Pause, Plan, Pivot, Proceed!

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

Pause, Plan, Pivot, Proceed!

I’m sharing a philosophy I practice, born of deeply personal events in my life. I’m not preaching at you, nor do I seek converts; I'm simply sharing and I know you can think for yourself...chew the meat and spit out the bones.

Thomas J Nelson REALTOR San DiegoI will not buy into the media sensationalized hype, I will not abide negative chicken little people and I will not cower in fear even, though I am aware of the seriousness of this virus and the state of the world. I believe the responsible thing to do is stay home, stay healthy and not hoard supplies. I understand we're in a pandemic. It's not denial nor Pollyanna; it's knowing there is (where we want to be, but here's where we are), so what do we do?

Adapt and overcome, as my Veteran clients always tell me.

What I will now share are my Four P's, my survive to thrive philosophy:


Pause, Plan, Pivot, Proceed!

Survivors Do This and Thrivers Did This...(more than once I'll bet).

I'm no saint, no superhero, no holier than thou leader. But I am a leader, I lead my family, my team and my network. So, I refuse to “pan-panic”. I refuse to argue with people online. I refuse to be glued to the news. I refuse to hoard. I refuse to doomsday my mindset, my self-talk or my attitude.  I want to make as many good memories from this extra time off. I want to be proud of my behavior, my use of the time "off" and my creativity I'll use to keep business flowing, despite shelter in place orders.Thomas J Nelson REALTOR San Diego

I've temporarily lost most of my income as of March 16th, and yes...I'm concerned, but not panicking. I've lost a lot of the creature comforts of my lifestyle; I'm making do on less and getting creative with how I work, exercise and entertain myself. I've lost the ability to meet in person with people, i.e. network, show property to buyers and let buyers into my listings...kind of a problem when most won't write a contract on a home they haven't been least for now.


When "I" is replaced by "we", even Illness becomes Wellness! Physical distancing, not social!


Pause: Take a breather and breathe-remember to breathe it relaxes you. Take a break and collect your thoughts as you stock in what you still have, what you may need, what you can do without, and remember what you are still capable of. Consider and call upon your resources i.e. your training, tools, skills, network and abilities.

Plan: Time to create a new schedule if you're dealing with working from home, exercise, positively dealing  with spouse and kids in the daily mix (all day), you may need to devote some family time to your work days-that's OK. You may need a new approach to hosting and attending meetings if you are a shelter in place county and as always you need a consistent way of communicating with your family & friends, clients, team, etc.

Plan to call your creditors, mortgage company, suppliers etc. and make arrangements for deferred or reduced payments to lighten your load if you're like me, without any income until REALTORS are deemed essential services. I did this to take the pressure off, it took 6 hours of relentless calls and siting on hold, but I ran 2 phones at a time and got 95% full cooperation. Lowering the monthly debts for 60 days in this crisis is as good to me as earning an extra commission check per month.

Thomas J Nelson REALTOR

Pivot: Let go of yesterday's normal and create your new normal. It looks like newly adapted plan that executes on all your same fundamentals in a new way; a way that may need to be trial & error-tested and reworked a few times in your new normal.

The pivot that allows you to still do (adjusted) productive work from home, using technology like Zoom Meetings, Facetime Tours and Skype Group Calls. The pivot that creatively keeps you visible and relevant to your clients and team, that keeps you moving forward. The one that allows for the new normal at home with spouse and kids making good memories; so, you may need to work in breaks for family (and grocery shopping, exercise/rest). I promise you, by doing little things together as a couple or family is better than doing things efficiently and separately as a family, now and post COVID-19 by the way.

My bride and I shop together, even though it would be more efficient if I worked while she shopped. The bonding that occurs while we shop & talk and make little inside jokes and share our concerns is gold. And I'm not there to get it over with quickly, I'm there to keep her company and share the time with her. It takes as long as it takes. Efficiency is for business; quality time is for family and sometimes that occurs on aisle 7.

Proceed: Take those new action steps now; the new plan or the adjusted one and do not delay, do not wallow in yesterday, get on with it. It does no good to dwell on how things used to be, they are as they are now; this is why you paused, you reworked the plan and had the courage to pivot: get to work on your new normal.


