I am so honored to have Allison Simson with Summit Real Estate in Dillon, Colorado contribute to the Ninja Moms blog with her interview this month. Not only was she recommended by Larry Kendall himself, so you know that she is a true Ninja, but she was so completely honest and open in her responses. Here are some of Allison’s insights on being a Ninja Mom:
Before I get into the interview itself, I would like to include some of Allison’s comments just about being a Ninja Mom in general because they are so true for all of us:
I must admit that when you first called me about doing a Ninja Mom interview I didn’t consider myself a Ninja Mom, just a Ninja Mom wannabe. But as I thought about it I realized that that’s what is so perfect about the Ninja Mom concept! The perfection lies in the imperfection. I’ve come to realize that my ‘to do’ list will never be finished. That my bank account may never be balanced and that I’ll probably always feel some guilt about not putting more energy toward either my real estate career, or my children (it’s always one or the other that I feel is neglected) and you know what? That’s absolutely OK. When I hear the phrase “live a balanced life” to me that doesn’t mean that everything is static and perfectly, equally balanced, but rather that life balance is more a juggling act. The trick is to be really present with the ball that is currently in front of you! And, to keep moving forward, toward the life you imagine!
One of my biggest ‘Ah-ha’s’ lately has been how important it is to have a vision of your best life and goals and dreams that you are reaching for. I’d been feeling a little out of focus at work and I realized that it was because I had taken myself out of my own life – I didn’t have anything that I was working for that was for me. I had been so focused on my family and work balance that I had taken myself out of the equation! I’m working on putting me back into the picture and making sure that I spend time nurturing myself as well. I know that unless my cup is full, I won’t have anything to give my family of my business.
What are you best practices in Real Estate?
The best thing I ever did was to hire an assistant, and then I expanded that into a Team. Teamwork makes everything easier and the customers actually get much better service if a team of people is each focused on their individual piece of the puzzle rather than trying to do it all.
How do you hold yourself accountable?
That’s a tough one for me. I do have a strong work-ethic that has been ingrained in me since birth, so I do what needs to get done. I like Steven Covey’s concept of dividing tasks into 4 groups. 1. Important / Urgent, 2. Important /Non-urgent, 3. Urgent/Non-Important, and 4. Non-Urgent/Non-Important. I do my best to spend my time on the first two categories. Of course, getting to the important but non-urgent activities is difficult, but vital to the success of a business and a family.
A coach I’ve worked with in the past, Joeann Fossland (who’s amazing, by the way) taught me about the power of “3”. Asking yourself every day, “what 3 things could I do today that would bring me closer to my goals?” It’s pretty easy to focus and accomplish just three things! I have a “mini-advance” with my team at the beginning of each month and we do the same exercise ~ What 3 things could we do this month that will bring us closer to our goals? We do this yearly as well.
What are your biggest challenges with working, being a mom, wife, etc?
Same as for all of us moms,..how do we fit everything in???!!!! I need to clone myself! I have twin girls who are 7 and although I have never wished there was just one of them, I have often wished that there were two of me! As women in this generation we have adopted the superwoman complex…we can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never ever let you forget you’re a man! But, where do we learn to also take care of ourselves? To be sure that we’re exercising and getting enough sleep and eating well and enriching our lives with hobbies and activities that we do for ourselves? That’s the hard part…the part that we all get to work on!
What are your support systems?
I’m big on support! My husband, my team, my parents, my girls and last but never least, my girlfriends! It’s so vital to me to have girlfriends that I can unwind with and be real with. They’re there to listen when you need to vent and uplift when you’re down. I have a group of worsen who I have met with for lunch monthly since we first heard Larry Kendall speak at his first Ninja class! We call ourselves the Ninja Sisters, and they’re a great support for me. I think it’s so important to have people in your life that know you and love you anyway!
I also find support through coaching and I know that is something I rely on to keep me on track. I’ve had several wonderful coaches in my life. Right now I’m in a coaching group with Debbie Yost through Howard Brinton’s Star Power Systems. All of the women in the group are Howard’s Stars, so we have that in common, but that’s just the start,,,the depth of commonality in the group is so amazing. It’s great to have other people in your similar situation that you can bounce ideas around with and it’s wonderful to have someone to help guide you through the intricate maze of real estate (and life!)
What do you love best about our industry and being a self-employed working mom?
I love it that our industry is always changing…that we are constantly challenged to learn and grow with the real estate climate. It’s awesome, I love that we are servants to help people with one of the most basic needs – shelter. It goes way, way past shelter, though doesn’t it?
I did make the change a few years ago to let go of working with Buyers. That was just too draining for me, and although I loved it, I knew that something had to give if I wanted to be the mom that I knew I wanted to be. That was hard to do, but has been wonderful. it’s given me back my weekends! I love that there are so many options in real estate. We must not take for granted the flexibility. I know that sometimes it feels like we work all the time, but it’s important to realize that if you want to go shopping for 2 hours in the middle of the day, you can. And yes, you many have to work evening or Saturdays, but it is all a choice. Getting control of the process of how you sell real estate is so important. As Larry Kendall would say, “Realtors control the process, Buyers and Sellers control the decisions.” It’s so true! For the most part people are respectful of your schedule and will work with you. i felt so much more free when I realized that I didn’t have to drop everything for a Buyer or Seller! Help them work themselves into your schedule!
How are you handling the emotional and financial drain and how do you find motivation to keep going?
I agree that the emotional toll that this recession is taking is at least as difficult as the financial toll. For me, the key is to avidly guard my energy! I’m very protective of my boundaries and who and what I let in. If i see a person I know to be negative and who I know just wants to commiserate with someone who’s equally depressing, I RUN the other way! Or, if I can’t run, I am very careful not to get sucked into their drama. I don’t watch the news. I don’t want that negativity to imprint on my consciousness. Keep your blinders on~
I love this quotations: Find a joy that doesn’t deny what is in the world, but isn’t trapped by it ~ Ram Dass
The hardest part of our job right now, I think, is that there are Sellers who want to sell and Buyers who want to buy and we’ve never had so much drama surrounding that simple decision! Between the crazy loans some people fell into, the crazy strict lending practices we’re seeing in so many areas (I’m in a resort areas with lots of condos, so trust me when I speak of Crazy lending regulations!) to the crazy investors out there who are looking to gain from someone else’s loss to the crazy Sellers who are still not in touch with the realities of the market we have our hands full! I see our job as Professional Realtors to remember the simple goal – someone wants to buy and someone else wants to sell – and to remain STILL in the craziness. Our job is to hold the space and help the others navigate through it. Nothing more. Nothing less.
How do you recharge and refocus?
I’ve taught yoga for 16 years and that is a huge release for me. My yoga practice revitalizes me and makes my body / soul feel better! of course, I’m always trying to fit more of “me” into my schedule.
One key to that I’ve found for recharge and refocus is to spend some time each morning thinking about what I’m grateful for and also what m intention for the day is. i have a little notebook in my bathroom that I write in just about every morning (my friend, Kathy, game be that idea and it’s really helped get my day started well!) Finding gratitude everyday brings more peace to my day. I’m doing it with my children as ell – they love taking about what they’re thankful for!
Cherish the moment, Give thanks for every detail of the present moment. Remember that what you think about expands. you thoughts define you – pick the good ones!
Wow! Allison, I can not thank you enough for all that you have shared. Going through this again has given me more than a few “aha” moments! If you have any questions for Allison, or better yet, to send her a referral you can reach her at 970-468-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.