Thursday, December 18, 2008

To: Copy To: Blind Copy To:

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, December 18, 2008

What on earth did we ever do before the Internet and more specifically the Email? Every day millions and millions of Emails are sent; most of them to me. Guilty – I am at fault for a lot of the Emails I receive because I have asked for them. Teachable moment here: I have asked for a great many Email online newsletters because you can receive some of the greatest thoughts in the world for free via these newsletters or Ezines; almost of them for FREE. I has been said, by me among many, that you should start and end your day by reading something positive and upbeat – you can easily do this by subscribing to the a couple of the hundreds of not thousands of available online newsletters or Ezines.

But I digress. The purpose of this Nugget is to bring awareness to an ever increasing problem or annoyance regarding Emails. We all receive I would guess at least 30 Email a day; some of us, yours truly included, many, many more. We do not have time to read them all so we pick and choose those we delete and those we read. Then comes the bigger decision, which ones are we going to send on to our friends? Here in lies problem number 1. There is nothing wrong with forwarding Emails but there is a problem in HOW you forward them. Can we agree that there are people in this world who would love to obtain YOUR Email and put YOU on their distribution lists? You know they are there. Therefore every time you forward an Email without properly addressing it AND JUST AS IMPORTANT, cleaning up the contents of the Email, you are sending out several people’s Email addresses if not hundreds and in some cases a thousand or more to everyone you FORWARD the Email to.

Whenever you decided to forward an email, look at the TO LINE. Usually there is only one address but their may be a smaller word that reads: SHOW DETAILS. If you click on SHOW DETAILS you will see all the Email Addresses that the email was sent to. In some cases you do not have to click on SHOW DETAILS, they all simply show up in the introduction to the Email you are forwarding.

What to do? Click on the FORWARD button then clean up the contents of the actual email. Highlight and delete any reference to someone’s Email address BEFORE you send your FORWARDED Email. This will remove any reference to someone’s Email address other than yours.

Have you ever received an Email that says if you don’t forward this to at least 10 of your best friends within the next 10 minutes, something horrible is going to happen to you or something good is not? Have you ever checked to see who else received the Email? Then have you thought, if this is true, (it isn’t), why your “friend” did not return the Email to you if you were so special in their life or vica versa?

There are organizations that send out these Emails for the single purpose of collecting Email address so they can send them direct to you to promote a product or agenda without relying on someone else to forward the Email.

Problem 2 occurs when YOU originate an Email to a group of people and instead of adding the addresses in the BBC (Blind Copy To for you-know-who). That means that the Email will be send to your group of people but no one will know who it went to because the Email addresses are all “blind to the recipients” and therefore the recipient as far a he or she knows, is the ONLY recipient.

There are times you may wan everyone to know such as in the case of an emergency. Who else was warned about this so you don’t have to warn them as well? These situations are very few and far between.

The Rule should be: NEVER MAKE VISIBLE ANYONE’S EMAIL ADDRESS OTHER THAN THE PERSON YOU ARE SENDING THE EMAIL TO. As stated above, if you are forwarding Emails, this will mean you MUST go into the text of the Email being forwarded and clean up the content.

This Nugget was created as a result of an Email I forwarded to everyone (but everyone did not know everyone else received it because everyone was a Blind Copy To (BBC). I immediately received several comments on just how appropriate the content was – thus this Nugget.

As Peggy McColl states in her book, Be A Dog With A Bone, “Drool Unto Others As You Would Have Them Drool Unto You.” That was followed by: “The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” Andy Rooney (Had to add that because I thought it was funny). By the way, it is a GREAT book.

When you send out Emails,


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Pen, Copy Paper and a Lie!

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, December 17, 2008

Who would have thought it possible? The Governor of Illinois allegedly selling a senate seat; does the word “integrity” come to mind? People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones so take it for what it’s worth from someone from Louisiana where our U. S. Representative had $90,000 cash in his freezer and was still reelected (thankfully he lost in a run off election).

What could have happened to create an atmosphere where an elected official apparently thought and acted as if he (she) were impervious to the law and more importantly common sense? As usual, I have an opinion, imagine that.

Believe it or not (I prefer to believe it) I think it all started with a pen, some copy paper and a lie. Who does not know someone, certainly not you, who has not taken home a company provided pen, or has taken copy paper from the copy machine? Then comes the lie, “They can certainly afford it; it won’t be missed.” Then like any lie, subsequent lies become more frequent, easier and even believable with each lie we tell. Who has not driven the interstate system at 75 mph instead of the posted 70? “Everyone is doing it, they won’t stop me; they’ll stop the ‘real’ speeders.” I know this because…

It is a simple matter of progression from very minor things like taking copy paper to more complex issues like taking illegal drugs or even selling a senate seat, after all, everyone is doing it, aren’t they? As in the case of the Governor of Illinois, the loss of common sense is the result of two words (at least in my opinion) – POWER and ARROGANCE.

Contrary to what a great many people think and say, POWER does NOT corrupt; people corrupt, the acquisition of power just makes it much easier. Arrogance dulls the natural wisdom people have to delude their thinking to where they “believe” they are beyond being responsible for their actions and they can do no wrong. In the case of the Governor of Illinois it would be my guess that he believed that “Chicago Politics” are what they are, and “everyone is doing it; aren’t they?” Since everyone is doing it, why not become the beneficiary of the opportunity of selecting a replacement for Senator Obama’s senate seat? “I’m the Governor of Illinois, who would dare stop or question me?”

This attitude is not reserved only for politicians, on the contrary, every person, man or woman, who reaches the pinnacle of their profession such as Chief Executive Officers, Senior Military Officers, company owners, etc. are subject to the “potential” for a deterioration of their own common sense and moral compass. The key word is “potential” because it is not something that MUST happen, but only COULD happen if there is no internal moral compass to help guide you past the “doing what everyone does” to “doing the right thing.”

I am old enough to remember when people were held accountable for their actions. Times when people did what they said they would do and felt a moral obligation to “do the right thing.”

I would like to suggest that if you believe as I do – that having personal core values is extremely important – then I would highly recommend you visit the web site of Joe Tye at Joe once gave me a gold colored card for my wallet that I still carry. It reads, “Is what I am about to do or say consistent with my ideal best self?” Joe refers to that question as a Direction-Deflection-Question or (DDQ). The premise is quite simple but extremely effective. You are headed in one direction with your thought process when you ask the question and hopefully use the question to validate the direction you are headed. If YES, proceed; if NO, stop! On the back of the card are the twelve Core Action Values Joe feels are critical to maintaining your moral compass: Authenticity; Courage; Perseverance; Vision; Mission; Enthusiasm; Focus; Awareness; Service; Integrity; Faith; and, Leadership. Would there have been a different outcome if the Governor had first asked himself, “Is what I am about to do or say consistent with my ideal best self?” He could have substituted any one of the twelve core action values in the DDQ question; example, “Is what I am about to say consistent with my own best authenticity, courage, perseverance, etc.” In a word, ‘NO!”

A good friend of mine purchased a new Hummer automobile probably worth in excess of $50,000 at the time. When I asked him why he would buy such an automobile he responded, “Because I could.” Why would someone take a company pen, copy paper from the company copy machine, drive 75 mph in a 70 mph zone or sell a senate seat to the highest bidder? Because they could! Not because it was the “right thing to do.”

The first order of business when climbing the ladder of success is to make sure the ladder is against the right wall. In the case of Governor Blagojevich I would think that he probably exemplified one of the Core Action Values, that of being focused. He was focused on what he wanted regardless of what was right or wrong. The ends do not justify the means. Unfortunately is seems that in politics in every corner of the world, people use the political process to satisfy their own agenda rather than to truly serve the people – what a pity!

I cannot even begin to contemplate the good one could do by being a governor of a state, can you? Jobs, education, health care, elimination of poverty. It is literally mindboggling. How then could someone use the position of governor for personal gain as was the case of the Governor of Illinois? I truly believe that at some point in his life, it started with a pen, some copy paper and a lie. In for a dime; in for a dollar!

There is an easy test you can do by simply asking yourself this question:


Nuff said!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown

Are we in a depression? If you look at the news you will see and hear how awful everything is. Cars are not selling. Homes are not selling. People are out of work (but not you if you have looked lately). Prices are falling. This is what you are led to believe if you watch the national news or read the newspapers.

Look at my newspaper:

Mortgage interest rates are still at record lows

Home prices HAVE fallen and there has never been a better time to buy real estate

Sellers are giving all kinds of concessions to get THEIR homes sold

No interest loans for new and even used cars

America, who just over 200 years ago (a drop in the ocean in regards to time) and where slavery was prevalent, has just elected its first black president; that’s progress

Louisiana elected the first Governor from India

Louisiana elected the first Congressman from Viet Nam

We’ve gone three years without a hurricane

If you are reading this, you are looking at the grass from the top and not from the roots

We may be at war overseas but we are peace at home; lot to be said for that
I work for a company who cares for me; you probably do as well but maybe never thought of it in that way before

Today I crossed a bridge that only a few short years ago was destroyed by Katrina

Today I gave a deposition in a legal case. Some would say that is bad. I look upon it as a learning experience and believe me when I say I learned

As I write this I am listening to some wonderful music. I am grateful for the music and my ability to hear it

As I write this I am looking at a partially blue sky as storm clouds clear; I am grateful for the view and my ability to see it

When I arrive home this evening I will be greeted by Sophie my Miniature Schnauzer (or I should say I am Sophie’s human) and my wife who both love me conditionally and I them

My four year old truck starts up every morning like clockwork as does my eight year old car; imagine that as we hear American cars/trucks are trash

If you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, be grateful for this, I love you even if you don’t.

