May was an extraordinary month. My husband who works 50-60 hour per week – and that’s a conservative week – has been pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in management and leadership for 4 years. He has suffered through term papers, abstract math, group projects, homework & presentations one night per week & one Saturday per month for 4 years. We talked about his going back to school when we were newlyweds, making the point that it would be easier to complete his degree without little kids but he was not interested. It wasn’t until he had 2 little adoring Daddy’s girls that he committed & decided to finish his degree. My husband is a good man – he was pursuing his degree & dropped out in order to care for his ailing mother – but I thought he was nuts to go back to school with 2 year old & an infant at home! Conditions were less than ideal for quiet study time & homework but he adjusted & figured it out. He was motivated to make his girls proud. He even based his decision to attend his graduation ceremony on his girls. He wanted them to see him graduate, even if they didn’t understand what was going on. So when I watched my husband walk across that stage and flash us a huge smile, I just knew he was walking on air. I was honored to watch his dream come true.
The next day we left for Walt Disney World, a trip we had been planning for 6 months. Actually I had been preparing for that trip ever since I cuddled with my little ones on the sofa & enjoyed my favorite Disney movies with them. My heart soared as I heard them sing along with the movies as I did as a kid. I knew that witnessing them gazing at Cinderella’s castle for the first time would change my life. I researched, I inquired, I planned, I budgeted, I cried every time I saw a Walt Disney World commercial!
The 5 days at those parks have created memories that will last a lifetime. My girls are not early risers but for 5 days they did not complain about waking up early because they knew we were headed for a new park, new character meeting, new show, new autograph, new adventure. I overheard my 6 year old tell her little sister “can you believe this is happening??” My little one told my husband “being here with you is my dream come true!” I never tire of looking at the pictures of my girls’ beautiful smiling faces – no matter how hot or how tired they were feeling. They got princess makeovers, met 6 Princesses & Mickey Mouse & Buzz Lightyear & Mary Poppins just to name a few characters, rode thrill rides, watched amazing stage productions & played for 5 days straight. It was the experience of a lifetime & I didn’t want it to end. Disney World truly made me a believer that dreams do come true.
These experiences gave me chills up & down my spine & brought two things to mind:
¢1 Having a clear vision is essential to reaching your goals. Like a GPS it guides you get from where you are to where you want to be.
¢2 How could I spend so much time & effort planning a 5 day Disney vacation but I do not spend time on a regular basis to plan my work & business?
The Disney vacation has been on my dream board for 3 years now & it’s time to reach for new dreams. More than ever I am determined to plan my life & live my plan. I am committed like never before to challenge myself to stretch, to reach, to leap from my comfort zone in order to accomplish levels of success I’ve never even let myself think about. Anything is possible & if it is to be it is up to me!
With Many Thanks,
Ivette Rodriguez Anderson, SFR
Keller Williams Success Realty
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I recently started working with this wonderful couple, looking towards their future together in a home of their own. We had a productive, eye opening buyer consultation & viewed some homes together. The ideas were flowing, we were clicking & getting on the same page. Then I got the œI have some bad news email – Unfortunately, after careful consideration, we have decided to wait on buying a house for at least two more years. We appreciate everything that you have done for us and all of the work you have put in. By doing this, we feel that we can put in a bigger down payment and get all the things that we want in a house.
Initially I was disappointed “ I™ll admit it “ but immediately after that I felt so good. I had consulted them wisely, directed them honestly & together they were able to reach a place that felt good to them. We weren™t finding the home they wanted in the condition, location or price point they wanted so they thought it better to just save & wait. It is this honesty & reality that will get the real estate market back to where it needs to be. It is so refreshing to have people look well before they leap. It is amazing to be part of the solution!!! This strengthens my resolve to be honest & real & to have 6 months of expenses put aside¦
All kidding aside, buyers: look before you leap, talk it out, make sure you have wise counsel & a realistic view of what homeownership means to you, your finances & your future. Real estate professionals: you are part of the solution, stay the course & be your word.
I was thrilled to see ActiveRain reach the 200,000 member mark. I thought it was brilliant to see the “200,000″ made up of members’ profile pictures. I actually spent 30 seconds looking for my picture in that collage – was I the only one who took the time to look? It got me thinking; why do I long to be part of something bigger than me? I know, I know, it should be “than I” but grammar aside, what is that about? It’s about grocery shopping yesterday & smiling warmly at the shoppers wearing their Chicago Bears gear with pride & anticipation of today’s game with our mortal rival Green Bay Packers. Any other Saturday you’d see people pass quietly & maybe get a nod of acknowledgement – but not this playoff weekend. Complete strangers are smiling broadly & even throwing out their scoring projections while waiting in the checkout line. It goes to show how powerfully the blue & orange bind Bears fans everywhere. BTW, I predict a close game against a worthy opponent resulting in a Bears victory fueling by a fierce running game, 20-6 – GO BEARS!!!
