community

Hustle & Heart at Home

I was supposed to be in Wilmington this week for the inaugural Hustle & Heart event put on by Wilmington-local Stephanie Lanier and her passion project The Inspiration Lab. As most of you have undoubtedly seen, our home state of North Carolina was devastated last week by Hurricane Florence and one of the areas that experienced the worst of the storm was Wilmington.

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To me, Wilmington is more than just one of our coastal cities. In fact, Wilmington and more specifically Wrightsville Beach is one of my favorite places in the world. Only about an hour away from us, my wife and I try to sneak away for short beach getaways, sit along the Intercoastal Waterway and watch the boats sipping a cocktail and delighting in perfectly cooked crab dip, and feeling the sand between my toes as the sound of the Atlantic Ocean crashes. I often refer to it as my “happy place” as the salt air seems to soak up all my stress and leave me feeling lighter.

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As the forecasts came in throughout the week it seemed that Wilmington was in for a direct hit and I began to think about my dear friends along the coast. I nervously texted with friends and with Stephanie asking about her home, her friends, her business, and even the event. After putting on my fair share of conferences, I know the work it takes to plan and produce one of these events. Although I haven’t given birth, I imagine it is a similar experience. My heart was broken over the thought of her event being postponed or worst - cancelled. To watch my friend pour her heart and soul into this event and it be taken from her out of anyone’s control was tough. I settled my nerves with a comment that one of the panelists shared on our prep call earlier in the week, which ironically wasn’t intended to relate to the storm. “You can’t live your life worried about what might happen. You just have to live your life and make the best of the circumstances you are dealt.”

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As the storm hit, I knew instantly that we were in for a long recovery process as a state. Pictures of places that I adore were truly underwater and in the moment, it was almost paralyzing to imagine coming back from that sort of devastation. I had seen such things before with Hurricane Katrina, Harvey, Maria, or even Matthew but never had I watched the places I love be truly impacted. I gave to relief efforts before, but I never really understood how far they really had to go. While Wilmington isn’t home, North Carolina is and that’s the thing about North Carolina - it doesn’t really matter what town you call home, we’re all North Carolinians. We’re all in this together.

In past posts, I’ve talked about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, but I really encourage you to take the time this week and do that. There are a lot of people that are really hurting. There are a lot of people that are committed to rebuilding but aren’t even really sure where to start. There are a lot of people that need you to help them get that start. If you aren’t sure how to help, the Red Cross had prepared to help as many as 100,000 people across the region, and sent out equipment and supplies, including vehicles, meals and cleanup kits. You can donate to the group online, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or texting “RED CROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Google is matching donations up to $1 million.

As for Hustle & Heart, the event will go on sometime later this year, but something tells me that there is still plenty of hustle & heart happening around the Carolinas as we work to rebuild the areas we love so much.

Share The Love of Where You Live

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All month long we've been talking about love. Loving on others, loving yourself, but what about - loving where you live? I mean, doesn't the concept of "home" extend far beyond the walls and the structure? For me it always has. Home is woven into the fabric of the communities we become a part of, not just the physical place we lay our heads down at night. 

This week, I've had the good fortune of spending a decent amount of time in Downtown Raleigh where I have fallen in love with my city all over again. Maybe as real estate agents we are particularly attuned to the things around us, but this week, I simply seemed to notice things I loved about the city in a different way, from the number of bustling new restaurants to the way the bricks lay in the sidewalks - it all took on a different weight with me. Which got me thinking - are we doing enough to show off the places we love to live? 

As real estate agents, one of the best values you can offer clients is to help them get a feel for what it will be like to live in a community. After all, we spend most of our days out in the communities we live and serve rather than cooped up in a stuffy office. Almost every successful agent I speak to has an intimate knowledge of their community, too. Agents always know the best restaurants, local dive bars, boutiques, dry cleaners, even doggy daycare centers. Why? Because most of the time we love where we live and that is what motivated us to help others fall in love with where we live, too. 

Whether through blogging, video, or even cool technologies such as Relola, a website dedicated to real estate agents sharing their local expertise; agents everywhere are beginning to provide real value to consumers to help them get the one things that isn't so easy to find -  insight. Consumers have no shortage of data and listings, but what they don't have is the boots on the ground telling them what that data means, and what it will feel like to live somewhere. 

Sample Relola map of Downtown Raleigh

Sample Relola map of Downtown Raleigh

As agents, you have impeccable insight into what makes a community tick. You see, home is a feeling far more than it is a place. Home extends beyond the walls of where you live into the bricks of your sidewalks, the grass in the yards, or the shops along the street. As a good friend of mine once put it, "it is about how the house and the neighborhood come together so it is not totally clear where the living room begins and ends." Go ahead, share why you love where you live and I assure you - others will fall in love too.

