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Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:10

The best cities for jobs 2014

No. 6: Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
2013 Number Of Jobs: 823,000
Job Growth, 2013: 3.0%
Job Growth, 2008-13: 9.7%

For Full Article Please Click Here

Published in Nashville Ranking
Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:05

The South’s Red-Hot Town

Nashville and its economy are on fire, sparked by a booming cultural scene,
world-class health care, rising universities--and a really good spot on the map

It was, I think, the hum. At Midday recently at Joe Ledbetter's BrickTop's restaurant in Nashville–a busy spot on West End Avenue near Vanderbilt University and the city's Music Row–the Tennessee state commissioner of economic development was lunching nearby, at a table adjacent to the head of a private K-12 school. The rector of the city's largest Episcopal church sat in one corner near the general counsel of a huge privately held technology company that migrated to town from the West Coast a decade ago; the head of a major private-equity firm was in a booth across the way, debating between the bistro chicken and the Cobb salad. Absorbing the scene, a visiting out-of-towner looked up from his iced tea and shook his head with an admiration that bordered on envy. "This place," he said, "just sounds prosperous." So it did–and so does Nashville, where my family and I moved from New York in 2012. In the buzz, the visitor heard what Jay Gatsby heard when he listened to Daisy Buchanan, whose voice, Fitzgerald wrote, was "full of money." Loud but not deafening, energetic but not frantic, the BrickTop's vibe is a kind of running fever line tracking the upward mobility of a city so culturally and economically hot that parents at kids' basketball games joke about how the only place to go is down. The story of Nashville's current prosperity is a case study in how to make the most out of organic advantages. The specific factors behind its rise aren't readily transferable, but the larger lessons about what works are. Chief among the takeaways from the Music City's revival: culture is commerce.


Middle Tennessee is one of at least a dozen red-hot but sometimes overlooked regions that have successfully pulled themselves out of the Great Recession and into a broad, rising prosperity. Though the ingredients for the booms are often similar, each region has a different recipe. So what's Nashville's secret?

Tommy Frist, a son of Hospital Corporation of America's (HCA's) founding Frist family, who left Nashville in the late 1980s but returned a decade ago to work and raise his own family here, ticks off "four buckets" that he believes contribute significantly to the city's good fortune. There is employment stability in health care, entertainment, higher education and government. There is the wealth effect of ownership that extends deep into the ranks of some large enterprises, such as HCA, Ingram Industries and Dollar General, and those people and their money generally stay in middle Tennessee. There is a single metro government, thus reducing friction in governance and facilitating more private-public partnerships. And there is the more ineffable but no less real issue of livability. "Nashville is a soulful city in a way that Charlotte or Atlanta just don't seem to be," says Frist. "The vibe is cool, but it's warm and comforting too."

In some ways the current boom can be traced to a conversation at the Masters Golf Tournament that took place nearly half a century ago with legendary Nashville banker Sam Fleming. There Frist's grandfather and father, Drs. Thomas Frist Sr. and Jr., and Jack Massey, who was part of the deal to buy Kentucky Fried Chicken from Harland Sanders, talked over the economic virtues of privatized hospitals built to accommodate the growing Sunbelt. They saw an opportunity to professionalize the management of, and attract capital to, a heretofore cottage industry.

They were right, and HCA was soon born. The Nashville Healthcare Council has published a "family tree" of more than 500 companies, many of them spun off from HCA, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and HealthTrust, a cost-management company partnered with 1,400 hospitals that is itself an HCA descendant. More than 250 health care companies remain in the city, including 13 publicly traded companies directly employing over one-eighth of the city's workers and putting $30 billion into the local economy annually. HCA has bounced back from a massive health care fraud settlement, and the sector has experienced overall growth of over 63% since 2000 and employment growth of nearly 20% over the past decade.

Then there's music, a primal element in the life of the city. In the 1960s, a young Columbia Records staffer named Kris Kristofferson flew a helicopter into Johnny Cash's backyard in a Nashville suburb, recording demos in hand. In 1973 a drunk, depressed Willie Nelson left the downtown honky-tonk Tootsie's late one night to lie down in the middle of a snow-covered Broadway hoping to get run over. "It was a town of characters for a long time," says Don Cusic, a leading country-music historian and a music-business professor at Belmont University. "They haven't disappeared, but it's so corporate now."

