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March 2024

Well the end of February sure snuck up on me even with this extra day that I am sitting down to write this!  The Seattle Real Estate Market has been intense. It has felt like a spring market in January and February. I've had the honor and joy of many past clients who bought from me 30 & 20 years ago reach out to have me help them again. We also helped a neighbor sell their very unique and coveted home (which only would appraise as a two bedroom) for $650K over the list price! Bonkers. It's always such a privilege to be trusted with these chapters in people’s lives and one I never take lightly.


February was Genuine Hustle in Denver. For those not in the real estate business, it's an annual gathering of like minded Realtors. No egos, no selling, just a real generous sharing of what we know, have learned, and what we are struggling with. It's the true essence of collaboration and I'm always so honored when asked to participate as a speaker. This year I was able to share my thoughts on how important the Art of Listening is; not only for work but to our lives. Then I sat on a panel of what I jokingly called The Dinosaurs. Wisdom of the Elders. They might as well learn from our mistakes and what we have gleamed right?


Last November and December, my friend Nicole Mangina and I hosted Business Planning Workshops that were very well attended. I think people assume that because I teach Business Planning that I must run my business like a General. But in fact, I like it to be 75% planned and I always leave room for serendipity. In the earlier years of my business, it was all about implementing systems so that nothing would be missed, maximum efficiency and 110% service. As the business becomes second nature you can allow yourself to focus more on the 110% service, which is the fun part. I find that so much of what we do is prevention or like in the sport of curling, we are the players smoothing the way with the broom. 


2024’s challenges, besides lack of inventory and mortgage rates for some, the big issue we will hear about often is home owner’s insurance. It was all the talk in Denver, especially from our colleagues in Louisiana, Texas and California. My casual mention of this to my contractor revealed that he can no longer get insurance on his cabin. I had no idea. The idea of home ownership without insurance is a tough pill to swallow. I assumed that every one (I hope) knows you should not file a claim unless it is a big one. We are being told by many major carriers that if a Buyer has filed a claim of ANY kind (Car, Renters etc), within the last seven years, they decline the application. Gulp.


Ok, enough about real estate and more about LIFE!  I am fairly often asked about my own Business Plan since I teach it. Well, mine shifted greatly during COVID and when I turned Level Six. Now instead of monetary or transactional goals, I'm entirely focused on “How did we serve the client.”, as a business metric. I don’t even track quantity.


My Business Plan is now really more of a Life Plan. When there are statistically 220 months left in my case, I really want to make sure I'm living them the way I want. This got me going on goals for 2024. I asked myself what I want to FEEL. Not what I specifically want to do, but rather how I want to FEEL. When I got quiet and still, I knew that I want to feel more joy, serenity, and the magical, after glow of being kind.


At Genuine Hustle I finally got to meet in real life, my FB Friend Amy Curtis, whose art, posts and storytelling, I adore. While the crowd gathering in the ballroom for final words for day one, we found ourselves in a quiet classroom getting to know each other. She said to me, “I have decided I not only want to live a simple life, I want a small life too”. I SO get that!  Joy and serenity are found in the simple and small for me also. How do I want to feel?  I have been pondering this as far back as 5th grade I think. I remember clearly in high school envisioning what my life at this age would be. I was heavily influenced by the poet, May Sarton, and the writer MFK Fisher. Both lived the most beautiful, peaceful, serene lives. I must have been subconsciously working towards that my entire life. Sometimes, I've been well aware of it and other times maybe not. 


But I always envisioned I would be debt free in my 60’s, in a small unassuming house with a cozy, beautiful, inviting kitchen, surrounded by towers of books and utterly quiet most of the time. I have that now. And I have to say it makes me deliriously happy.



Some of you may be familiar with Lisa Evans book Joy Is My Job. I highly recommend it. She has a great point that seeking JOY is a job. A conscious effort. I have learned to say NO, so as to firmly to protect that joy. I have had to let go of what I thought was one thing but turned out not to be so. It’s ok. I just let go and let joy. When you know where you are headed it is much easier to do. I am now laser focused on the picture in my mind. Everything else is a distraction.