Thomas J Nelson REALTOR San DiegoNostalgia is for class reunions and car shows, not business. Your business has to serpentine to avoid getting shot dead. (My Peter Falk fans (The In-Laws) will get that reference). You can't stop to question "why are they shooting at us?" you just got to keep moving and stay alive, to survive and then thrive (once again).Thomas J Nelson REALTOR San Diego

"Adversity does not build character it reveals it." How will you look back on COVID-19 and 2020? Will you have made some unique good memories with your family and friends? Will you be proud of your character and your resolve?

We can be scared and quit, or we can be scared and move forward. If you choose to move forward a victory awaits you (I promise). How can I promise this?

My friends I lived this promise during many difficult times in my life between age 16 through today; this Pause, Plan, Pivot, Proceed method was invented by me during my homeless few months of 1985-86, further developed during my double hand crush-amputation and reconstructive surgery of 1989, went to a new level during my decimating divoThomas J Nelson REALTOR San Diegorce and custody battle of 2000-2002, and during the Crash 2007-2012. It saved my life when I implemented it again when my (now 17.5 year) marriage almost ended in divorce back in 2018-2019, causing my 2018 stroke...but miraculously I healed, and we reconciled our marriage stronger than ever last Fall.

I was in dark tunnels each time, so dark a couple times I actually prayed to God for a head on collision to end my pain, but each time I snapped out of it through faith, friends, family and Pause, Plan, Pivot, Proceed. And because I did, I was led back to the (new normal) light!  Stay connected & positive, mind your health and Keep the Faith my Friends, we'll be through this and better for it soon. Let Go of the Past but, Keep the Lessons.


1. Image courtesy of IndypendenZ at

2. Image courtesy of adamr at

6. Image courtesy of adamr at


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joseph Doohan 04/01/2020 01:00 AM
Real Estate Best Practices
Ninja Nation
Dedicated Bloggers
Addicted to Active Rain
Old Farts Club
homes for sale
san diego
positive attitude
selling houses
real estate
buying houses
thomas j nelson realtor
surviving hard times

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Lauren Williams, CPO, CVO
Casual Uncluttering LLC - Woodinville, WA
Professional Organizer: Puget Sound homes

Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets My fears are for my clients more than for myself - many of them are older and more isolated. I'm hoping we can adapt into organizing sessions by teleconferencing, something I'd planned to explore next year, and instead I'm aiming to launch  April 15. We can all do what we can. Lauren

Mar 28, 2020 05:20 PM #5
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Thomas- love your post. I know that we will get through this and we will learn much from it. I have no use for the chicken littles of the world. I love what Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD said in her comment.  Life is throwing us lemons right now and we can cower and hope not to get hit or grab them and make lemonade. 

Mar 28, 2020 05:50 PM #6
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Thomas - Some of this has been revealed in previous posts you have written as well as comments and answers you have left over the years plus those days when I caught a few of those video "events" you did(maybe still do) -- your life philosophy is not new-to-me but it's good to see it here in print.  For clarity and for more to see.  

Mar 28, 2020 06:02 PM #7
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

It's been odd, but I have looked upon this time as a way to view and live life a little differently.  I planned for it a bit.  I've mainly hunkered down with enough food, books, movies, etc.  I've also spent time tending to my garden.  I was a little stir crazy today.  But, considering I've been in self-isolating mode for quite a few days now, I think I'm mostly enjoying it.

Mar 28, 2020 06:24 PM #8
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Mar 28, 2020 06:53 PM #9
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

What an excellent post. I'm so glad Kathy Streib included it in her weekly "What I Learned" list. Being able to adjust to changes and to new normals is definitely important if we want to thrive in the future. You obviously speak from experience since you've paused, planned, pivoted and proceeded multiple times in the past. I'm glad your prayer(s) for a head on collision(s) were not granted and you persevered.

Mar 29, 2020 08:17 AM #10
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

BRAVO!  Very well said.

I wrote in an email to a business associate the other day that we are in the process of separating the Thrivers from the Survivors. 

Mar 29, 2020 08:23 AM #11
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Thanks for your openess and honesty. I love the quote

When "I" is replaced by "we", even Illness becomes Wellness! Pysical distancing, not social!