The shift from chaos to corporatism might be bad for adding to lore and legend, but it's been fabulous for the bottom line. The music and entertainment industry provides $10 billion to Nashville's economy annually, sustaining more than 56,000 jobs. "It's like high school with money," says Gary Overton, CEO of Sony Music Nashville. "We all know each other. We know the spouses. We know the dogs. Our kids go to school together."

Taylor Swift's story blends the old and new Nashvilles–she arrived because of the former and stays because of the latter. "I decided to move to Nashville when I was about 10 years old," Swift tells Time. "I was obsessed with watching biography TV shows about Faith Hill and Shania Twain, and I noticed that both of them went to Nashville to start their careers. From that point on, I began relentlessly nagging, begging and pleading with my parents to take me on a trip there. When I was 11, my mom took my brother and me to Nashville on spring break, and we drove up and down Music Row." By the time Swift was 13, she had a development deal and her parents made the move from Pennsylvania.

Swift has not considered decamping to Los Angeles or New York City as her star has soared. "Choosing to have my management company based in Nashville just made sense because my family is there as well as my record label," she says. "I never think about moving home bases. It's hard to describe why you consider a town your home base, except that when people ask me, 'Where's home?' I don't even think before I say, 'Nashville.'"

Swift loves the Nashville code: the city leaves its stars alone. "The cool thing about spending time in Nashville is that no one knows when I'm there," she says. "In New York and L.A., there are photographers waiting on the street, and it seems like every errand I run is photographed and documented. You don't see as much evidence of me spending time in Nashville because I'm not being photographed at the grocery store."

In the beginning, however, there was not music but education–and lots of it. Nashville's first pass at branding was not Music City but the Athens of the South, a designation that recognized the high concentration of colleges and universities and a civic fondness for classical architecture. Beyond the aesthetics, the education sector is hugely significant. "It's a really powerful, synergistic relationship," says Vanderbilt chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, whose trajectory reflects Nashville's culture of organic growth. Zeppos went to Vanderbilt to teach in the law school, rose to become provost and now presides over one of the hottest schools in the U.S. (A word of disclosure: I am a visiting faculty member at Vanderbilt.)

Nashville is home to more than 100,000 students and 21 higher-education institutions, with 60% of graduates choosing to stay in the area. The leader is Vanderbilt, the second largest private employer in the state. Middle Tennessee State University, which has more than 24,000 students, pumps over $1 billion of revenue and nearly 12,000 jobs into the Nashville area. Belmont, which hosted a presidential debate in 2008, has more than doubled its enrollment since 2000, and its music-business program serves as a pipeline to Music Row.

The political element in Nashville's rise offers powerful evidence that reflexive partisanship is bad for business. Under the mayoralties of Democrats Phil Bredesen (who went on to serve two terms as governor), Bill Purcell and Karl Dean, Nashville has become the richest city in the most Republican of states. Part of the secret is that metro elections are nonpartisan. For the mayor and council members (there are 40 of them), there is a general election, and if you don't get 50% of the vote, there's a runoff. "It truly is nonpartisan–there's no party labels, and people don't talk about it," says Dean, the current mayor. "Historically, the city is just very moderate."

And very lucky in its political leadership. Purcell, Bredesen and Dean have given the city several decades of shrewd service. In the early 1990s, BellSouth (now AT&T) built the "Batman Building" as its regional headquarters in downtown Nashville. The building, the tallest in Tennessee, has become the anchor of the city's skyline. Bredesen also pushed ahead with plans for what would become Bridgestone Arena, without knowing what team or sport it would field. "We just went ahead and almost like a leap of faith put up this really monumental and iconic arena," says Steve Turner, a local entrepreneur and philanthropist.

To bring the NFL to town, Bredesen wooed Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams with the promise of a free, brand-new stadium, a $29 million relocation-fee sweetener and 100% of stadium-related revenue. A prominent family, the Ingrams, agreed to move one of its distribution facilities down the river to make way for what would become LP Field, home to the Tennessee Titans. At about the same time, Nashville changed its zoning codes, allowing residential projects in much of downtown that had been blocked off since the mid-1970s.

