Stolen From The Journal of TJ Nelson: A May Challenge

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


1. What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

The first paid job I ever had was working with my Grandfather on all his rental properties. My step-Dad had died in September 1979 and I was in 6th grade. My Pa Pa decided I needed to stay busy, to keep learning and growing. So, I learned to function before 7:00AM, I learned you had to be able to put your name to the work you did that day, or it was a do over and I learned to repair & paint houses and fences and I learned how to garden. I made $5.00/day.
The first w-2 job I ever had was being a bagger at Safeway and that filled in the gaps on my work ethics and serving the public and I made $5.50/hr. Photo by Ron Lach :


2. How long have you been in the real estate or related service industry?

My 2nd sale in real estate in South San Francisco CHRISTMAS 1999
To one of my best friends Stacey T. and she still lives there (the dude doesn't LOL)!

Well, as I just said I was 11 (1979) when I started in property management, so 42 years. 😉 But, as an adult, I started officially in 1989 with purchasing my first rental property as an investor, using the settlement money from a workman's comp case I settled, and I started in 1999 as a licensed REALTOR®.

3. What is your biggest fear and what have you done to try to conquer it?

Phobia-wise its heights. I showed it's who's boss about 16 years ago when I went skydiving. Emotionally, I'd say it's not becoming my full potential, dying with my music still in me. I'm conquering it by taking calculated risks in my life, like leaving a bad marriage for an amazing one, leaving my hometown for a better one, starting several businesses - being an entrepreneur the last 36 years, traveling outside the United States and really exploring this 3rd rock from the sun.


4. What would you do if you knew you would not fail?
I'd leave Real Estate, write the next book in me and become a professional Keynote Speaker impacting and improving the lives of others. That or become a professional chef.


5. What is a habit you would love to eliminate or change?

Ailina K. Nelson, my Bride.
My health habits are inconsistent, I wish I was daily-dedicated like my bride is.


6. What is your favorite meal (forget about calories or what you shouldn’t eat)?

Shepherd's Pie and a cold Guinness.


7. What is something you wish you’d done?


I was an angry-damaged young man.
I wish I'd have matured faster
like my son has (or gotten therapy).
My son just became a police officer at 24 years of age.
At 24 I was running 2 businesses
but not half as mature as my son is today.




8. Who has been most influential in your life?
This is a list:

  • My entrepreneurial parents - they, like I, left the w-2 world for the 1099 life, and I saw each do that. They taught me change is good, even when it's uncertain the results. They also taught me the do's and don'ts of parenting.
  • My Grandparents taught me real estate, home repair and property management among countless moral & ethical lessons.
  • My Son & My Bride - taught me unconditional love, forgiveness and inspire me daily by the lives they choose to live and their codes of honor.
  • My Family & Friends - brutally honest, funny and I can be me in front of them.
  • My past girlfriends - some very painful and some very loving lessons.
  • My managers, coworkers & associates over the years.
  • My Tae Kwon Do instructor (got my black belt at age 13).
  • My business coaches: Michael E. Geber, Brian Buffini, Darren Hardy, Darren R. Cecil, Cami Napoli
  • My mentors: Jim Rohn, Jack Canfield, Zig Ziglar, REALTORs:
    Tim Brodowski, Liz Piccolomini, Lou Ludwig and my #1 lender and close buddy Jason E. Gordon have been impactful and continue to be in my career.
  • The books, seminars, classes and retreats I've invested in.
  • Last but not least: my faith and moral compass.


9. What are your favorite business-related books?

  1. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber changed the course of my entrepreneurial life in 1995.
  2. The Referral of a Lifetime by Tim Templeman & Ken Blanchard
  3. Any and Every Book Written by Jim Rohn
  4. The Greatest Salesman in The World 1 & 2 by Og Mandiino
  5. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
  6. The Richest Man In Babylon by George Clason
  7. Rain Maker by Jefferey Fox
  8. Taking Care of Business by Brian Buffini & Joe Niego
  9. Darren Hardy's The Compound Effect
  10. Mastery by George Leonard
  11. Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud
  12. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
  13. ...and so, so many more.


10. Other than business books what are your favorite things to read?

Biographies, History, Ghost Stories and Quotes


11. What are your top 5 favorite movies?

  • The Shootist or any John Wayne film.
  • Casablanca or any Bogie film.
  • Gladiator with Russel Crowe
  • Office Space with Ron Livingston and Stephen Root
  • The Godfather I & II (need I say more?)

12. If I came to visit your city for one day what is the one thing I must do or see?

I can sum up your San Diego experience with a Day in La Jolla. We'd do breakfast at The Grand Colonial Hotel at Nine-Ten restaurant & Bar. Then we'd walk and explore the many eclectic shops of The Village of La Jolla. I'd take you for a fish taco and a beer lunch at The Public House and then a stroll along the coastline of La Jolla Shores, Scripps Pier and La Jolla Cove. We'd watch the seals in Children's Cove and stop for cocktails at The Valencia Hotel before having an amazing dinner overlooking the ocean at The Marine Room. We'd finish up the evening dancing to live Jazz music at Eddie V's and then I'd drop you off to your beach front hotel room at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.


13. If I came to your city to visit for one day what is the one restaurant you would recommend?

Well, as you can see from above, there are too many to single it out, but if you came to San Diego, you'd have to have a local cocktails and then local fish tacos and a local craft beer.

So a favorite combo of mine is cocktails at Cutwater Spirits in Miramar over looking the train tracks and then Dinner at Eddie V's in La Jolla over looking the ocean.


