Author Archive

Gen X is Turning 50 and They’re Stuck in Their Homes

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The leading headlines on the future of the housing market typically read, “Get ready for the millennials!” If not that, the alternative subject line highlights the number of baby boomers retiring and whether they will move to the coast, move to be close to the grandkids or just stay put. In between the two is a generation of high wage earners that is mostly ignored in the national housing conversation. This doesn’t occur only in the housing market, the majority of news coverage in the last election was given to the, “We don’t want to change” boomers and the idealistic “We want the world to change” millennials. In the middle, described by some authors as the middle child, is Gen X. Once described as slackers, they are now in their prime earnings years and have the highest average income of any other bracket of consumers. Gen X who grew up on grunge music, wearing ripped jeans and flannel shirts has grown up and is very influential in the business world and yes, many are stuck in their homes.

I don’t view Gen X as having a middle child generation syndrome, despite not being written or talked about as much as the older and younger generations they interact with. I view this generation as the link connecting the baby boomers and the millennials. They have an understanding and share interests with both generations. While sociologists and the census bureau will give a different date range for members of this generation, I use the simple definition that identifies Gen X, with individuals born the first year the birth rate in the country began to once again decline after its continuous rise post World War II, 1965 to 1980 and the start of a new decade of patriotism. In all cases, generations are defined by a certain birth date and a general world view outlook.

Gen X understood the values of the baby boomers but challenged them with the indifference that went along with growing up as latchkey kids who either had two working parents or were part of a family separated by divorce. They went to college, got married, had kids, some got divorced and began to change social norms and alter the direction of popular music. It wasn’t the millennials that took the popularity of tattoos away from the exclusivity of bikers, gangs and members of the military. It was Generation X that started that trend, although for most it was more conservative and hidden than you see today. They looked at race differently, birth control was the norm, as was women being in the workplace. They don’t feel ignored like a middle child, but rather are often indifferent and are adept at independently figuring things out, which all goes along with growing up as a latchkey kid. They went to school with computers and are very proficient at technology, and unlike the millennials, can freely turn the technology off.

While the housing shortage across the U.S. appropriately discusses the impact to first-time millennial home buyers, Gen X was hit the hardest during the real estate down-turn that began in 2007. Some still own homes with negative equity and those with equity have the challenge of where will they move to, if they sell their home? The housing shortage has a negative impact on upward mobility for Gen X. With housing construction still below historical rates, and homes available in areas where Gen X want to live, in even shorter supply, balance of lifestyle is not just a millennial desire. The American story of moving and advancing to that next community or larger home every 5 years is gone.

The macro issue of more homes being available is a broader challenge that would require government, new entrepreneurs and businesses working jointly towards a solution. In the interim, what can members of this generation do if they truly want the step-up move? There is a solution that could work in certain markets and that is selling their home and then leasing it back to them for 60-90 days so they have time to search for a home with the money already in hand for the down payment. Under this scenario, a new buyer can purchase a home they want and can afford, and Gen X can have the time and the money to be more diligent about finding the next size home. After all, it is a generation that is accustomed to creatively figuring things out.

To the early Gen Xers, a happy 50th birthday wish to the likes of Dave Matthews, Billy Corgan, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Will Ferrell who are all turning 50 this year. Know someone who is turning 50? Send them a text wishing them Happy Birthday, they are also the generation that texts the most.

Best wishes to all who are pursuing owning their dream home.

Peter

Light It Up Blue On April 2, 2017

  • Light It Up Blue - April 2, 2017

    Light It Up Blue - April 2, 2017

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One of the most difficult things to do in our modern connected world is find examples of an idea or a mission to unite individuals for a common purpose. It is much easier to find examples online and across traditional media outlets that highlight our differences as a society. In today’s world, we have the freedom to easily access more information than we have at any point in time. On a daily basis, we witness published ideas that match our own view of the world, but also ideas that might discount the opinions of others. There are very few social campaigns that people around the globe are willing to participate in while placing their differences aside to take action together to promote social awareness, tolerance, acceptance and hope.

One day a year through the work of Autism Speaks®, a charitable organization dedicated to autism advocacy, research, awareness and outreach programs, people across the world come together for a common goal. Nations, individuals and businesses across the globe unite to Light It Up Blue on April 2 to help raise awareness of the support to the cause that Autism Speaks provides, while providing a platform to contribute funding for future research. Last year over 11,000 buildings* across the globe participated in Light It Up Blue to show support for the tens of millions of people worldwide affected by autism.