Some say I am in denial. To those folks, I would like to suggest that they are in denial for they fail to see and hear the blessings and opportunities that surround them every day. Every morning I have two choices to select from. I can join the pity party and feel and think horrible thoughts about the upcoming day and future days; or, I can choose to be happy and then create my own future by planning the seeds of positivity. I can look in the mirror and see only today and its problems or I can see my 62 years of being alive. I can look back on my problems or I can look back on the good things in my life like four children and nine grandchildren. I am grateful for the values instilled in my by my mother (who had a hole-in-one at the age of 89, so I brag) and father. I can either look forward and anticipate the next problem or I can look forward and relish my next success, that will be one of many to come.

If just one person reads this Nugget and looks differently upon their life than they otherwise would have, the Nugget would be in the words of today’s culture – PRICELESS! If just one person, and that would be you, encourages just one more person to do likewise – it would be… well let’s just say “priceless” has been taken.

When it comes to “gloom and doom” I choose not to participate. If you happen to pass me in the hall or in a store and I choose to ignore you - it may be for good reason; think about that for a moment. I choose to associate with like-minded people. I choose to read invigorating books. By the way, try The Christmas Box or The Christmas Sweater if you want to read a good book this Christmas season. I choose to say Merry Christmas in spite of the popular ridiculous politically correct nonsense. Over 20 years ago Belle’s Palsy took away my ability to smile on the outside but that does not mean I am not smiling on the inside. My inability to smile makes me appreciate a smile even more.

This is what I know. There will always be someone who has it worse than I do and someone who has it better but no one has it just like I do. Because that is true, I know that what I have has been my choice and my future will continue to be my choice. I know that I do not have to be satisfied with what I have but I can appreciate it nonetheless. I also know that what Earl Nightingale said over 70 years ago is just as true to day as it was then, “To change your life, change the way you think! (about your life)” Wallace Wattles said in 1910, to be healthy or rich, “Think in a certain way!” Joe Tye said, “Be today; see tomorrow!” Joe Tye also said, “Never Fear, Never Quit, Expect a Miracle!”

The “rubber meets the road” in your mind, not beneath your feet! If you-know-who is reading this, that means if you want to face reality, it starts with “thinking in a certain way.”


Taking a queue from Henry Ford, if you think the world is falling apart or if you think the world is great; either way you are going to be right! Why on earth would you want to think the world is falling apart? I’ll wait for your answer………

Friday, November 14, 2008


By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, November 14, 2008

While attending a training class the presenter discussed the story as to how she was computer challenged and when her techie rep would say something or make a technical claim as to what the software would do, her response was “So what!” I took that to mean that the techie did not make his case for the value of the product. “So what” got me thinking. It is a great response to a question or statement because it gets the other person to develop the thought more thoroughly.

“So what” however seemed a bit condescending to me but it set me on the right track. What if instead of “So What” we say, “Really………” It’s the dots in that statement that make the difference. Where “So What” almost seems as a put down, “Really…….” (with the voice rising towards the end of the dots) makes a statement which in itself is a question, “tell me more!” It suggests that you did a pretty good job up and until this point but you left something off the argument or your position.

One simple little word that when properly used could change the face of your relationships. Here are some examples of how it could work for you in your personal life and in your business life:

Seller: Your price is just too high! You: Really……..? What you are asking is “tell me more.” If our price is too high, what is your next step Mr. Seller? My price is too high as compared to what? The answers are not as important as getting the Seller to further explain the seller’s position. You win by getting the seller/customer talking. As long as you are not doing the talking/defending you are learning.

Buyer: With all that is going on, we have decided to wait. You: Really . . . . . . Again, you don’t jump on the tail end of the buyer’s comments with defending questions or comments but rather give the buyers an opportunity to expand on their thought. Why have they decided to wait? What are they waiting for? What might cause them to change their mind? If not now, when would they be ready to buy? Will they be buying it through you? Most sales associates, certainly not you, would jump on the end of the buyer’s statement by telling the buyer how stupid he/she/they are for not taking advantage of this great opportunity. Get the buyer talking, their reasons for wanting to wait might actually be the right thing to do – at this point you don’t really know so find out what those reasons are. When the buyer appears to be finished, say, “Great, tell me more.”

Spouse: You never listen to a word I say. (Now who amongst us has not heard that?) You: Really…. In other words, what do you mean? When have I done that? What do you want me to do? How do you feel about that? Can you imagine using “So What” in this case – better duck fast! On one occasion, I simply moved my lips without saying anything back to her – that did not go over well either so I would not try that response. “Oh Yea!” is another failed response; tried that one as well. Silence is the best response. Create a pause and ask for more information in a quiet, reserved voice. “Really….” Or failing that, try, “Thank you for that. Can you tell me more or can you tell me how I can become a better listener?” Jeffrey Gitomer suggest that we never say we are sorry but rather say thank you – words mean thing.

I have found that arguments usually begin with a statement, usually a simple one. But then the other party literally jumps all over the statement because the original comment came out of the blue, meaning it was unexpected. Whenever anyone is caught off guard the natural tendency is to “react” rather than “respond.” The only time it is proper to “react” occurs when your life may be threatened and the best reaction is to get out of there. But when you respond you do so out of proper thinking. When you respond you tend to engage; when you react you tend to excite. Which would you prefer to happen? (For you-know-who, that is not a trick question.) By saying “Really…..” you are posturing for time to think and at the same time getting the other person to expand on their position.

Child: I want this Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (at the check out line in the supermarket. Ever notice where they put the candy bars, at your knee level, but at your child’s eye level). And you the parent or guardian instinctively should say, “Really……” (instead of NO!) as if there is more to the child’s request. Let the child develop a logical reason why he or she wants the candy bar. But here is an extremely valuable teachable moment for you – TAKE NOTES! You are about to get a lesson in sales from THE MASTER SALESMAN! There is no better salesperson than a child – I know – I was a child and I was able to get people to buy me a great many things for which I had no money. At some point in time, I lost all my sales techniques learned in the streets and through the Children’s University of Hard Knocks. Face it, we were great salespeople, everyone of us. What happened? We grew up. We lost our focus. We began to care what the people around us thought about what we were saying or doing and therefore lost our most effective sales techniques. You know I am right on this, well maybe everyone but you-know-who knows. How many more sales might you have if you acted like a child, being less serious and having more fun with your customers? Yes, you are there to represent their best interest but I could make a case that at least one faction of their best interest is to have fun in the process.

In my listing and selling days I found humor the best ice breaker to any conversation as long as it did not insult anyone except for possibly me and you-know-who. If you can get your probable buyer or probable seller laughing WITH you and not AT you, and not at someone else’s expense, you have a greater chance of making the sale – this is my opinion because it worked 100% of the time for me.

I would use cartoons, some original, most not, on most of my flyers and post cards I mailed out or handed out. On one occasion I mailed 8 post cards to 8 For Sale By Owners where I personally drew a prisoner sitting behind bars, chained with a ball-and-chain. High on the wall was a barred window with a crooked For-Sale-By-Owner sign with cob webs hanging from it out in the yard. Bricks were poking through the interior plastered wall and the prisoner had a longing look on his face. The caption was actually a question. “What is the difference between a For-Sale-By-Owner and a Prisoner? The prisoner doesn’t have to stay by the phone waiting for a probable buyer to call.” Of the 8 cards I mailed, 1 called me immediately and the owners asked if I drew the cartoon. I said yes and she said she wanted to work with someone who had a sense of humor. She had never heard of me before – my bad.

Another demonstration of humor involved a high-rise condominium development on the beach in Mississippi. There were no units for sale but I had a buyer from St. Louis who wanted a unit on the beach. I made up a post card with a real estate related cartoon on it and mailed it to every property owner in the building. Within 3 days I had 3 calls, 1 listing and 1 sale resulted. One person specifically mentioned he was attracted by the humor.

You: Jim, you got a little of track, where are you going with this?

Me: Really…..

You: Yes, you started out talking about using the word “Really…..” instead of immediately responding and then you switched to using humor, what was that all about?

Me: Really………………………………………………….

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Holiday Mode

by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, October 23, 2008

Have you ever watched a 100 Meter Dash where the runners seem to slow down just as they reach the finish line? You discover that the winner actually set a world record for the race but as you watch the replay, the runner did in fact slow down the last yard or so (meter or so for those so inclined). What could the runner have accomplish had he or she run THROUGH the finish line rather than coasting to the win? One could only imagine.

December 31st of each year is not quite a finish line because in sales there is no “finish”, it simply continues throughout the year. Yet so many people in sales set December 31 as the “end” and January 1st as the “beginning.”

The Thanksgiving decorations and products begin appearing as early as July followed almost immediately by Christmas decorations and products showing up on the shelves. The mindset begins to shift immediately from the first 7 or 8 months of the year to the last 4 or 5 months that include Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, New Year, College Bowl Games, the Super Bowl and in our area Mardi Gras. Those holidays engage us for as many as 6 months.

Everyone in sales understands the sales pipeline theory. The imaginary pipeline involves sales agents inserting lead generation activities into one end of the pipe. Telephone calls, personal meetings, mail-outs, brochures, etc. It is a constant and uninterrupted “feeding of the pipeline” and eventually successful sales start to emerge, or for the more successful agents, continue to flow from the other end of the sales pipeline. If nothing is fed into the mouth of the pipe, nothing flows from the end of the pipe.

Enter the Holiday Mode of thinking for a great many sales people. The pending holidays tend to take the edge off lead generating activities and people and families get into the “holiday mode” of thinking. The focus shifts from conducting mail-outs, telephone calls, face-to-face meetings, etc and more on scheduling family outings, purchase of gifts and, let us not forget the parties. Is it just me or do people seem to get more tense and distressed during the holiday season than at any other time of the year? Why is that?

