Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency
In March 2020, after my ex-husband bought a second home in Westhampton, my oldest son who lived in NC, decided to visit him in November. Since he only had a four-day weekend, we rented a place in Southampton to spend more time together.
Once home in our cramped apartment, surrounded by skyscrapers, I decided to move. Having lived in a condo for years, I contacted a broker whom I knew to find condos to look at online. After making three offers, with backup cash offers, I decided to look at houses. I had to move out by April 30 because I was using my last two months’ security deposit as rent due to the COVID Law.
Within two months, I found my dream home which appeared to be move-in. My family, friends, and colleagues were excited for me. In April, we moved in. Unbeknownst to me the house was “staged,” which means renting furniture to make a house look perfect.
With the furniture gone, the wallpaper was torn, there were large holes in the walls, unusable closet space, non-working appliances, turf in the back yard that was coming up and more.
Fast forward to today, I’ve had workmen do daily repair work. The stove and dishwasher were finally fixed last week. Large holes were patched, the inside of the house is painted, and I was excited to relax. Then, there was another major issue: the septic system.
Since we don’t use much water, I didn’t understand why it was a problem. After knocking on my neighbor’s doors, I learned about the wetlands behind our homes and that waste cannot seep into the groundwater, like in the movie, Erin Brockovich.
How My Story Can Help You
First, honesty and trust are my core values, the foundation of any successful relationship. Perhaps you’ve been in situations, like what I’ve described in your personal or business life. I learned (the hard way) that a person’s title, status, income, or age, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re truthful.
Had I heeded my close friend’s warnings, I would have questioned the inspector’s report not relied on the broker and my attorney who I would have asked about the outstanding items the inspector highlighted.
Since I was in the city and they were “Out East,” I assumed they’d tell me about any problems. I learned from people who knew the seller that she knew about the issues but didn’t disclosed them. The life lesson is, pay attention to what people do, not what they say; like my attorney, who said at the closing, sorry, but it’s not in the contract.
In business, read articles before you share content on social media. If a person’s messaging is consistent, educational, newsworthy, or inspirational, follow them. On LinkedIn, if you get messages from people who haven’t taken the time to learn about you and what I do, why connect? The amount of followers you have is less important than the quality of the people with whom you surround yourself.
As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” Another lesson is to go to the places where the people you want to meet would be. If you want to learn about an industry sector, find people on social media, look for events, webinars and Meetups and get involved. That’s how I learned about blockchain, crypto, DeFi, NFTs and more.
Whatever sparks your interest, read, do research, and speak to people to help you move forward. One example is when I worked at General Electric’s Aerospace Division after graduating college. I was a communications specialist and worked with mechanical engineers, aircraft designers, data processing managers, compliance officers and others. I gave presentations to them and to new hires.
To do so, I had to decipher complex industry and technology terms; a skill I continue to use. Despite whether you liked you first job or other positions you had, you developed certain capabilities. Think about how you can use them in different ways.
My New Life
I’m happy I moved out of the city. I love being surrounded by nature, the water and having a home with space. After having the turf removed, there’s grass, flowers and a beautiful view of the boats and water. Friends ask if I like gardening. My property was done by landscapers, and I know nothing about floral design or plants.
After deciding to put flowering plants on the table outside, my son and I went to a nearby nursery and were overwhelmed. After speaking to the experts there, I learned what grows best in my area, like lavender.
Some 20-years ago, our family had the unforgettable experience of living in the South of France for several summers. I wanted to create the same ambience. So, I looked up, cottages in Le Midi on Google and saw images. Now, I have lavender plants and other colors in and outside my home that remind me of our times there.
To rediscover your passions, do research, watch YouTube videos and study. If you want to change your surroundings, look at Instagram or Pinterest. You’ll find places all over the world and get ideas. Beyond your environment, if you have a growth mindset, you believe your qualities can be developed. Since we’re all unique, our talents and interests are different. But you can use your experience and knowledge in new ways.
