Humor, Health and Balance from Ms. Marketing Pants Heather Ostrom! CTM #7

CTM post (35)

What motivated Heather Ostrom to close her design business and team up with her husband Steve, and then lose 96 lbs? You’ll want to listen to this!!

Meet Heather O! Or as she refers to herself on her website as, (http://www.rosevilleandrocklin.com)

Ms. Bossy Pants!

LOVE THAT! And that’s just a taste into the crazy, fun and hilarious side of Heather! One of the first things anyone learns about Heather is that she loves to make people laugh, and she does it VERY WELL!

But don’t let that the fool you! Underneath all the humor Heather is a deeply committed mom, wife and saavy business lady! She GETS design and marketing and has cleverly crafted a strong brand for her and husband Steve in Roseville and Rocklin California and we had a GREAT time talking BRAND! Known for their love of the Color ORANGE (which she readily admits she shares with the ever funny and amazing Boston Realtor® Joe Schutt – something about orange attracts amazing funny people!!) to the point where her clients now give the Ostrom Team orange gifts!

Life balance, health and humor as well as ‘OWNING your own stuff’ and keeping it real were topics we dig right into. I know you’ll enjoy this very REAL Conversation That Matters with Heather O! Follow her at:

(We mention Brene Brown in the conversation who studies the power of vulnerability and you can learn more about her here: http://brenebrown.com/)

PS – Heather graciously shared how she’s tackled her health health with this help:

  • For Northern California Folks: (will be expanding hopefully) http://www.kphealthyweight.com/  (program I took with Kaiser Permanente – Health Group)
  • MyFitnessPal App: game changing to monitor foods and create a “health tribe” of support with friends and folks on the health journey
  • FitBit – ways I monitor how much I move each day, plus a great social tool to make it more enjoyable and accountable
  • Podcast I listen to for continued health inspiration: Tips of The Scale (we subscribe on iTunes) and my husband Steve Ostrom was recently interviewed he’s on Episode 94.  http://scale.fm/iTwwh

Important note:

 

Teri:Welcome to Conversations that Matter! I am super-excited to have my very good friend, amazing rock star realtor to the world, Heather O., Heather Ostrom actually for people who don’t know her. 

Heather:You said it right! Thank you! It’s Ostrom!

Teri:Well, there you go! I said it right!

Heather:Whoo!

Teri:You are the better half of the Ostrom team down in Roseville and Rocklin, RosevilleRocklin.com.

Heather:It’s RosevilleandRocklin.com.

Teri:RosevilleandRocklin.com. You are Miss Marketing, Bossy Pants herself. 

Heather:I’m here!

Teri:This is what – there’s so many things. We might as well let people know. We actually tried to do this once before and we had internet issues out the wazoo! Just when I really wanted tech to work for me, it dropped the ball a thousand time. It turns out I’m the one with the total problem. I thought I was hard-wired in, but the wire wasn’t plugged into anything. 

Heather:It’s no big deal because Teri, this is going – it’s going to be so beautiful! I’m having a Seinfeld moment. I’m going to tie it all in with what legacy I leave. We’re going to bring if full circle with what happened yesterday. It’s going to be magical. 

Teri:I’m so excited! That’s excellent! That’s excellent!

Heather:I know you think there’s not much up here, but sometimes I’m a thinker. 

Teri:I actually think maybe you know a heck of a lot more than you let people in on. I think you’ve got some little secret. I think you’re laughing at us all the time actually.

Heather:I was oh, I’m going to bring this full circle! This will be great! 

Teri:Wow! Yeah, so I haven’t thought it out that much, but I’m really thrilled that you have. There are a few different ways that I think this conversation can go and a few different things that I really wanted to touch on. One is I want people to get the chance to know you a little bit better just because you’re just this dynamic, amazing, super-fun person and I mentioned this before and I’ll mention it again. She showed up as an MNM Ambassador wearing her Super-Girl T-shirt and a little pink tutu. She just blew minds. It was so much fun and I love that about you. You always bring some lightness and some laughter to every situation. Anyone who’s ever had the blissful opportunity to spend time with you is usually left in stitches, crying a little even, super-fun, super-fun. We’re very grateful that you bring that to our world.

Heather:You know what? I think we all need a little more laughter in our lives. We all work hard and it’s all intentional because I feel like we all need some levity in our lives to offset so that we can all keep on surviving and doing our best.

Teri:Right!

Heather:Yeah!

Teri:I love that! I think that’s so true. I know personally I can get pretty heavy, pretty quick. Wow! We’re just looking at your tail right there!

Heather:Oh my God! Whoo! Who knew I was going to have a black thong on my video? What will our children – I hope there are no children watching. You might need to put an explicit sign on there.

Teri:X-rated!

Heather:Why? Did I show –?

Teri:No, all clean! All clean!

Heather:Whew!

Teri:Let’s go into – there’s a few things. First of all, yes, the humor, always the humor. Fabulous! So important! I was just going to stay that I can be guilty of taking life way too seriously, way too seriously. It’s heavy and it weighs on you and it affects everything in your life including your family and your friends and your business. Whether you’re getting enough sleep and then it just sort of perpetuates and becomes this awful heavy thing. I believe that humor is this incredibly important healing power.

Heather:It’s a life jacket for me and our family, it’s our life jacket. I think the same way too, but I always try to project a lighter image online on purpose. I get dark. I have all these questions and thoughts. I’ve had – I’ll sit there and I’ll analyze things that are bad but at one point, I have to say to myself, did I do the best I could to control the variables to the best of my ability? At one point, I have to let go of things that I couldn’t control. If people are going to choose to do things I warned them about – there’s just things that I can’t control. It’s I have a choice. Either I’m going to let it just sit like an anchor on me or let it be a life jacket and find a way to get back up.