The Light It Up Blue campaign kicks off April’s National Autism Awareness Month. This month represents the opportunity to promote autism awareness, acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year. The Light It Up Blue campaign is a commitment to help raise funds for research and support to aid families throughout a child’s life after being diagnosed with autism.

  • According to the CDC, around 1 in 68 American children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.*
  • Studies have shown that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.*
  • Autism costs a family $60,000 per year on average*
  • There is no medical test to diagnose autism or cure for autism*

When a child is diagnosed with autism, it means not only life-long challenges for them but also challenges for the parents and other family members to provide the care, therapies, educational needs and requirements that can assist with reducing symptoms and increasing skills and abilities. I am proud United® Real Estate has chosen Autism Speaks as its charity and contributes not only as a corporate sponsor but on an individual agent level as well. I have personally seen the life-changing difference that early intervention can make for someone diagnosed with autism. I am also proud of our offices and the thousands of United agents who donate a portion of each commission they earn to Autism Speaks. The voluntary donation from our agents makes an enormous difference and we are united in helping individuals in the autism community reach their full potential.

To find out how you can participate on April 2, visit AutismSpeaks.org/LIUB.  To learn more about United Real Estate’s ongoing support of Autism Speaks, contact your nearest United office by visiting UnitedRealEstate.com.

Let’s press on, united together, and Light It Up Blue!

Peter

*Source: AutismSpeaks.org

Unitedpalooza was an Epic Event!

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If you were at the 2017 United Real Estate Convention in Austin, Texas, you know the event lived up to its name! Unitedpalooza was an epic event that brought together like-minded individuals for entertainment, education, information, fun and life changing messages.

The late Jim Valvano, who rose to fame coaching North Carolina State to an NCAA National Men’s Basketball Championship and later as a broadcaster and proponent for cancer research, famously stated in one of his last speeches: “If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.” 

I’m always excited to witness our convention produce those types of emotions in our attendees. It is emotions that move us to take action to improve our businesses, improve our lives and improve our communities.  If you missed the convention, you missed a lot of great days filled with emotions that remind us why we do what we do. Starting with our charity golf tournament, the opening networking session featuring local Austin musicians, two full days of education sessions, and a high energy awards session and dance party, the convention had nonstop positive energy that created something special each day.

I personally wish to thank all of our staff, brokers, agents and sponsors who attended Unitedpalooza. I stated that this convention would be an industry leading event and our best convention yet and the feedback we received from attendees confirmed it was just that! Take some time to look through the photos and tag yourself, friends and office.

Charity Golf Event

https://www.facebook.com/pg/UnitedRE/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1758602047499977

Opening Night

https://www.facebook.com/pg/UnitedRE/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1758588364168012

Day 1

https://www.facebook.com/pg/UnitedRE/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1758571620836353

Day 2

https://www.facebook.com/pg/UnitedRE/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1758558964170952

Awards Celebration

https://www.facebook.com/pg/UnitedRE/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1752480961445419

You will not want to miss next year’s convention in Miami as we again raise the energy level of the event and the growth opportunities available to our brokers and agents. Be on the lookout for our 2018 convention theme and dates!

All the best,

Peter

5-4-3-2-1…Go!

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Writing unique weekly blogs is not always an easy task. You need a compelling topic with enough content to be meaningful to your audience. Recapping the United Real Estate convention held in Austin last week is difficult – it was not just a conference, but an event built around the idea that we are all different, but have the same growth needs. We can all find information online and through education courses. What we can’t find online is a human connection. If you miss an event like our convention, you miss out on the stories that move us as people to be more and do more.

The convention was designed to have the energy of a rock concert, with the comradery of family alongside you to ensure that you not only have fun, but are open to learning. Most real estate brands speak about expertise in selling some definition of lifestyle real estate. At United Real Estate, we have agents that excel and specialize in selling all types of properties and represent all segments of buyers. Our guiding values ensure that we have the interest of our clients at the forefront, to make certain we are the trusted advisors they desire and need to have on their side.

However, as a company we want to do more than that. We want to help all agents stop viewing real estate as a job and start thinking of the lifestyle they can create for their family by focusing on being an entrepreneur instead. Real estate agents, on average, are already working over 40 hours a week. Those hours should be viewed as owning and building your own business, not having a job!  As an entrepreneur, your top task is to grow your revenue. In real estate, this means generating and following up with potential new clients.

