A little spark can start a big fire. I want to challenge you to be the spark, and start a fire. One of the things that attracted me to being an entrepreneur is entrepreneurs tend to be problem solvers. I also tend to see many Realtors the same way. We as real estate professionals are problem solvers. We help the seller sell and the buyer buy. We link people together to make great things happen.
I want to encourage you to take that same problem solving tendency to the next level. Sure, we can make a good living by being real estate problem solvers, but how about if we make a great life by being problem solvers in other areas? I don't like to share the things I do behind the scenes unless they have the capacity to inspire others to do similar things. You see, I love to start fires. That may not be something I would say in a group, but in this group, with the capacity we have to set the world ablaze, I'm all sparks.
Four years ago, I found out that our local county Sheriff's department did not have any vest protection for our K9 officers. I was appalled. These K9 officers cost the county about $30,000 each when their purchase, care and training are complete. A tactical vest is a small investment, but the county did not have the budget for them. No problem. I hired a company to size and fit the four dogs with vests. Problem solved. The sheriff's department called the local media and they asked if I would be available for interviews, and I reluctantly said yes. You see, I like to start fires.
Since that time, our county, city and State police forces have all acquired new K9 officers. I've reached out to all three to see if I could be of service again, but they all had individuals come forward to suit up the new K9s with vests. Awesome. Fire started.
Last year, I wanted to do something that was outside the box for the local schools. I contacted a friend of mine, who is a principal at a local school, and I asked if the school had any running balances for kids to have meals at school. They did. I give away 10% of my income annually, so I sent enough funds to pay off the debt at that school for the year. Problem solved.
That got me to thinking, "I wonder if anyone else would like to help the schools?" I helped one school, but there are dozens more that may need help. I had my office administrator call all of the schools to see what was their status this year. It was stunning. There is a lot of debt on the books based on school meals.
When I helped last year, no one but the administration of the school knew about it. I didn't seek any publicity. This time, in order to solve the problem, I had to have some people join me. I posted my 2018 story on the local real estate board's closed Facebook page. I challenged my colleagues to join me this year and help the schools. I immediately received a lot of volunteers. Throughout this school year, those volunteers are paying down the school lunch debt in our community. One volunteer takes a check in each week when he gets paid. The receptionist cries when she sees him and his wife coming.
One more story. You don't know how ready the area is until you light a spark. This year, a teacher asked if I could help a group of boys acquire suits for a club they belong to. I committed to help as long as I didn't receive any attention for it. The club is designed to teach these boys manners, grace, communication and responsibility.
I had the idea to approach a local retailer and ask if they would work with me if I bought the 15 boys suits. The manager got so excited that he joined me, he fitted the boys for the perfect fit, and he decided to put new shirts and ties on them. They look amazing. That one spark lit a fire under the manager of that chain store, and I'm sure he'll be first in line next school year to do it again.
The irony of these events is that once the fire was started, the spark was no longer necessary. These events became self-perpetuating fires. That gives me the freedom to go start another fire. I would never share all of things I do, but I wanted to share these recent events because they have grown into wildfires that are consuming every problem in their path. Friends, you have that ability too. And, don't assume that all sparks are financial, it can be time, it can be talent, it can be wisdom, guidance, insight, or whatever is needed at the time.
There is nothing special about me. I'm just a problem solver that likes to start fires. As a problem solver, I get frustrated when I see a need not being met. Within any community, there is an untapped amount of talent to solve problems. I challenge you to join me, and let's start a fire.