I'm Here to Help You

Mortgage and Lending with Guaranteed Rate, Marin County, CA NMLS: 22343

I'm Here to Help You


  • Be clear.
  • Be specific.
  • Reduce uncertainty.
  • Speak to the most pressing need.
  • Keep running.  You still have a long way to go.


No, I did not just come down off the mountain of some Tony Robbins motivational speech.  No, I did not use the featureless timescape of shelter-in-place to read all of the self-help books heretofore exerting their gravitational pull on my office's shelves.  Instead, I am recalling one long night in June of 2019.


Some of you know I dabble in the sport of ultramarathoning.  These are (usually) trail races that exceed a distance of 26.2 miles.  The sport's Super Bowl is the Western States Endurance Run.  One hundred miles on foot, from Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA, mostly following the trail of the historic Tevis Cup horse ride.  This might be a good place to remind readers that horses are generally not as bright as humans, but back to the story.  You might be surprised to know that there are so many applicants for entry each year that, for most, a lottery provides the only remote shot at toeing the start line.


Like with many things in life, there are exceptions.  Since it takes even trained ultra runners almost, if not more than, a full day to cover 100 rugged miles, let's say you volunteer to pull an overnight shift at one of the aid stations that service the course?  You might then be eligible for one of the few spots reserved for, and assigned to, aid station captains, to dole out at their discretion.  Now, when I say "aid station" I don't mean a folding table lined with cups of warm Gatorade.  At "States," we're talking huge productions with food, medical, HAM radio operators, spectators and pacers.  One, in particular and to which I had access through my running club, Tamalpa Runners, sits at "Rucky Chucky." Here, at just under Mile 80, runners traverse the American River, sometimes by wading through with a guide rope or, in high-water years like 2019, they are shuttled across on rafts.  


So it was that I found myself on "the Far Side." There, on its sandy and overgrown bank, we would help runners out of the rafts, undo their life vests, and send most of them on their way up into the darkness of the summer night via headlamp.  It was a surreal scene.  At one point shortly after midnight, I found myself working alongside another volunteer.  This individual, a young man who clearly had some first responder experience, stood prominently at the front of the line and tirelessly directed the runners in a clear, loud voice as they clambered off the rafts in various states of exhaustion and quasi-delirium.  Here's a paraphrased smattering of what was hitting their ears:


  • "Runner 146, I am here for you.  You are doing great.  Come directly up and I will help you take off your life jacket!"
  • "Runner 318, we are happy to see you.  Keep up the great work!  Look right at me.  I will take care of everything for you."
  • "You are looking great, Runner 212.  I will assist you from here.  Proceed to me, watch your step and don't worry about anything else."


I could not believe what I was hearing and experiencing.  The comfort I --- the guy who was NOT running --- felt each time he directed an athlete was palpable.  Ah, the sweet relief of not having to make another decision in my tired state!  The reassurance the runners must have experienced in the dead of that night may have just touched them for an instant, but isn't that what execution of all imposing tasks require?  They are almost always a series of individual moments where doubt must be quashed and the spark to continue must be ignited again, and again, and again.


Rucky Chucky


The 2020 Western States Endurance Run has been canceled due to COVID-19.  There will be no race this June, no Rucky Chucky support crew, and my own dream to someday run will have to be postponed.  But upon hearing the news of the cancellation, I recalled my experience volunteering.  In this uncertain, weary, stressful time, I was encouraged to revisit my communication strategy with my clients and referral partners.  Am I clear?  Do I project certainty, optimism and offer a beacon of help?  Do I help eliminate the stress of unnecessary choices and do I help get them on their way to their own success, even if my role will not necessarily be remembered in the chaos of all else going on?  We, in many of our professional roles, are ultimately in a service business.  How we go about helping others in the toughest of times, in the dark of night, when we least feel like doing it, says the most about what we're made of and who we really are.  And that...that can never be canceled.


One day, 100 miles,



Rob Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 


Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate's Human Resources Department.


Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 - (866) 934-7283



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Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

What a great post, very inspirational, almost better than Tony Robbins and helpful. I agree, we need to be clear in our communication and helpful. I too, felt encouraged just by reading his statments and uplifted. Thank you. I know how you must feel having to postpone your chance of taking part, but it will come.

Apr 21, 2020 09:22 AM #1
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Rob, I always like reading your posts, but this one struck a real nerve for me.  Several of the people I used to hike with in the Day Hiker Sierra Club Group participated in the Western States 100. One day as a few of us set off on a 30-mile day hike, I realized that everyone except two of us were Western States alumni -- it scared me to death! . However, the hike was wonderful and I have fond memories of it, and increased respect for any ultra marathoner.

I hope you get your chance at the Western States. 

Apr 21, 2020 09:55 AM #2
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Rob Spinosa Enjoyed your post - directed here by  Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 . Especially like the "easy" list - well. easy to read and taking effort to deploy. All the best - Lynn

  • Be clear.
  • Be specific.
  • Reduce uncertainty.
  • Speak to the most pressing need.
  • Keep running.  You still have a long way to go.
Apr 23, 2020 07:22 PM #3
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Rob Spinosa

SVP of Mortgage Lending, Marin County
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