Why Can't All Year Be Like A Holiday Card?

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My favorite part of the holidays is the holiday cards that we receive in the mail. I scramble to the mailbox in the afternoon, ensuring I am who opens them. I "ooh and ahh" over how much kids have grown, how happy my loved ones look, and what has transpired over the past year.  At the holidays, mailboxes are overflowing with staged pictures of kids in adorable clothing that they probably argued about having to wear; holiday letters filled with the happenings of the wins and losses of the year; even the occasional sweet treat that a loving neighbor wanted to spoil you with. 

But, I'm left wondering - why do we only do this at the holidays? As a coach, I preach that consistency breeds results in all things - our relationships, our work, our skills. All of these are made better with consistent performance, but in practice, we struggle. I'm not saying that it is easy  to find the time throughout the year to consistently write handwritten notes, send emails, make phone calls, or simply stay in touch; but I also question - is it any easier to do so at the holidays? I would argue it is actually more difficult than in say, April. 

When I think about how holiday cards make me feel, I smile. I feel loved, valued, cared for, and important. And when we think about it, we don't not feel that way throughout the year - we just don't always take the time to acknowledge it. When we pause for a moment to be present in our own lives, reflect on our blessings, and show our gratitude - we are truly able to feel the impact the people we care for have on our lives and our businesses. Doesn't that warrant acknowledgement all year long?

It is the holidays, so I won't pick on you, but I will challenge you. As you wrap up 2017, think about how you can incorporate more consistent communication into your business and your life. How can you show people they matter to you beyond closing gifts and the annual picture of your family in matching outfits? Find more opportunities to say thank you, to show others they matter, and even to surprise someone with something unexpected. I promise you won't regret it. After all, magic is wherever you choose to create it. 

Creating Your Community

More and more, I find myself looking outside of the real estate industry for inspiration. So, this week, as we tackled the concept of branding on one of our training "B-Line" calls here at Bamboo Realty, I couldn't help but reference my latest obsession - my new Peloton bike. Those of you that follow me on social media may have noticed this new obsession; however, what you likely haven't seen, unless you're a Peloton rider yourself, is the power of the Peloton community. After just a week with my bike, the power of their community has vastly changed how I ride and my drive to keep going. 

Of course, it's all in the name though! "Peloton" is a word used to describe the main group of riders in a race. Riders group together to enhance their performance - so riders in a peloton work together, conserve energy and perform better because of one another. Hm, sounds a lot like a community to me. One might begin to wonder how a spin bike with technology for at-home on-demand rides actually enhances performance or creates community, but I tell you - this company has mastered it.

Founded in 2012 as a kickstarter, Peloton was created by people who "loved cycling but had a hard time finding a workout that consistently fit their schedules." The mere idea of this had me hooked long before I was a rider. You see, I was sold on the problem they were facing and their way of solving it. I too loved working out, but for me - life had gotten in the way. Peloton works to utilize technology to deliver an engaging experience that truly can act as a replacement for an in-person class, because it delivers the same level of experience. By bringing classes on-demand to your home, they're able to solve one of the big reasons why many of us stop working out - because we simply can't find the time. 

But, without community, motivation is easily lost. Communities not only keep us engaged, they keep us accountable. Many adults who continue to work out regularly have gym memberships merely because they need to go somewhere to actually work out. Personal trainers have made a career out of not just expert advice, but providing accountability. (Yes, real estate coaches have too). This isn't a bad thing. It's just honest. Wherever there is a void in the market, there is a business opportunity. Peloton nailed that opportunity. 

When you create a community, your brand becomes powered by it. You aren't constantly looking for new ways to tell your story - your community begins to tell your story. Communities are created through satisfied consumers who believe that your work matters. This isn't just a past client that thinks you did a good job for them. That's great, but that is a singular story. Communities are a collection of stories - a collection of paths crossing in a way that ties the individuals together through a common bond. Community is created by people who know you would care just as much about anyone you worked for, because you care just as deeply about each of your consumers. Community is created by people who care deeply about one another. By people who believe in one another. By people who want others to succeed just as much as they want themselves to succeed. Community is created by people. So, regardless of busy schedules or any other distractions, don't look past the people who you are building your community with. Each one of them has a story that is now part of your brand. Each one of them will now tell their version of your brand story. Becoming part of one another's stories is magical. It is deeply personal. Relish that opportunity. Don't waste it. 

Just last week, the Official Peloton Rider Page on Facebook hit 25,000 members and to commemorate the moment, they put out this great video from folks throughout the company to say thank you. Want to see how companies nail creating community? Click the image below to see the video

I realize that there is a big difference between Peloton and real estate, but then I wonder - is there really? Don't we all have the opportunity to create a community around a common bond? I think so. 

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