May I Know Your Weaknesses Please?

What a crazy article title right? Who wants to focus on their weaknesses? What a drag this would be. But the truth is, don’t we do it all the time? I’m not saying that we actually do anything about it, but we focus on it with a magnifying glass.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister-in-law went to see a neighbor who needs help with his business. He runs a hospice office and is great at getting new business and consulting. But do you know what he hates–the details like keeping the books. My sister-in-law is great at numbers; she loves the details.

For a long time in my real estate career, I have always worried about what I am not good at (and there are many things). What I do love is prospecting, meeting with people, signing up new clients and negotiating. What I am not good at are (just like my neighbor) the details. If that part is left up to me, it won’t happen. When I sign up a deal, I am excited for a minute and then back in the car I think, “now I need to order photographs, and a sign, and fill out the MLS input form, and get the home on the MLS, and open title.” It’s enough to make me want to scream. It reminds me of the time right out of college where I got a job staring at an excel spreadsheet all day. To say that I was unexcited, uninspired and unmotivated would be an understatement; more like borderline suicidal.

So what have I learned over the years (although maybe not quick enough) is to delegate. The secretary at my office can do some of these tasks. Others items have been handled by setting up a system. It helps to do something about the work to be done, rather than procrastinating–my old demon.

Now what about things where we are weak but we WANT to get better? As mentioned, some things are just not a fit and never will be. However, we all have those visions or dreams of things we keep telling ourselves that we should do. Months, years and even decades go by. All the while we seek for a calmer time–when the kids are a little older (my current excuse), or when we are financially secure, or when we just simply have more time. I started really investing time in learning to cook when I was 32 . At age 35, I took swimming lessons (INSERT LINK). A couple years into my cooking journey, I had the guts to do something I feared–I started writing about that journey; hence this blog today. Getting in the game has led to some great adventures.

As I look back on some of those early articles and cooking creations, I realize that they weren’t pretty. Some of you may still feel that way as you read this. There is something powerful however, about writing and hitting publish even when you feel like it’s not perfect.

Maybe by taking that one step towards what you fear, it gives it permission to move just a little further away from you.

Happy Learning.

A Taste of Old Florida

Bean Depot Cafe Menu

A visit to the Sunshine State in the early months of each year, does a few beneficial things for my soul: the warm weather and sun rays brighten you both physically and emotionally. You get a change from the normal rat-race routine, and you get to go out to eat often–okay, very often. Thanks to a wonderful friend (who is also my cousin), I get to do these things each winter.

In the 5 years that I have been visiting, the Southwest Florida region gets more crowded each year. More snowbirds, more tourists and many more people who came down as snowbirds or tourists, are now there permanently. My cousin’s neighbor joked that Florida was going to start sinking into the Ocean.

Deep Fried Jalapeno Poppers

Deep Fried Jalapeno Poppers

Along with that development from all the money moving in to the state, comes high-rise condos, elegant homes, expensive restaurants, shiny yachts and well-manicured golf courses. So my ears perked up when my cousin’s friend suggested a restaurant just over the bridge. “It’s an old Florida place,” he said. I replied, “what is Old Florida?” He indicated that I will know as soon as we get there. Was he ever right.

We drove down the two-lane highway, past the yacht clubs and nice condos–what we know as the vacation vision of Florida. We turned left off of the highway onto a small road where my cousin said, “here it is.” The sun was going down but what you could see was an old wood porch connected to a dilapidated building. Plastic tables and mismatched chairs were outside on the ground in front of a small stage. There were  dogs, beer signs, and a backyard-grill /deep-fried aroma. Some dim out-of-season Christmas lights helped you see your way around. Once inside, dollar bills autographed by proud patrons were stapled to the walls.

Low key but fun interior designing

Low key but fun interior designing

We sat down at a table with chairs that would make an estate sale proud. The menus were already on the table–stuffed between the paper towel roll and the ketchup. This was the Bean Depot Café. One thing was apparent here–they like their meat dead and they like it deep fried; they liked everything deep fried. We got jalapeno poppers as an appetizer. They were crisp, they were filled with cream cheese, they were deep fried and they were delicious.

You had your choice of an assortment of burgers or fish with fries, onion rings, macaroni & potato salad as sides. I had a grilled filet of some fish whose name I had never heard and may never hear again. My sides were homemade macaroni and potato salad. I actually liked the fish and the sides were doable.

Deep Fried Filet of Fish of Some Name. It was awesome

Deep Fried Filet of Fish of Some Name. It was awesome

What I did like was the atmosphere. It was apparent that this was the place where the tourist do not come. There was nothing to draw them in and I’m sure the cooks and wait staff could care less whether they ate here or not. Our waitress knew a few people by name and went on conversing with them about their lives.

A lone singer belted out some music on the outdoor stage. A few people were gathering out there, drinking beers, holding their dog’s leash and waiting for more music.

A couple of rough looking locals who invited me to sit with them

A couple of rough looking locals who invited me to sit with them

Bean Depot Café is tucked right against the water and not many yards from a newer condo complex. The atmosphere is down home and relaxing. Even though I was a tourist, it’s easy to feel like a local. These are places like these that hang on and stay around. They hang on to what they love, the hang on for the regulars. And most importantly, they hang on for the sheer desire of just hanging on. Just like the greatest time of your life–you know it will end eventually but that makes the moment that much better.

what you see when you drive up. It not bad picture taking at night, it really is that dim.

what you see when you drive up. It not bad picture taking at night, it really is that dim.

Happy Eating!

Up Next: Dancing with Hippies, Searching for Alligators.

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