Reach for the stars with people who keep you grounded


by Tami Bonnell, CEO, EXIT Realty Corp. International

Every now and then we may get a little too big for our britches and we need someone in our life who keeps us grounded. I’m not referring to people who are negative or say that what we’re trying to accomplish is impossible, but rather someone who has our best interest at heart.

For example, let’s say you suddenly start earning a lot of money and you’ve never had to deal with that before. You may become too extravagant, or your thinking may become ego-based rather than empathy-oriented. This is an empathy-oriented world and emotional intelligence is much more important. It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting a little too cocky or becoming sloppy in your efforts; hopefully you have someone in your life with the right words at the right time to bring you back down to earth.

Once when I was in my late 20’s I sold six real estate franchises on the same day. At the time, I made 100% of the sales price after 12 sales which meant on that day, I made $150,000 in an hour. And although it was immature and I shouldn’t have, I was definitely strutting around feeling a little too good about myself.

I drove a Jeep and had one of those old mobile phones in a bag. I called my husband, Ed, and exclaimed, “I feel so great, this is unbelievable. I’m going to get a tattoo on my butt that says, ‘Show Me the Money!” Without missing a beat, my dear husband replied, “Honey, ten years from now that’s going to look like a comic book left out in the rain.” Talk about a reality check! I remember laughing like crazy and replying, “Okay, I’ll shut up now. Let’s go put the money in the bank.” For me, Ed is one of those people who keeps me grounded.

It’s not always hubris that spurs the need for a reality check. Maybe you’re doing too much and burning the candle at both ends. Maybe you need to pay attention, focus, or slow down. Maybe you’re spinning out of control trying to juggle a thousand things at once. Someone who keeps you grounded might say, “Okay, but let’s talk about how you’re going to get from A to B. You need a solid plan.”

The day of my big paycheck, thankfully the Universe got me back not once, but twice. That was also the day I first ate sushi. The man who bought the franchises asked me to meet him at a Japanese restaurant to celebrate. I told him I’d be happy to drink some sake with him, but I wasn’t going to eat sushi because although I enjoy it now, at the time, I didn’t like raw fish. He was a ridiculously wealthy man and asked me how much money I made on the sale. I told him I made 100% of the sales price, he pushed six pieces of sushi towards me and said, “Consider these $25,000 a piece.” I wanted to play in his sandbox, so I ate them.

Fast forward to the Jeep. I told Ed about the sushi and suddenly remembered I’d eaten raw fish. I could feel the texture in my mouth again and I had to pull over and throw up. This time it was the little voice in the back of my head keeping me grounded. It said, “Cut it out, be a human being, stop being so cocky.”

Whether it’s that little voice, your spouse, a trusted friend or advisor, it’s important to pay attention and heed the valuable lesson when someone or something gives you a comeuppance, reminding you to be real and stay grounded.

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