I like to start most posts with some positive words:
Having a rough morning? Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That’s called purpose; you are alive for a reason. Never give up!
If you met me during my school years, you would not recognize me today.
Here’s my story, our family emigrated to the US in 1968, I went to school, watched my siblings while my parents worked (sometimes two jobs each). They put food on the table, purchased a home, and kept us as comfortable as possible in order to live the American dream.
In school, English was my second language. In fact, when we arrived in the US I spoke no English and was placed in a second-grade class, despite being eight years old. As I progressed through public school, I messed up a lot. I was placed in the work-study program in High School for students who were feared that they would not graduate. I did the things that youth do thinking that they would live forever. I started working at 13 years old (I lied about my age) and have been working ever since. I tried community college at night and failed, but, frankly, school was not for me. I came to find out many years later that I have a nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD); you may remember me sharing that with you earlier this year.
I met #TheMan (click here to see photo) when I met him I was 20 years old and working two jobs. He recruited me into the world of Prudential Insurance, trained me, and taught me to have empathy and make a difference in the life of every person that I met. He taught me how to prospect and connect in a deeply meaningful way with everyone that I came across who needed or may one day need my services. He is my second father, and I am blessed to have him as my mentor to this date!
I met my wife Kathy in 1980. She worked at the same Prudential office that I did in Braintree, MA. we got married in 1983. We (she) raised two sons, I was rarely home as we had decided that she would be an at home mom and I would hunker down and do what needed to be done to make a good living for our young family. Both of our sons are college graduates and are now married, working, and on their own. (click here to see photo)
“Someone needs to pay the price, whether the family pays the price and has a modest lifestyle or one Parent works the extended hours and pays the price to give the family the best life possible.” – #TheMan (Vasco Rodrigues)
I was the 4th child born to my parents, but the first to survive. I have a sister who owns her own insurance agency and two brothers who are co-owners of our agency.
I have always taken great pride in the Vargas and Faria (my mother’s maiden name) names but they took on a special significance recently.
I stopped by to see my oldest living aunt the other day, Aunt Rosa, (click here to see a photo) and as she always does, she brought out the photo albums and starts explaining to me our family history and where we came from (after all, someone needs to keep the mental records for the family, she does this with everyone who visits) we came from a small village on the island of Faial in the Azores.
Of course, my father never talked about his life in the Azores to me or anyone else. After we emigrated to the US, my father never had any interest in ever going back to visit the country of his birth. My mother, on the other hand, had great memories of her youth with friends and cousins. I was able to meet some of them when we visited Faial together on numerous occasions over the years.
I came to the realization while sitting with my aunt that my father and mother came from the same exact place, experienced the same schools and the same ups and downs, had the same wants, but my father never forgot the bad stuff that he experienced, while my mother tried to only remember the good in her life when living in Faial.
I know I am here for a reason. I know that you are here for a reason. We are not accidents. The fact that you are reading this is not an accident. We have a purpose and there is a plan for our lives.
As the people who came before us made our lives possible, we have the opportunity to make the best possible life for others. Let’s use this gift of life we have been given and make a positive impact on everyone we meet!
My mother always told me I was going to do something special (she told all of her children this) and somehow through all the difficult times in our lives I heard her words and believed them. She gave me the greatest gift an adult can give a child. She believed in me. She called out the best in me and I think of her all the time, and always try to look at the “good side” of things. (click here to see photo)
And in case no one has told you recently, I want you to know that you are special. You are here to do something meaningful, and I believe in you.
You are meant to make a difference. You can start today.
I hope that you had a fantastic weekend! As you know, I like to start every week with some words of wisdom:
“The thing that people don’t realize is you want to teach people how to fix things without paying you for it because that builds up leverage, you give up a sale in the beginning, but you get all the sales in the end.”
Over the next five years, there is one skill undeniably more important to the success of all business professionals than sales. Unfortunately, most are not putting in the hard work to improve this skill. That’s where the opportunity lies for us!
What is this important skill, you ask? It’s building relationships. You need to build relationships today to stand out 5, 10, and 20 years from now. Most businesspeople aren’t doing this today, and the writing’s on the wall for them.
We operate in a marketplace where attention rules all, and those who can attract (and keep) the attention win the game. If you are not doing the work today that sets you up to succeed, you will not be able to compete. There will come a day when what you do and offer in the marketplace may be better and cheaper, but it will be as if you don’t exist because you have not built the relationships to get and keep their attention.
If you look at the money being poured into ads everywhere by the big boys – Trulia, Zillow, Rocket Mortgage, and Morgan & Morgan, for example – the money they are spending doesn’t pan out. They can’t be local like you and me. It’s not the consumer’s fault that they think that they believe the ‘big boys’ – instead, it’s an opportunity for us to educate them.
I am a believer in content marketing, telling your story, being the local and value provider, and giving without expectation of a return. I truly believe that the organizations that will be in business in the next 5, 10, and 20 years are the ones who are laying the groundwork today.
What does that look like? It means getting your customers’ emails and cell phone numbers. I work with some business people who still do not have their customers’ information! There is no way to compete in a world where your competitors have your customers’ email addresses and cell phone numbers and you don’t.
If you want to stay relevant for the next several years, you had better change your way of doing business. You need to put the content out there in all the ways that your customers are consuming it – video, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
If you don’t like to be in front of the camera, find someone who does. If you don’t like to write, find someone who does (hit reply now and I can connect you with my copy editor, she is amazing and an asset to my business).
“There has never been a time in history to attract attention was so valuable.” –Ryan Hanley
Your story needs to be told whether you are a big huge brand or a mom and pop shop, and no one can tell your story like you can. Your ability to tell your story is as important as your ability to sell your products and service. It’s the only way that you will attract the attention to do business in the new digital marketplace.
In today’s world, ‘losing’ means taking the time to perfect the customer experience. It means thinking about the way people answer your phone. It means making less cold calls and writing blog posts or creating bitesize videos about the questions you hear every day.
The truth is that I don’t know where this is all headed, what I do know is this:
“There is a connected generation and an unconnected generation, every day that goes by the connected generation expands and the unconnected generation shrinks, who are you going to bet your future on?”
Make the conscious decision to tell your story and connect with the expanding consumer group. How will you connect? Podcasts, blogs, video? I don’t know, but taking the time today to start building your brand now is what will help you succeed in the upcoming years and even decades. Attention wins the game, and I want you to come along for this ride. Lose today so we can all win tomorrow.
I will leave you with this final quote:
“If you’re not putting relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.” –Gary Vaynerchuk
I implore you to heed this advice. You can thank me five years from now.
Have a question? Need help? Leave a message below and I will work your question into a future message.
Know that you are loved!