While there is not a singular way to be successful in real estate, there is only one way to ensure success – that is to start taking action. United Real Estate and our partners can teach you to generate leads and be a market expert in real estate. You have to believe you deserve a new level of success and invest in yourself and your business!

If you missed the convention this year, you not only missed the valuable opportunity of connecting with peers, but also great educational opportunities. To quote Mel Robbins, a leading expert on personal development and one of our convention presenters this year – “There’s only one thing standing between you and the life you have always wanted – and that’s YOU.”

Take the next step to being a successful entrepreneur and buy her new bestselling book, “The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage.” In doing so, you will be armed with the skills to live your life with courage as a true entrepreneur. You can accomplish things most people won’t try and spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.

5-4-3-2-1…Go! See you all at our next convention in Miami, Florida!

All the best,

Peter

How To Gain The Most From The United Real Estate Convention

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During my career, I have had the great privilege of attending and actively participating in many sales conferences and real estate conventions.  However, the greatest privilege of all has been being part of the team at United Real Estate that plans and executes on a continuous mission to raise the quality of our annual event.  The team and I do this with the goal of maintaining an intimate feel that displays the enthusiasm that our staff and fast growing network of franchise owners and agents have for our company and its culture.

United Real Estate was created to build a modern, sophisticated real estate brokerage that not only places the real estate agent in the forefront of the consumer, but equips them with the tools, compensation model and backing of a company to win more business. Our motto of Find Your Freedom® governs our philosophy to treat our agents as entrepreneurs. Being a successful entrepreneur in the real estate industry requires doing things most agents won’t do so you can build a lifestyle that most won’t ever achieve. Find Your Freedom® means doing what you are supposed to do, not just what you want to do.  During this year’s Convention, you will be given the insight into what investments you need to make in your business in order to do what you are supposed to do – grow the numbers of clients you serve.

As a company, we have a “come as you are” spirit. We welcome and are proud of our diverse population of agents, which truly reflects the population of our great country. Come as you are also means to let others see your cracks. At conventions and awards celebrations there is often a shortage of humility and hardly ever a shortage of overconfidence on display. We each have strengths and weaknesses. If you are open about your “cracks”, you will find the speakers, staff and other attendees that will be willing to help you.

My convention advice to you is to be open, be positive, extend your hand in kindness and offer help to those who need it. They just might extend their hand back to help you get where you want to go.

Look forward to seeing you in Austin!

Peter

Four People to Follow Online to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

  • Four People

    Four People

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Finding and realizing your potential in operating your own business and growing your income is difficult.  It is not just the actual tasks of building the business that are difficult, it is psychologically hard to start each day ready to take on the challenge knowing you are responsible for your success with a lot of uncertainty ahead of you. The reality is, you need to not only know the technical aspects of your business and how you differ from your competition, but you are going to have to find the internal drive to make it past the odds that are stacked against you in building a break-out business.

Role models and gurus have always been an important part of our society. Presently, we have access to many different types of media, examples of personal fame and potential role models to take advice from. These influences affect how we dress, how we think and many times what goals we establish. Access to information is great, but make sure you are getting the right daily information to grow your business.

Here are four people to follow that will give you not only great business advice, but also will help you overcome the insecurities that are part of being an entrepreneur.

Mel Robbins – A best-selling author and the most booked female corporate event speaker in the United States.  She is not only a successful entrepreneur herself, but also has the ability to communicate the real reason you don’t do the things you need to do to build your business – you don’t feel like it. She has a fix for that and it revolves around the science of how your brain functions.  Read her latest book The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage to help you overcome your fears and build the business you deserve.  www.melrobbins.com

Gary Vaynerchuk – The quintessential immigrant success story of hard work and proof the opportunity still exists in America for anyone to succeed. He’s a multiple bestselling author and founder of VaynerMedia, a social media focused digital agency. Everyone needs an online presence for their business and Gary is the go to source for the likes of General Electric and also Millennial driven start-up tech companies. Gary produces content daily that any entrepreneur can take advantage of and implement on an ongoing basis. Read his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. www.garyvaynerchuk.com

Jeb Blount – Often businesses fail because they think customers will come to them. If it were that easy everyone would start their own business. If you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur you are going to have to learn how to sell. Jeb delivers the straight talk every entrepreneur needs to hear about the realities of growing your business through prospecting and the entire selling process.  Read his book Fanatical Prospecting which gives entrepreneurs a practical, eye-opening guide that clearly explains the why and how behind the most important activity in sales and business development—prospecting.  www.salesgravy.com