Incorporate What You’ve Always Loved into Your Life
After moving many times and downsizing, I still own furniture and home accessories that I bought with my Parisian friend that fit in my new home. While the layout is different, my aesthetic is the same. Since learning about houses out here, and looking at magazines, I decided not to have hydrangeas, blue and white décor and other commonly used furnishings like shells and fish because I don’t purchase things based on where I live.
Instead, I buy things that I love. If you’re true to yourself, you bring you bring your past with you into your home, décor, clothing, and in business. Being comfortable with yourself enables you to attract the type of people you want to meet.
In my recent, Decode Your Value article, colleagues shared how the DYV process helped them learn about themselves and the people with whom they work. If you’ve followed my series of articles, it starts by looking back. To help you, we created my Life Skills tree and a PDF for you to download and create your digital tree. But there are no rules.
It’s up to you to decide what’s important to you and how the ideas intersect. For example, I feel lucky to have two of my sons living with me now. My oldest son (who’ll be with me in August) is 29-years old; the age I met my husband. The others are 22 and 27. Imagine what you were like when you were in your 20’s (or if you are, you’ll know what I mean).
Whenever I ask them to help me around the house, they’re not thrilled, to say the least. I remember what my mother used to ask me to do, at their age; like clean the grout in the bathroom with a toothbrush. Yes, my mother is depicted in many ways like in the movie, Mommie Dearest.
If you place yourself in another person’s shoes think about how you would feel if you were them. Doing so, helps you manage your emotions and resolve conflicts. Again, it’s about looking back.
Focus On What’s Around You
The two guys who come to do repairs in my home are lifesavers. Often, they listen to music while painting. I’ve added some of the songs they listen to like, Levitating by Du Lipa to my iTunes library. In June 2021, it was one of the top songs in the world. Next, my renewed interest in sports…
When I was young, I went to the Eagles, Phillies, and Sixers games with my dad. My sons and their dad are football, basketball, baseball, and golf fans. Since we’re spending more time together, I’ve learned more about sports. When the Sixers were in the playoffs, they were favored to win but Ben Simmons shot poorly, and they lost. Watching sports with my sons is a great bonding experience.
Also, I used to be somewhat of an athlete. I was a lifeguard, loved biking, skiing, ice-skating, running in 5K races and more. After having two knee replacements, I was fine. In 2016, just months after founding my agency, I was in a taxi that crashed with a Mack truck; my life will never be the same.
When I was completing physical therapy in Manhattan, my therapist said, if you don’t keep building upon your strength, you’ll be in a wheelchair. Since moving, the steps in my house have helped and my sons bought me a kayak for my birthday in May.
Several weeks ago, my son and I went kayaking but I couldn’t get out of the boat; my legs and arms aren’t strong enough. My son got out, lifted me up from under my arms (which hurt), sat me down on the dock and pulled me up. Fortunately, the guys who repaired my dock were here, saw the issues, and built steps in the water and a handrail for me to use. I’m looking forward to another kayaking trip with my sons.
Why You Need to Decode Your Value
I understand that you may feel the DYV is too abstract. But it’s easy. All you need to do is reflect on your past; including your values, your background, significant life experiences, your interests, and relationships. Since we’re all different, no one’s life trajectory is the same. Learning about yourself and acknowledging who you are is a competitive advantage.
It reminds of us who we were before life got in the way; like marriage, children, working, making money, having responsibilities and more. It helps you remember what you loved as a child. Perhaps you’ve forgotten some of your passions.
Here’s my first published article about the Decode Your Value process which includes my Life Skills tree. If you go to my website, there are several articles about DYV (and others on technology) and a short video we created last June. I moved after 30-years. Maybe you will too. Or create a new adventure based on what you remember about yourself.
If nothing else, the pandemic taught us that life is short. So, live the life you always dreamed of and remember, in any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety. — Abraham Maslow.
About the Author: Wendy Glavin is a 30-year marketing communications veteran, a full-service agency owner, a published writer, a technology columnist and a global speaker. Her website is: https://wendyglavin.com/. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.