What’s Your Word For 2017?

Have you seen the “What’s your word for 2017?” posts and articles?

The thought is choosing one or two words for the year can help you focus your energy and goals on a specific theme.

I’m going with it.

After much deliberation and consideration of many fine inspiring words, I’ve chosen mine: 

Carole King

Carole King are my theme words for 2017 and they are my hope and wish for others as well.

You’re going to have to hang with me for a bit, because the only way this is going to make any sense is to tell you a story…

When I was a little girl I knew all the words to every song on Carole King’s album Tapestry…every song, every word…from the album’s biggest hit “I Feel the Earth Move” to the less popular “Tapestry” and “Smackwater Jack”. I loved that album, and would sing  along with Carole’s easy to sing along with alto voice. To nine-year old me Carole King  was all that was hip and earthy and cool. I loved her, I wanted to be Carole King.

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It was 1971,  I got a Panasonic cassette player/recorder with microphone for Christmas. I remember the day I took my tape recorder and blank cassettes up to my bedroom. I put my Tapestry album on the record player, popped a blank cassette in the Panasonic and pressed record. As Carole sang into my ears, I sang my heart out into that microphone. Our recording session didn’t end until we finished every song, sides one and two. And I thought and believed with each belted note…I am Carole. Yes…I was Carole King…until I played it back and learned quite quickly and certainly with just a few flat off-key notes…I wasn’t Carole at all.

Fast forward forty-four years to January 2016. I’m in New York for a real estate conference and my real estate soul sisters and I score tickets to Beautiful The Carole King Musical.

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Beautiful is a  fabulous, move you to tears, dance in your seat, if you ever get a chance to see it you must, show. Really…it’s that good.

What struck me the most was that I had loved Carole King all my life and never knew her story. I didn’t know that she was an incredibly talented and successful songwriter. As Carol Klein she wrote some of the biggest hits of a generation. “The Locomotion”, “One Fine Day”,“Up on the Roof”, “Go Away Little Girl”…yep, all those songs and more were written by Carole King. She didn’t perform back then, she wouldn’t sing, she didn’t believe she had talent enough to be a singer. She was a songwriter…and a good one.

Her personal life hit a big bump. And what came out of that bump was  Carole King. The Carole King of “Tapestry” the Carole King I loved and knew.

In the play it’s a visual and musical transformation…Carol Klein in her skirts and sweater sets and perfectly tight curled hair writing hit after hit…always refusing to sing but watching others take those hits to number one..and then…the last scene…a dimly lit  Carnegie Hall…a spotlight on the piano in the center of the stage…And with a flowing maxi dress on, and her curly hair now left untamed…she sits at the bench and begins to play…and it’s her song she’s playing and it’s her voice singing… “You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face” …and bam, it’s Carole King…and damn, it is beautiful!  Curtain falls. There’s a standing O. My real estate soul sisters and I??  There’s not a dry eye among us.

I saw the play nearly a year ago, and have thought of it and Carole King often…even up until today…and I realize, the reason it’s stuck with me, the reason I think of the play and Carole often is…all these years later…I still want to be Carole King.

No, I’m not setting out to begin a musical career, Carnegie Hall isn’t in my future. I’m not after fame or fortune and it’s not to be the cool, super hip, earthy chick that nine-year old me wanted to be. No, it’s none of those things.

It’s that… I’m Carol Klein the songwriter. I am a good and decent person. I’m good at the things I’m good at, I take pride in my work. I’m okay with who I am.  I’ve no fewer “hits” of success in my life than Carol Klein had in hers… it’s all good. But it’s not Carole King. If I’m honest with myself…really, really honest, I have to admit, I hang on to fear to keep life successfully safe. Carol Klein did too…at least for a while.  Carol Klein was an accomplished songwriter but she was afraid to sing…afraid she didn’t have the talent to do more than she had already successfully done.  And then she hit a big bump in life. And when she found herself in the bump, she didn’t shrink, she didn’t retreat, she threw caution to the wind, let her hair blow back, was true to herself, found her voice, her words, her music, she sang, became Carole King and gave the world Tapestry.

