Great Ways To Increase Your Confidence & Success

Success will not give you confidence.  However, confidence in yourself and your abilities willGreat Ways To Increase Your Confidence & Success make you successful!  One way to build your confidence is to eliminate the word “can’t” from your vocabulary.  Instead, when you don’t know how to do something, figure it out by thinking through the situation or task and doing research if you need to.

Here are a few other ways you can learn to be more confident:

  • Challenge Your Self-Limiting Beliefs: Parents, teachers and special friends had your best interests at heart, but they didn’t know your limits.  YOU choose those.  Think about a person who excelled in spite of seemingly impossible odds and use them as inspiration!  Push through your self-limiting beliefs!
  • Be Careful What You Commit To Memory: Memory is not fact.  Your brain is confirmation-biased, meaning it stores information consistent with your beliefs and values.  Aha!  So be aware and careful of what you store.  Edit those important memories!  Keep the ones where you do well at something.
  • Use Positive Self-Talk: Self-talk CAN improve focus and achievement.  Be positive and consistent.  Especially when things are tough.  Envision your best results.
  • Counter The Negative: Negativity is supposed to protect us but it really limits us.  Counter every negative thought with a positive one and keep that positive thought for at least 20 seconds.  Acknowledge both good and bad emotions, label them and move on.  Don’t “dialogue” or talk about the bad or give it power.
  • Be Curious: Curiosity is a very valuable trait!  It stimulates life-long growth and helps to maintain your ability to learn.  It keeps your mind active instead of passive, makes you more observant, opens new worlds and possibilities for you AND creates an adventurous response!
  • Overcome Self-Doubt: Identify the areas where you doubt yourself and remove them!  Develop resilience to life’s inevitable obstacles.
  • Don’t Let Fear Run Your Life: When we feel out of control, or are in a state of fear, we no longer think clearly.  A big obstacle is in the way.  Embrace what your fear; think about it, imagine the worst that could happen, breathe deeply and relax.

Becoming more confident is definitely worth the time and effort!  After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect anyone else to?

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Save Time & Avoid Hassle With These Tips

Check out these useful tips for saving time and avoid hassle:

  • Dental & Medical Care
    • Schedule an annual dental appointment several years in a row. This may help you avoid having an undiscovered little issue become a big one.Useful tips for saving money & avoiding hassle
    • Schedule an annual doctor’s appointment.
  • Vacation
    • Plan & prepare for your trip in pieces. The next time you decide on a vacation destination, put the initial preparation tasks like booking a flight/boat/rental car/lodging/etc… on your calendar for the following week.  This will give you a week to mull over your decision and ask a few friends if they have any recommendations for your desired vacation spot.
    • After making all your reservations, make a pre-vacation to-do list and include tasks such as wardrobe planning, destination research, vacation activities or tours you want to participate in, etc…
    • Reading about your destination in the weeks or months before your vacation will help you enjoy your trip more and give you a mental vacation that will be followed by your physical vacation.
    • Breaking your vacation preparation into small tasks can help you avoid a last minute rush.
  • Budget, Filing & Bill Paying
    • Keep better track of your budget and spending habits. Consider a financial app on your phone, such as Mint or LearnVest.
    • Set up a pay schedule for bills. NOT on your computer, on your calendar.  Stay in control of bill paying by setting aside one night a week or every 2 weeks or monthly.
    • Create a filing system that includes a “maybe” file. Review the “maybe” file periodically and save or toss items as appropriate.
  • Email & Cell Phones
    • Upload your digital photos to the cloud monthly.
    • Take a little time once a week to unsubscribe from email lists you no longer want to be on.
    • When you are stuck waiting somewhere with nothing to do, use the time to remove unwanted photos, notes and even contacts from your phone!
  • Around The House & In The Car
    • Purge your accessories, make-up, medications, pantry items AND closet regularly.
    • Organize your closet and drawers by outfit to save time.
    • Flush sediment from your hot water heater to save money and gain a boost to the heater’s efficiency!
    • Keep a list of “easy dinners” and use them as your go-to-whenever you are short on time. When you DO cook, make enough to freeze another night’s portions.
    • Put any coupons you want to use in your car where they’ll be handy! Also put reusable grocery bags in your car right after unpacking groceries so you have them with you whenever you need them.
    • Prioritize your morning tasks (unless you have very small kids) in this order: Exercise, Breakfast and Personal Hygiene.  Doing this will become a habit that will improve your days!
    • Hire a housekeeper, gardener, errand person, pet sitter, child entertainer, etc…  You’ll soon realize how freeing and fun it can be!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Do You Have The Basics of Estate Planning In Place?

