By Todd Shea
2023 President
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors

You are never too old or too experienced to learn something. I was reminded twice this past week and wanted to pass along both lessons. The first is a story told by our Association Executive, Bob Hart. He runs the staff behind our local Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS®. Bob was running a new board of directors orientation and outlined a great story. It went like this…

A woman was teaching her daughter how to make meatloaf. She explained to her daughter that you make it, cut off both ends, and put it in the pan. The daughter asked, “Mom, why do you cut off both sides of the meatloaf?” The mother thought and then said, “I’m not sure, but that is how my mother made it, so I am passing that along to you.” Then she added, “Why don’t we ask my mom? I am curious now.” So, the mom and daughter went to the child’s grandmother and asked. The grandmother thought back and said, “Well, you know what, I am not really sure. That was the way my mother made it for years and so I taught you the way I learned.” So now the child, mother, and grandmother were all curious. Luckily, the child’s great-grandmother was still living. They went and visited her and asked, “Great grandmother, why do you cut off the ends of the meatloaf before putting it in the pan?” She smiled and replied, “I did that because I had to cut the ends off to get it in the size pan that I used. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY YOU ALL STILL DO THAT!”

I love the example of this story, showing that unless you question ideas, work for new solutions or make changes, you may be making the same “mistakes” for years or doing things unnecessarily for years. What is your meatloaf?

The second, which had a similar thread for me last week, was in the search to play better golf. I went to take a lesson at GOLFTEC on East Haley St. My dad told me years ago to either pick tennis or golf, lifelong sports that you can play for business and pleasure. He was right, and after trying tennis, I settled on golf and have enjoyed playing with clients, co-workers, friends, and family for years. That was about 25 years ago, and all that while, I had just been learning from input from those same friends, family, and other players on the course. Well, this year, I set a goal to shoot consistently in the low 80’s.

In comparison, professional golfers play in the low 70’s and 60’s and I am currently in the low 90’s most of the time. So as this is my goal, one of my action steps was to take a lesson or a couple of lessons, which brought me to GOLFTEC. Stephen Douglas, the owner, and I met for my first lesson. He watched my swing and decided to focus on two main changes to start.

After making those changes – which were large parts of my swing – I am suddenly hitting the ball consistently straight. I mean, wow! It’s been 25 years since I have been battling a curving ball and chunking my irons (when the grass divot goes further than the ball, haha), and now, with one lesson and two changes, I am on the road to much better golf.

Coaching is such an essential part of life. It was an excellent reminder to be open to others’ feedback, get coaching if you want to get better at something, and if you think you know something, it’s always good to run it by someone you know is a professional in that field. I hope these two fantastic reminders help you this year. Thanks to Bob Hart and Stephen Douglas. You both made for a great week!

Todd Shea is the 2023 president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR). He is a California licensed real estate agent with the Zia Group powered by eXp Realty here in Santa Barbara. He has served on and chaired several committees within the SBAOR and served on its board of directors. Todd can be reached at 805.453.7730 and or message and follow @toddshearealtor on Instagram. 


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