Let me put my spin on it and this is nothing but spin, no research, no study, just an opinion. Let’s look at income taxes. If you are like me, I tend to put it off until I absolutely MUST do something in order to meet a deadline. In the mean time I either consciously think of what I SHOULD be doing or subconsciously (including dreaming) thinking of what I should have done days, weeks or even months ago. If your mind is not clear of “need-to-do’s-that-should-have-already-been-done activities”, how can it focus on the things that need to be done at this very moment or tomorrow? There is a guilt feeling as a result of not doing something. These feelings compound, they build on each other. They are like having a page of half-circles each representing an incomplete job. The more half-circles, the more depressed we become. Not only are there things we need to do in the future, there is an entire page of activities left completely or partially unfinished. How does that make you feel? Depressed, inadequate, discouraged and even a failure. But it is the Christmas holidays when everyone is supposed to feel good.

Enter the “monkey wrench!” What else happens during the holiday season? We spend more money on “stuff” and “activities” than we normally spend during the rest of the year. Some of this spending has been planned; most has not. While spending increases, income for salaried individuals remains stable but for people in sales, no lead generation, no additional sales, decreased sales, decreased income. In fact, sales typically and routinely decline due to the seasonality of the sales business. The thought process goes like this, “Everyone is thinking of spending time with their families over the holidays, they are not thinking of buying or selling real estate (or whatever it is you sell) so…..why bother?” That is exactly what most sales people do; they begin to shut down their sales generating activities about mid-October and do not restart until well into January of the following year. In the Southeast Louisiana area, this shut down is extended into March and even April while people gear up for Mardi Gras.

It’s called the “holiday mode” in sales; it would better describe the attitude by calling it the “holiday slump”. Now enter the 80/20 rule. In this case, 80% of the people do what 80% of everyone else is doing and if that 80% of our market is in the holiday mode, they also get into the holiday mode. As a result - sales drop, anxiety increases because income decreases while at the same time expenses increase. Then when the 80% get charged up to start doing those activities they should have been doing throughout the “holiday mode” season, so is everyone else. As a result, there is no market share shift in YOUR direction because you have being doing what 80% of your competition has also been doing. No one seems to realize that whenever you STOP doing something with the idea of STARTING it again in the future, it takes time to restart and to reenergize your business. Therefore even if you set a restart date of January 15, chances are and history shows, you really don’t get started on January 15 you only get ready to get started. In the mean time your pipeline of potential sales has completely dried up. Therefore you must start pumping in the leads and culturing them until the leads begin to produce sales and that does not happen over night.

The “holiday mode” happens every year as certainly as the sun rises every day. If you want to be part of the 20% of our business who easily does 80% of our business it involves being steady for 12 months; not just 7 or 8! That is the rule! Work 12 months of the year. If the market IS seasonal in nature and if the market tends to slow during the holiday season, does it slow because it is the holiday season or because 80% of the agents in the business slow thus slowing the market? Great question don’t you think? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? It doesn’t matter! If you continue to feed your pipeline, 12 months a year, results will be forthcoming 12 months a year. Even if the market does slow, real estate is being bought and sold. If that is true, and it is, then why shouldn’t those sales be yours? If you are in the “holiday mode” the sales could be right in front of you and you would never be aware enough to realize the opportunities.

The sad part of our business is that there are no surprises. There are models that have been proven to work. All one really need do is make a study of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, written by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan and then implement the model. The model, however, involves not giving up or taking off during the holiday season.

Let’s go back to the 100 Meter Dash (or 100 Yard Dash for us old timers). If you as a real estate agent remain focused during the holiday season and continue to perform lead generation activities, it would be like getting a 20 meter head-start at the beginning of the 100 Meter Dash when it begins shortly after the holiday season. If you want to be an industry leader, learn to be a leader during the holiday season and you will excel the rest of the year not to mention winning the 100 Meter Dash!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Light Switch

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown

Light on; light off. Light on; light off. Everyday in our homes and at work, we turn our lights on and we turn our lights off. Whenever we enter a room we automatically and subconsciously reach for the light switch. Don’t believe it, have you ever tried to turn the lights on when the power was off? We all have (well maybe not you).

What would happen if we all put signs on our light switches that read, “Profit LOSS”, or “Profit GAIN” on every light switch? Then every time we turn a light on we could literally see our profits going down. And when we turned the lights off our profits going up. You will notice that there is no “stable” or “holding ground”, they are either increasing or decreasing.

It is impossible to explain to you how valuable I think Joe Tye’s Direction-Deflection-Question (DDQ) is especially during times like we are currently experiencing. Think about this:

Is what I am about to do increasing my profits or decreasing my profits?

If yes, do it; if no, don’t! It is that simple! Americans have been unconsciously doing this ever since the price of gas neared $4.00 a gallon. They have asked, “Is this trip necessary, can I combine purposes, or do I simply put off the trip?” As a result, fewer miles have been logged and prices have declined.

I recently read that if you leave your computer on for an entire year as a great many of us do, it could cost you in excess of $200 a year. Okay let’s say that seems unrealistic, so it is $100 a year. What could you do with $100 more in your bank account? Read the calculation at: $200 a month is $16.66 a month.

If you are reading this, odds are that you have both a family budget and a business budget. Let me change that to family expenses and business expenses because few people/families have budgets. Gary Keller in his book Shift suggests that we all look at our expenses, both variable and fixed and realign them. Some expenses we view as “fixed” such as car payment and mortgage payment that may be changed to reduce the monthly expense. For example, if we think outside the box, we could take out a Home Equity Line of Credit. The loan typically has a lower interest rate and can be spread over a longer period of time. This would effectively reduce your monthly costs, consolidate most if not all of your monthly payments except for the mortgage payment or lease payment into one monthly amount. In conjunction with this step, you also cut up all your credit cards and vow never to use them again; the interest is literally destroying America. Want a shocker? For one month, keep track of all the interest you pay on your credit card statements and any bill or loan that has an interest charge along with your regular payment. Multiply that number by 12 months and you may need medical assistance.

It all starts with a light switch and turning our lights off. One light may appear to be insignificant but multiply the number of lights times the number of hours and it begins to add up. What else are we paying for that we may not use to its fullest extent? How about the premium channels on cable television; do you watch them all? What about magazine subscriptions? How many magazines do you receive on a monthly basis? Do you read them? Cell phones have more and more “add-ons” that cost money when all we really need is a phone to either call someone or answer someone. Who reading this still has a land-line telephone in their home while everyone in the family has a cell phone as well? Everyone is entitled to a “date night” and eats out but do we have to eat at the best restaurants and have the appetizers and wine not to mention desert? Look at your soft drink monthly consumption. You do the math. Let’s say a 12 ounce bottle of water costs $1.00 (it usually costs more if you are buying only one like at the golf course where it is $1.50). There are 128 ounces in a gallon. Therefore there are 10.6 bottles of water in a gallon. 10.6 times $1.00 equals $10.60; and you thought $4.00 for a gallon of gasoline was high. We pay between 75 cents to $1.25 for a can of coke; again usually 12 ounces. At $1.25 cents, that is $12.50 a gallon; at .75 it is $7.50. You may want to drink gasoline, it is cheaper; just kidding.

Smokers; this may surprise you and then maybe not. If you smoke just one pack of cigarettes a day at $3.25 a pack (not including tax); you would spend $98.51 a month; $1,182.09 a year. Two packs a day; you would spend $197.02 a month and $2,364.18 a year. You are easily smoking away a monthly mortgage payment, 3 or 4 monthly car payments not to mention increasing the cost of health insurance and remedies for all kinds ailments associated with cigarette smoking. For women who smoke, do you realize that smoking ages the skin? How much more do women spend on skin care products to make their skin look younger when at the same time they are working overtime to make their skin look older by smoking?

Do you know what you spend on smoking. Go to and enter your smoking habit into the online smoking calculator and find out what it is really costing you a year. Caution: it is a shocker!

The real shocker to me is what people spend money on and what they don’t spend money on; specifically self-improvement and education. People will spend thousands of dollars on having fun but nothing on improving their ability to function in their work and relationships both of which would ultimately earn them more money from which they could have more fun. If you became better at whatever it is you do for a living, it stands that you would make more money. To become better you must invest in yourself! It has been my experience both in the Military and in business that people typically invest in only what they are told they are required to, like continuing education, and never go beyond what is required. I have read that fewer than 3% of Americans read a book a year. That means 97% NEVER read a book. What good could possibly come from reading a book? If you are part of the 97% you will never know, will you?

One more thought regarding the present financial crisis that we find our country in; who is to blame? Normally it serves little purpose to find blame instead of solutions but I feel this is important. I believe that our present crisis is the direct result of “keeping up with Jones” by almost every American citizen. Think about it. We tend to buy the biggest fanciest car we think we can afford. Same applies to homes. Real estate agents tend to sell buyers homes that reach their maximum loan limit and the mortgage companies go out of their way to qualify every buyer they can. A great many home buyers have two incomes thinking that both jobs will remain in tack and that a pregnancy would never interfere with a job. Credit companies bombard everyone with instant credit cards to where the average American has at least 3 credit cards not to mention gas company cards. Our current problem starts with each and every consumer’s desire to have the biggest and best of everything. Let’s be honest, do we need a $40,000 or $50,000 automobile? Most tax experts say the best car to buy is a used one with low mileage but used is not as good as new; or at least that is what most of us think.