Lots of us think it will be a long time before we become old.  But “old” age is reached not just through the passage of time but also by being healthy and perhaps lucky.  When it comes toDo You Have The Basics of Estate Planning In Place? estate planning, it’s best to be prepared rather than find ourselves in an “oops” situation!  Below are a few valuable estate planning steps that are recommended by the experts:

  • Be clear on where you and your finances are now. (You can’t even ask Google how to get to a specific address unless you know where you are now!)
  • Be clear on the roadmap you will need to get where you want to go. These should include:
    • Basic living expenses that need to be covered/provided
    • Children – housing, feeding, care and education, unexpected events
    • Scenic stops along the way – vacations, children’s weddings, special anniversaries and celebrations, bucket list items
    • Special savings for Mother nature and life happenstance challenges that may come your way
  • Proper Estate Documents you will need:
    • The Will – to affect YOUR decisions about the remainder of your estate. Include an executor/personal representative, guardian for minors, tax and administration costs management.  Without a will the state law will make these decisions on your behalf.
    • Trusts – in California a Living Trust has replaced the essential functions of the traditional will and become the centerpiece of estate planning. This legal entity, the trust, accepts the assets and, although usually managed by the “Settlor” (maker of the trust) or his/her attorney, designates successor management in the event of passing or incapacity.  This is NOT a public document, and most are set up to be changeable, including designation of beneficiaries and grants to them.  Charitable Remainder Trusts are a means for people to endow chosen charities for named benefits, amounts or percentages of the estate and can be a significant tax savings benefit to estate/heirs, even while the donor is living.  (Consult your financial expert.)

If tomorrow were a promise, life would be so much easier, even if the promise didn’t fit our dreams.  But the fact is, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  So take a bit of time to make an estate plan and cover the basics.  Perhaps doing so will make your tomorrows better and safer!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

How To Reactivate a Business Contact You Really Need

We all have excuses for failing to maintain relationships and business contacts.  Whether the excuses are valid or not doesn’t matter.  What DOES matter is how you handle your long-lost contacts moving forward.  If the contact is important to you, personally or professionally, you need to follow these steps:

  • Think of the personal, or business, value a specific person has to you. Decide for sure that you want to recommit to a relationship with this person for the value it brings to you.  Then remember the #1 Rule:  You achieve your own goals by helping others achieve theirs.
  • Prepare for making contact again:
    • Check out Facebook and LinkedIn and the people you know in common. FindHow To Reactivate a Business Contact out what this person has been doing lately.  By doing this you will most likely find a good entre to a new conversation with them.  Send them a friend request on Facebook if you choose, but personal contact is better.
    • Review your past relationship to locate the pretext that you can add to the entre you discovered in the step above. If you have any email threads where you did something good for the other person, keep them handy.
    • Now that you have an idea of their life today, think about how the other person may remember you. Imagine what type of subject heading or initial conversation would engage them:
      • How does it feel being an empty-nester?
      • What has been the biggest challenge of your new role at [Company X]?
      • What do you like about living in [name of town/city]?
    • Even if you feel guilty, do NOT make the initial communication about you and what you did or didn’t do. Make the communication about THEM.
  • Craft an opening call or email asking about the other person’s life, such as:
    Hi Mark, This is ___ from your old marketing department.  I just heard that _____ and couldn’t wait to be in touch and find out more from you.
    Don’t mention your current job.
    Don’t mention your real reason for the contact.
    Don’t provide contact information under your signature, keep it personal.
    Don’t include URL’s or links or any information about you.
  • Follow up with your email and include a good memory.
  • Wait until the other person asks about your business/job before you bring it up. When they do ask what you are doing, tell them your business situation, but don’t ask for business.  Re-create your relationship first.  Let them come to you.  Then you can “gently” ask for their business.

If you are sincerely interested in reactivating a business relationship, following the above steps will help you do so successfully.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Safety Tips For Driving In The Rain

Our rainy season isn’t too far away and traffic here in SoCal certainly gets worse when the rain is upon us.  Driving in the rain or on wet roads is risky and paying attention to the following safety tips can help you protect you and yours:

  • Put your patience in high gear. That “idiot”Safety Tips For Driving In The Rain who is “going slow” in front of you is obviously intimidated by the wet surfaces, and honking or swishing quickly around them may exacerbate the situation.  Slow down and think how you would want to be treated if you were afraid.
  • Hydroplaning is an instant effect. It doesn’t happen gradually.  So slow down and leave room between you and other vehicles.
  • Before the season, and certainly before a big deluge of rain or snow, be sure your tires have the minimum tread needed for good road traction.
  • If you go into a skid, look and steer in the direction you want to go in. Do NOT brake, let your vehicle slow down naturally.
  • According to the AAA, cruise control increases the chances that you will lose control in wet conditions so save your cruise control for dry days.

