Fatherpreneur.com

My journey of balancing small business and small kids


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Unclear Path

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My family and I were driving back from San Antonio to Corpus Christi this past weekend.  About half way through our two hour drive a light fog started to appear. Although an interstate highway the journey between the two cities is one of wide open spaces, occasional gas stations and sprouting oil rigs (which are more prevalent than ever).  Throw in 9 pm and the light fog was enough to raise concerns.  The fog going from a mile of visibility to hundreds of yards and then the concern meter rose quite a bit.

I knew two things, I must stay focused on the road in front of me and that the road I was on will get me to where I want to go.

Sometimes things in life will be unclear. You’ll have circumstances that don’t make sense. Your future will be clouded and uncertain.  It’s in these times that you must remain focused on the task at hand.  Focus on the steps you can take in this moment. Focus on what you can do today. If what you are working on is pointing towards your life’s vision and dreams a temporary fog can be overcome.  The thing about fog is that it’s temporary. When the air temperature rises the suspended water molecules that create the fog disappear like the XFL.

When life is foggy turn up the heat and focus on what you can do.  I began to focus on the line markers on the road to keep me going straight. I also looked for cars in front. Seeing tailights ahead gave me comfort that someone had just gone through what I am about to.  That’s a big key towards your dreams. Find the people who are and have driven the road to the success you are looking for. In our new business I am turning to other franchisees who have built strong businesses.

There are times on the drive where I would wind up passing the taillights I was following because they were driving to slow. My speed picked up with my comfort level.  I would find myself driving in the midst of the dense fog with no sight of anyone else around.   These moments were more fearful and stressful. I just stayed focused on the road ahead and remembering that soon I would be home. Those who can deal with uncertainty and persevere will taste success.

There came a moment when we came up to the Nueces river which is a marker that we had made it to Corpus Christi.  The great thing is as soon as we hit the river the fog lifted and it was crystal clear on the way home.   When you get close to your vision and dreams life will be come clearer because obstacles will seem as though they disappear due to laser focus.

During the last twenty miles of the drive home I become completely aware of how great clear skies are. I also became aware of all the distraction of billboards and other lights.  When I was driving in the fog I was focused and aware of the road. If you can take the focus and awareness of your path through the fog and keep it when clear skies are there you will hit your dreams. The distraction can keep you from achieving and reaching your dreams. Stay focused.

When life becomes unclear embrace it as an opportunity to learn how to focus and become fully aware of the path you need to take. These times are when the hard work is done and the payoff becomes closer.

The next time you hit a foggy patch in your career, relationships, finances etc. write down a plan to serve as your road and then read your life’s mission and vision statements. Those who focus through the fog are the ones who reach their dreams.

Focus on!!

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My 5 year old daughter said the “F” word

When you become a parent you know there are going to be milestone moments. The first word, first step, the first “I love you daddy,” the moments that melt your heart. You quickly become aware there are going to be the others, you know the one’s that you’ll laugh about later, just not in the moment because instead of your heart melting it’s exploding with anger, embarrassment, or fear.

I came home from a day of making changes in our office to unveil the new franchise we purchased for our real estate business. I was in a good mood and began playing with Joss, my three year old daughter. As I’m rolling around on the floor with little Joss my five year old daughter, Ayla, walked up to me. She then looked down at me and with a giant smile says “s#@t!” I hopped up with the skill of a retired ninja and looked for my wife. “Oak did she say what I think she just said.”

I was in the moment and thinking to myself don’t over react she doesn’t know what she said. Then my wife informed me that they had a long discussion earlier that afternoon about that very word because she had showed my wife her new found vocabulary.

I looked back at my daughter and didn’t see my sweet little girl anymore. I swear she was standing there with a high ball full of whiskey puffing a cigar doing her best Ron White tater salad face.

I may have gotten a little upset with her. I was more upset that she had disobeyed her mom and said it again.  I came out with the “that’s such an ugly word to come out of such a pretty face. That’s a word they can’t even say on TV.”  I tried to keep my voice down, but I’m dad, raising my voice at all is probably scary to them. I’m working on that one.  My wife and I shot disappointing looks her way and she ran to her room to cry in her embarrassment.