In 2010, with construction under way on the nearly $600 million Music City Center, Nashville offered huge tax incentives to attract a luxury hotel, eventually hauling in the $268 million, 800-room Omni. The hotel shares a lobby with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which will double in size in the midst of this year's $100 million fundraising campaign. The expanded music shrine may bring even more visitors to town. The current tourist boom helped area hotels book nearly all their rooms on 31 weekends in 2013.

Generating growth is one thing. Sustaining it is another. Tennessee has no income tax–a great starter for attracting businesses and new residents but not a great finisher for raising large sums for public-sector investment, particularly for education, a longtime area of concern. One thing about prosperity is that it tends to put a city's vices as well as its virtues on vivid display. Over 72% of students in metropolitan Nashville's public schools are economically disadvantaged. Only a third of elementary- and middle-school students meet grade-level standards in math, and 2 out of 5 meet the grade level in reading. Nashville is now on the map for education-reform activists, largely because in 2010 Tennessee was one of the first two states to win a Race to the Top grant, receiving $500 million over four years from the federal government. Dean considers education one of his top two priorities for the future. (The other is transit, and his plan to connect the city's east and west sides through a bus rapid-transit line has ignited fierce debate.)

On any given day at BrickTop's, usually over deviled eggs and sugar bacon–a specialty of Ledbetter's–there are reformers and politicians and bankers and artists and academics talking about all of this and more. Nashville has done a masterly job of assessing what's right in front of it–the health care story, the music story, the higher-education story–and then figuring out how to use those stories to create appealing lives and livelihoods. And the city has managed all this with more than a little grace and graciousness; rough edges tend to be smoothed out by an ethos of manners and hospitality. Running into neighbors and new colleagues in the bar that connects the front door to the dining room, newcomers to town hear a common refrain. "We're glad you're here," people say–words that ring true amid the buzz of good times and that help explain why so many folks are glad to be coming to a big civic party that shows every sign of having only just gotten started.

–With reporting by Alex Rogers/Washington


Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described the driving force behind the project that would become Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.

Published in Nashville Ranking
Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:02

52 Places to Go in 2014

Witness a city in transformation, glimpse exotic animals, explore the past and enjoy that beach before the crowds.


15. Nashville, Tenn.


Leather jackets and skinny jeans join cowboy boots.


Country music lovers have long made the pilgrimage to Nashville, but now the city has fast gained cachet among rock fans and foodies. The city’s vibrant scene is home to the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Jeff the Brotherhood and Diarrhea Planet, who all play in town occasionally. And a youthquake is transforming scruffy neighborhoods like 12South and East Nashville into hipster hubs. New hangouts include Pinewood Social, a bar, restaurant, bowling alley and karaoke joint, and the 404, a restaurant and boutique hotel in a former auto garage. Add to that a thriving culinary scene, exemplified by the Music City Eats Festival, back for a second year in September. And Nashville’s old standbys — like the honky-tonk Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and the venerable Ryman — are as fun as ever.— STEVEN KURUTZ


Published in Nashville Ranking

Staff Reporter-Nashville Business Journal

For the first time ever, the median sales price for a single-family home in Nashville surpassed $200,000 in June, the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors announced today.

The median price for a single-family home sold in Nashville last month was $205,950, up from $179,000 a year ago. The median price for a condo sold in June dropped to $159,000, down from $160,000 a year ago.

The previous high for a single-family home was $196,000, which was set back in June of 2007.

"Seeing prices increase may encourage some people to consider selling, which would be helpful in light of the fact that inventory remains low," said GNAR President Price Lechleiterin a news release. "Quality properties are selling very quickly right now."

There were 3,038 home sales reported in the Nashville area in June, up 23.8 percent from a year ago.

Poll: Is Nashville experiencing a housing bubble?

