Friday, April 11, 2014

Contrarian (?) choices I've made in my #CRE life...and before!

Image attribution: stage2planning.com
So from that title, you may be wondering, what the heck does that have to do with Location Advice or commercial real estate? Well, I must have piqued your interest somewhat or you wouldn't be reading this far.

Actually, I believe that the decisions or choices we make in our lives have a great deal to do with commercial real estate...indulge me...and let me see if I can explain.

As a disclaimer, I provide Location Advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in southern California...AKA...I sell and lease commercial real estate for a living and have since 1984...which makes me some sort of an expert...if I can only remember why...

Decisions are made...either from circumstances or active choices...and shape our personalities, our health, our mental well being, our social lives, relationships...business and personal, and ultimately our success.

I recently made two decisions...the outcomes as yet unproven...but made with the expectation that they will be good, life changing, choices. I'll discuss these in a bit.

One of the decisions prompted Howard Kline to feature me on his CREradio program on April 18th...let's hope it will be a Good Friday! You can tune in and listen if you wish. My conversation with Howard, caused me to reflect upon other decisions that I have made through the years.

So in no particular order, here are the best decisions/choices I have made in my #CRE life...and before.

Choosing to follow Jesus: As my mom received a cancer diagnosis in 1970...before people survived a cancer diagnosis...I dedicated my life to Jesus Christ. I am pleased to say that mom just celebrated her 81st birthday.

No alcohol consumption: I often tell friends that I consumed enough alcohol in my first thirty years of life to last me for a lifetime. This was a VERY tough choice because commercial real estate is VERY social...dinners, lunches (I still remember when you drank a bunch at lunch...think Mad Men), golf tournaments. I drank the way I do most other things...full bore. I realized (fortunately before anything devastating occurred) that if I kept consuming the way I was going, I'd end up pickled, dead, divorced or all of the above!

Moving to California: My friends and family in Arkansas truly believed that I had lost my mind. Why move to "granola land"? (the land of fruits...their word not mine..., flakes, and nuts). what they failed to appreciate was the entrepreneuarial environment, the "can do" attitude, and the WEATHER!

Marrying my soulmate: My bride of 34 years and I fell in love in the spring of our senior year at the University of Arkansas...the worst possible time...as our college days were numbered, I had a job in California, and marriage was in neither of our plans...we were JUST too young!...or so we thought. I boarded the plane to California without a commitment and realized as soon as I touched down that I better remedy that quickly OR the future would be much darker. I am happy Carla said yes!

Becoming debt free: After nearly going broke in the first economic downturn of my commercial real estate career, we realized that folks in our profession better not promise future income and also better have a lot of "meat stored" for the winter. This approach allowed us to create the stability and longevity needed to succeed as a #CRE pro.

Becoming a #CRE broker: The plan was for me to take over the family biz...soft drink bottling. I therefore geared my college studies and first job with that goal in mind...except I got married and fell in love with California...not sure my Dad ever forgave me:). I soon learned that travel and moving are the two bookends of upward mobility in the consumer good's field...of which neither had an appeal...oh, and I learned that I am my best boss. I had to find a profession that would be local, self managed, and with a financial incentive...commercial real estate...VOILA! But, man was it scary to turn in that company car, company credit card, steady...err...ANY salary, benefits...ALL for a CHANCE to sell an industrial building.

Choosing Lee and Associates: When I started with Lee in 1984, we had 2 offices and 35 associates. I was associate number 15 in the Orange office. We now have 50 offices and over 800 associates. I wrote about the unique structure that makes our company special. However, what convinced me to join the company was the way it felt...just felt like a great place to start a commercial real estate career. Thirty years later, the feeling hasn't changed...except I am now one of the "old" dudes!

Actively using Social Media: I started using social media because our three kids did. They were all three away at school and it was a good way to communicate. We all know millenials communicate differently. I soon realized that virtually no one in the CRE trade used the media effectively sans Coy Davidson and Duke Long. I am not sure I do it as effectively as they, but I surely wouldn't trade the relationships I've made through social media.

The two decisions I've made recently that are yet unproven:
Consuming a plant based diet...no processed food, no meat: Just seemed like the correct approach for Carla and me. Not on any soap boxes...or milk cartons...just a lifestyle choice by a couple of fifty somethings to insure that we'll be able to keep up with our grand-kids...when we have some!

Hiring a marketing associate: Feels right. Probably overdue. Risky? Please tune in to CREradio on Friday April 18th and give me your take.