Cheers…Drive Safe,
SD County Escrow Team

How To Interpret Body Language & Make Changes To Yours

Body language; the more you can interpret it, the more help it will be to you!  And changing your own body language will be easiest if you first observe, and listen, to others.  You’ll want to:

WATCH THE EYES – Notice where the other person’s eyes are looking and what their pupils do (enlarged pupils often indicate attraction or honesty, while contracting pupils indicateHow To Interpret Body Language & Make Changes To Yours disinterest, dishonesty or worse).  To convey honesty and confidence, remember to look directly at your listener’s eyes and put excitement or sincerity into the verbal delivery of your message.

WATCH POSTURE – You probably don’t need an explanation here but confidence is conveyed with straight, open posture…shoulders strong and bold, feet direct and legs not tucked under.  Body language experts often suggest copying the military posture or super hero stances.

PAY ATTENTION TO HEAD POSITION & HEIGHT – Even in the animal kingdom, dominance is usually granted to the tallest.  We can’t change our actual height but we can hold our heads up, keep our chests and chins out and a smile on our face.  It seems silly when experts talk about standing –vs- sitting, and choosing a higher chair or place to stand, but tall individuals automatically have power and are accepted as leaders.

LISTEN TO PITCH – Pitch may tell you as much as someone’s expression.  So notice what others are saying to you with their voices and what you are saying back to them with yours.  You can convey warmth and security with a controlled, sure voice.  You can conceal any nerves if you remember to take a deep breath and put on a pleasing facial expression before you utter your next words.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER – If someone’s eyes, posture, stature and pitch do not agree in their messages, it may be that they are not in accord with their own words!  Perhaps they are being intentionally deceptive or perhaps their inner beliefs are not in line with the image they are presenting.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Renovation Costs You May Not Anticipate

I confess, I am a professional Realtor, and I just added a second bathroom to my modest home at a cost of 230% of what I expected after first meeting with my contractor!  What happened?  A number of problems that you can avoid by doing the following:

  • Be Clear On Costs & What’s Included – Be clearRenovation Costs You May Not Anticipate on what materials AND labor will cost you and what contingencies there might be. Get it in writing!  No one can predict everything, for instance, predicting that you’ll incur the cost of putting your dog into daycare because the construction makes her crazy and sleepless.  You can however uncover more potential costs by interviewing at least two contractors who may each give you a heads up on a cost that the other missed.  Be sure to verify if plans and permits are included in the cost…and how much time obtaining these will add to the job.
  • Don’t Forget to Estimate the Cost of Eating Out, Hotel Stays & Obtaining a Dumpster – These items may be needed to help you maintain your sanity and they definitely add to the cost of your job.
  • Consider Your Time and Effort – If you are considering doing some of the work yourself, look carefully at what that time and effort may cost you by keeping you from other things you could be doing.
  • Consider Whether You Will Need Child Care, Rental Office Space or a Cleaning Service? Will Your Utility Bills be Higher Than Normal? – These expenses may all be logical but many people will not calculate them ahead of time.  Will you and your children need to work/play off-site?  Will cleaning by a 3rd party be necessary to help you maintain your sanity?   Will your contractors be wasting your air conditioning or heat; leaving windows and doors open?
  • Look at Parking & Storage Options to Avoid Future Cost – Contractors want their equipment and materials stored where they will be safe. Providing a safe place will most likely put your own personal belongings at risk.  Landscaping can also be completely sacrificed due to wheelbarrows, heavy tools, large equipment and stored renovation materials.

I frequently hear renovation numbers that sound very economical, portending a greater value increase than the cost of the job.  But be sure the numbers are all in before you brag about your low renovation costs.  AND, save every penny’s worth of receipts and invoices for when you compile your annual tax return or when you sell and may be confronted with capital gains tax.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

P.S. – This was a guest post courtesy of a local Realtor.

Stand Up & Be Your Own Advocate

If you answer ‘yes’ to some of the following, it may be a sign that you aren’t standing up for yourself or being your own advocate.

Do you ever do things…

  • …because someone else wants you to, and you don’t want to hurt their feelings? Stand Up & Be Your Own Advocate
  • Or, because you feel selfish standing up for what you think is right or best for you?
  • Or, because you’ve developed a habit of letting someone else make important choices for you, and it is too hard to say no?
  • Or, because they push, and you give in because you don’t want the conflict?
  • Or, because a sales person keeps selling; asking ‘why’ and ‘what’, trying to engage you long after you have said no thank you?  (This type of situation almost becomes a severance to your relationship and/or a judgment on your ability to think and a closed path to the ultimate “no!”