And me? Though it’s a fresh start this first day of a new year, this first day of 2017, it  is for me a bump…I’m sure  I am not all  I might be and I am afraid of just about everything…failure, rejection, embarrassment, racism, Donald Trump, post-truth, global warming…you name it and I’m afraid of it. But in choosing Carole King as my words for 2017, I am wondering with hope and determination  what might be on the other side of this bump and all that I am afraid of. I’d like to find out. I’d like to see what “tapestry” I might have in me.

That’s the story…and that’s why Carole King are my words for 2017…and they are my wish for you in the new year too.

So here’s to making something good of life’s bumps, here’s to throwing caution to the wind, forging ahead in spite of fear, here’s to letting your hair blow back, here’s to finding voices and being true…here’s to finding the Carole in you! It’s gonna be beautiful.

Happy New Year!

 

P.S. I erased mine and Carole’s recording session moments after playing it back on that fateful day in 1971…the Panasonic tape recorder and cassette are long gone…but in the spirit of this post and as my first attempt at demonstrating my commitment to the endeavor of plowing through fear I share this concrete evidence…though I may know all the words, when it comes to singing, I am no Carole King. But in being brave enough to share it, there’s no denying there’s a glimmer of her in me…#iamcarole

 

 

  

 

 

What’s YOUR House Smell?

I went on a listing appointment the other day…met with a gentleman whose elderly dad passed away a few months ago. He’s getting ready to put his Dad’s townhouse on the market. The townhouse was tidy and pretty much ready for the market…as he was showing me around he asked me, “Does it smell like old guy?”

Does it smell like old guy? I hadn’t noticed any smell at all…

It made me think of my daughter Joanna. My daughter Joanna has one very keen sense of smell, particularly “house smells.” She claims that every house has its own unique “house smell.” There’s not a house that she’s been in that she hasn’t determined the pleasantness, or unpleasantness of its particular “house smell”. My sister Lisa I’ve learned has good house smell. “I love Aunt Lisa’s house smell, ” Joanna has said, “it always smells like Downy and laundry detergent.” Joanna’s on a never-ending quest to improve the house smell at our house. Not that it’s disgusting or anything, we do laundry and use Downy too, so I’m thinking our house smell is usually pretty decent. We do have a dog, and sometimes we’re a little late in taking the garbage out after something particularly odoriferous has been tossed in the can, so there are occasions when we do not pass Joanna’s house smell test. And on those days Joanna shames us for our house smell…tromps through the house with Febreze, scolding us as she sprays “linen and sky” throughout the guilty rooms.

Joanna’s a stickler about house smells…house smell is important to her.  And she’s not alone…house smell is important to homebuyers too. House smell is important, really, really important, when your selling your home.

A pleasant aroma that gently wafts through the air as homebuyers enter the house can enhance a showing…and a really bad house smell? Bad house smell can be a deal breaker. I’m only guessing but I’ll bet cigarette smoke and pet urine top the list of worst house smells…though reptiles and the heavy scent of curry pack quite a punch and can be a turn off as well. The point is, when you’re selling your house you have to be aware of your house smell.  And if it’s a bad house smell, you’re going to have to address it. You can’t just make a bulk purchase of Glade plug-ins and hope for the best, nope, you have to address it. A quick Google search will turn up a plethora of products, home remedies and solutions. Some smells will be easier to take care of than others, some may take a lot of work and maybe even a good bit of money. But it has to be done. Buyers don’t carry Febreze with them. They won’t scold you, but they will be turned off and move on.

Selling your house? Take a big whiff…make sure it would pass the Joanna “house smell” test. Think I’ll take her by that townhouse.

Top 10 Reasons I Love My Job

With the spring market underway, my days have been long…working from sun up to past sundown, each morning passing a quickly accumulating pile of laundry as I walk out the door, and coming home at the end of long days with my personal to do’s left undone. I’ve not been out with friends, or gone to the show in quite a long time. There’s an ebb and flow to working in real estate…this is a “flow” time of year. So for now at least, it seems that “work” is all I do.