Tony Robbins – He is not only one of the greatest public speakers of all time, but also the  individual who has helped and guided more successful entrepreneurs than anyone else. Those that deem him a motivational guru, miss his message. He’s a strategist for all aspects of your life. He doesn’t teach people to just solve their problems. Rather he is the person who can help you identify what caused the problem in the first place. He demonstrated his in-depth knowledge of why people get derailed at one of the first and most viewed Ted talks of all time, entitled “Why We Do the Things We Do View it online and follow his daily posts for the tips you need to stay on course for your business goals.  www.tonyrobbins.com

All the best!

Peter

My 7 Essential Personality Traits for Success in Selling Anything

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Companies and individuals spend a lot of money on sales training in order to increase revenue, or in the case of individuals, to grow their incomes.  Entry level sales training teaches sales people what to say or present. More advanced training teaches salespeople what to ask.  Learning to ask questions to potential clients is a better way to gain more sales than just learning what to present.  However, there is still a large gap between sales people’s incomes who participate and complete the exact same question based sales training program.  Some of this can be explained by work ethic, more successful sales people typically prepare more and work harder.  However, while you can learn how to effectively ask questions to prospective clients, there are also certain personality traits I have learned that you will need to develop in order to be in the top 1% of wage earners in your profession.

In sales, asking questions is critical to your success. You have to ask questions to identify and qualify potential clients and then ask more specific questions to help uncover their real needs. In order to provide more value to the potential client than your competitors, you must ask better questions. If you become better at asking questions and develop the following seven traits, you will outsell everyone!

Empathy – People do business with individuals they like, but they are more likely to buy from sales people who demonstrate empathy towards them.  Empathy is not sympathy.  Empathy is the ability to understand another’s situation, feelings, and motives. It is one thing to be liked, it is another to be seen as someone who can relates to a client’s specific situation and offer guidance.

Ego Drive – Top sales people learn to develop internal motivation which allows them to work hard and be seen as confident. They also know there is a line between having the ego drive necessary to succeed, and being seen as someone who is egotistical.  Egotistical is not a personality trait that is attractive. Being ego driven is a trait that lets clients know with certainty that you’re an individual who is determined to succeed and one who has enthusiasm and confidence in what they are selling. Ego drive is the motor inside every great sales person.

Customer Service Focused – No longer can a sales person take the attitude of ‘sell them and leave them’. The entire world is connected 24 hours a day, and this ease of access to information has given rise to an abundance of customer service ranking websites.  If you mishandle a client, there is a very good chance they won’t just tell their close friends, they may also tell everyone on the Internet.

Resilience – Sales is one of the top earning professions in the world.  The rewards are great, but many enter the sales profession with great hope, only to find out that you hear a lot of no’s. Resilience is the ability to overcome obstacles for a long period of time to achieve a big goal. The top performers have developed the grit necessary to keep going past the no’s and start again with the same enthusiasm on display for each client meeting.

Seek Knowledge – People fall into two different decision making styles. They either make decisions first, and then seek affirmations, or they seek knowledge and expertise and then make a decision. If you want to break out of the decision making that has led you to fall short of your sales goals, you have to be in the latter of these two decision making styles. The people who are thriving in sales are always seeking knowledge to become better.

Process Driven – Successful companies all have a process for maximizing business systems and capabilities. The same is true of top sales people. They are process driven and build a sales process for attracting new clients.  They take each candidate through the same process that mirrors their client’s decision making cycle. What can be repeated, can be improved.

Adaptable – Successful sales people are able to work in the present and have a plan to get better tomorrow. They have managed to navigate the ever-changing business climate by acquiring the skills that allow them to adapt and grow. It’s not good enough to say you had a decent sales meeting, the top sales people document what went well and what could be improved upon after each client meeting.

No one is born having all of these traits, great sales people work to create them. Which of these traits do you have to work on to reach the top of your profession?

All the best!

Peter

How to Own What Matters Most To Your Business

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Growing revenue should be the most important task for every business. If your business is not growing, a competitor’s will be and they are taking customers away from your company. If you are running a Fortune 100 company, the majority of your time should be spent creating products and sales channels to generate revenue.  If you are an individual entrepreneur, the majority of your time should be spent on income-producing activities.  The biggest key in growing your sales lies in first knowing who owns that responsibility and having the proper systems in place to hold the organization, or yourself, accountable for the growth goals.