I spent a day this week at a team building event by Drum It Up & their platform was around drumming in a band & how critical every member is to the success of the band. We made noise together & “found the songs” & I particularly enjoyed the interpretation of our hectic days via percussion. I was fascinated by the rhythm of others’ days & how much a steady beat can elevate a mood! I took that with me all day & started thinking about how seemingly small contributions make a big difference. Think about the flute player in a marching band & those fantastic halftime formations. Making sure she travels 10 yards then diagonal to line up with the other woodwinds doesn’t sound that sexy but, when all 140 members of the marching band move as one to create figures that can best be seen from the 24th row of the stadium, that flute player’s tiniest movements now matter in the greater scheme of things.
Look at KW’s annual RED Day. This year Keller Williams Realty has designated May 12 to Renew, Energize & Donate in our local communities. Some offices have food drives to support local food pantries, others spruce up community facilities with paint, landscaping & elbow grease. I don’t remember ever cleaning my own house with the same vigor with which I attacked the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, the site of our office’s RED Day focus last year. I saw people pulling weeds in the rain & scrubbing light fixtures & windowsills that had not seen a deep cleaning in years – why you may ask? Because when we stepped back & looked at the building, looking shiny & new, it was astounding to see the pride of the artists who walked through the door. They held their heads a little higher as they entered to practice their arts & we helped that happen – and it felt exhilarating! I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler or make music with anything other than my iPod but I felt like I helped those artists that day.
Look at the Susan G Komen 3 Day Walk for the Cure. Walking 60 miles is not something most of us take on lightly, if at all. I can’t tell you how many people walked for this cause nationally last year or the year before that but I can say that every year I have more people ask for my support as they walk or volunteer to help the participants or raise funds to support their team. Who would think that walking 20 miles a day would cause a flood of pink ribbons in participating cities & on products from yogurt to postage stamps? That’s the power of volume, the crush of participation, the undeniable influence of peer pressure used for its highest good.
My challenge to each of you is to find what you are passionate about this year – whether it’s a charity near to your heart or a cause that makes you gasp when you hear a news headline – and get plugged in. Give time, give talent, give support, and give your voice. It’s amazing what can happen when your passion goes viral!
The summer I turned 16 I was convinced my parents hated me. I had just finished my sophomore year, celebrated my birthday, was about to get my driver™s license & gone to the junior prom with my new boyfriend “ life was wonderful. My parents decided to move us from Chicago™s northwest side, the only home I had ever known, to the suburbs in search of a single family home in a wonderful neighborhood and school district. Their search landed us in north Hoffman Estates “ a mere 27 miles away but it may as well have been the other side of Earth to a teenage drama queen. I was happy in my little, diverse part of the world.
Always a solid honor roll student I had no plans to go away to college; it just was not on my radar. My parents and most of my family worked for the Chicago Transit Authority and my neighborhood was filled blue collar people. I figured I might take a few classes while working as a secretary, like my mother had done. I had no college example and my dreams only reached where I could see. Not until I arrived at a high school where the student parking lot was tons better than the teacher parking lot and I visited classmates in their 3000 square foot brick homes did I even begin to ask œwhat do these people do for a living. No longer was travel agent the most exotic job within my grasp. I talked to real estate agents and accountants and engineers and sales professionals. I was surrounded by people who were not from my neighborhood in Chicago, or not even from the U.S., and it was pretty exhilarating.
I also brought a sense of œthe ˜hood to those around me in suburbia. No lie “ I never thought I would be asked if I was in a gang, if I had to leave Chicago because a gang was after me, if I could dance salsa since I was Puerto Rican or, my personal favorite, if it was harder to speak Puerto Rican or Mexican. I figured out rather quickly that most people live in their own small worlds and that most people stick with the familiar. In high school they are recognized as cliques; in urban areas they are called ghettos or barrios, boroughs or parishes. More often than not, the boundaries are not just determined by geography but by a common link.
I remember seeing a Charlie Brown poster that read œThe more I learn, the more I learn, how much I have to learn. I had no idea how small my world was until I changed zip codes. Up until that time my parents lived in the same 10 mile radius their entire lives. I did not understand the reason for the move or the change it would make in my life until very recently. As I help people buy and sell their homes, I have noticed the importance that people place on demographics. I applaud my parents now for going outside their comfort zone and not confining their lives to just those from the same high school, employer and culture. My life is immeasurably richer and more colorful now because of the move 20 years ago. It would have been easy for them to find comfort in familiar faces and common names but they stretched and that allowed me to fly.
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