"The positive trends in real estate activity should not be taken for granted. Interest rates have begun to increase, which is not surprising," Lechleiter said. "But, there are questions about possible decisions by the federal government impacting the mortgage interest deduction, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And, several key regulations from the Dodd-Frank legislation that negatively impact mortgage lending are scheduled to go into effect in January of 2014. We are closely monitoring what happens with these issues and working with legislators to best protect homeowners, commercial property owners and the health of the real estate industry as a whole."

Single-family homes sold in June had sat on the market for an average of 73 days. Nashville's total inventory of available homes, condos and lots stood at 16,576 at the end of June, down from 19,136 a year ago.

"Increasing sales during the summer season is typical, but the number of closings would likely be even higher if more quality inventory were available," Lechleiter said. "There is currently only about a four-month supply of single-family homes, not counting the fact that more than 3,000 of the available properties have contracts pending. Buyers are well-represented and know what they are looking for in their home searches. Potential sellers should remember that homes that are truly market-ready are moving well, but buyers are only interested in the properties that have been prepared and priced properly."

Published in Nashville Ranking

Staff Reporter-Nashville Business Journal

Greater Nashville’s seemingly sluggish housing recovery has shifted into a summertime surge.

Home prices are breaking records, supply is shrinking, sales are climbing and builders are busier than they have been in years.

In the past few months, the ailing housing industry has made a sharp turn — in both sales and lending — toward a sellers’ market. It’s a key driver in Middle Tennessee’s economic recovery at a time when other sectors still need a boost.

“It’s been a dramatic shift,” said Jack Miller, an agent with Nashville-based Parks Realty. “We are trying our best to keep up with the demand. … In 2009 we waited for the phone to ring. Today we try to get out … the door before the phone rings. It’s a new world.”

The turnaround is not only benefiting real-estate brokers and home builders. Retailers, bankers and other industries stand to feel the bounce.

Homebuyers stimulate the economy in lots of ways. They buy furniture, refrigerators, garden hoses and lawn mowers. And when home values go up, homeowners feel better about their finances and are more apt to spend.

A healthy housing supply also is critical for business growth. Housing is at the top of the list for companies deciding where to relocate.

The recent frenzy — limited supply means bidding wars are back — is reminiscent of the early 2000s. But real estate professionals are not worried about another bubble. Construction was so constrained during the recession that a lack of supply is now driving up prices.

Suddenly, builders can’t build new homes fast enough. Buyers are snagging them before construction is complete with little to no concessions from builders.

“Builders are getting paid right now,” said David McGowan, president of Regent Homes. “Two years ago we were really struggling to keep the doors open and pay the subcontractors and the banks. It’s back to profitability.”

Home construction was up 34 percent during the first quarter in Greater Nashville, according to Metrostudy, a real estate tracking company. Meanwhile, sales of new homes were up 21 percent. The surge in home construction is a sign of job growth.

“Traffic is very strong,” McGowan said. “The latest uptick in interest rates has caused a lot of people to get off the fence, and banks have opened the door and started to lend to people who have equity. Things have greatly improved over the past nine to 12 months.”

Lending rebounds

Middle Tennessee banker Richard Herrington said the second quarter saw a “remarkable increase” in real estate activity compared to last year.

“We have never had volume like this in the 20 years we’ve been in Williamson County,” said Herrington, president of Franklin Synergy Bank. “It’s by far the best first half we’ve ever had.”

In the second quarter, the number of mortgages closed by Franklin Synergy was up 35 percent compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, the number of construction loans the bank closed was up 62 percent.

Buyers are looking for a home where they can close a sale in 30 days, said McGowan, but their options are slim.

A big worry among real estate professionals is the shortage of lots ready for home construction, said McGowan, adding that we are already seeing shortages in certain areas of Williamson and Davidson counties.

With demand for new homes outpacing supply, Nashville’s stock of new single-family homes has dipped to a two-month supply, down from a high of 3.8 months three years ago, according to Metrostudy.

With demand strong and supply low, prices are on the rise.

For the first time ever, the median sales price for a single-family home in Nashville surpassed $200,000 in June, according to the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

The median price for a single-family home sold in Nashville last month was $205,950, up from $179,000 a year ago. The previous high was $196,000, which was set in June 2007.