If all that were not bad enough, I was absolutely shocked while listening to a radio news program regarding the approaching Hurricane Ike when a lady asked, “Where can I get my credit card from the Red Cross?” as if it was an entitlement. Hurricane Ike eventually crossed land in Galveston, Texas yet this woman wanted her $500 Red Cross Credit Card since that is what happened AFTER Hurricane Katrina.

Now taxpayers are being asked to bailout home buyers who made bad loans and are facing foreclosure. I opened a business that eventually had to close and my partner and I lost a considerable amount of money. It was our decision to open and our decision to cut our losses and close. Should we expect a bailout by our government for choices we made? I don’t think so but that is what we are about to do with the various plans being proposed by our government who, by the way, were also responsible for getting us all into this situation in the first place. Is that not like asking the fox to watch the hen house?

The problem started with each and every one of us and the solution must also come from each and very one of us and it all starts with turning off the lights (metaphorically and literally speaking).

This Nugget may not register with anyone who reads it but I can almost guarantee you one thing:


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Dollar Here; A Dollar There

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, September 17, 2008

Neal Boortz, in his book, Somebody’s Gotta Say It, outlined a great way to save money. He suggested that you never spend another dollar bill except for tips and tolls. When you buy a loaf of bread you do not pay for it in dollar bills, you only pay for it with a $5.00 bill or higher. Do what you will with the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters but put the dollar bills in a jar and do not spend them.

I tried it starting in July of 2008 and by the date of this Nugget, a little more than 2 months; I had put aside over $200.00 in one dollar bills. Enter Hurricane Ike. The devastation caused by Ike is beyond words. Living in Slidell, Louisiana near where Hurricane Katrina came ashore, I can appreciate what the residents of southeast Texas are now experiencing.

I have no idea what other corporations or businesses did during Hurricane Katrina but I can tell you what Keller Williams Realty International did for its associates and market center owners immediately after Katrina. It was announced only days after Katrina that associates who lived and worked in the devastated areas would have access to $5,000 as a grant. Where did the money come from? Approximately one year prior to Katrina, Keller Williams Realty International opened an account that Keller Williams Realty associates could donate to. From this fund grants or no interest loans could be authorized to Keller Williams’ associates who had fallen upon difficult times through no fault of their own such as serious medical situations, illness or natural events such as Hurricane Katrina.

The problem was that there was about $200,000 in the account when Katrina struck and there were over 750 associates in the affected area. Simple math reveals that over $5,000,000 was needed to make that offer of assistance. Within weeks the over 70,000 Keller Williams stepped to the plate by donating directly to the company’s fund, called Keller Cares, to where there was sufficient funds to satisfy the company’s commitment. As a side note, a great many associates also donated or provided assistance directly to individual associates through the affected Gulf Coast. Actions speak volumes about my company.

Now we have Hurricane Ike and Gustav and thousands have been affected. I am confident that Keller Cares will once again step the plate to help those Keller Williams Associates to get over this hurdle. I felt a need to do something and immediately thought of the jar that contained over 200 $1.00 bills. That money will be donated to Keller Cares.

The Keller Cares story is referred to in this Nugget because people other than Keller Williams’ associates read the Nuggets for the Noggin. For those who do, I would strongly recommend that they encourage the businesses they work for to consider establishing a charitable fund within their company to help company employees and associates. I also encourage every individual who reads this Nugget to seriously consider never again spending a $1.00 bill. Save the $1.00 bills, one-at-a-time, and then to use the money for the good of your neighbors who are in need. You do not have to look very far to find someone needing help. And remember, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” The next unforeseen disaster could engulf you and then it will be you that needs the help of your neighbors.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You When...

by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, September 11, 2008

It was 7 years ago today when the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania occurred and most everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when it happened. I was sitting in my Keller Williams Realty office listening to the radio (I was also working). Like others you wanted to believe that striking the first tower was an accident but when the second tower was hit you knew. Everyone in the office at the time was fixed to watching the television as the events unfolded.

Today I sat motionless as I watched a replay of the events of September 11 and could not help but think that a lot of people throughout the world have already forgotten the tragedy of that day because it has been intentionally kept out of sight, out of mind. There has been an agreement by the national media NOT to replay the terrorist attacks of that day. Yet video games, television shows, music, and movies have made violence a way of life in America. I find it very ironic that real death and destruction have been silenced but play-acting violence runs rampant. Today the news broadcast ran the names of those who perished on 9/11 across the bottom of the screen but they were only words. Imagine the impact of displaying actual photographs of those who perished along with their family members and then explaining to our children that this is real; violence hurts and kills and that there is evil in the world that needs to be eradicated.

Some people reading this Nugget were not old enough to remember the assignation of President John F. Kennedy but I was. That is another day that people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing. I was walking across the campus of Bowling Green State University between classes when two students walking in front of me talked about the event.

We consciously remember such events because they were powerful incidents in our lives. The key word is “consciously remember.” Science long ago recognized that we also have a sub-conscious mind and it too remembers. It remembers incidents, history, words, videos, and pictures that we consciously have long forgotten or thought we have forgotten. The sub-conscious mind remembers and remembers well. It also does not define what it sees or hears meaning that it does not judge right or wrong only what is.

Adolph Hitler recognized that it is very difficult to change the minds of the adult German people and knew if he really wanted to effect lasting change, he had to change the minds of children and created the Hitler Youth. Watch the films of that era and you will see where the smallest of children wore the “brown shirts” of the time and marched in unison and repeated the mantras giving homage to Hitler and his ideals. Is it no different today as we see photos and films of youths around the world carrying automatic weapons and having bombs strapped to their bodies? When violence becomes routine, valuing life becomes non-existent.

Today our society is corrupting the minds of our children by exposing them to routine violence via video games, television, movies, music, and especially cartoons.

Tell me I am wrong. We buy our children BB guns and they are excited. They take the paper targets that come with the gun and begin honing their skills. Paper targets become routine and boring so they move on to tin cans. There is not sufficient excitement just seeing a can fall of a shelf so they move to glass bottles and street lights where they can see them shatter. From bottles they move to small animals such as birds, cats and dogs. It is a natural progression and it becomes accelerated by repetition and exposure. Of course MY children would not do this, right? Anyone who watches television can not help but see the senseless violence of the current trend in video games. Who are we kidding that our youngest of children are not being exposed to this garbage yet it continues with increasing frequency. We as adults remind the children that no one is getting hurt in the video games, television and movies – it is all make believe.

While you were growing up, do you recall any incident involving the senseless shooting of students in a high school? Can you remember any drive-by shootings? We are outraged at the death toll in Iraq in January of 2008 but accept without question that there were more murders in the City of Detroit in the same time period than in the entire country of Iraq. I can remember watching the local news several years ago when the total number of murders were announced (they no longer report the total) for the City of New Orleans like someone would keep track of an attempt at breaking an Olympic record. I also recall how people would drive by the Coast Guard Training Center in Petaluma California (almost 1000 acres) that was completely surrounded by a fence and barbed wire (it was once a very secure Army facility) and shoot deer through the fence; they just left them there to die.

It is easier to be negative than positive. It is easier to frown than smile. It is easier to criticize than support. It is easier to ignore than be engaged. It is becoming easier to be violent than non-violent. Instead of working out disagreements, people kill (or sue).

As Dr. John Maxwell so often states, “Hope is not an effective strategy.” If we are going to turn our society around, hoping so won’t make it happen. Each one of us must begin by saying no to violence. It starts with self. We need to boycott violent movies and turn the television off. We need to say no to our children having access to violent video games and graphic musical lyrics. We need to tell advertisers that we will no longer buy their products if they continue to promote and support violent programs.

As an individual, you and I CAN make a difference but to do so we need to do something to move in the right direction. As an example, Pepsi Cola hired a rap artist to promote the Pepsi line of products. That in itself was no problem but this rap artist routinely sang about killing police, sexual acts, abusing women and the like. I wrote to Pepsi advising them that they have a right to select any company spokesperson they desire but that I also have a right to NOT buy their products. I knew that I was only one voice and that my correspondence had no weight on its own. However, within the month Pepsi pulled the advertisements. It was not my letter that made a difference; it was the weight of the thousands of letters and calls to Pepsi that made a difference. What were they thinking?

Are we as committed to protecting our way of life as our enemies (and that includes the entertainment industry as far as I am concerned) are committed to destroying it? At this point in time, I think not! However, one person (that would be you and me) CAN make a difference! We need to be aware! We need to personally take action! We need to be engaged! As Jim Collins says in his book, Good to Great; “don’t accept good when you can have great!”

Thursday, August 28, 2008


A Random Act Of Kindness
by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, August 27, 2008

What is a random act of kindness? Exactly what it suggests, something out of the ordinary (although you could make it ordinary), something spontaneous, and something done without an expectation of a return.

I was not feeling particularly well so my wife and I went to the drug store to get something to make me feel better. I reluctantly passed up the wine and Jack Daniels (just kidding, not sure they even sold wine and Jack Daniels). As I walked down the Halloween isle, I saw a woman with a walking cane, the kind with the four feet on the bottom. She was holding her cane under her arm as she examined a “rubber thing” which is the best way to describe whatever it was she was holding. It looked like a hedge hog but since very few people have ever seen a hedge hog, let me describe what she was holding. First, it was a light shade of green, about 10 inches long. Appeared to have two eyes at one end and it had hundreds of rubber tentacles protruding from its body. I laughed and said, “Can’t imagine going on living without one of those things.” She instantly responded, “Maybe I ought to get a case, what do you think?” I responded, “Works for me” and went about my business but with a smile on my face. As I turned and looked back I swear I saw her walk down the isle with a spring in her step. A random act of kindness? Maybe so, may not but I truly believed we both felt better after the 30 second conversation. But it got better.