I asked my wife about the previous incident. She explained a kid at school had said it. We happen to know the boys mom. The big question was do we make the call.  My thinking was yes, call and let me listen. I was hoping that on the other end would be a repeat of the beating Schwartz received in a Christmas Story. I even contemplated looking for a bar of soap for my little “Ralphie.” My wife did speak with the boy’s mother the next day in person.

I calmed down and went and spoke to my little sailor.  I apologized for raising my voice and held her for a bit. I asked her where she heard the word. She explained that the boy had asked the teacher in front of the whole class if they could say it at school.  I told her that word is not one that smart people use and that it’s meant to shock people. There is really no good explanation other than don’t say it.

You may be asking “where is the ‘F’ word”?  The next night I was tucking Ayla into bed and she proceeded to tell me, “daddy I can’t get that word out of my head.”  Yet, another teachable moment for the Fatherpreneur.  “Sweetie, the good thing is that God has given us the ability to change our thoughts.  Try to think of something fun that makes you happy.”

“Okay daddy, I will think of the ‘F’ word,” she said in an innocent voice.  Holy “S” word ran through my head. “Who has this kid been hanging out with.”  I told myself to remain calm. “Ayla, what is the ‘F’ word?”

I turned my head not wanting to see her speak the word. “Family! I am going to think about you, mommy, and Joss.”

My heart began to beat again and I gave her a giant hug.  I left her room to look for a high ball full of scotch.

When raising a family and a business you are going to encounter moments that are less than fun.  You’ll have moments that shock you and test your patience.  It’s important to always learn from these moments. Each one that happens will make the next one easier to handle.  Calm, cool, collected is gained through trial by five year old.  Each day they grow, I grow.

My heart and my head are not always on the same page when it comes to moments like these.  Maybe there are times when they both need to take a backseat to my funny bone. The reality is that we all will have these moments to laugh at later.  To make them easier maybe we should laugh a little sooner and ease the pain of the moment. These are the moments that make life fun. Go hug your “F” word.


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Teal Is The New Green – A major business move

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I am excited to announce that Green Door Real Estate is now EXIT Realty Bay Area. After lots of prayer, thought, and work I have decided to take our boutique brokerage to the next level by becoming a franchisee with EXIT Realty. EXIT Realty International is the fifth largest real estate company in the United States and growing. With its unique single level residual program, unparalleled training, technology and a strong focus on personal growth, my family and I felt EXIT was a must.

Below is the story of my decision and how God showed up in the process.

For the past five years I have attended an event called Mastermind in San Diego. The event is hosted by Buffini and Company, the professional real estate coaching company I have hired to help me in my business. At each event there is a session dedicated to goal and vision writing. This past August I set a goal that in 2014 Green Door Real Estate will grow to 15 agents.

On the plane home I began thinking about this goal and how to go about it. I had never recruited before or even tried to.  I knew long term I wanted to grow a team where I can be a coach and help agents build successful businesses and family lives.

I wrote down three things: Training (professional and life), resources and support, and a strong financial model. These are three elements that agents need to succeed in the tough and rewarding business of real estate. I started looking around at companies across the country to model. I wanted to pick the best of what was working. I then came across EXIT and knew it wasn’t just a model I wanted to emulate; it was a company that I wanted to be part of. They have strong training, support, and the best financial model in the industry to create strong brokers and agent.

I had looked into EXIT almost ten years ago when they were in their infancy and thought it was a great idea then. The timing was just not right for me at that time.

In September I inquired about EXIT through the company’s website. A little time went by and I received an e-mail video message from Tami Bonell. We then set up a time to speak on the phone. Little did I know at the time that she is the CEO of EXIT Realty United States.  We had a great conversation and set a follow up. On the next call she asked if I could go to Washington DC to their national convention.  My wife and I debated if we could make it work. The morning we were discussing the trip and EXIT I turned on the TV for my kids to find Joyce Meyer was on. I wish I could remember the exact words she spoke, but it was something to the effect of, “I you are given an opportunity, don’t let your fear keep you from exploring it. While you are exploring the move God will make it clear if it’s from him.”  I booked my trip shortly after. At the convention I met several great people, including the founder of EXIT, Steve Morris.  One thing stood out to me while at the convention. During the lunch Steve stood in line with the rest of the several thousand people there. He did not hide or seek special treatment. He was one of us. During his keynote speech he expressed the poise and leadership that one would expect from a world class CEO. He laid out his vision for the company and I felt a great energy in the room.