Teri:I love that! I can see us using that in tweets forevermore. Wear your life jacket! That’s just brilliant!

Heather:It’s getting deep! It’s getting deep! 

Teri:Metaphor! The truth is I mean especially on the heels of the Robin Williams story.

Heather:That affected me so. I was dark that entire week because his personality resonates a lot with me as far as making people happy and making them light when there’s a dark situation. It’s irony that his darkness took him. It’s hard to process it all. 

Teri:Exactly! I struggled with it myself a little bit, especially because I think everyone’s been touched by him somewhere along the line. You can’t not have seen a movie of his. I always appreciated his deep ones where he got – Dead Poet’s Society for instance. That was such a powerful movie where he was – I just felt so rich and you could tell he was this multi-layered person but he always, in any interview I ever saw with him, he got a little bit crazy. 

Heather:I know but you could always tell, even in character – and maybe I’m going too far on someone I don’t even know, but I always felt like he was really thinking about how he affected someone and how one little word, two little, or an action can affect someone so positively throughout the day that it can change their lives. 

Teri:I read recently and I don’t know why we’re going down the Robin Williams track so deep, but just quickly – I read recently that he – you know when you go and send your rider, as an actor or an artist, you send your writer to the people that you’re going to go work for? Here’s all the things that I expect waiting for me. A green room or how I want things to be, his one thing that he had on his rider was that he expected ten homeless people to be hired and that was it! That was all he expected in his working agreement.

Heather:He was using his benefit to benefit others. That’s beautiful!

Teri:We’re only hearing that now! I find that remarkable. Anyway, so that’s all.

Heather:Actions, positive actions on the scene and not looking for that feedback that you’re a good person. He just did it because he was a good person. 

Teri:Right, exactly right! He’s using his strengths and his power to do something good. Anyway, I loved that!

Heather:Sorry, I know it. You know what? I’m glad we talked about it because there’s beauty and there’s action behind the scenes that should – it should be online and offline. 

Teri:That’s why I’m trying to take CTM to that place where we do talk about things that actually matter. Yes, let’s tie them all back into our lives and business – real estate in particular, but we’re all people first. 

Heather:Yeah, it’s beautiful and ugly. There’s the toggle between finding balance between it all. When do you have to compromise things? When can you say that this is my boundary? I can’t go past this. Sorry, I’m getting too heavy!

Teri:No, no! It’s all good. This is what I love. This is why you’re here frankly because – and this is why I interview everyone that I interview because there’s something that connects us. Our shared values, we have the same take on life, I really am drawn to people who I believe are taking a personal stand or are living their values. They’re creating businesses around that sort of value.

Heather:Or willing to learn how to improve! Do you know what I mean? It’s just I know – you know some people say you can never change people’s opinions? You can change mine. I like listening. I like hearing different side points because I know my life is only a certain set of experiences and I love hearing other people’s perspectives. It just adds light to my life.

Teri:I couldn’t have said it better. I’m exactly the same way. That’s why I’m doing this because I want to find out more!

Heather:I love your interviews. I love it. I love the roads that you take on all your interviews. It’s been so fascinating to hear these people talk and their thoughts.

Teri:Right! I agree! I think so too! That’s awesome! Thanks for that!

Heather:You know what? Seriously when I walk – and that’s my thing, that’s my little therapy for the day and also my exercise. I listen to you and it’s almost like a self-help when I’m walking. It’s just cool to hear!

Teri:I was going to get there later, but lets’ go there now. Walking, health, life-balance – you’ve become this excellent example. You and your husband both have worked very hard. You have completely changed your lifestyle. It’s been very public. We’ve all watched you as you’ve gone down this path where you’ve gotten active. You’ve changed your diets. You’re very publicly sharing your journey and I love that about you both. 

Heather:I always wonder, is it too much public? I understood it was for my own selfish reasons like accountability. I’m sharing because I’m scared to fail. I’m paranoid to fail. I know what my demons are. I know – I almost feel like if I put it out there, I’m going to feel – it’s going to hold me accountable. It’s my little diary.

Teri:I love that! At the same time, this nice little side benefit is that it’s inspiring all these other people including me. I’ll have to say watching you this past year, I’ve never felt like a bigger slug than I do now. 

Heather:I don’t mean to have you feel that way! I hate when people do the shame in the Facebook! 

Teri:No shaming! It’s inspiring. It makes me realize that I’ve got to pull myself away from my desk and I need to move my body. I need to do that. 

Heather:Seriously, the biggest thing I took from my class – also too, this podcast, Tips of the Scale that I always listen to – this one guy said food for fuel, not for fun. It’s not – I’m still having fun. I still like having my cocktails and having my desserts. It’s finding the balance. My life is now my checkbook. I’m going to start balancing my checkbook. I know what my calorie range is. It trickles into my family life, my work, how my reactions work. I feel like it’s helped so much in so many facets of my life with interactions, it’s just been a good, it’s been amazing!

Teri:Let’s start at the beginning. What was the catalyst for the change? What happened that got you and Steve to the point that we need to change the way we live?

Heather:You know honestly it’s not a fun thing, but I’ll tell you. My nephew is 25. He’s my personality twin. He was just – actually I think he was better than me. I just think so highly of him. We lost him to cancer and it happened so fast. December 2012, they found something and it just progressed and we lost him that September. It just happened so fast. When we went to go see Jay Leno, someone gifted Dave these tickets to go to Jay Leno and it was that day – Steve, we need to get our acts together. If this isn’t a sign that life is short, let’s enjoy its quality not quantity because I’m so grateful I knew Dave. I’d gotten to love Dave and I have the memories of Dave. I need to maximize my time on the planet and I need to start caring for my kids.  I also lost my dad in his late forties to heart disease.