Accountability. How did such a great concept get such a negative reputation? Inefficient leaders and poor managers have wrapped it in a veil of negativity and used it as the enforcer of responsibility. We complain about it at work, and in our personal lives; think about your family budget or weight loss goals. Usually, it is discussed as a virtue that is lacking in others. However, it is part of the planning process that will position you to reach your business goals. What turns the fun activity of goal setting into the not as much fun implementation of the business plan is facing the fact that someone has to be responsible for the outcome.  For all important business tasks, ownership and accountability have to be in place and individuals have to be willing to be held responsible for the outcomes assigned.

The most common misconception about accountability is the difference that exists between excuses and responsibility.  If you look at the companies and individuals who achieve great results over a long period of time, they all know the difference between having success and being effective. You can have short term success and then reach a very difficult obstacle and not be effective in growing past those difficult circumstances. In order for individual leaders to be effective in the long term, the most important factor is not how they place blame, but rather it is based on their ability to take responsibility for what they can own. In taking responsibility for the outcome, effective leaders are empowering themselves to develop new personal traits and skills needed to commit to take action and place their business’ growth back on track.

Nothing should stop your dream of building an incredibly successful business.  The growth of your business is what matters most. Here are four principles of accountability that need to be in place to ensure your company will reach its goals:

  • Designate the individuals who are responsible for growth in your company
  • Build precision in your budget and determine how each dollar spent will impact your growth
  • Create proper incentives and ramifications for the individuals who own your growth goals
  • Identify the right benchmarks to track the progress of reaching your growth goals

Feeling sorry for yourself or placing blame won’t correct your missteps. However, there is a great sense of self-empowerment when you realize that you have the ability each day to decide to hold yourself accountable.  No longer are other people’s actions and perspectives a deterrent to your achievement. No longer can we use work, relationships or others as an excuse to not achieve. It is all up to you and your actions. What a wonderful discovery! The decision is yours, the vision is yours, the actions are yours, and you are accountable for you.

Think of accountability not as a negative activity to be shunned, but rather as a valuable coaching tool to help you grow. Top executives, athletes and sales individuals all understand that to truly excel they need a confidante, a coach who cares about their success and helps them succeed. If you are looking to learn more about how coaching can help your real estate business, visit our website.

Best wishes!

Peter

Why Most Businesses and Individuals Don’t Reach Their New Year Goals

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As the New Year begins, there is never a shortage of newly developed business plans and individual resolutions that are built and created.  Each time I go online, a new social media post or article will pop up addressing the importance of goal setting, offering motivating tips and techniques on setting goals for your business, career or personal life.  In a recent google search I conducted for the term ‘goal setting’, the search produced 15.9 million results!  There is definitely not a shortage of information on how to set goals and build plans.  What there is a shortage of, is people and enterprises that actually reach their goals.

It’s not setting goals, building business plans or creating New Year’s resolutions that are the problem, it’s knowing what the real obstacles are that you are going to have to overcome that keeps people from achieving the results they desire.  Whether you are setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Based) or B.H.A.G. (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), if you do not know what hurdles you will be encountering you won’t know the proper steps  to take to leap over them. You can do a lot of things right with regards to staying positive, taking care of your health, visualizing your success, having an accountability partner and still end up short of reaching your goals. Without conducting the proper research of the obstacles you will encounter during your journey, you will become either discouraged or unprepared to reach your desired outcome or win against your competition when you reach the difficult part of executing your plan.

It’s not only important to know what to do to reach your goals, it is equally important to know what the real obstacles will be to reach your goals that far too often are overlooked.  Not understanding the difficulties of achieving a worthwhile goal leads people to underestimate what actions are required to accomplish their goals. Most people have no challenges with dreaming big, they are challenged with understanding how much work is needed to overcome the unidentified obstacles they will encounter along their journey. However, you can overcome this universal goal setting deficiency with proper research that identifies the obstacles ahead of you and gives you insight on actions to take to overcome those challenges.

Through research you find out who and what you are competing against. What is the result that matters and what relevant skills will you need to develop to achieve the goal. It does not matter whether it is for advancing your career, launching a new business, or losing weight; proper research is the first step to get you on the right path to success to reach your goal. Research also helps you identify the pitfalls to avoid. It allows you to know what has been done before, and what the needs, rewards, trends, and new developments are. You can also discern what to learn and what to avoid. Good planning is a component of research. Sounds simple enough, but how much time do we spend researching and planning versus just having a plan. A plan and planning are two distinctly different items. Research is a part of planning that educates and provides you an organized format for both the goals you want to achieve and identifies the obstacles you will encounter along the way.