The Sunday after the convention, my pastor, Pastor Bil Cornelius, made a point during his sermon that struck me. Part of the quandary I was feeling was giving up my dream of Green Door and the vision I had set for it.  Then Pastor Bil said that sometimes God will accomplish your dreams when you attach them to a leaders vision. Essentially if you help someone accomplish their visions your vision will be met along the way. I quickly realized the vision I had for my company can still be, it just may have a different name on the door.

I made the commitment to purchase a franchise and in December was in Canada for a week of training.  The whole time God kept showing up and lining up people and the timing for this new step in the life of my family. I feel whole heartedly that this company will change the lives of hundreds of agents in our market place and my family tree forever.

This is not going to be easy. There is going to be a lot of ups and downs, frustrations and joys. The journey is the exciting part.  What we need from you is support in the form of referrals to customers and to agents.

I am excited about what God is going to do through us to change the real estate community in Corpus Christi.  I am excited about the growth I am going to experience. I am excited about documenting my journey as a fatherpreneur. The EXIT change is just part of my overall dream of helping me and women live fulfilled lives with successful business and successful families.

I could keep writing for hours about what we have experienced of the past few months, owever, I must literally go and start switching out yard signs.

Our new web address is www.EXITRealtyBayArea.com (The green to teal change will take a few days on the site) . To learn more about EXIT as a whole please visit www.EXITRealty.com and check out some great videos about the company at http://www.youtube.com/user/EXITRealtyVideos

It’s a blessed life,

Joseph Cortez


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Last week at the gym our workout class ended with a good ole fashion game of tug-of-war.  It was fun, hard, frustrating, and I am flipping sore.  Every day parentpreneurs  face their own tug of war. We are pulled in one direction by our commitment to the family and the other direction by the business.  Last week I shared how belief systems are crucial to your life. There is one belief that can destroy the life of a parentpreneur. “I can’t have both.”  A lot of people believe that in order to have a successful business you have to sacrifice the family and vice versa, if I have a successful family I can’t get the business to go where I know it can go.  This is the fight. I have heard people say I have to work like crazy to get the business going. There will be seasons of long hours, but if it becomes a lifestyle you will look up one day and see the family grown or gone. The truth is that you can have both by balancing the seasons.
I had the privilege of sitting in on a leadership training with Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life Church in Oklahoma. They have 18 locations and over 60,000 people in attendance each week.  I had the opportunity to ask him a question, so I asked THE question. The one of balance “How do you manage it all? The family, the church, the travel, etc?”  He told me that you have to be clear on where you are going and why. Then he said to read “Choosing to Cheat” by Andy Stanley. I did and its a great book which I highly recommend.

Tug-of-war is a game of two forces going in opposite direction with a lot of effort.  That night after our workout class I was exhausted. I was essentially useless at home because of the effort exerted to help my team win.  As the soreness wore on I began to think about the effort both sides of the rope exerted.  Your family and your business both pull with lots of energy.  I asked my self a simple question, “What if that energy worked together?” If my family is pulling to the East and the business to the West what will happen if instead they both run North. Imagine if your business and family are working together toward the same goal.  Imagine if your spouse and your kids understand your business goals, struggles, and dreams. Imagine if your business and employees respected your family, your time, your energy, and understand that your family success is paramount.

The only way this can happen is if you know where you are running and why. When you are leading and you don’t know where you are going it’s a scary place. Figure out where you are going. Last week I asked you to create a five year vision. Revisit and tweak it. Read it daily for a few weeks. Then look at it atleast once a week. Read it outloud so your brain can hear your dream in your voice. Effectively you will declaring it. If your dream is God honoring this activity is a form of prayer.
Once you know where and why and your family is supportive the work becomes energized. We all say we are doing this “for them.” How about doing this “with them.” 