It’s something – you know there’s so much we hide as far as the stress behind the scenes. We need our bodies to be machines. That’s what fueled it. Last October, at the end of October, I was we’re doing this. We just need to get our acts together and it was hard. Now it’s exciting because we’re doing it together. It’s actually helps because we’re both doing it together.

Teri:I agree! That support system makes such a different. My son, my 19-year old son is the one who’s better than me. He’s got us on gluten-free, he’s making us Vega-shakes.

Heather:Oh my gosh! That’s a Podcast, Tips of the Scale that I always listen to – this one guy said food for fuel, not for fun. It’s not – I’m still having fun. I still like having my cocktails and having my desserts. It’s finding the balance. My life is now my checkbook. I’m going to start balancing my checkbook. I know what my calorie range is. It trickles into my family life, my work, how my reactions work. I feel like it’s helped so much in so many facets of my life with interactions, it’s just been a good, it’s been amazing!

Teri:Let’s start at the beginning. What was the catalyst for the change? What happened that got you and Steve to the point that we need to change the way we live?

Heather:You know honestly it’s not a fun thing, but I’ll tell you. My nephew is 25. He’s my personality twin. He was just – actually I think he was better than me. I just think so highly of him. We lost him to cancer and it happened so fast. December 2012, they found something and it just progressed and we lost him that September. It just happened so fast. When we went to go see Jay Leno, someone gifted Dave these tickets to go to Jay Leno and it was that day – Steve, we need to get our acts together. If this isn’t a sign that life is short, let’s enjoy its quality not quantity because I’m so grateful I knew Dave. I’d gotten to love Dave and I have the memories of Dave. I need to maximize my time on the planet and I need to start caring for my kids.  I also lost my dad in his late forties to heart disease.

It’s something – you know there’s so much we hide as far as the stress behind the scenes. We need our bodies to be machines. That’s what fueled it. Last October, at the end of October, I was we’re doing this. We just need to get our acts together and it was hard. Now it’s exciting because we’re doing it together. It’s actually helps because we’re both doing it together.

Teri:I agree! That support system makes such a different. My son, my 19-year old son is the one who’s better than me. He’s got us on gluten-free, he’s making us Vega-shakes.

Heather:Oh my gosh! That’s serious! You’re crazy!

Teri:He’s a vegetarian! He’s extremely healthy that way. He’s not healthy in other ways, but that’s another day. 

Heather:I have my carnivore ways! I’m not perfect, but that’s the cool thing. I’m finding balance. I know I’m going to have my little treats here and there and I need to find a way to make a livable life and not just a short-term. I want this long-term for me.

Teri:Practicality wise, how did you – it was hard. It was hard starting. You sit there and you say to yourselves all right, we need to get healthy.

Heather:We needed help actually. Honestly, we wanted to be bossed around. I’m a bossy type of person. I like helping.  I’m a mom-type. I mom my clients, I mom everyone even if you don’t want it. It’s just – it’s obnoxious. Anyway so we – I got us signed up for a medical weight management program and honestly, it was the best thing. It was kind of private, because there’s so much shame involved. You feel like your self-worth – your physical – I notice I smile more now. I’ve always loved myself, but physically I didn’t like myself. It wasn’t anything I ever talked about because I really don’t – my life thing is if you’re going to whine about it, you better fix it or shut up.

Teri:Totally! 

Heather:I never really tried to publicly whine about – I don’t like physical shame around my daughter. I do have to be sensitive to that. I really think – I do have a lot of issues with women that whine and say I need to go to the gym, I’m so fat. I don’t ever do that around my daughters. I always keep this health oriented as far as our life changes.

Teri:That’s so – I’m guilty of that as you know. I have to [Cross-talk]

Heather:I don’t air this! We’re passing it on to the next generation. It’s not about what our bodies look like. Our self-value comes from what – our energy we give to the world. That’s just how I feel.

Teri:No, and it’s actually such an important subject. I have been a lifelong searcher to understand the mental and I think we talk about health, it is all different areas of your life. It’s not just physical health. It’s mental health. It’s spiritual health. There’s all the financial health. All those different ways that we need to approach a healthy life style and I think getting your head on straight is key! 

Heather:Knowing too – I know that even as a house that we’re happier and it’s been part of that process. It’s what do I need to shed in my life, whether people, variable, physical objects in your life – what do I need to let – what are the big things that are really making me sad or frustrated? What can I do to change that and then just making a plan? Honestly, Teri, we had to get help. We needed to have some sort of third-party to guide us, to hold our hands a little bit, almost like clients.

Teri:Right, love it! Maybe what you can do is send me a link of where you went or give me an idea and we can share that with anybody’s that interested because I think that’s sort of important. Getting help! I’ve learned this. I am now working with – as I try to launch my new company and all these other areas of my life that I found as an entrepreneur working by myself all these years, I have finally admitted, I can’t do it all by myself. 

Heather:I mean really you nailed it. We have to have our team and whether it’s literally or emotionally, we have to have our support team. We have to learn how to get the negative vampires in your life off to the sides or learn how to turn them off. You can’t control the words that are going to come out of their mouth. You can’t control them. The only one you can control is what you’re going to listen to and how you’re going to react.

Teri:Then choosing proactively who I want to surround myself with who are going to help me, support me and move us all together collectively forward.