As I was checking out the clerk gave me the price that ended in 4 cents. She asked, “Do you have 4 cents?” What happened next took place in no more than 2 seconds and I was not sure what happened as it occurred. I asked my wife if she had 4 cents and before I knew what happened, a hand reached around and handed me a nickel. A man and his daughter had passed the moment the clerk asked if I had 4 cents. Without breaking stride he reached into his pocket, pulled out a nickel and handed it to me. To be honest, I did not even see his face nor did I see his daughter. I said “Thank you” to the stranger.

I paid my bill and ran out the front door and saw the gentleman getting into his car, still did not see his daughter. I shouted to him (he was about 20 feet away), “That was a cool thing to do, thank you again.” It was then I heard (not saw) his daughter who said, “I have a cool dad.” I hate to admit it but I don’t think my kids would say they have a cool dad; what a pity.

I went to the drug store to get something to feel better. Do you think I felt better after my encounter with two total strangers in the space of about 5 minutes? You bet I did both as a giver of a random act of kindness (a conversation with a smile) and the receiver of a random act of kindness, a nickel. What I received can not be purchased off the shelf in a drug store or ordered on the Internet. We both went home feeling better about everything.

Can you imagine a world where everyone (that would include you) made it a personal goal to perform just one random act of kindness every day? Here are some examples:
• Just smile at a stranger and say hello.
• Pick something up that was dropped at a store and put it back
• Pay for someone’s meal without telling them
• Let someone into traffic with a wave and a smile
• Tell someone how much you appreciate them or what they did
• Write someone a note if for no other reason than “I was thinking of you”
• Leave a note or gift on someone’s desk with no reference to you
• Send someone a text message to their cell phone, “I was thinking of you”
• Send hand written thank you notes to everyone who helped you close a sale
• Help a neighbor without being asked
• Picking up the trash left on the floor around a trash can
• Picking up paper off the floor in a rest room (yuk!)
• Be a mentor to a new person without being asked; share your expertise

Sometimes your random act of kindness might even be going home when you feel upset so as not to share your misery with everyone else. But if you do, don’t share your misery with your family either. Here is a question to ask, “Do I brighten a room by entering or by leaving?” Would it not make sense to make it a goal to brighten a room by entering? If that is so, why do so few people work at brightening a room or someone’s life?


Make it your goal that you perform at least one random act of kindness every day without expecting something in return.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Empty Your Cup

Empty Your Cup
August 23, 2008

A young man had read all the books he could find about Zen. He heard about a great Zen master and requested an appointment with him to ask for teachings. When they were seated, the young man proceeded to tell the master everything he had understood from his readings, saying that Zen is about this and Zen is about that, on and on.

After some time, the master suggested that they have tea. He performed the traditional tea ceremony while the student sat at attention, bowing when served, saying nothing. The master then begun to pour tea into the student’s cup. He poured until it was full, and kept pouring. The tea ran over the edge of the cup and onto the table. The master kept pouring as the tea ran off the table and onto the floor. Finally, the student couldn’t contain himself any longer. He shouted, “Stop! Stop pouring! The cup is full-no more will go in!”

The master stopped pouring and said, “Just like this cup, your mind is full of your own opinions and preconceptions. How can you learn anything unless you first empty your cup?”

Many students have read volumes about their profession. They come to a lesson with so many ideas about their business that they can’t hear anything that the instructor has to say. They come to the lesson with a full cup.

The empty cup approach does not mean giving up your intelligence and following blindly. The point is to receive everything that’s taught in an open way, withholding judgment about it until you’ve tried it for a while. Try your best to understand what is being communicated, and then give it a fair chance to see whether or not it works for you.

Shumryu Suzuki Roshi, a great Zen master, said, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.” A beginners’ mind is a mind that is open, eager to learn, an empty cup. If your mind is open, empty of preconceptions, it is always inquisitive, receptive to whatever arises, and ready to engage.

Whether we practice meditation, sales or anything else, at first our experience is fresh and illuminating. When we begin, we have no thoughts of having already accomplished something. Then we can learn. But after a while, it can get stale. We may think we know something and lose our motivation. Our cup starts to fill, and there is less room for something new. When we become aware that this is happening, we can take a fresh start and return to a beginners mind. We may find it challenging to keep to our beginner’s mind; but it is so worthwhile. With a beginner’s mind we can learn from everyone and everything we encounter.

Ben Hogan, perhaps the best golf ball-striker of all time with the most precise swing ever; yet he never tired of practice. In fact, he delighted in it. That’s because he believed there was always more to learn. He always had a beginner’s mind.

If there is one thing I am certain of, most people in business are reluctant to practice, to role play. In this regard let me explain why role playing is so important. Every time you role play you lead yourself to a successful conclusion. Time after time you achieve success through your role playing. What most people fail to realize is that the subconscious mind is accepting success at every role playing session. The subconscious mind then “expects” you to be successful when you are engaged in the “real thing” and then find ways to make the successful actually happen. That is what professionals in any profession do – they expect success and their subconscious makes it happen.


There is a saying, “Sales can’t be taught; it can only be learned.” That does not mean we can go without instruction. The point is that no matter how good the instruction is; it is only as useful as the student’s interest and effort in learning. In describing the learning process, the Buddhist teachings once again make use of the metaphor of the cup. Four types of cups symbolize four kinds of students. Instruction is symbolized by water being poured.

The first cup is upside down. This represents a student who is supposedly there to learn, but pays no attention. You may have experienced something similar while reading a book; your eyes move across the words all the way down the page, but when you get to the bottom, you realize you were daydreaming and have no idea what you read. That’s what happens when a cup is turned upside down. No matter how much is poured, nothing gets in.

The second cup is right side up, but has a hole in the bottom. We hear what’s being taught, but we forget it all too soon. We don’t chew on it and digest it and take it to heart. For example, we might attend a class and when we get home, be asked by a fellow associate or friend, “What did they teach?” And we say, “Um, well, it was…Actually, I don’t remember but I know it was good.” This is the classic case of “in one ear and out the other.”

The third cup is right side up and doesn’t have a hole in it, but the inside is covered with dirt. When the clear water of instruction s poured in, the dirt makes it cloudy. This symbolizes the way we can distort what we hear, interpreting and editing it to fit into our preconceived ideas or opinions. Nothing new is actually learned. When we take a lesson, if the instruction matches how we already see things, it is taken as confirmation. Anything new that doesn’t match our opinion is resisted, ignored, or disregarded.

The fourth cup represents the ideal way to be a student. It is upright, receiving what it taught. It has no holes, retaining what is taught. It is clean, open to learning something new. To whatever extent you can and should be like the fourth cup.

Most students profess to “want” to improve their business. When people find out that I coach the mental game, many of them say, “Boy do I need that.” But most are not really interested in learning – instead they (certainly not you) are like upside-down cups.

Sometimes at the end of class, before the students actually go out into the business world, I emphasize a particular thing to do in connection with every opportunity. Later when I ask how it went, most of the group had forgotten to do it al all - right through the bottom of the cup.

When people come back for a second lesson (which rarely happens), I ask about the practice I gave them to do. The descriptions are sometimes so different from what was said that I barely recognize them. Those cups already had a whole lot in them that got mixed up with what was taught.

But it is delightful when someone who, like the fourth type of cup, comes back and describes the results of working on what we discussed, and has even begun to apply the instruction to other aspects of his or her business.

The most gratifying experience of all is when a student says, “Wait a minute, Gymbeaux. This has to do with a lot more than sales, doesn’t it?”
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Now if you were paying attention, you would have noticed that at the top of this Nugget there was no mention of “who” wrote the Nugget as has been the case in every other Nugget. I only wish I had written this. In fact it is the first chapter of “Zen Golf” written by Dr. Joseph Parent. I have substituted sales or business whenever the chapter referred to Golf which was not very often. I added a couple of sentences to reflect my own thinking on the subject. If I had suggested to someone who does not play golf that they ought to read “Zen Golf”, I seriously doubt they would have read the book. I think this Nugget points out that if you were to think of its contents in the world of golf, you would realize as I have that golf is very symbolic of life and life’s trials and tribulations.

This book is not only about being a good student but a student who is aware of their surroundings and who consciously attends courses, reads books and listens to audio training programs. I read a lot and I can relate to reading a page and having no idea what I just read. That is when you need to stop, take a deep breath, clear your mind and begin again. It helps to take notes and to underline important passages.

Learn to use a “Things To Do” and “Actions To Take” page whenever you take a course whether it is live or recorded. If you think of something you need to do while in a class, write it down under “Things To Do” and then immediately get back to the instruction instead of dwelling on the task. If you are taught something that you want to implement into your life or business, write it down under “Actions To Take” and then get back to the instruction. This keeps you focused on what is important rather then missing some important aspect of the ongoing training.

Take notes. There is magic between the eye, ear, mind and fingertips when you take notes. Whatever you write down you tend to take ownership of. Whatever you write becomes important.

People are generally NOT aware of their surroundings; life just goes on while things are happening all around them. There are opportunities that go untouched simply by being oblivious to them. Learn to stop talking and to pay attention to what people are really saying.

Always be a “beginner” with a “beginners mind.” By so doing you will always be receptive to new ideas that can work for you.

Read – attend courses – take notes - create a personal educational plan – practice – practice – practice!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don’t Be A Lollygagger!
by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, August 20, 2008

“Lollygagger”, a lazy person, one who lollygags; a slacker; or ne'er-do-well (I like that word, could have entitled this, “Don’t Be A Ne’er-Do-Well”)

Are you waiting for your ship to come in? Hate to be the one to tell you, ships don’t come in – you have to go out and meet them. What would happen if “your ship” was captained by a lollygagger? The chances of it coming in would be nil and none and you would wait your entire life for its cargo.