In today’s market, homes are selling on average within 1.3 percent of list price in Nashville, according to ZipRealty.

Prices have increased rapidly across the country. From May 17 to June 15, the median sales price of nearly $276,000 in the metro areas that ZipRealty analyzed was $5,000 higher than just two weeks earlier, and 15.8 percent higher than in the same period of 2012.

“Home sellers are moving back into the market with slightly greater confidence and in growing numbers today,” ZipRealty CEO and President Lanny Baker said.

Many expect the rising prices to slow.

“With the recent jump in mortgage rates, on top of steady home price increases over the past several quarters, there are good reasons to anticipate some cooling off in the housing market; however it was difficult to detect any clear signs of that change in trend as of mid-June,” Baker said.

Bidding wars return

So far this year, Realtor Stephanie Crawford of Keller Williams has done more business than all of last year.

These days she’s getting nearly 250 inquiries a month from her website. During the recession, that number was closer to 100.

If a home is renovated, located in a hot neighborhood with little inventory and priced right, it’s not uncommon for a seller to get multiple offers shortly after listing.

“Bidding wars are becoming the norm in certain neighborhoods,” Crawford said, pointing to East Nashville as one example.

“It’s crazy what’s going on over there,” she said. “I recently had a buyer that bid on a property, and we were one of 11 buyers. We bid $10,000 over list, and we did not win.”

A big factor driving Nashville’s housing recovery is corporate relocations.

“Over the last year we’ve seen both markets — local buyers and the out-of-town buyers — rebound,” Miller said. “Especially in upscale areas we have had a large influx of corporate relocations, which came to a near shutdown for years.”

During the recession, companies nationwide tightened their belts in what they were offering to move people across the country. And people who were offered an opportunity to relocate were reluctant to sell their home in a down housing market.

Real estate professionals believe the recent shift is just the beginning of the next housing boom.

“Prices [in some areas] are still not what they were at the height of the recession in 2007,” Crawford said.

And while Nashville, Brentwood and Franklin are on fire, others areas of Middle Tennessee are lagging.

“In some of the outlying areas the story is a little different,” Miller said. “Cheatham County and Fairview are still in somewhat of a lull. They haven’t turned the corner yet.”

Published in Nashville Ranking
Thursday, 15 May 2014 14:31

The Best Big Cities for Renters

Timing Is Everything

By Suzanne Woolley - Mar 6, 2013 3:30 PM CT

To many of us, renting a home seems like throwing away money. Shouldn't we buy and let that money build equity, rather than line a landlord's pocket? Turns out that in many major cities it makes perfect financial sense to rent for a few years or more, according to real estate information web site Zillow.  Zillow's "breakeven horizon" metric crunches the costs of owning or renting over 30 years -- tracking them, in the case of a home, from purchase to sale. Where the two sets of costs converge is the point after which buying is smarter. For example, if you're going to live in Nashville in for two years, buying won't give you any financial edge over renting, because the breakeven is 2.6 years. In New York, with home values high, let's just say it takes even longer.

No. 10: Nashville

Breakeven horizon: 2.6 years* 

Zillow Rent Index: 3.8%*

Homes sold at a loss: 24.56%*

On the TV show "Nashville," country music star Rayna James's home is a 6-bedroom, 12-bath, 20,533-square-foot estate. In real life, the house went on the market with a $19.5 million price tag last fall -- a far cry from the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) of $140,000 for Nashville. With that number up 6 percent, Nashville's housing market has held up fairly well compared with that of Memphis, where home values are down 3.5 percent and rental rates are about flat, says Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. The Zillow Rent Index (ZRI) for the city rose 3.8 percent. In Nashville, it takes just over 2.6 years before buying starts making more financial sense than renting.

*ZRI and ZHVI median figures show year-over-year percent change for December 2012. The breakeven analysis was done using data through September 2012. Home loss figures are for December 2012.