Heather:Yeah, who gets your ears?

Teri:Absolutely!

Heather:There’s always going to be people shouting into your cave. You have to learn who you want to say back off sister!

Teri:That’s tough! I mean don’t you find as a woman that it’s hard to be – we want to be loving and accepting and forgiving and all those typically feminine things, but it can be damaging. There’s got to be – there are boundaries that I think we need to set.

Heather:I know certain people, I love them dearly, but they’re not going to give me what I need right now. I can’t keep on going back to them expecting a different reaction.

Teri:It’s interesting. As I’m making an outside perceived objection here – not objection, objective – I am seeing a much more powerful, stronger – you’re more anchored in your own voice, I think than you’ve been in a while.

Heather:Yeah. I agree with that. I agree with that. It’s always been there. I almost feel like I didn’t feel like I was worth sticking out – I don’t like offending people not at the point to compromise my morals, my ethics, not in that sense. I don’t like hurting people. I don’t like – I have such a broad audience. I have this group over here and my friendships are so varied. I’m not – it’s just where do you drop being a chameleon and where do you just finally say it’s okay to voice my opinion?

Teri:Right!

Heather:Finding that voice!

Teri:Ooh, tough one! It’s funny – you’ve heard of Bernae Brown. She talks about doing greatly, she deals specifically with shaming and – have you heard of Bernae?

Heather:No!

Teri:I’ll have to send you some stuff of hers. She’s quite brilliant. She’s written several books. She is a professor. She does a bunch of research and she talks specifically about the connection between shame, guilt, fear and all those different things that we’ve touched on and how we all wear these masks. Then she specifically talks about when we share things about ourselves that are deep and personal, you don’t share that with just everyone. You ask yourself, has this person earned the right to hear those things. I think it’s a very blurry line for us because we talk a lot about dropping the mask and being real which we are, but I think what I’ve learned is that we’re real in different levels.

When I’m showing up as a professional Teri that might be different than the Teri who shows up with her husband. Both are real Teri, they’re just a different experience. 

Heather:I think you’re adapting to your environment. I’ve had women say to me aggressively, and good friends too, it’s weak. Don’t be like that Heather! Don’t say sorry. It’s you know what? I think our world needs more accountability. You need to take accountability for your actions so I do need to find balance. You know what? I am going to say sorry. That’s me. I like caring about people. You don’t have to worry that I’m not going to voice my thoughts. I have to – I take accountability for my actions and I really feel like we don’t have enough of that in our world right now. You screw up, you own it, you say sorry and you move on.

Teri:Hear! Hear! Love it! Love it! Love it! Okay, so we could go down that way forever. 

Heather:I know! That’s a big thing for me. It’s almost like a societal thing that’s driving me crazy. If you got warned and you got told, and you screwed up, own it. Nobody’s going to judge you. It gets more powerful to own your screw ups.

Teri:I completely agree. I find the people that I’m more attracted to – particularly because we’re seeing more and more exposed online – I will say that I’m truly drawn to the people who are letting their true thoughts be known. They know probably that it was scary saying what they really felt because they knew they were going to offend somebody or they were going to get judged or whatever and they’re dropping the mask a little bit. It’s refreshing.

Heather:I know, I know, I know! I’ve had a couple of people unfriend me for a couple of things I did. It’s just even commenting on a public post. It got thrown back in there and then they were gone. It was well, you know what, that’s me.

Teri:I’ve been a big believer, and I’ve said this since my very first presentation on stage which is the pie is not only so big. There is only one you. There is only you and you can be the best you that you can be. If you are real, if you truly are brave enough to say here’s who I am, here’s what I actually believe, here are my values, if you say that loud enough to enough people, you will repel the people that don’t agree with you for use. You will alienate people. People will be oh you’re an idiot!

Heather:Your life becomes so much more pure!

Teri:Then you attract the other people. For all the people you’re repelling, you’re attracting more like – I feel like it’s just a richer, purer way to live.

Heather:It ties into your business too. It takes a while to get there. You were saying you have to repeat it a couple of time whether visually or literally with your boys, but eventually you start attracting exactly who you want to bring to you and/or you need to take a look at what you are projecting. You need to be conscious of what voice you’re using, what words you’re putting out into the world. Am I attracting these type of people or I need to make some variable changes? Not to compromise yourself, but you need to be conscious of what you’re projecting into the world.

Teri:Yes! Which brings us to the brand discussion! Oh my God, you’re so good! It’s like you planned that!

Heather:No I didn’t, but I knew I could feel it happening.  This is just so exciting! 

Teri:You and I both love and believe in the power of branding! You have a design background. Why don’t you give people a bit of history of where you’ve got – what you do and how you do it?

Heather:I went to Chico State up in northern California and I got my graphic design degree there. I worked for a bunch of years down in Downtown Sacramento which is the capital of California. I went down and I worked there for years. Steve and I got married. We met up in Tahoe and I came back down and I was working on my – we started having kids. I was I’m going to go out on my own and do my own graphics design. I have about 15 plus years of graphic design experience. At one point, Steve and I were both self-employed so to speak and we were butting heads. Whose client was more important? Whose appointment, who gets to babysit today? There were lots of struggles with the kids. People say you don’t want to compromise your career or you have to stay home with the kids.

There’s all these struggles that go on in your head. At one point, I started looking at Steve and we’re a perfect marriage in business too. Why don’t I take over your stuff because it looks ugly? I started taking over. I started going his photography, his marketing and it was just really cool. We stayed in our own space because people say how do you work with your husband? We do different things and we acknowledge it. It’s actually – the part we had to work on the most was communicating with each other and amongst our clients to figure out what’s the perfect solution. 