And yet, I’m happy. I won’t go as far as to say, as the expression goes, find a job you love and you won’t work a day in your life.  It’s work, but I do love my job.

Most people have long days, and work really really, hard and yet not everyone has a job they love, not everyone is lucky enough to be happy in their careers. I was just thinking about this the other day, when lo and behold, Forbes publishes an article that says real estate agents are among the happiest in their careers. Who would have guessed? You can check it out here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/03/22/the-happiest-and-unhappiest-jobs-in-america/work

The article sites a study that was done that “scored” a variety of factors that affect workplace happiness: one’s relationship with their boss and co-workers, work environment, compensation, growth opportunities, control over the work one does on a daily basis and others.

There’s truth in the “happiness” factors though they aren’t things I’ve “scored” or even conciously thought about. But because of the article, I have thought about it. Forbes and its study had their happiness factors, and I have mine. With maybe some overlap…here are the top 10 reasons I love my job.

1. People and their stories.

Everyone has a story, and each one fascinates me. It’s the people I meet, that I would otherwise not have known, and the life stories they share with me that I love, love, love the most about my job.

2. Each day it’s something new.

Sure there are regular tasks but every day brings a different combination of things. New people, new properties, new obstacles to get past…no two days are ever the same.

3. You never stop learning.

While it can be intimidating to not have an answer for everything, as someone that loves learning, my job provides a smorgashboard of things to learn.   Market trends, new technologies, social media and the things that just pop up in every deal, means there’s always something to learn.

4. Real Estate Agents are a hoot…and I get to hang out with them everyday.

I think real estate agents get a bad rap. We’re mostly  genuinely good people.  While we may be in competition with one another we’re generally a pretty try to be helpful to one another bunch, we’re fun and funny…a real estate office is a great place to work. At least mine is.

5. A chance to do good.

Moving is high on the list of stressful things to do, so when I’m able to ease  stress and burden for my clients and to help them get where they want to go, it feels good.

6. You can let your freedom flag fly.

There are laws to obey and rules to follow as a real estate agent but there’s also plenty or room to run your business as you like. I’m my own brand, so I’m free to be me.

7. You get to solve mysteries.

He likes newer construction, she’s drawn to vintage homes…what house will we find that they will agree on? It starts as a mystery, but you get to help solve it…and always do! Solving mysteries is one of the more fun things I do.

8.Outlet for Creativity

I’m not artistic, but I like that my job provides an outlet for creativity…brochures, choosing the right photos, listing verbage, writing a blog…they all sort of scratch the creative itch.

9. You won’t get fired or layed off. 

Starting up, building business, surviving downturns…none of that comes easy…on the contrary…it’s really, really hard (at least it was/is for me). But if you can do it, you can make a decent living…and no one can take your job away. I like that.

10. I do love houses.

Any agent will admit, liking people and houses is not reason enough to do this job. Liking people and houses is only the tip of the iceberg! But with that said, I do love houses. Old houses and new houses, dated houses and rehabbed houses, big houses and small houses. I do love houses.

So…those are the top ten reasons this” happiest in their careers” agent loves her job.  Would welcome hearing why you love yours….

Amy’s House and The White House

Election years are always a little heated at “Amy’s House.”

Along the political spectrum, my husband Dave are on opposite ends.  We agree on almost nothing. We’re Mary Matalin and James Carville (I’m James) without the notoriety or guest spots on Fox news or MSNBC.

Each election year we tell each other we just wont talk about it.  Never works.

During campaigns our morning coffee time includes some political sparring over “my guy…” and “your guy…”.  Sometimes it gets a little heated but most often we just let it go.  After more than twenty years together, we’ve accepted the fact that we’ll NEVER change the others mind.

On election day we could just stay home; our votes really just cancel one another out. But we don’t. We vote. It’s one thing, maybe the only thing we do agree on…everyone should vote.

I was watching tv the other night and they had a clip of this video that I have since found on YouTube..I think it’s great, an inspiring little reminder of the importance of voting. It will make you smile no matter which guy you like.

So…whether you’re for Dave’s guy or my guy…from Amy’s house to your house…make your pick for theWhite House and vote!