 
Take the energy of your family and business and run North together.


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“KNOW THYSELF” – Plato

There is one common element in the journey to grow a strong family and business, it’s you.  That’s right, you are with yourself 24 hours a day.  From the boardroom to the bedroom you are there with you.  The interesting thing is that many people don’t  really know who they truly are. We have all heard the stories of people taking trips and time to go “find themselves.”  If it was only as easy as looking up “ME” on EBAY. I was curious what would turn up. The search resulted in pictures and post cards about Maine. I can tell you I am definitely not there (I don’t do cold well).  On Amazon the results were a bit more interesting. A face aging app, some odd novels, and a book by Ricky Martin titled “ME”.  Not on my short list to read no matter loca my vida gets.

So where does one go to “Know Thyself?” The answer, IN.  That’s right you must venture into the most scary place of all mankind, your inner thoughts. Without going “nuts” on the psychological and self-help ideologies I truly believe there are three areas in which you must know yourself that will feed into your family, business and all spaces in between.

1. You must know what you BELIEVE

Belief systems are the basis of all decisions we make and actions we take.  How we view the world, ourselves, religion, our children, the industry we work in is key to our success in life. The belief that success is possible is the start.  Next week I will go into more detail about how belief systems as a parent and business owner need to line up and work together. When we have contradictory beliefs we create friction in our life.  To “Know Thyself” you must understand what you believe and why.  Where did it come from and why do I really believe this? Challenge yourself and strengthen your beliefs or change them.

2. You must know HOW YOU RELATE TO PEOPLE, your personality and communication styles

Do you know your personality style?  There are bunch of great tests out there. Have you ever taken one?  Everyone in the entire world should take one. I have done several. The coaching company I employee has a very detailed program that my wife and I took together. It truly helped us understand how we operate and communicate. Patience is one of the greatest expressions of love we can show. When you understand how you relate to people and how your loved ones, co-workers relate you can be patient with each other. I recently had DISC profile done and went through a great class to learn how the styles interact. I had one done for my 5 year old as well in order to better understand her (if understanding a 5 year old tween wannabe is possible).  I will get into detail on this in a future posts as well. In the meantime consider that the way you see the world is not the same as the way those around you see it. People don’t even hear words the same. Some people hear tone more than verbage and many people are the opposite. Knowing these differences make the world and it’s people easier to deal with. You can’t change others, however you can change how you relate to them.

3. You must know WHAT YOU WANT!

Having a vision of what you want your life to look like is crucial. You must have a vision for your business and for your family.  It’s not just numerical goals or resolutions. Think about how you want your life to be day to day. The type of people you want in your business. Think about how your kids behave and treat others. We all want well educated kids, but what does that mean. More importantly we want children who have great character and influence. I recently heard Andy Andrews say that we should not focus on having great kids, instead we should focus on raising on kids who become great adults. That is the truth. Greatness is a journey that can only be achieved with vision. If you don’t know where you are driving you’ll find yourself in a place you never wanted to go. One of the best exercises I have ever done is writing a letter to myself from the future. On the top of the page write the date January 8, 2019.  Then tell your current self how your life is in 2019. This is a best case scenario future. It’s your ideal life so dream big. Explain what your day looks like. How does your family begin it’s day. Where are your kids, what are their ages, how do they interact with you and your spouse. How is your relationship with your spouse. What does your company look like?  Do this for all areas of your life. Ask and answer great questions of yourself. Take 15 minutes to just free write. It’s an amazing experience and you’ll find yourself taking a lot more time.

Knowing your vision, your personality, and your beliefs will be the first steps on truly unlocking who you are and aiding your journey as a parentpreneur.

Go forth and learn thyself.