Teri:Right, right, right. Okay, so then you bring in your beautiful design talents and you have created this amazing brand for you as a team. There’s a lot of orange involved. We mentioned Joe the other day.

Heather:I’m sorry Joe, you’re my brother. I’m the orange. He has the east coast, I have the west coast. We’ve come to terms. We wrote out a contract.

Teri:So Joe’s also an orange lover.  He’s fabulous! I think – I’ve decided that orange attracts interesting cool people.

Heather:I’m telling you! I remember I told you my florist thought me crazy for orange for my wedding – I’m like listen lady. I know this is going to look good. Afterwards, she was can I get pictures for marketing. I’m I don’t know! I’m sorry, focus, focus!

Teri:Focus! Orange, orange and – we talked a lot before about design elements and fonts and brain trust – why don’t you walk people through?

Heather:It’s just root level thinking that I think – you don’t think it’s important, but if you can – if I can relate to real estate agents or whoever is listening to their business, think about the things that bring continuity into your business. In the house, I love seeing matching metals through the door handles, through the light fixtures. I like having continuity. I think the same thing can apply to design. Are you using the same fonts? Is the spacing similar? You’ve got to use the same type of visual angles. You’re caring about the cropping of photos. It almost gets – people know when it’s my photography too as far as – we did actually hire recently a photographer to help me out. We started to get too busy, but that’s the outsourcing. You have to acknowledge your weaknesses. You’ve got to pick your battles.

Teri:That’s so true!

Heather:I try to use the same fonts. I try to use the same shade of orange. There’s certain visual cues that are just root level items that are part of your branding, but become so powerful. It doesn’t happen overnight. You have to just keep on punching at it. You think it’s ridiculous, but it’s worth the effort because there’s this mind memory that happens. People are going to say oh orange, that’s the Ostroms. I can’t tell you how much orange stuff we get. It makes me so happy because it means people are thinking about us, top of mind.

Teri:Absolutely! We can go even deeper than that. I’ve tried to explain brand to people before and they’re I don’t understand why everybody spends so much bloody money creating their own brands. The truth is that it’s you don’t understand branding – that’s how I look at it. What I say in that discussion usually is well brand is not your tag, your logo or even the color orange in that case. What it is is it’s the experience that they have every time they touch you. Whether that be through visual print ad or a face-to-face conversation, or someone said something nice about you or whatever that might be – that ends up all of those things tied together to represent your brand.  

The fact that someone knows, they’ve seen the orange enough times. Orange in and of itself is not a reason that I’m going to be attracted to you.

Heather:Exactly. It’s like I’m picking up trash on the side of the freeway. We went through that in the beginning and its why would you ever want to be associated with hazard orange. I’m seriously, back off! I have a vision! 

Teri:Awesome, awesome! I love that.

Heather:That’s another thing too. When you first do something and if it’s different, you are going to get pushed back. You are going to hear negative feedback, but you’ve got to stick with it because there’s something to be said for consistency. If you keep on repeating this – it doesn’t have to be exactly the same. It’s cool to have variety, but just being appreciative of what fonts you’re using – you don’t have to have gradients everywhere. Keep it simple, clean and there’s so much power to simplicity.

Teri:You just said it! Vision! Clarity of vision which I preach all the time. Did you see the movie Money Ball with Brad Pitt? He played Billy Bean. There’s a scene where they talk about he’s going to be the guy that goes up against the Red Sox. He had 40 million versus their 125 million. He had to change the way that they played the game. He’s baseball is going to hate me. The Red Sox owner was saying well, somebody’s going to get bloody being the first one going through the door. I’ve always – I’ve done presentations using that analogy because I believe in stop looking at what everybody else is going. Don’t not do what other people are doing. I mean we learned through experience, we learned through other people and we use them as examples for sure. 

Get clear on your vision. Know what you’re trying to create and then don’t worry about the naysayers. 

Heather:Yeah, that’s almost like mentorship. You have to keep on listening. You never know – even the person that just started yesterday, they can bring some clarity to your life. Holy smokes, I never even thought about it. It’s nice to have someone say have you thought about this. Yet, he took those variables of success and just went and into a totally different direction. He didn’t let rules create his route. 

Teri:Love it! Love it!

Heather:I’m going to tell you. Billy Bean was actually Steve’s Dad’s little league coach. Tell me that’s a small world.

Teri:Are you kidding me?

Heather:No I’m not.

Teri:Oh my God, that’s amazing! That’s amazing, small world!

Heather:Yeah, I know that why – I loved that movie. That was a fantastic movie. I think that’s genius. When you know what variables are going to hopefully bring you success and not being afraid to go that route. 

Teri:It was an incredible example. It’s obviously not an everyday story, but we can take that same approach to anything, to any area of your life. I love it! We live in a hacking world. We’re hacking culture, we’re hacking companies and business models, we’re hacking everything right now. I love that. It’s actually – there’s never been a better time to really create something of your own.

Heather:Exactly! Not being afraid of change – just something that’s a little bit different. It’s almost like when I would do logos for companies. I knew which one was the best solution. You never want – the rule is in graphic design, don’t ever show the logo you don’t like because they will inevitably pick that logo. Subconsciously it must be something that’s already familiar out in that environment. Don’t be afraid to do something. It doesn’t have to be some secret, above life decision. It could be really simple, little changes make a difference just to keep you noticed and at top of mind.

Teri:I completely believe in that. There’s a whole philosophy right now called the Big Small where it’s about those little incremental changes that really do move that needle. From the surface, nobody might even notice. If you keep at it, then it starts to create this momentum.

