Saturday, April 29, 2017

Finding Clarity in London / Life used to be easier / Manney Felix

Finding Clarity in London
I got back from London last night.  We were there to work with a client, preparing them for their annual co-investor meeting.  I've been to dozens of these type meetings over the years and this was the first one that used 'co-investor' in the title of the event - or at least on some of the slides in the presentation.  I like it.  After all, while there is a style of investing called 'co-investment', aren't your investors, who invest alongside you in a deal, JV or fund your 'co-investor?' It's like having an investor as a collaborator with you which suggests trust.  

While in London, I was in an office building and saw the sign below and had to show it to you.  CLARITY, with an arrow pointing you in the direction of finding Clarity. Amazing!  Someone finally has found it and I want some of it for myself.  Of course, Clarity is the name of a company housed in that building and it got me thinking about clear thinking, clarity in messaging, clarity in our lives.  It ain't easy, or hasn't been for me for much of my life. The good thing is that over the past few years, I have discovered that, for me anyway, clarity becomes more visible with simplicity in my life.  Of course, it's somewhat easier for me to say this as, at this stage in my life, I have only myself to be responsible for and that, my friends, is a wonderfully special place to be.

I've been cleaning up digital files (and also printing out things I find that it's better to have hard copies of - in binders - for easier reference (and so I don't forget that I have them!).  

Life Used To Be Easier
The following is something I sent to you some years back and thought you might enjoy seeing it again.  Funny how sometimes it's all about the timing in life - when we meet someone, when we see something, when we read something.  This message may be even more poignant today:

Life used to be easier
Commutes were shorter
Work and home were separate
Life seemed slower
We had more time
Our technology consisted of alarm clocks, pagers and land-line phones

WELCOME TO THE 24/7 CULTURE!   24/7 Culture = Imbalance
Did you ever imagine that life could get this crazy?
·      Can we go back?
·      How??!!??

Let go of perfection! Done is good enough
·      Practice imperfection
·      Be late for a meeting
·      Don’t capitalize the first word of a sentence
·      Invite someone over when the house isn’t picked-up
·      Go out without make-up
·      Don’t make the bed 

·      Review your current commitments
·      The world will not end because you roll off a committee
·      Limit your extra activities the way you want your kids to
·      Start saying NO
·      No is a complete sentence
·      Make ‘ME’ a priority

Quiet time
·      Start out with just 10-15 minutes
·      Just you
·      No TV, phones, computers, email
·      Breathe deeply/slowly
·      Be still
·      Be comfortable with silence
·      QUIET!      
·      Pray / meditate
·      Watch a sunrise / sunset
·      Ponder what you’re grateful for
·      It’s okay just to stare out the window
·      Be in the moment
·      Places to bring balance

Eat well
·      Plan to make healthy choices
·      Plan your meals
·      Shop you plan
·      Choose healthy snacks

Sleep well
·      Aim for 7-8 hours
·      Be consistent in going to bed and getting up
·      Avoid ‘screen time’ one hour before bedtime
·      Avoid eating 2 hours before bedtime

Be well
·      Don’t make it a big deal
·      Move for 10-minutes, 3 times per day
·      Find a work-out buddy
·      Use a pedometer
·      Enter a competition
·      Mix it up
·      Walk
·      Jog
·      Bicycle
·      Swim
·      Pilates
·      Strength training
·      Exercise bands
·      Weight lifting
·      Exercise at work
·      Take a 10-minute walk around the block or through your building
·      Try a 3-4 minute chair Pilates routine at your desk
·      Take the stairs instead of the elevator

Unplug as a ‘family’ (or for yourself)

Try it!

Manney Felix - May 1, 1917
I've written before about my dad and Monday is the 100th anniversary of his birth.  He made it to 92 - a great accomplishment and, until about the last year of his life - no one ever guessed his age (always thinking much younger).  I'm lucky to have inherited his genes.

For almost all his working career, Manney 'The' Felix (he had no middle name so we started calling him that) was in the real estate business.  He was a professional property manager.  His first job was with Punia & Marx where he managed apartment buildings in Manhattan and Queens.  From time to time I would accompany him to work and see how he interacted so easily and fairly with all the employees he came in contact with.  I saw that they both liked and respected him.

In 1963, he took a job with George Levin whose real estate company was based in Irvington, NJ. This prompted our move from Forest Hills, Queens, New York to Livingston, NJ.  It was my parents' first house.  Until my dad joined him, Mr. Levin's business was managed by some family members who did a good job.  Mr. Levin wanted to take his company to the next level and my dad was the logical choice to become his 'General Manager', reporting directly to George Levin.  Manney stepped up to the position and because a trusted employee / advisor to Mr. Levin.  

My dad became and advisor to Mrs. Levin after her husbands' death and then moved on to his next position, of a similar nature, with a different entrepreneurial owner of income-producing real estate.  Some years down the road, after enduring the stress of a nasty divorce with my mother, Lorna, Manney took a job with Fred Trump, Donald's father.  As many of you know, Fred owned tens of thousands of apartments, mostly in Brooklyn and Queens.  The position my father was hired for was a new one - putting himself between the property managers and Mr. Trump.  The job, or should I say, my dad didn't last long in this position.  The property managers did end-arounds, by-passing him and going directly to Fred Trump, as they had done for years.  Mr. Trump did nothing about it and that was that.

I owe my career in real estate to my dad.  In the early 70's, when I was playing full-time rock and roll with a great band called Everyone, he suggested I get my real estate license, "It can't hurt to have it", he said.  So, I did and then finally in 1973, after several failed attempts to leave the band, started the long and winding road of my journey in this great industry.

The final job my dad held was as the General Manager of a very large apartment condo project in Hallendale, FL.  He reported directly to the Board of Directors, which, as many of those groups tend to have, is too much time on their hands (they're retired) and thus tend to all feel that they know what's best for everyone living in the complex.  

With the politics of reporting to the Board involved, the average lifespan of a General Manager was 3 years; my dad lasted 11 years - only to be done in by a Board member who was taking bribes from contractors and didn't like that my dad was totally on the 'up-and-up.'  Life is certainly full of some unexpected experiences, eh?

And so, on Monday, I will toast to my father, Manney Felix.
As my Mom died at 68 from brain cancer, my brothers Jay, Gregg and I were fortunate to have a father who was an upstanding, generous and professional man - and lived to see experience becoming a Great-Granddad! 
On The Road...(and some shameless self-promotional stuff)

Read about Liz and I in THE NEW YORK POST! 
Check out the great Lois Weiss.

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