Published in Nashville Ranking
"If what you've done is stupid... but it works, then it really isn't that stupid after all."
Hello Fellow Seekers,  Happy Monday... yes HAPPY Monday!  Interesting how differently we look a Monday vs. say Friday or Saturday isn't it?  I'm on my back porch writing this and I couldn't help but notice that the birds don't know it's Monday.  They are just as happy and chirpy as they were on Saturday.  Hmmm, what could it be?  Ignorance?  Well, maybe... they do say "Ignorance is Bliss".  Hmmm, maybe it's Attitude.  Yep, I think that's it, a mixture of Ignorance and Attitude.
You see those birds... they just don't know it's Monday.  They are ignorant (ignorance... much different that "stupid" btw... nothing wrong with ignorance. Stupid's a different story... they say, "You can't fix stupid." ;^)  They just don't know that they're are supposed to be having a gloomy Monday.  Also, their attitude towards life is just what is was on FridaySaturday or any other day of the week.
If you're a long term reader of this little blog I do randomly, you know that the word and concept of "attitude" pops up regularly.  You know that I always try to focus on "positivity".  You hopefully remember, that we move towards and eventually become what we think about, focus on, and dream about.  And, hopefully by now, you understand and really believe that, "We, as human beings, behave and act NOT in accordance with the truth as the truth might REALLY BE, but we behave and act in accordance with truth as we THINK it to be and BELIEVE it to be."
So, ask yourself... Has life beat the fun out of me?  Do I beat the fun out of others with my actions, or do I foster an attitude of fun in others around me?  Just askin'.  Hope you do the latter.  For Mother's Day my daughter, Shelby, taught us all a lesson in fun.  Of course we went out to eat (mandatory southern ritual for any special event, happy or sad it seems).  Went to "The Loveless Cafe" in West Nashville and had a great attitude through the hour and a half wait too.  It was worth it.  But then when we came home with my 89 year old Mom and Jackie (Shelby's Mom and my wife of 27 years on the 24th this month), we did the silliest thing we've ever done on Mother's Day.  We had FUN.  We laughed and giggled like little kids.
It was very simple actually.  Shelby had drawn and cut out 10-12 "facial things" like glasses, hats, crowns, mustaches, beards, lips, etc.  She then attached them to little sticks.  When we got back home to Moms (too full, sleepy and tired to have fun) Shelby broke out these homemade "props" and we started holding them up on our head and faces and taking pictures.  We laughed until we cried at some of the silliness of it all and just how goofy and funny we looked.  We had a ball... and some fun pictures to remember the day.  Here's a collage of a few... 
So, my question to you is "Have you let life beat the fun out of you?"  It will you know, but only if you let it.  I was at a very fun get together BBQ thing that one of my favorite people in the whole world, Britnie Turner, threw at her new "digs" last week.  I got to talking about this subject with a few people there and used my favorite example of life beating the fun out of us.
Walk into a room full of 25-40 year old adults and ask, "How many of you can draw good pictures?  Raise your hand if you are a good drawer."  What happens?  Usually few hands go up.  You hear remarks like... "Not me."  "I'm a terrible drawer."  "I can't even draw a good stick man!"  Then walk into a room of 5-6 year olds, or better still imagine if you could magically "rewind" that same group of adults back to that age, and ask, "How many of you can draw good pictures?  Raise your hand if you are a good drawer."  Yep, you guessed it.  Almost all the hands will fly up.  Arms would be flailing around.  You will hear them say, "Me, Me... Pick Me!"  "I'm a great drawer!"  "Here let me draw you a picture of my dog!"... and so on.
OK, it's just ignorance and attitude.  I actually think that the combination of those two mindsets are the closest thing to "the fountain of youth" in life.  Ever see a sad crazy person?  Rarely.  Somewhere along the way we let life tell us what we were, or more importantly what we weren't... and we bought it!  It may have been some stupid teacher, or even an ignorant parent, friend or playmate that said, "You can't draw.", or "That picture looks stupid.", and we gave them the right to sanction us.  Maybe it was because they were bigger than us, or we thought they were smarter than us.  Ignorance, and Attitude.  We let them change us.  We bought it.  Too bad... we would all would have been so much more creative and successful if we had just not given them sanction over us, if we had just not listened, and we had... behaved and acted in accordance with the truth as we THOUGHT it to be and BELIEVED it to be.
So that my story for the day... and I'm stickin' to it.  Go out today and act like it's Friday.  Have some fun.  Make someone laugh so hard they cry.  And I guarantee you will laugh hard too.  You just can't help it.  Thank you for reading this!
Oh, and say "Happy Saturday" to the first bird you see today!
Much Obliged, Phil
Make it an exceptional day... It is yours to think, see, believe and make happen!
Phil Dildine, CCIM
Head Coach & Team Owner - CLOUD REALTY,LLC(formerly The Morris Companies, LLC)
Published in Phil's Blog
“Unconsciously we all have a standard by which we measure other men, and if we examine closely we find that this standard is a very simple one, and is this: we admire them, we envy them, for great qualities we ourselves lack. Hero worship consists in just that. Our heroes are men who do things which we recognize, with regret, and sometimes with a secret shame, that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes.” ― Mark Twain
I will be brief today (get back up off the floor and into your chair ;^).  I will spend tomorrow evening trying to perform, host and coordinate a concert in an honorable manner that goes to the benefit of people who are just like you and me, but have just done something greater than we have possibly. And that is to give of yourself in the most significant way... in the sacrifice of body and mind, and some in the gift of their life. What an honor for all of us performing at and attending the "Concert For Local Wounded Heroes" at the Franklin Theatre it will be. I have been honored to be allowed to be a part of this effort to give back. Many of you reading this have given back too. Some by passing on the other offerings I wrote by forwarding the email, some of you writing me back and telling me your thoughts (keeps me going, thanks) and many of you by gifting some tickets that have already been given to Veterans who were happy, proud and excited to attend the concert and be a part of helping other great American Heroes. I just wanted to say, "Thank You!"
As you go through today and all the "problems and challenges" of your busy work day. Pause and send up and out some positive thoughts to others and remember just how lucky and blessed you are. If you are having some problems, maybe the short offering below from one of my Heroes, Lou Tice, will help you. I hope it does and I hope that you will lift yourself up and look around you and remember that if we were all sitting in a circle with our troubles piled in front of us to potentially trade with someone else, we would probably look around and quickly pull our pile back to ourselves.
I hope you will consider attending the concert if you can, or it's not too late to add your name to the ones that have gifted some tickets to another deserving Veteran. Visit and let me know you want to help and I will make it happen. To all of you who read these little "Today's Wisdoms" I send out, thank you, and thanks for letting me promote this event in the last few. It's a little different than my usual offerings of "positivity" (or is it?!?).
There's a line in a song I will sing tomorrow night that says, "Some gave a little... But he gave it all."  My musical offering today was sent to me by Don Ross, prophetically as I try to transform myself back into my past musical alter ego, "Phil Delta" and endeavor to raise money to support heroes. I've gained a lot of respect for "Delta" Airlines who honors so those "Who Gave It All" Click here --->  Thanks Don, Great timing!
Happiness is a Choice