Heather:Heaven is in the details!

Teri:The next thing you know people are sending you orange gifts.

Heather:I’m telling you!

Teri:I love it. That’s so cool. 

Heather:I have a lot to learn. I have to overhaul my whole website, but it’s almost like my mind’s my own worst enemy right now. It’s keeping me from action. I have to take my own medicine sometimes, but I do feel like that’s one of my strengths as far as – even behavioral parts are part of your branding. That’s the experience that the customer feels and how friends feel because your life – our business is our life and our business. It’s just a fluid type of item of how we treat things.

Teri:I love it! Anybody who knows you at all has seen that your family is obviously very forefront for you. You guys share pictures of your kids. You get your kids involved in some of your videos. I saw your ALS ice bucket challenge and the girls are pouring ice over your head, and the slow-mo and the roar. It was so fabulous.

Heather:My kids loved that! My kid’s humor is our life and I love that. I know maybe some people are oh, you’re using your kids for advertising and its no, they’re a part of our lives. If we’re not your flavor of tea, tootles noodle!

Teri:I completely agree with that. The truth is that you can – my sense from the outside looking in is that these girls, these kids, they clearly share your personalities and they are having so much fun performing. I mean I can just see them all grown up being you amplified. It’s so fun to watch. It’s so fun to watch.

Heather:They’re a part of our lives. They’ll go on appointments with us and its real estate doesn’t obey normal nine to five hours. It’s all the time. Either you accept us with our children and our mallets or maybe someone else is a better solution. One of my biggest epiphanies this year was you’re a puzzle piece. You can’t force puzzle pieces. If it fits, awesome! If it doesn’t, you need to go your separate way.

Teri:Ooh! I learned that the hard way through a marriage. 

Heather:I know, but it’s true. In all friendships and in business, you can’t force it. You can shove all you want, but it’s not going to fit. 

Teri:A lot of agents – particularly in my – my people are newer agents who are struggling to build their business. When you first get started, it’s pretty typical that if something comes along, you jump on it. You’re terrified of letting it go.

Heather:They need a pay check. That’s what it really boils down to. Steve and I chased business too because you need to feed your family. You need to put food on the table. That’s why it stinks. You do have to chase a little bit or you’re not going to be able to pay your medical. It’s almost – now we’re at this point in the business where we can start having this step-back. Is this person a good fit? No matter how much energy we’ve already put into it, and you feel that you have to get that return – you don’t get paid unless it closes.  You have this mentality and I think in this business, it’s all the more important. If you can and have the ability, don’t chase. Be a magnet for positive behavior and you’re going to ride your business, when you can. 

I know sometimes you’ve got to live. You’ve got to put food on the table.

Teri:You really do. Let’s talk about being a magnet though. What are some of the things that you guys do to be that magnet? Have you made conscious decisions? Here’s what we’re going to do?

Heather:Yes! Steve, and I don’t mean to desensitize or cheapen the experience, but I love being a fisherman. I love making people feel good. That’s just my natural personality. I like to take care of people and Steve’s more of the doer.

Teri:Yes, what a great match!

Heather:I know, but people come to me to be the doer and I’m no, this is – we know what our powers are. I love checking in on people. I love asking how are you doing – completely separate from the business. That’s just anyone. I know that’s – I feel like that’s my gift that I have. I love doing that and that makes me happy. That’s part of our – but you almost have to have a conscious moment when you realize what your gifts are and say there isn’t necessarily a financial tie back to it. It pays off so much when you’re free to actually care and make that a part of your business. 

Buying a house – you’re giving them a space that they’re going to hopefully love and take care of them. It gets so deep with the house. It’s your space. The neighborhood – I get really caught up in do you know how far away the grocery store is? Are you really going to be okay living here? I like thinking about do you know the school’s going to be – the traffic is going to be crazy on this street? I think about those things. That’s just – that just ties into our personalities as far as what we do best in our business.

Teri:I love that! Do you find that dealing with so many different types of people – how do you manage the different personalities? What kind of systems are you using to keep in touch and maintain the hands on? 

Heather:That’s nice because we have a Buyer’s Agent on our team. I know instantly after I talk to a client – usually I’m the first one that talks to them or Steve. What’s been interesting too is we’re getting more phone calls than emails now. This is an interesting shift. Before the anonymous email would come across and you’d hope they’re respond because they think you’re just some faceless creature. I put details into my emails just to say hey and create an interaction. We’re getting more phone calls. Once we talk, we can see who’s the better suit. Usually our website seems to, and our marketing seems to attract a common personality. It’s not really been a huge issue.

There’s control issues. That’s an interesting toggle to being successful.  As far as my thing I’m analyzing a lot right now is my seller prep list. What is the cut off where people are going to stop reading? When do people take it seriously? That’s almost a problem in real estate anyway. You should be reading the paperwork. You should be asking a lot of questions. I tell people if you’re not asking questions, you’re not reading. You need to take accountability for this huge financial purchase.

Teri:I do think though – just to cut sellers a break, buyers a break – a lot of these forms are highly – the legalese stuff –

Heather:It is! I try to translate that. I try to give the seller a prep-list. It’s learning what too much text. What’s not enough and also picking up on the cues that they give you. Are they a phone call person? Are they a text person? Emails? It also ties into what they’re going to read. The auditory – are they a visual person? Are they a listener? It’s fascinating to learn what paperwork is really, truly going to help that person.

Teri:You know real estate is one of these best industries to really study human behavior. 