Napoleon Hill, in his bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, wrote, “Anybody can wish for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a burning desire for wealth, are the only dependable means of accumulating wealth.” It is human nature to want better, but why do so many people get off track? Just because you wish it, just because you want it, just because you think it doesn’t mean you will get it. You need to have a definitive process to follow that allows you to get to where you want to go.  That process includes setting goals, developing action plans and properly identifying the real obstacles you will have to overcome during the course of the year.

It’s a new year, and instead of just following the advice and expert opinions on how to set goals, positon yourself for a breakthrough year and also take the time to learn what key obstacles you will have to overcome to reach your annual goal.  In order for you to accomplish something significant in 2017, it will require a lot of work.  In fact, it will most likely take more effort than you realize.

What strategies, resources, time commitment and skills will be required for you to have the transformational year you have outlined in your annual plan?

Peter

Christmas, the New Year and Hitting the Reset Button

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Christmas is right around the corner, and then a week later it will be time for the New Year celebrations! For most, the Holiday season begins on Thanksgiving and it kicks off a month of gatherings, parties and celebrations with family, friends and business associates.  For many it is truly the most wonderful time of the year, as they experience the joy that is associated with the season of giving.  While it may not be the most productive time for many businesses, it is typically the busiest for most people.

The traditional month long holiday season is filled with activities that include visiting family and friends, eating bigger meals, drinking more, exercising less, and the additional stress that comes along with added commitments.  For a lot of people the end result of the Holiday season is weight gain, and feeling drained. Unfortunately, studies have shown that most people will not lose the weight they gain over the Holidays and in fact they will repeat the process of gaining additional weight each year during this season. Without resetting your mind and body, you can easily settle into a comfort zone that unknowingly keeps you from heading in the direction you seek.

I love Christmas time and celebrating the Holidays, while also taking the time to recognize the true meaning of Christmas.  There is something about seeing the Christmas lights on homes, trees decorated, hearing Christmas songs, and gathering with friends that leads people to be kinder, more generous and polite to each other during this time of year. It’s a time we gather together and embrace our family traditions, celebrate the present and look forward to the future. It’s also a great time to be reminded we all have choices to make on what we will do, who we will be, and what future we will create.  As we mature, and certainly when we become parents, we realize that the true joy of Christmas is in giving, not receiving.

In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol, which continues to be a popular book today. The novel has never been out of print circulation, seen in countless plays, in addition to movies and shows reproducing the work in some manner. A Christmas Carol was an immediate success as Dickens’ writing vividly captured the real human emotions of suffering, separation, despair, unbreakable hope and the difficulty people have in actually changing for the better. The story accurately conveyed what has to be in place for true joy to exist in a person’s life. The positive ending of finding inner peace through a dramatic change in one’s belief system resonated immediately with its audience, as it still does today. The novel ended with the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, memorializing the secret to long lasting change. “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the past, the present, and the future. The spirits of all three shall live within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

Through his experiences that Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge was able to reset his life and take it in a dramatically different direction. Fortunately, most of us do not need as dramatic of a life changing reset as Ebenezer Scrooge went through to make positive changes. However, it is not uncommon for all of us to dwell on negative events in our life, stop some of the good habits we have been developing during the year, and set future goals without taking any action to achieve them. After all, goals remain only dreams if we don’t take action. The past is for learning from, not dwelling upon. It is the present we live in, and what we commit to do now that will decide our future. The actions we take do make a difference. As Charles Dickens’ novel pointed out, living abundantly is not about how many possessions you have or how much money you have in the bank, it is recognizing that you need to continue to grow and contribute to live life to its fullest. The most successful, happy people manage to keep the joys of giving and carry a grateful spirit with them year-round.

We all need a time for rest and reflection. You most likely don’t need a Scrooge intervention to reset your path to fulfillment, but I’m certain you will benefit from taking time to reset after the Holidays. Enjoy the celebrations, reflect on the past year and reset your mind and body on the goals and possibilities of a new year. After all to achieve success and reach true fulfillment, you have to answer a big question.  What kind of difference will you make in 2017?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday’s!

Peter