14. If I was going to relocate to your area what advice would you give me that is unique to the area? Invest in a great pair of sun glasses and flip flops, ditch your formal wear, plan to own a dog and get into water sports and hiking. Budget at least $1,000,000 for a starter home, get used to fish in your tacos, local craft beer and spirits in your glass and get ready to decompress man! we're pretty relaxed and chillaxed here in America's Finest City.


15. Do you have any special talents?

  • Inciting a dancefloor to erupt with my music programming and mixing skills as a retired professional DJ.
  • I fly private planes but I'm not licensed yet.
  • I play the Drums but no one would pay me to do so LOL.
  • Sarcasm and annoying those without a sense of humor. 😉
  • Gardening - I seem to have a "green thumb".
  • But my #1 talent is untying knots. I do not know why because I'm very impatient, but more so, I'm tenacious - so I stick with it until removed. I'm always unknotting my bride's necklaces and my hiking shoes for example.


16 Do you have any quirks?

I actually enjoy talking out loud to myself and have long stopped being embarrassed when "caught" doing so.
I double check locked doors when departing any property like a bad case of ADD.
I also have decided (I do not know why) it's bad luck to place a hat on a table and never do.


17. What is your best character trait?

Loyalty, Curiosity or Tenacity they are my 3 strongest traits.
I suppose it depends on who you ask.


18. Have you ever done anything you would never do again because it was too hard or too dangerous?

😂 Yes, most of the things I got into
and perpetuated from age 13 - 22.

I never shy away from "too hard",
but too dangerous; I'd never drag race my car again...which I used to do a lot when I owned my '68 Chevelle and my '57 Chevy.



19. What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

The family man in me would say spend time with my bride, my son, my dog, my family and friends. I love hosting gatherings for that purpose. But, allowing a selfish way to spend time: playing my drums, working in my garden and hiking alone with my dog.
But, I've been alone and family & friends are much better given the choice.


20. If you could live anywhere in the world where would you want to live?

I'm currently and truly living there now:
Coastal San Diego, CA 🌴😎🥂
However, I do fantasize about living part-time in Italy, Ireland or back on Maui, HI (as I did as a kid). I honestly need to travel more, maybe my answer would change.


21. What is something that we don’t know about you that would surprise us?

I'm proud to share that I can't really surprise you that read my blogs. I've been pretty honest and raw about things here in The Rain over the last 14 years, so I doubt I could surprise any longtime members:
Here's a few surprise-"highlights" just in case:
I got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do in (1984), I've was homeless living in my car (1985-86) for a few months as a teenager, almost a permanent amputee (hands in 1989) as a young adult sheet metal worker, I'm a published author (2007 I think), I've had a career as a DJ before Real Estate (1987-2017), I've survived and recovered from a small TIA-stroke (2018) - those would be the "shockers" I suppose. I'm an open book author, so if you read me, you've gotten to know me her in ActiveRain and beyond.



Photo by Isaac Taylor:

Posted by

Thomas J. Nelson
REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, e-Pro, Certified Military Home Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, Author, Keynote Speaker and  Podcast Host 

Serving Coastal San Diego from Carlsbad to Coronado, Downtown, Balboa Park Area,
La Jolla/UCSD & Mission Bay Park Areas
I Offer Rebates to Veterans
& Active Duty

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(858) 232-8722
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RCS-Divorce     Southern California Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists (CRS)

Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.

Comments (12)

Eileen Burns
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FLorida Real Estate Connector

count me in for #12 Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets 😎

I loved that you raced a 454!  Patty Lovelace sings about it!

We follow similar mentors.  Miss Lou Ludwig and his wisdom.


May 24, 2022 09:02 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Thomas  - oh yes count me in as well on number 12.  You live in a beautiful location.  You have had many wonderful experiences but since you still have music in you--go for it.

May 24, 2022 12:32 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Eileen Burns and Grant Schneider Ha Ha you got it! I've actually done #12 a couple times exactly as described and many times without the hotel stay overnight since moving here. We love La Jolla and all San Diego has to offer. It's fun to love where you live, to have moved to a dream location by design.

May 24, 2022 03:18 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Like so, many as we grow older, we reflect on what we could have been is we knew then what we know now

May 24, 2022 06:49 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Thomas- Thank you for letting me learn even more about you!!! And you're absolutely have been a wonderful open book here so I did know #21. You are living a blessed and well-deserved life. And please thank your son for me. My brother is a retired Houston Police Officer and I have 3 family members as part of the force still. 

May 24, 2022 07:29 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Kathy Streib you made my heart happy with your comment. ❤

May 24, 2022 09:02 PM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I really enjoyed getting to know more about you and I am very excited that we will get to meet in person in September!  I think you would be an amazing speaker impacting and improving the lives of others!

May 25, 2022 06:20 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

I enjoyed reading your May Challenge answers.

Thanks for telling us more about yourself.

May 25, 2022 08:51 AM
Shayne Stone
HomeSmart - Fulshear, TX
"Your Rock Solid Choice Realtor"

Great insight to who you are, Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets  thanks for sharing!

May 25, 2022 09:49 AM
Aura Alex
CloseMyDeal, LLC - Seattle, WA
Need A TC? Virtual TC Services Nationwide

Hello, Thomas.

I enjoyed reading about you, and I share our daring lives as entrepreneurs with you. 

I loved visiting San Diego when my daughter was at San Diego State University several years ago. I also share with you when I spend my time for "me" by being alone and enjoying solitude doing my things! 


May 26, 2022 07:33 AM
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

Hi Thomas,
Thanks so much for sharing even more of you with us. "You've come a long way baby"... and living a well-deserved good life! 

May 29, 2022 12:19 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I have eaten at Eddie Vs  Went there with my mother in law and two of our nieces some years ago.  I love to visit San Diego.  

Jun 04, 2022 06:17 AM