!

Coffee cup is empty . . . and I’ve reserved this “tween week” for reflection and mindset work to spool up my mental turbocharger to BLAST into 2011 with drive and commitment to make a difference like never before.

Are you IN?

I Hope so!

I’m just sayin’


PS – This will be the year that Pareto Realty (My new Real Estate Sales firm) will find it’s legs. This new firm focuses on “Life Rhythm” . . . the delicate balance of LIVE, WORK, & PLAY . . . and relationship oriented community building. We are all in this together . . . Let’s get MOVING!

Expect to be Surprised

Forrest Gump said: “My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Nationwide Insurance has built a cult following around their slogan: “Life comes at you FAST!”

Heraclitus of Ephesus (c.535 BC475 BC) a Greek philosopher, known for his doctrine of change being central to the universe said (Translated in many different ways):

Everything flows, nothing stands still.

Nothing endures but change.
Everything flows and nothing stays.
Everything flows and nothing abides.
Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.
Everything flows; nothing remains.
All is flux, nothing is stationary.
All is flux, nothing stays still. 

There is nothing permanent except change.
Nothing is permanent except change.
Change is the only constant.
Change alone is unchanging. 

The only constant is change.

Harrison Owen – My Father & “Discoverer” of Open Space Technology recommends 6 posters on the wall for an Open Space Event:

Whoever Comes is the right people

Whenever it starts is the right time

Whatever happens is the only thing that could have

When It’s over, it’s over

The law of 2 feet (Bumblebees & butterflies)



John Naisbett in his book Megatrends, coined the term:

 Raplexity – the interaction of complexity and speed of change and how together they greatly limit people’s ability to adapt and successfully change. “Raplexity” creates a systemic overload that can paralyze many of us, greatly limiting effective action.

We’re in a world of “Raplexity”  – a world in which it is VERY frustrating for those unfortunate folks who don’t do well with change . . . and surprise.

It’s fair enough to wish for stability and “status quo” . . . but reality is that (as in the above examples) 2500 years ago raplexity was just as much a malady as it is today . . . The existence of raplexity has not changed one iota.

so . . .

If our “struggle” in life centers around our desire to live in a vacuum in which we KNOW with certainty that everything will happen as we expect . . . we are, in fact, living a delusional life.

Go with the flow . . .

Ride the wave . . .

Life is a balancing act . . . and surprise is what keeps us vibrant and ALIVE!

embrace Change and uncertainty and surprise and the happier you’ll be.

Let it go . . .

Stop struggling . . .

Let your hair down . . .

Go ahead and do your strategizing and create your plans. Those are good to have because they give us an azimuth – a direction – a PURPOSE in our lives.

In the back of your mind, always remember that raplexity lurks and conspires to spoil the plan . . . and that seldom does anything of significance happen according to plan.

Life Happens . . .



HAVE FUN! – Click for a cool video

SMILE & MOVE! – Click for a fun video


I’m just sayin’