One of the hardest and best skills to learn is to trust yourself, stand up for yourself and take care of yourself.  To, as one of the proponents of being your own best advocate says, find the combination of directness and kindness to deny the offer and end the conversation.

Often the most difficult advice or sales pitches to deny, come from friends/family that really care about you.  Sometimes their comments are even the result of your asking for advice.  And that can be a hard one to handle.  But just because you asked for advice doesn’t mean you have to follow it.  Just say, “Thank you.  I have been pondering this situation for a while, and have not yet found the answer that suits me, but I so appreciate your input”.

While learning to be your own best advocate, it helps to keep in mind that you are the one who knows your situation best AND has to live with your decision.  Just remember that there is a difference between “self-care” and being “selfish.”

Once you regularly practice living the life you’ve chosen (versus what someone else tries to choose for you) you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what happens!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Landlord-Tenant Q & A Regarding Notices & Eviction

Question:  Do I always have to give written notice to our resident before making a repair?  They called yesterday and we simply made an appointment for the plumber to meet them at the property next week.

  • Answer:  Normally, you would have to give aLandlord-Tenant Q&A Regarding Notices & Eviction written 24 hour notice, but if the tenant and the landlord orally agree to an entry to make repairs or supply services for a specific date and time, and the entry is within one week from the date of the agreement, no written notice is required.  Also, in cases of emergency or abandonment, the landlord is not required to give written notice.

Question:  If a tenant gives a 30-day notice on the 15th of the month, is it legal to charge them the full rent for the next month and return the prorated remainder of the rent once they have turned in the keys?

  • Answer:  No, they are only required to pay the prorated portion of their rent for the next month.

Question:  I have a tenant who is driving everyone in the apartment complex nuts.  He plays his stereo and television all day and all night and keeps everyone up.  We call the police constantly but they can only do so much.  I want to evict him but he signed a one-year lease.  None of the notices I have make sense in this situation.  What can I do to get this noisy tenant out?

  • Answer:  If the tenant is producing major and continual disturbances to the quiet enjoyment of the neighboring property and it is severe enough, the court could allow you to evict the tenant after service of a 3-day notice to vacate.  This notice does not allow the tenant to cure anything.  Therefore, it has to be a severe situation.  Otherwise, writing warning letters and documenting the disturbances can bolster your case if the tenant does not stay quiet.

We hope this Q & A was helpful!

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

Source:  Kimball Tirey and St. John, Tenant Landlord attorneys in San Diego

Protection & Self-Defense Tips Learned From Movies & Books

There is actually a lot we can learn about protecting ourselves from “entertainment” sources such as mystery and espionage movies and books.  Some tips we can all use for our own safety are:

  • Be Aware – Even in our own neighborhoods special circumstances can put us at risk, but in a big public location you are likely to be targeted by a mugger, caught in aProtection & Self-Defense Tips Learned From Movies & Books shooting incident, even attacked by a car-jacker. Being aware of faces and the body language of people around you can provide a savvy warning and alert you to unexpected incongruent actions.
  • Test The Situation – If you think you are being followed, take a route that doesn’t really go anywhere in particular, or dodge into a public space with lots of other people around for protection. If the person still seems to be following you, point them out to a security person or police.
  • Avoid Seclusion – This can help you avoid many potential threats.
  • Don’t Be Passive
    • Make direct eye contact, or confront them. Let them know you will not be a passive victim.  Convince them to move on to a more suitable victim.
    • Ask a question that should be simple & quick to answer to throw a potential attacker off, like “do you need directions?”
    • If a person knocks on your door, before you remove the security chain and open the door, ask where their car is parked. If they appear to be a salesperson or service provider, ask how many people they have sold to that day.  When they answer you, notice whether or not they appear uncomfortable or nervous.
  • Have an Effective Self-Defense Tool
    • Guns are good only if you know how to use them.
    • Consider carrying a folding knife which can fit in a pocket or purse. You could use it to defend yourself or escape if you are trapped.
    • Tactical pens actually write, but a strong, steel type can be used like an icepick to jab.
    • Lightweight sheets of Kevlar can be slipped into backpacks or briefcases, and held up to protect you in the case of a shooting.
  • Ward Off Danger by Appearing Invulnerable – Security cameras, alarms, dogs, and lights can protect you from home invasions:
    • Even hints of a big dog, such as big dog toys in the yard can dissuade an intruder!
    • Amazon has fake security cameras for a low price.
    • Motion-sensor lights, powered by solar, can be another inexpensive deterrent.

Cheers,
SD County Escrow Team

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