With Lisa Evan’s help, here is how I have made JOY, my JOB.


1. I have given myself permission. Yes. I have given myself permission to be joyful. My reincarnation is not to be a martyr. I am allowed to be joyful, joyous. I grew up in a household where it was not safe to show that you felt joy. Somebody really needed everyone to be as miserable as they were. I realize now, just how much that suppression of joy has affected me and am working on it. It is never too late.


2.   Make a Joy Ideas List. If being joyful doesn’t come easy to you, make a list of the small things that DO bring you joy. I realized this morning in just one short hour, how many things brought me joy. Coffee in bed, posting on FB, noticing & encouraging five people, having the quiet house to myself as Mr Fox left at the crack of dawn for skiing. I love our new Sonos Roam and I love our new shower. I took an extra hot, extra long shower rocking out to Woosang of the band The Rose. It was heavenly. I love my new persimmon soap, my heated towel rack and the heated floor in the bathroom. Bliss.


3.   Carve out time on your calendar for JOY. It sounds easy but it is where most people fail because they are prioritizing everyone but themselves. I was a bit resentful for years that somehow Mr Fox found time to go hiking, biking, camping, skiing and I could not even find time to get my hair cut but three times a year. What the heck? Well that was on me. I was just not prioritizing myself. I have gotten better at that. I love to have lunch out at least twice a week and now I actually do it, even if it is by myself. Last year I signed up for and participated embarrassingly infrequently for the many classes I signed up. Such a waste of money. This year, I limited myself to TWO. If I could only learn from two teachers for the next year, who are the two that would rise to the top. Pema Chodren and Tara Mohr. And just like that, within days of my deciding that, they both came out with a new curriculum. Life is funny like that.


So be sure you are not saying, “after…”, “when…”, or “once…”. We are not promised a tomorrow. If it means something to you, make it happen. No one else really needs to understand or appreciate the importance. In this spirit, I have booked non refundable, first class  tickets and signed up for a foodie tour with Chef Shota Nakamura with Modern Adventures for two weeks in Japan…alone. Bam.


4. I find that some joys are multiplied when shared with others. Invite others to share in your joy. Whether it is a great new book you have found, a new recipe (keep reading), cooking a meal for a friend or carving out an hour to talk with a friend who just needs a sounding board. Whatever it is that bring you joy, do share it. My close friends will tell you that they wish I would STOP sending YouTubes of Kpop music. Lol.



In December, Lauren Goché of Think Real Estate PDX came up with her NOLA friends to our Business Planning Work Shop. I learned that her family business is Sacred Sea Tuna and her dad is Captain Rick, who the famous Tuna Sando is named after. Well I ordered a few cases once I heard it is all that Rene Erickson, famous Seattle restauranteur uses.


Here are two excellent recipes should you decide to try it. I believe Whale Winds carries it. Or you can be like me and order a few cases. I say support small and local.



By Mary Oliver



By Mary Oliver


Every day

I see or hear


that more or less

kills me

with delight,

that leaves me

like a needle

in the haystack

of light.

It is what I was born for—

to look, to listen,

to lose myself

inside this soft world—

to instruct myself

over and over

in joy,

and acclamation.

Nor am I talking

about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,

the very extravagant—

but of the ordinary,

the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.

Oh, good scholar,

I say to myself,

how can you help

but grow wise

with such teachings

as these—

the untrimmable light,

of the world,

the ocean's shine,

the prayers that are made

out of grass?


Reflection Questions

I invite you to use the following prompts for reflection, journaling, or conversation:

Which words or lines stood out to you as you read the poem? What feelings or images arose?

What would it look like to devote part of your day today to looking, listening, and being informed by joy?

What everyday, ordinary things bring you great delight? What wisdom does this awareness have to offer?

I hope you get inspired to make a list of the things, big and small, that bring you joy and schedule them into your calendar. We are scheduling Gus, otherwise known as the Bacon Bandit, into ours. He will be our house guest for the weekend.  He brings me such joy. Whodathunit?


Coach Diane

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