My "Life By Design" Contribution

Real Estate Agent with Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL

My "Life By Design" Contribution



Reflecting on the important figures in my life was a journey of memories. Perhaps not so much a learning experience as confirmation that those few important people in my life had a profound influence on me. Reflection on my youth and the lessons then learned were revisited because of reading "Life By Design". I would still be the same person if I didn't read it, but having to reflect on my formative years and those responsible is priceless, it solidifies me as a person and the choices I've made.
So please read further as I answer these questions:
Who were your most positive influences growing up?
What made them so important to you?

Although there is a bit of genetics involved with the kind of people we ultimately become, what is so much more a formative force in our lives are the role models of our youth. As most young boys, my role models were sports figures, war heroes and fighter pilots, police and firemen. They were larger than life, honest, brave, stand up kind of guys. In them I saw the kind of person I wanted to be. I don't remember hearing about any of those guys (in my youth) being sent to jail for narcotics, weapons violations animal abuse or murder. They definitely were a positive influence in my life.

However, it was in my own family that I truly learned to be who I am today. There are several family members I can thank for guiding me through life, but only three that truly shaped me; my grandparents and their father.

My "Papou", (grandfather in Greek) or KiKi as he was affectionately called came to this country as a young man in his early twenties penniless. With not much more than desire and willingness for hard work he started a family. He swept streets, sold newspapers, owned restaurants, candy shops, and speakeasies. The hardest work he did was something called a Gandy Dancer that involved construction and maintenance of railways. He married my "Yia Yia", (grandmother in Greek) as an arranged wedding and later I found out that my grandmother didn't really like my grandfather, but they grew to love each other and fiercely protect and provide for their family. As a side note here; their 50th wedding anniversary was attended by a couple of hundred family and close friends.

From my grandfather I learned the value of hard work and devotion to family. My grandmother was the backbone of the family. How hard my grandfather worked out of the house, my grandmother worked equally hard in the house. They were both up early together, 3:00AM and Yia Yia was the last to sleep. My grandmother was the most compassionate, loving person I've ever known. I remember her being tired a lot, but I always saw in her a zest for life and her family. And, if anyone valued their body parts they didn't mess with her kids, grandkids or close friends.

So, from my grandmother I also learned the value of hard work and devotion to family and friends, but from her I also learned "if it needs to be done then do it and don't complain about it" kind of attitude.
My father was a mirror image of my grandparents...blended. So, everything that I learned and saw in my grandparents was reinforced by my father. I had commented on a post here at AR that this might sound arrogant, that I get my work ethic from my grandparents and my father, that I am the kind of person they are/were...that's not arrogance, it's a huge source of pride for me.
The way I see it; I had no choice in the way I turned out and wouldn't have it any other way. I became who I am because of them and I thank them.

In a sense, I suppose, I've lead a life by default, but it was a conscience choice...a good choice.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Debra Walsh for leading the way.

  Tom Ferry: LIFE! By DESIGNThis post is to help promote Tom Ferry's upcoming book, LIFE! By DESIGN. The contents of my post are the result of some self reflection the preview chapter of the book asks us to do about ourselves.

You can Pre-Order the book now by visiting You can also participate in the promotion being done by ActiveRain for a chance to win some great prizes and 2500 points by visiting the promotional post here.

Everyone that orders a copy of the book between now and April 23rd, 2010 will also receive one ticket to attend Tom's Success Summit, August 24-26th and the MP3 audio role play program: Objection Handling for Buyers, Sellers and Short Sales.

In exchange for writing this post, I could win an iPad or other cool prizes, and this is to let you know so the FTC doesn't fine me.


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Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

AS the son of immigrants I can realte to your story. Very nice post and really quite a touching read. Thanks

Apr 20, 2010 07:50 AM #1
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Great post Nick. Thanks for your story and acknowledgment. Can't say it's arrogance at all.

Apr 20, 2010 07:54 AM #2
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Beautifully done Nick. My grandmother came over on the boat as a 19 year old orphan who was a serving girl in Ireland. Alone. Amazing. If I turn out to be half as good as my parents I will be content.

Apr 20, 2010 10:19 AM #3
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Very nicely written Nick and a wonderful tribute to your Grandparents. Life was so different then wasn't it? Congratulations to them, your Father and yourself Nick.

Apr 20, 2010 01:22 PM #4
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON


Beautiful post written clearly from the heart...your family sound like wonderful people and a big part of the character and strength that shaped the USA.


Apr 20, 2010 01:37 PM #5
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Nick thank you for sharing this about yourself and your family.  I was born in the Azores and like your Grandfather they toostruggle and worklong hours for minimum pay to give me and my brothers and sisters a better life.

Apr 20, 2010 01:54 PM #6
Debi Boucher
Real Estate Showcase Photography - Woodland Park, CO
"Realtor Showcase" - Real Estate Photography/Virtual Tours

Hi nick - I didn't think it sounded arrogant at all - you have reason to be proud!

Apr 21, 2010 03:59 AM #7
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

Nick-what a wonderful tribute to your family.  It sounds like you had a wonderful life and I envy you your KiKi and Yia Yia.  It was beautifully written and I wouldn't change a thing!  It was not arrogant in any way at all and thank you for the mention in the post and it was so not necessary.  To my fellow bike rider thank you for putting your private life out there to share with your friends.

Apr 21, 2010 12:36 PM #8
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Nick well done.  Aren't we lucky to come from such good stock!  You do do them proud!

Apr 22, 2010 03:52 AM #9
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
PK Real Estate Utah South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

You have a heritage rich in tradition, hard work and love and should be proud of what your grandparents were able to provide for the family. Thanks for allowing us to share your journey Nick!

Apr 25, 2010 02:20 PM #10
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Thank you all for your comments.  I admire my grandparents strength as well as others that came to this country for a better life.  They had it so hard and accomplished so much.  Thank you all.

Apr 28, 2010 03:38 PM #11
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Nick T Pappas

Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource
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