If “your ship” just set sail with no particular destination, you will wait forever for it to even come into sight let alone docking at your door. Captain Lollygagger would be at the mercy of the winds, tides, storms, crew and land masses that come between him and you. Captain Lollygagger was too lazy to research the navigational sea charts, plot a course, check the tide tables and even make sure he had a sufficient crew before he departed. Captain Lollygagger could also be called a “slacker”, or a “Ne’er-Do-Well” (still like that word).

Does any of this sound familiar? Some people (certainly not you) work at looking for the easiest way to make money; wishful thinking. Some people (certainly not you) take short cuts; few if any are truly short cuts but rather expressways to trouble. Some people (certainly not you) see their ship dock in the bay and fail to swim or boat out to meet it. Some people “hope” to win the lottery and as Dr. John Maxwell states, “Hope is not an effective strategy”, nor does it make much sense. Some people (certainly not you) would not recognize their ship if it did dock at their front door.

Each one of us has the ability through the mind’s eye to literally see our tomorrow as we want it to be. Wise people (that WOULD be you) see what they want and then unlike Captain Lollygagger find the education to learn how to get where they want to go. Gathers the crew (tools) necessary to reach their destination. Uses a great telescope to always stay focused on the goal and keep it in sight. Charts progress. And finally reports on his or her progress all along the way to someone who cares.

In this regard, I really like what Zig Ziglar says, “Are you a wandering generality (the 80%) or a meaningful specific (the 20%)?” He could have said, “Are you a lollygagger or a goal driven, laser focused, results producing successful genius?”

To put this Nugget into perspective, let me relate to you a story that was coming across the news as I wrote it. A sailor, sailing by himself, was about to lower the main sail on his boat without securing the boom. A wind caught the sail, swung the boom around and knocked the sailor into the water without a life jacket. He spent 12 hours treading water while the Coast Guard conducted a search for him. He was found and rescued. Question: Do you think the Coast Guard would have found him if they did not have a search plan? Do you think they would have found him if they did not prepare in advance for just such a problem? Saving this sailor’s life would not have happened without a very specific goal and then taking action to achieve it. Who would you rather be, the sailor (the wandering generality) spending 12 hours in the water hoping to be rescued? Or, the Coast Guard (the meaningful specific) trained and waiting to do what they do best? If you need help with the answer to that question, I would refrain from operating any heavy equipment if I were you.

Yesterday can not be changed, it is what it is. Tomorrow, now that is another story – it can be changed but only if you literally paint a picture of what you want it to look like. Then as Joy Tye teaches:


I would then add, like Michael Phelps who just one 8 Gold Medals at the 2008 Olympics did:

10 Words That Can Change Your Life
by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, August 7, 2008

“Bam!” (not one of the 10 words), Emeril Lagasse and Batman to name just two who have said “Bam!” Bam (between the eyes) best describes what follows.

For years I have taught from the Keller Williams Realty playbook in regards to effective scripts. For example:

“It has been my experience that problems arise when expectations differ; wouldn’t you agree (shaking your head in the affirmative ala Zig Ziglar)?”

“With that said, how does someone win with you?”

“How does someone lose with you?”

“People win with me when they….”

“People lose with me when they…”

And then…I would add the following from the same playbook…

“What do you have a right to expect from me?” If I am not mistaken (after all I did graduate from public schools) that’s 10 words.

I had the 10 words firmly implanted my grey matter but being implanted and understanding their true importance is two different things. Recently I had a customer say those very same words to me. Can you imagine the shock in my mind (certainly not on my face, after all I am a professional)? A customer asked me, “What do I have a right to expect from you and, why should I list my property with your company?

Actually he was talking about my company and its associates. I ended the conversation with an unbelievable understanding of just what those words I have used really mean. It does not matter who is asking the question or what position that person may hold. Do as I did, sit and contemplate those 10 words for just a few minutes and I am certain you will come to the same realization that I did – those 10 words CAN and WILL change your life if used on a regular basis.

Wife to Husband: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”

Husband to Wife: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”

Employer to Employee: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”

Employee to Employer: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”

Broker to Associate: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”

Associate to Broker: “What do I have a right to expect from you?”

A word to the wise (that would be you) should be sufficient. Those 10 words when asked set the stage for understanding between two or more people. More importantly what kind of answer would you get if you asked yourself that same question? “Gymbeaux; what do I (Gymbeaux speaking to himself) have a right to expect from you (me)?”

Now for the real shocker…the customer asked me that very question and before I could respond (thank God) he answered it for me. Ready for the answer? Drum roll…………………


Yep, that is what he said, FOLLOW-UP! It was not honesty integrity, experience, training, etc although these qualities are obviously important – it was FOLLOW-UP! He went on to say, he believes that in our society, well over 90% of people fail to follow-up on what needs to be done. You all know by now that I believe in the 80/20 rule so I rounded 90% down to 80%. That means that only 20% of the people you know (that would include you) follow-up on what needs to be done. That also means that 80% do not. So what are the chances that you or your customer has already encountered one of the 80%? Could be a spouse, a child, a parent, a co-worker, a customer, a broker (certainly not me he said with a smile); could be anyone.

That one conversation was one of the most profound and impactful conversations I have had in a very long time. I sat in silence for quite a while and thought about what the customer had said. If words mean things, and you know they do, I thought about taking it to an extreme. Instead of Keller Williams Realty Professionals, I imagined our marquee reading:

Keller Williams Realty Follow-Up Center

Granted this was just one customer. But how many times have you asked your customer(s) what’s important to them? What do they expect from you? What do they expect from your company? I am sure you have seen people break down the word ASSUME into ASS-U-ME meaning that when you assume something you make an ASS out of U and ME (sorry Mo)!

Think about that for just a moment. How many assumptions have you made regarding what your customer, spouse, significant other (hate that phrase), child, co-worker, broker, or team leader really want? How do you know if you don’t ask the question?

True story: We had never had a listing in one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Gulfport, Mississippi. As the broker/owner, I made a commitment to my associates that I would get a listing in that area within the next 30 days just to break the ice and prove it could be done. I obtained an appointment within 2 weeks in an area where only one real estate company ever had listings (at least it seemed that way). How I obtained the appointment could be the subject of another Nugget.

If you ever read a standard Listing Agreement carefully, it is totally one-sided in favor of the real estate associate and company. Seller agrees to list at a certain price for a certain commission and if the seller breeches the contract for any reason the seller can be sued. No where does the contract ever say what the real estate associate will do for the seller.

I was in competition with two other agents from two different companies; one was the dominant real estate company in this particular subdivision. I did my usual property tour taking notes throughout the tour. While on tour with the owner, I asked a ton of questions such as:

Why are you moving?
Have you ever worked with a real estate agent before?
Have you ever worked with real estate consultant before? (No one has ever said yes. As such I feel I am already ahead of my competition.)
What did your agent do that you particularly liked?
What would you like to have seen your agent do differently? (Expectations)
What do you have a right to expect from me? (I did not use those very words but rather words to that effect.)

Okay, I have to admit, I did not have training as to what I did, just did what I thought was the right thing to do. I took on the mindset that I was applying for a job and I was. The owners were going to literally “hire” me to work for them. This is where I separated myself from the competition. Considering the owner’s answers to my questions, I created a written Proposal and Plan of Action identifying everything I would do to hopefully cause their property to sell. Did I say it was written? The secret was that I first identified what the owners expected of me and then put it in writing and signed it. Of course the proposal included all the things the owners “expected” me to do and that I felt comfortable doing. But here is the key – if you say you are going to do something – do it or explain why it cannot be done.

This is what the owners told me happened. They elected to list their home with me. The other two agents followed-up on their appointments and then each asked why they listed with me instead of them. The owner outlined everything that I had put in writing. Then the unbelievable happened. According to the owner they both said something to the effect, “He can’t do those things.” The owner then said, he agreed to them IN WRITING. “Well, I could have done that”, they each said. To which the owner then said, “Well then why didn’t you say so?” By the way, the home sold in 28 days.

Here are the three rules that I feel will guarantee your success in any relationship:

Find out what is important to the other person,
Make the other person feel important; and then…

So as your broker,
what do you have a right to expect from me?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Coincidence; Destiny; or Divine Intervention

Coincidence; Destiny; or Divine Intervention
Article by: Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, August 6, 2008

There are four books and one movie I would like to recommend:

Book: “The Power of Story; Rewrite Your Destiny in Business and Life.” by Jim Loehr
Book: “The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way; How to Speak, Write, Present, Persuade, Influence and Sell Your Point of View to Others,” by Jeffrey Gitomer
Book: “Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude; How to Find, Build and Keep a YES! Attitude for a Lifetime of Success.” By Jeffrey Gitomer
Book: “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior; A Book that Changes Lives,” by Dan Millman
Movie: “Peaceful Warrior,” with by Scott Mechlowicz, Amy Smart, Nick Nolte, and Ray Wise and based upon the book “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior”
Book and Movie: “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield

Of all the books I have read, why these (and one movie)? The enlightenment (for lack of a better word) came when I read The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. This was not a book that would have caught my eye on the bookshelf; it was recommended by my son-in-law. It did, however, sit on my shelf for well over two years before I read it. Once I started reading, it was difficult to put down. It is an inspirational novel based upon a true story. The main premise of the book and later the movie “Peaceful Warrior” is to always be aware of your surroundings, be IN the moment, and be aware of what you are thinking – it can and often does make a difference. When you become truly aware, activities that seem to be a coincidence probably are not and what once was a certain destiny can instantly change directions. The next time you meet someone for the first time ask, “Why did I meet this person, here and now? What significance did this meeting have – may none? What can I learn from this meeting?” People who have a servant’s mind (that would be you), would also ask, “How can I make this person feel important?” People with a “selfish mind” would ask, “What can this person do for me?” Remember, when you make it a part of your every day life to GIVE to others, you get in return ten times that which you give.