Great post, full of encouragement and great advice. Stay healthy and this too shall pass.

Mar 29, 2020 08:40 AM #12
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Why oh why was this not featured/. Thank goodness for Kathy Streib .  These fiour P's appy to all all types of times. We have operated on these principles our whole lives together, the two of us.  And I often tell Ron, "I really like who we are!"   And we each feel that way about the man/woman in the mirror!  A

Mar 29, 2020 10:35 AM #13
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets -  I really love your four P's  Let's all practice more of this and not get bogged down in gloom.

Mar 29, 2020 12:04 PM #14
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Great thoughts and advice, Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets ... while I understand it's only natural and understandable that we feel anxiety and depression at a time like this, I, like you, don't want it to overcome me longterm.  As a former basketball player, I like the analogy of "pivoting" mentally ... it resonated ... thank you ...


Mar 30, 2020 09:31 AM #15
John Wieland

Great share Thomas! All four P's are useful even when things get back to "normal." I mean, most of us have been through 3-5 global crises already going back just 20 years. And ultimately we are resilient humans who bounce back. As said, "we will fall in life, it's how we get back up" that counts.

Apr 01, 2020 03:40 AM #16
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Reading these encouraging blogs on AR helps me get through the day!  I am taking a positive attitude.  Hopefully all is back to normal this time next year.

Apr 01, 2020 11:13 AM #17
Mary Whitaker
Lehi, UT

Solid and inspiring, Thomas. Thanks for sharing your life and four Ps. For myself I will add Perspective, as you have given me a new one. I'm the newbie on the block here (but not in life) and know I have much to learn. I am a sponge taking it all in, as I've been since I was a youngster. In fact, I'm overwhelmed (in a good way) from all the shares. I agree and concur with the others who have responded, especially Kat Palmiotti . The world is a better place with you in it. Appreciate you. 

PS Always liked Peter Falk, especially as Columbo. 

Apr 01, 2020 01:41 PM #18
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

GREAT post!  It's so great to be reflective and turn the negative around as you've done.  Finish projects, reach out to family and friends by Facetime.  There are so many solutions to what's going on.  Sell somethings online and create some extra income to cover groceries.  There are ways! 

Apr 01, 2020 07:05 PM #19
Mary Whitaker
Lehi, UT

Thomas. Another thought. Your statement is something I think about often: "We can be scared and quit, or we can be scared and move forward. If you choose to move forward a victory awaits you (I promise)." I appreciate when someone is an example of the truth, as you are. It's encouraging for those of us who have had hard mountains to climb but are staying the course. My son has been an example of this. At times in my life I have found myself traversing or going in circles so thank you for sharing that moving forward is worth the climb.

Apr 01, 2020 07:20 PM #20
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Thank you for sharing your 4Ps and so very true Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets .  Now is not the time to embrace our flight instinct based on fear and adopt a process for everyday events.  I have my own called ACE - Assess, Clarify, Execute.  Congratulations as well on the feature.

Apr 02, 2020 05:58 AM #21
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Thank you for sharing - particularly what led you to develop the four Ps. Difficult times led you to figure out what needed to be done - and that solution will forever be available to you during troublesome times.

Apr 02, 2020 07:37 AM #22
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Truly inspiring. I didn't know about your history and it's terrible to go through these things but this is where you earned your grit.  (It would be nice to earn this in an easier way but that's just not how it works.)  Although 2020 isn't really shaping up into what we all thought it was going to be, you (and me) have been through worse and those who can adopt an attitude like yours and adapt and pivot, we'll be just fine. I appreciate your post and take it to heart!

Apr 02, 2020 10:33 AM #25
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I really enjoyed reading your blog.  Every day is a new day ... an opportunity to touch another person's life, to contemplate where I've been, where I am and where I'm going.  Times like this are what call "it is what it is" and it actually makes me stronger.  My heart goes out to all of us ... each one of us has different situations and it's all in the mindset and attitude of how we react. 

One day at a time ...

Apr 02, 2020 02:17 PM #26
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets

& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast
Referrals & Sales-free Help / Info Here.
Spam prevention