A tough year with more challenges ahead as COVID rears its ugly head once again. Through it all, the fire still burns within me. The last thing I want is for it to be extinguished.
For the next year, I’m going to keep this fire burning within me and keep it growing. Burn, baby, burn.
Today is my birthday. For the past eleven birthdays, I have been sitting down to write about the last year and reflect on what has happened. Some have been easier to write than others, but this year I don’t feel like writing. It’s been a year of humbling events that has pushed me to further growth- or, at least, that is what I keep reminding myself after every event that happens to keep challenging me.
For several years, I have kept the phrase amor fati, love fate, in the back of my mind when I have encountered problems. It’s far easier to embrace that phrase when things are going right. Last year, when I made the decision to leave for Mist Property Corp, there was a lot of positive energy influencing the decision. Little did I know that barely five months later, that decision would back fire on me and left me not only hanging on by a thread financially, but also without a brokerage to work with at the end of January. I scrambled to find a new brokerage- not one of my strengths. In February, I found a new home with Highpoint Realty.
The first few months of working with a new company always offers some challenges. New software, new procedures, new people to get to know. I leaned into the challenge, taking that other Stoic principle into mind, the obstacle is the way. I explored the property management software to discover new ways the brokerage could use it to their benefit, took the time to analyze my own processes to see how I could improve, and started reading more about the business. And then I got busy making honey, as my daughter likes to say.
But first: a crash. A few of them. There was the month long argument with a client that almost pushed me into quitting property management for good; the realization that being able to buy a condo as a single dad was going to be incredibly difficult; and then there was the crash with my vehicle at the end of April.
I wrote about that experience earlier, Checking In. There is one line I come back to when I read it now:
As I enter July, I think, “This month will be the tipping point.” … The excuses, the over-analyzing of “what if’s,” need to stop if I am going to get anywhere in life.
I could sense things were changing for me with property management in a positive way. The number of leads were increasing, the connections with others in the industry were changing. People in the real estate industry were coming to me for help with their clients. And the client base has grown. Since July, the revenues I have brought in have doubled, then tripled, and now up to 5 times of what they were in July. That growth isn’t sustainable as we enter the slower time of year, but it does add more fuel to my fire that this business can work in my favour and can lead to me achieving other goals in life in that not too distant future.
When I think back to the beginning of the year, or further back to when I left my first brokerage at the end of 2019, I always wonder, “What could I have done differently?” I realized that was the wrong approach to take when I came across this quote from Lodro Rinzler:
This is how ego works: every time something doesn’t go the way I think or want it to go, in my career, love life, with friends and more, my mind registers it as an attack on my very being. This is why so many of us take a breakup not as a sign that we haven’t found the right person for us but that we’re inherently unworthy of love; we make it about the core of who we are, not what happened to us.
It isn’t about what I could have done differently. I just wasn’t working in the right brokerage for me, didn’t have the right clients, or was in the right environment for me to thrive in. There wasn’t much I could do about my old managing broker’s decision to sell the management contracts, and there wasn’t anything I could do about the relationship that happened at the other brokerage last winter.
All I can do is focus on doing the best I can, each and every day, to keep this fire burning hot for as long as I possibly can. It’s the only way to feel good about what I am doing in life.
Because I have been too busy with work to write (maybe next year I will do better?), here are some short recommendations of things I have read or discovered this year:
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
I listened to the audiobook and found it be a fascinating perspective on life. Four thousand weeks is roughly the length of an average lifespan. Of that, nearly 1,400 weeks are spent sleeping. Take off another ~600 weeks for childhood, and the average adult only has 2,000 weeks of time spent awake. That time is diminished even further when you factor in how many hours you spend working. It caught me off guard when he broke it down, and really heightened the lessons to be found in Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism.
The Buddha Walks into a Bar by Lodro Rinzler
This book is from nearly ten years ago, but it was the catalyst in my discovery of mindfulness and Buddhism. I had read other books about Zen Buddhism in University that were a little too dense for me at the time. Lodro’s writing is much easier to grasp and a good introduction into the practices of mindfulness. He released a new book, that I haven’t read yet, Take Back Your Mind: Buddhist Advice for Anxious Times.
Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
A controversial author and speaker, Jordan Peterson was a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Toronto. I enjoyed the 12 Rules of Life as an audiobook, which focused on living through chaos, and found this one interesting as well. These rules are about living a life between the chaos and order that is found in all aspects of our lives.
Every is a bundle of podcasts and blogs on a variety of topics. Their broad topics are productivity, strategy, culture, and leadership. You have the ability to select different blogs/podcasts that are of interest to you to follow, or follow everything. The articles tend to be longer in nature, which I enjoy for a break during the work day. Napkin Mathis probably my favourite of their offerings.
Common Sense is headed by Bari Weiss, a well-known (and controversial) writer that was at the NY Times until she resigned last year. She started up a new newsletter and a free podcast, Honestly, which is a different perspective on a lot of current events. The episode with the Central Park Karen was really fascinating to me with how the media took that story and failed to investigate it fully. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that is published in the newsletter or the podcast. I use it as a learning experience to try to understand how others may see events or present the other side of political arguments in a more fair way.
Something different, but I am enjoying the progress my friend is making with her little art shop on Etsy. Her digital postcard for the autumn equinox is very neat, and her mushroom stickers are very cute. Go check her store out and support a local BC artist.
For the historical record, this is the first post written on a new Mac mini with the M1 chip. After nearly 8 years with a MacBook Pro made in 2013, it is a significant upgrade. I believe this is the third Mac to be used in writing this blog, with a MacBook from 2006 being used before. ↩︎