If you have read or seen “The Secret” you understand that the Law of Attraction tends to attract into your life more of what you think about most. When most of us trod through life (certainly not you), we miss opportunities that are presented to us on a daily basis. These opportunities can be something as simple as providing a smile to someone who at that moment needs a smile or something as major as a business opportunity. Yet when we fail to pay attention (be aware) we unconsciously pass on such opportunities.

Here is a perfect example. When most people get on an elevator they either look at their feet or the numbers passing by overhead. Rarely do they make eye contact with fellow passengers. An “elevator speech” was defined as “what you say to your fellow passengers when the doors to the elevator close.” Sometimes you need not say anything but simply look a passenger in the eyes and offer a smile as I did one day in New Orleans. Within a few seconds the two of us struck up a conversation and of course it turned to real estate because I was wearing my Keller Williams Realty embroidered logo shirt. People want to talk about real estate; this fellow wanted to talk about commercial real estate. This would not have happened had I not been aware of my surroundings and instead counted the shoelaces on my shoes or watched a series of numbers blink overhead.

People recommend restaurants, books, movies or events every day; how many of these recommendations do we listen to and take advantage of. How many do we even hear; most seem to go in one ear and out the other. Personally I have come to believe there is no such thing as a coincidence and that everything happens for a reason. So before I dismiss a passing comment or activity, I literally ask why this comment, activity, or person entered my life at this very moment in time. Such an occasion recently occurred when my friend, mentor and teacher Joe Tye recommended the book, “The Power of Story” that I purchased and read. If you decide to read this book, I would like to suggest that you first read it and then read it a second time but during your second read, work the exercises. It is a book about “your personal story” and who you tell it to including yourself and is it believable by those who hear it, ESPECIALLY you.

The coincidence occurred when I picked up the book by Jeffrey Gitomer “The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way” and began reading it for the third time (I read all of Gitomer’s books more than once – they are that good!). Most of Gitomer’s books are about sales and this book is no exception. Gitomer explains the importance of developing and delivering a “good story” regarding your product or service and presenting it to a probable buyer or seller. The two books mentioned came together when I read in the Green Book the following:

The principles of persuasive storytelling are having a meaningful message, making the story germane to what’s being discussed, being able to tell it in a convincing manner, and combining your theatrical skills with your presentation skills to add the element of performance to the presentation of your story.

You know what Gitomer is saying – to be successful in sales you must first believe in your product or service and then create a very meaningful message. However to win your customers over, you must then develop skills to tell your believable story to customers who initially do not want to hear it and yet eventually buy into your product or service.

“The Power of Story” is about the same thing but this time it is a story about you, what you believe in, and where you want to go in life. The two books are best read one after the other with The Power of Story being first. When you truly know YOUR story, it can be compelling and should be interesting. When you understand the “power of a story” you can then create the story you want to convey to your probable buyers and sellers as developed in Gitomer’s Green Book.

None of this has any value if you do not first develop YOUR STORY, believe in YOUR STORY about you and then develop the skills to convey that story to others and more importantly to yourself. Can you believe YOUR story? Do you believe YOUR story? How can you possibly expect probable buyers and sellers to make the decision to work with you when you have no story about you and your product and services that is believable to them? It all starts with you and your story!

I would then recommend that you read “The Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude” to put an exclamation mark on your learning by developing the proper attitude to tell your story to as many people as possible. A successful real estate sales career is truly a numbers game. The more people you can successfully tell your story to the more people will turn into probable buyers and/or sellers OR refer you to probable buyers and/or sellers. This is self-education at its finest!
“The Celestine Prophecy” is a compelling inspirational novel about danger and intrigue in the mountains of Peru. When I first read the book in the early 90’s I was not sure in the beginning of the book as to whether it was fact or fiction (it was fiction). The book became a word-of-mouth success in regards to sales. It was all about coincidences and how they were not really coincidences and to be aware of your surroundings because most if not all things happen for a reason. And speaking of coincidences, I was on looking for a book when the site indicated that people who bought the book I was researching also bought “The Celestine Prophecy.” I could not find my copy of the book and was about to order a replacement copy to read when I discovered they had made a movie of the same title. It closely followed the book and is very good and entertaining as well as educational. The book was so good that it became a constant topic of discussion for an online CompuServe Mastermind Group (before masterminds became popular) consisting of 33 real estate agents (including yours truly) from across the United States. The book details 9 insights about where society is evolving and how we can become aware of it.

I am going to suggest that some who read this Nugget For The Noggin are looking for something in their lives to make a change in their lives and this Nugget may be the “coincidence” discussed – remember things happen for a reason; this Nugget may cross paths with someone for a reason.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Waiting For Your Ship To Come In?

Waiting For Your Ship To Come In?
Article by: Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, June 4, 2008

The radar operator was tracking a contact that not only remained constant it was also drawing nearer. The operator contacted the commanding officer to make sure he was aware of the contact.

“This is Captain Lloyd of the U. S. Navy Air Craft Carrier Ronald Reagan; you are on a collision course with this vessel. We are the world’s largest war ship and I demand you change your course immediately!”

“Captain,” the rather calm voice replied, “this is the U. S. Coast Guard Lighthouse at Rocky Shoals. I would be more than happy to change my course if I could but instead I would suggest you change both your COURSE and your ATTITIDE!”

You and your career ARE on a course, the question is which course and do you really know where you are going? Like Zig Ziglar states, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

If you are waiting for your ship to come in, you had first better make sure you have water in your harbor. Wishing something to happen will not make it so and as Dr. John Maxwell so often states, “Hope is not an effective strategy!”

It is not enough to just know what needs to be done. This past evening I had an epiphany of sorts. I was reading Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude for the fifth time. Now I know what some people are thinking (certainly not you), Gymbeaux is a slow learner. Let me explain. Gary Keller wrote The Millionaire Real Estate Agent (MREA) and he suggested that the prudent real estate associate (that would be you) should read the book once a month for a year. That the important passages be underlined, pages be dog-eared, and notes be entered in the margins. It is only through repeated study will the pages come to life and have a positive impact on your real estate career.

I believe the same is true of any great instructional book, or course for that matter. If professional knowledge were a potato chip, you could not eat just one. Nor should you read a book or take a course just once provided it has value. You only gain more insight with each reading or course attendance. The Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude is such a book. There are Ahas on every page. True, most of the material you probably heard at different times in your life but this book puts it all together in one resource. It is a course on attitude. The only way someone can change their attitude is to think about their attitude. Most of us (certainly not you) go about our daily lives and give our attitude little to no thought. As Gitomer says, the natural tendency is to think in negative terms. Thinking in positive terms is a labor of love and at times can be difficult considering negative thinking is our most natural way to think.

The connection between The Little Gold Book and The Millionaire Real Estate Agent (MREA) book came to me this past evening while reading the Gold Book. The MREA is a book contains just about everything one would ever need to know to open a successful business of any kind, not just real estate. It provides a “cookie-cutter” plan that if followed should prove to be as successful as you wish it to be. The book helps you to “stay on course” in regards to organizing and operating your real estate business. I had always felt that something was missing in the book and until this past evening had no idea what it was. It takes more than just a course to follow; it also takes a change in attitude to get where you desire to be – your objective – your goal!

Following the MREA requires a YES!Attitude® mindset. If you have not read the Gold Book, a YES!Attitude® is one you exhibit when something happens and you pump your fist in the air and shout YES! If, while reading the MREA you run across an Aha moment, something that stands out from the page, something you truly know you should be doing, consider it a YES! moment. Write it down. Write down enough of these moments and you create an outline for your “success course.”

If you have not as yet read the MREA (of course that would be someone else), I would suggest that you first read The Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude. This will put your mind into the proper receptive mindset to truly appreciate what Gary Keller, Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan have done for you by providing you the proper course (path) to success. The formula is really quite simple (that is why it took me almost 5 years to figure out):


It is the positive attitude that is the tough part of that formula. Why? Because as stated above, our negative attitudes are the dominant and natural way to think. Who knows who first said it but if you want to change your attitude, you first have to change the way you think (about your attitude and your success). Henry Ford had it right; “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right!”

To show you how this works, I recently played golf with a friend who shall remain anonymous, who on the very first tee said things like, “I have no idea where this ball is going to go,” “I am the world’s worst golfer, you wait and see,” etc. Then when he hit a bad shot his opinion of his game was confirmed to both his conscious and subconscious mind. It is the subconscious mind that we must first begin to change and to do that the subconscious mind needs food – positive affirmations on a regular basis! Before you can become a good golfer you must believe you can be. Before you can become a successful real estate associate, you must believe you can be. Before you can have a positive attitude you MUST ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE YOU CAN! It starts with the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think of when go to sleep at night. You do have a choice as to whether you have a positive attitude, or not. Why would anyone ever want a negative attitude? (I would really like to know how you justify that kind of thinking!) Knowing that negativity is natural, it takes hard work and constant work to be ever mindful of your attitude. Ever hear someone say, “He’s got an attitude!” Tell me that and I’ll take it as a compliment not an insult.