What would it take to make you happy? Think about your answer for a moment, because we have reasons to be happy every day, even if the world around us seems to have come unglued.

Some of you think that if you only had this or that particular thing you would be happy. Others believe that if you were only in love with someone wonderful, who loved you back, then you would be happy. And there are probably still others who believe that if God would work a miracle and cure you or someone you love of an illness, that would make you happy.

But here is the thing: Happiness is a choice you make, not something that does or doesn't happen to you.  You can choose to be happy right now, no matter what you have or don't have.

The first step is gratitude.  If you develop and heighten your powers of appreciation by focusing on the beauty in your life instead of the imperfections, you will be halfway there. Take a moment. You will see an abundance of beauty in your life, regardless of your surroundings or circumstances, if you will only look for it. You will be adopting the "attitude of gratitude."

Once you can see it - appreciate it!  Not just intellectually - let it give you real joy. You see, the time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, and the reasons to be happy are all around us.

So what are you waiting for? Decide for yourself. Choose to be happy and see how it affects everything else you think, see and do!

Much Obliged, Phil
Make it an exceptional day... It is yours to think, see, believe and make happen!
"We, as human beings, behave and act not in accordance with the truth as the truth might really be, but we behave and act in accordance with the truth as we think it to be or believe it to be." Lou Tice


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