Heather:It’s so crazy. When you think you got it pegged, someone throws in a – and it’s oh I didn’t see that and oh man! We talked about it on the phone. It’s fun to analyze it. It doesn’t make me mad. I’m what can I do to get better.

Teri:Yes, yes, yes! It’s never the same thing twice. Just when you think you’ve learned everything about that could possibly snowflakes – tell people what you mean when you say snowflakes.

Heather:This goes – I don’t want to get too deep but when people get caught up too and people are mimicking our style, we’re all snowflakes. I feel like each house is a snowflake. It’s always different variables that’s going to come up in your transaction whether its sewer or its water, or the utilities might be too high. I also feel like that with my business. When you see people mimicking what you’re doing almost to the T, its okay, they may be doing visually what I’m doing, but they don’t have my personality. That’s part of my brand. That’s part of the magnet. 

Teri:Right! Then if we talk back again, if we look at anybody who goes to your website, they’ll clearly see. Actually you’ve done a really great job of infusing video. I’m a big believer in video because –

Heather:Yeah we’ve been doing that for years. Do you know we used to get teased for that? People made fun of us.

Teri:Really?

Heather:That’s how I met Dave Marie 

Teri:Really?

Heather:Yeah. He noticed it and he reached out to us. We were one of the few people doing it, gosh, years ago. Part of their YouTube channel – we were one of the few ones doing it out here. That’s how it fueled my relationship with Coldwell-Banker. 

Teri:Okay, so David Marie is your Marketing Director?  Actually he’s been –

Heather:No, he’s the VP of Brand Engagement, I want to say. Dave, if I have your title wrong?

Teri:Yeah, sorry David.

Heather:You’re my brother, you’re my nerdy brother. I love him.

Teri:Don’t worry, he’ll never see this.  Anyway, you’re going to be actually on the stage at Coldwell Banker, are you not?

Heather:I’m going to be on a panel.

Teri:A panel and what is the panel about?

Heather:Views – that was another thing we explored early on. I tell you because Steve was my perfect candidate. I remember him – Facebook, Twitter, but then he started hearing people’s comments. Hey we found you on Yelp, we found you on Google. You guys were the first ones that came up. It’s my evil madness finally paid off, but it had to be a third-party to tell Steve.

Teri:Time-out, so when we talk about views, we’re talking about traffic to your sites.

Heather:Yeah, for business and also actually just direct phone calls. It’s been a lot more phone calls which is interesting to track incoming business because I have to rely on Steve to tell me. It’s ugh! Emails I could track everything, but now I’m trying to see where things are coming from. Yelp’s still a powerhouse for us!

Teri:Is that right? The Divas in Seattle also?

Heather:That’s how we got talking too!

Teri:Oh, really?

Heather:That’s how we got to know even Stacy up in Denver. We all were talking about reviews and how frequently they – it’s funny and fascinating to learn behaviors that way. 

Teri:Let me ask you this because I think there was a time when the Yelp reviews were extremely powerful, but the space was quieter then and there weren’t as many opportunities to review. How do you see that today? If you were starting fresh today, where would you put your energy?

Heather:Google because we have so many hidden reviews. If you’re not a regular Yelper it’s just something – I always tell people that – small business owners, do you want to know the best thing you can do? Start doing a lot of reviews for other people because putting that positive energy out in the world, it may not translate to reviews back for you, but people always remember when you say nice things about them.

Teri:Ain’t that the truth? Actually mean it, don’t just do it.

Heather:No, no, I don’t mean to cheapen it. When I say it, I write pretty scathing reviews too. It’s not that I’m all rainbows and glitter. I’m not eating unicorn meat over here. We keep it real around here. One of my neighbors actually found one of my Yelp reviews and he goes, I didn’t eat at that place because I could have sworn it was your review saying something bad about them.  I told them I would give them a second chance. I was just putting my words out there because it was two really bad experiences. I had disclosure that I’d give them another chance. 

Teri:It’s interesting. I know there’s talk right now about the instant response realtor. That’s becoming this big topic and the review thing ties right into that. 

Heather:Exactly, the flame war, the flame war, you just worry. Shoot, what if you had a family death or something horrible happen in our lives and we might be judged on that one moment? I feel like we’re losing our humanity to flames. 

Teri:I think that’s a massive discussion right there. We won’t have time to go too far into it, but I definitely want to touch on this for a moment. There is some power shifting here and in the wrong hands, power can be dangerous. I feel like – it’s so easy, people are so brave. I’ll use the child bullying example. Kids today feel so free to say the most horrible things to each other online and it’s causing such damage. I’m seeing the same – it is bullying behavior with business as well. There are a lot of unreasonable people with unrealistic expectations that now have the power to completely demolish you.

I think we have to really cognizant of that and I know that’s a big fear. Trying to figure out the best way to mitigate that and manage that and the only thing I can come up is that I saw once a restaurant – oh I’m sorry it was a movie house, I think it was a movie house but somebody got on and just bitched about whatever had gone wrong. They retaliated with – they captured her scathing voice mail message and they put that out there. It was everyone just went wow, she’s crazy. I mean there is a part of me that says the pendulum will swing, we’ll all go a little crazy for a while and then we’ll come back to center.

Heather:We all have our moments!

Teri:We all have our moments. I also feel like for instance, in a blog post, if you get some awful, hateful comment – I don’t know how you feel about it, but there’s times when I feel like I’ll tackle it head-on and there’s other times when I’ll just back off and see what happens. You feel like there’s just no point in going down that road frankly.

Heather:You can sense the anger. Is this fixable even? I don’t know.

Teri:Are we actually looking to solve a problem or is he just ranting? 