1. Read The Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer
2. Read The Millionaire Real Estate Book, by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks, & Jay Papasan
3. Buy a piece of jewelry that you wear because YOU make IT look really good when you wear it but more importantly, every time you see it or feel it, the jewelry makes you actively think of your attitude and where it is and where it needs to be at that very moment
4. Write your goals down, if you do, it has been estimated that you are one of about 3% to 5% of people who do. Without goals, how will you know where you are going and more importantly how will you know when you get there?
5. Take the time you spend in the evening watching television and use that time to work on your career and attitude by reading, listening to CDs or watching DVD’s such as Stand Up For Your Life with Cheryl Richardson, You Can Heal Your Life with Louise L. Hay, The Secret with many featured presenters, or Messages from Water which you will simply not believe.
6. Read anything (or everything) written by Joe Tye
7. Read anything (or everything) written by Dr. John Maxwell
8. Read anything (or everything) written by Jim Paluch
9. Read anything (or everything) written by Jeffrey Gitomer
10.Read anything (or everything) written by Jack Canfield

Remember: To change your life, change the way you think. To change your attitude, change the way you think about your attitude. Okay, to change your golf game, think about the way you think (and talk) about your golf game.

As Dr. John Maxwell (my hero) says:

(Which is also the title of his great book!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Life Is Like A Colander!

Life Is Like A Colander!
Article by: Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, 5/23/2008

Imagine if you would that your life is like a colander (strainer). As water is being poured into the top, it comes out the holes in the sides and bottom. As long as the flow of water is steady, your life’s colander is capable of handling the input. But what happens if more water enters the colander than can be discarded out the holes? The water begins to flow over the rim and onto the floor.

What does that have to do with life? I thought you would never ask. Before I answer that question, I would like to refer you to the person responsible for this Nugget, Bill Harris at If you visit the site, you can sign up for a free Center Pointe newsletter. The site’s primary product, however, involves Holosync technology that I will explain later in this Nugget.

Back to the colander. According to Bill Harris we each have an “internal map of realty” that we created early in life. This map helps us to determine what we believe and disbelieve. We refer to it every time we are faced with a new situation. The map tends to direct the outcomes of our thoughts based upon these beliefs. The problem is that many of these beliefs may be inaccurate but we live our lives and form our opinions on them nonetheless.

Now think of our internal map of realty as being the colander. We take in information and let is swirl around in the colander and then we also let it escape out the holes using what we need and discarding the rest. When the input of water becomes so great the colander no longer can handle the input. We then have two choices, we can either turn off the input (not a good idea) or we can get a larger colander (a much better idea). Using water and the colander, it is easy to recognize that to handle a larger flow of water we simply go to the store to purchase a larger colander. But if the colander represents our internal map of realty, what we believe to be true, how can we enlarge our map to accommodate life’s increased flow (which could be related to stress producing activities).

During a Bill Harris seminar he explained that our “internal map of realty” is much like a real road map complete with color symbols that clearly show us the way from point A to point B. It also shows us such things as camp sites, national parks, historical sites, etc. I found it interesting that he also said that while we know a camp site is present on the map as depicted by the colorful diamond, we cannot camp on the diamond; we just know it is there. What the “map” does NOT show us are the things that life throws in our path such as “bridge out”, “road construction”, “floods”, “snow storms”, etc.

If there is one thing I would change regarding what I have learned from Center Pointe thus far it would be to add two words to the term “internal map of realty” and those words would be “limiting beliefs”. Thus it would read “internal realty map of limiting beliefs” because that is exactly what our internal map of realty truly is – limiting beliefs. Until I began listening and reading the material from Center Pointe I did not realize just how deep these limiting beliefs can be and how effectively they do their work without me realizing just how effective they were.
I find it much easier to teach from personal experiences and then telling my story to others. So let me give you some “for instances” to consider:

#1: Keller Williams Realty International initially said that every local Market Center should shoot for 100 agents; then it was 200 and now there are Market Centers with 300, 400 and even 600 agents working from one office. My internal map of realty kept reminding me that in my local market area there were only 500 to 550 locally licensed real estate agents. To acquire even 100 would have meant that we would have had 20% of the available agents. My “map” kept reminding me subconsciously that having 20% of the total was impossible. Now here is the “cruncher”, if my subconscious mind truly believed that, it would therefore find a way to make it right; and, it was working perfectly without me even realizing it. Now to be honest, it is still very hard for me to fully grasp ever having 600 agents in a Board of Realtors that only has 550 but then I never thought I would be able to have a fully functional computer that would fit in of my hand either.

#2: I have been in some form of personnel management position for the past 35 years and have studied management during that time. Therefore my “management colander” had been formulated long ago and my map firmly entrenched in my subconscious mind. For example in the military they referred to a term called “span of control” and that simply meant that no one person was given more people to manage than the person was capable of managing. Now move forward 30 or so years to the present. I am the Team Leader for 75 real estate agents and 4 employees (well on my way to the initial 100 agents of the original goal). By any military or business standard, being directly responsible for managing 75 people without any help would NOT be considered a good business practice – span of control. Therefore I have two forces working against growing my Market Center to 100 or 200 agents – my internal belief that there were simply not enough agents to accomplish this and more importantly, if I am overwhelmed by managing 75 people why would I want to acquire another 75 or more people before I could expect help?

#3: Prior to Hurricane Katrina we had 72 agents and at least 12 agents on the verge of joining our Market Center. Then when Katrina struck, we lost 15 agents who decided not to return to our area and the 12 that were coming either did not come or at least postponed their joining our company. Although my own personal home was unbelievably undamaged as was the Market Center building, Katrina affected me in other ways. Before I continue I want you to remember that prior to Katrina, my colander was close to the rim with “stuff” in my life. Lots of agents, lots of related real estate problems created by the agents and their business, lots of demands on my time, etc. I realized long ago after reading the book, “Men From Mars; Women From Venus” written by Dr. John Gray, that I was a Mr. Fixit type personality. Bring me a problem and I would fix it. When Katrina struck and I was faced with all the visual images of miles and miles of destruction, and when agent after agent, and customer after customer told me their story of devastation and loss, my colander overflowed and has been overflowing ever since. I realized that there was very little I could personally fix but my internal map of realty did not have a road leading in that direction; I was still on the road from Point A to Point B which required fixing the problems and I did not know how to handle it.

What to do?

I couldn’t run to the store for a larger colander. The only way to turn off the flow was to quit. By the way, quitting was not on my road map either so it was not a choice. I was not aware of it but depression had taken hold of my psychic. Depression in this case was simply having a colander that was not able to handle and disperse all the input it was receiving. I desperately needed a larger colander and that meant changing my internal realty map of limiting beliefs. It took years and years to create my existing map, how do you change it over night? It was not just a case of self-talk – I tried that. I kept saying to myself that I can handle all this stress. It became obvious that this self-talk was not working. Remember it was years and years of self-talk and education both formal and informal that created my map and I had no idea of what was going to change my map at this point in my life. I did understand that nothing was going to change until I somehow changed my internal map of reality.

I knew I had to change my subconscious mind but I did not know how. Again, the self-talk was not working. I am not a doctor, therefore what I am about to tell you is simply my experience. I am relating all this personal information because I know I am not the only one that has limiting beliefs or is overwhelmed by the stresses of life. Maybe this Nugget will help others or at least make others aware of the effect our internal map of realty has on our actions or inactions.

Enter I purchased the program and began religiously following the instructions. It has been about 6 weeks and I have noticed some small but important changes. The stress is still flowing into my colander but I have realized on many occasions that my reaction to the stress has been significantly different than prior to starting the program. Rather than immediately responding to an incident I am actually sitting still, not immediately responding and literally watching my own reactions (witnessing as Harris puts it) and THEN formulating a response.

Center Pointe uses a system called Holosync sound waves that without going into a lot of technical detail causes your brain to rethink itself and create connectors between the left half the brain and the right half. This simply causes your brain to reorganize itself. I prefer to call it reorganization of my subconscious mind or in my terms – purchasing a larger colander. While it has only been six weeks, I believe it is working and while spending one hour a day listening to a CD would not have been on my daily schedule, I have not missed a day. In a life as busy as mine, that is saying a lot.

This is not an advertisement for Center Point and/or Holosync (OK maybe it is). I would prefer to think of this Nugget as an awakening to how to better deal with stressful situations that may seem to be overwhelming you like they have me. Hopefully confession IS good for the soul.

As I wrote this, my attention was drawn to a very large stuffed Monkey sitting atop of my bookcase. Funny, I had forgotten about the Monkey; it was given to me by the Commanding Officer of a Coast Guard Cutter in Texas. He called me one day and said I seemed to be a little stressed out. I explained to him that I was having problems terminating a Coast Guardsman’s career because he used drugs. That one indiscretion was grounds for throwing away a multi-year career. I was not against the policy, on the contrary, I supported it 100%; it was just tough telling a member and his family they are no longer welcomed to serve their country. The next day the Commanding Officer visited me carrying this very large brown stuffed monkey. As he handed it to me he used the moment as a teachable moment when he said, “Jim, I have a policy with my crew. Each crew member is welcome to visit me with their problems (their monkey on their back). But when they leave, they need to take THEIR monkey with THEM rather than leaving it with me!” He gave me the monkey as a reminder of his policy. One of life’s little lesson’s that apparently did not stick as it passed through my colander.

The Lesson. I am not alone. You are not alone. There is no need to let life’s stresses work you over unless you want them to. I chose to use the Center Pointe program because I do not believe in taking medication for every problem I face. Medication tends to treat the symptom rather than the problem. Medication would not provide me with a larger colander; it would have just enlarged the holes. To truly treat the problem, I needed a larger colander and that required destroying my internal beliefs and creating new beliefs. I think I have found the solution in Center Pointe; maybe you would as well.