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Fatherpreneurship

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Hello World,

I am Joseph Cortez (the man in the picture above) and I am a Fatherpreneur. I can see you trying to figure out just what that is. A “Fatherpreneur” is a guy who is a father and entrepreneur. My goal with fatherpreneur.com is to archive my journey, struggles, and insights with raising two small children and two small businesses.  The girls are 5 and 3 and the businesses are also 5 and 3. My life can be a little crazy from time to time, meaning second to second. One minute I’m on the phone discussing a real estate deal and the next I am dancing as a Prince in my daughter’s Barbie the Nutcracker meets Barbie Princess Charm School imaginary ballet.

Everyday millions of men and women struggle to balance family and business.  The big question is how do family and business intertwine into a joy filled and successful life. There is a constant balancing act that is difficult to manage. In fact as I write this my three year old has run into my room to greet the day by sitting on my lap to help me type. “I want to play ABCMouse.com when you are done, Pleaseeeeee”  Hard to say no to that face. She won the computer and I am now at the office.

Parentrpreneurs world-wide are the backbone of most economies and we all encounter them daily. From the dry cleaner with his daughter at the front counter to the brain surgeon who’s clinic is performing a life saving operation and all in between. There is a delicate balance of family and business. On one hand business is there to support the family, thus it must succeed. On the other hand the family must succeed because there is really no back up plan for the family.

This constant tug-of-war can be the cause of great stress, frustration, satisfaction and unparalled joy.  Do I have it figured out 100%, well no.  What I have figured out is to be aware that the potential for failure is possible and so is success. With this awareness I am constantly seeking out knowledge and wisdom in the areas of personal development, business, family dynamics and stress relief.

My hope is that with each weekly blog post I can give you some insight that may help you along in your Parentpreneurial journey and most of all to let you know that you are not alone. I have come to realize that people who don’t own a business can really never understand how hard it truly is. Thrown a child or six and the task it even greater.

I was researching the main reasons businesses fail the other day and was not surprised to see family dynamics on the list.  After all small business is family business. Trying to truly separate the two is a myth and almost dangerous. The right idea is that they work together.

Please join me on my journey towards growing a successful family and a successful enterprise.  It really is possible to have both and the journey itself is the greatest success of all.

It’s a blessed life,
Joseph Cortez


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Protect Their Eternity

Millions of parents probably did the same  thing as I did on Friday afternoon, gave a giant hug to their kids. A hug that lasted longer than normal and had a few tears involved. My wife and I locked eyes while I was embracing my kids, as if to say I know how you’re feeling.

I arrived home early on Friday afternoon to an empty house to start packing for a weekend trip to Sea World to see “Shampu” the whale, as my 2 year calls him.  Being a politically junkie I turned on the news as normal. What I saw being reported was not what I had anticipated. The news of the school shooting was being reported. With each detail my heart began to break and for the first time in years I wept.  My heart broke for the parents, the community, and even the shooter. I pondered how bad someone’s life would have to be to perform such an atrocity.

Then all the normal questions flooded my head, “How could this have been prevented, Why did this happen,” etc.  Logically I deep down understand that we will never really know. I also understand that evil is present and cannot be stopped with human means. I believe the only way this could have been prevented is if the this man-child knew Jesus. Not the superficial going to church every now and then, but actually knowing Christ personally.  There are a million conjectures that can be made and I will leave trying to figure this out there.

The question has been raised about what we can do to truly protect our children. More laws, locks, and police may help, but things will happen in a world with free will. Evil exists and we cannot protect ourselves and children from everything on Earth.   What we can do is protect their eternity.  This temporary life has many dangers, but none greater than not sharing the love of Jesus with them.  The biggest act of protection you can do is to raise them in a way that shows them God’s love. Teach them about Jesus and what salvation really means in this life and in the next. They will then have an opportunity to accept or reject him as they grow older. No act of parenting is more important. No other act has eternal impact.

I recently met the wife of one of my mentors. We spoke about how great her children are and I asked her what’s the number one piece of advice she could give me as a parent of young girls, she simply said, “Protect their hearts and show them God’s love.”

That about says it all. As parents we will do our best to protect our children’s physical lives and put our lives ahead of theirs. What we mustn’t forget is to protect their hearts, minds and souls. Protect their eternity.

Til next time make the hugs a little longer,
JC