Heather:Exactly! Exactly!

Teri:I think that’s the metric, right?

Heather:Plus, this goes back to accountability. If we do screw up, I am not incapable of error. I try to work as a team with my clients. I say hey, look, I am great at what I do, but I need your second set of eyes to look to make sure I did everything in accordance with what you want to project about your house. If you screw up, you can take your review – if you get a bad flame review, you just have to acknowledge it. You have to sit there and look at the words. How did this happen? What can I do and is this fixable? 

Teri:I love that! I think that’s a really strong proactive approach. Somebody gives you a review – I think both ways by the way. I think we’re too quick to accept a compliment. 

Heather:Yeah and you can get too roostered up and be damn, I’m good! It’s easy to do that after you get a nice review. A lot of the kindness just comes without – these sellers are just so happy and they put up a review, you get all puffed up and your feathers get flooded out and it’s – no, we need to keep it in check. There is balance to everything.

Teri:I liked the way you phrased it earlier – own it! Own it if it’s bad or if it’s good. I think you own it. I think you do a reality check. Is this accurate? Did I really perform at that level, good or bad? If I did, I probably should own it.

Heather:Not being afraid to ask clients – even when we don’t get listings, one thing Steve and I have a lot of conversations on – if we don’t get the listing and we have a pretty good track record, not being afraid to ask did we do something wrong or what was it that made you pick the other person? It’s just fascinating to ask the whys. We’re so scared to know the truth sometimes of what our ugliness is or – and it may not be ugly. It’s interesting to see how and it goes back to the projection. What am I projecting? Was I too aggressive or controlling?

Teri:I find it interesting how you phrase that and I think it’s an important distinction in how we word that. I love that you’re asking the losses there. I think that’s an important lesson that could be learned and we can all figure out how to improve from that information. It’s probably really valuable information, but how you phrase that question I think is key. Instead of saying well what did we do that was wrong? I think it’s so much more powerful to say why did you choose the other agent? Is there something more that we could have done?

Heather: Exactly! Using positive charge language where you’re not compromising your strength, you’re not giving your strength to somebody else. We’re pathetic, why didn’t we get it? 

Teri:Exactly! 

Heather:I know but even right there, it’s totally right. What would appeal to you about the other agent? Keep it positive charged so that you keep your strength and energy, but you’re still learning. I also think that that’s the thing. Always be willing to learn and you’ll be great at sales. I feel that you just always have to be organic and adapting to what’s there without compromising your integrity and your ethics.

Teri:I love that! I love that! That’s so powerful. This is why I love you and what you’re doing. You are truly such a light force.

Heather:I have so much to do, I have so many ideas I want to accomplish. No, no, you get so excited and its well – that’s too the balance of family and business. That’s how I get so – when I hear people online say I need to do this and people ask have you done it yet? I go no, but I’ve done this and this. Its okay, I’m not making myself feel bad for what I haven’t accomplished yet that I yet have to do.

Teri:Oh my gosh! So many of us do that. We beat ourselves up because there’s always more you could be doing. Always more! 

Heather:Even in my health – I could have been doing that, no, you know what? I kicked butt. I’ve lost over 90 pounds in 11 months. I’m beating the table and I’m shaking the camera because it’s oh, oh! 

Teri:I’m so proud of you!

Heather:No, but even in business it’s you know what? Let’s focus on the positive because negatives are anchors and we need to keep on going forward to get better. Things will happen with time, just have your plan.

Teri:Agreed! Agreed! Agreed! So powerful, so healthy. You’re such a great example, not just with your weight loss and your ambition, your drive – but just your positive attitude. It’s so inspiring! It’s just so inspiring and people who know you, just adore you. I know you can own that one. That’s one you can own!

Heather:I’m trying, but you know – I’ll own it! All of it! Thank you Teri! I won’t try to rooster up too much.

Teri:There you go! Too late! All right, before we wrap this up. You knew this was coming. 

Heather:I know, I’m ready!

Teri:We always ask the legacy question and Heather, I know yours is going to be so good. When you are at the end of your life, and you’re looking back, what will have been the things that are most meaningful to you? What do you want your legacy to be?

Heather:I have a couple. There’s a few things. I have three kids, I have two older daughters and a son. I get so sensitive about little girls because I grew up with such insecurities. Being tall and heavier set, and being acquitted with my value, I try to be so conscious of being health-oriented, not numbers or physical the way I’m looking oriented. Also I’m trying to teach my kids to state the truth kindly, but not compromise the point you’re trying to get across. 

Teri:Ooh, powerful!

Heather:That’s a heavy thing. I always tell the girls – and this is when we tie back in – I hate to say the cliché lemon/lemonade, but it really gets down to that. If something throws you a curveball, there’s nothing you can’t fix. It just may not be the outcome you expected. It’s okay. That’s what I’m really trying to be conscious of working on with my kids. I know this isn’t how we thought this was going to come out, but you have so many cool tools. Don’t be afraid to use your tools to find a different solution. It might be just as cool if not better.

Teri:I absolutely love this! We could talk about this –

Heather:Sorry, I know I got all deep.

Teri:That’s what – I wanted to have the deep conversations or go a little deeper.

Heather:It’s not just funny Heather, its deep Heather.

Teri:Deep Heather! You are brilliant. You’re a life force truly and I’m so grateful that you joined me today for this conversation that truly does matter. Truly!

Heather:You’re awesome. I think so highly of you Teri, so I appreciate you having me on the show. I feel honored. Thank you!

Teri:I’m truly blessed. Thank you so much. Peace!

Heather:Aw girl!

Teri:Whoo Hoo!

 

 

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