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Archive for June, 2010

Finish the Race

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Brian Gentry  – Landed Gentry Homes & Communities

So this past weekend, my family and I participated in the Tesoro Refining March Point Run.  It’s a great event in the Skagit County and Whidbey Island area.  Inexpensive, healthy fun for the whole family, all the proceeds go to the United Way, plus they feed you! 

The first thing we did was the Kids ½ Mile, which I ran with my 4 year old daughter Bella Kate (BK).  Her first distance race!  I think her parents were more excited for her then she was, but she was enthusiastic and doing well.   Then as we rounded the corner toward the finish line, BK told me she was “done”.  Really?  We were a mere few hundred feet from the finish line!  This must be time for a fatherly pep talk… so ensued the classic discussion about how we “finish what we start”.  So with a little encouragement, a few cheers from the sidelines, off she went and finished in a respectable 6th place in the 5 and under category.

The Finisher!

So then it was time for Dad (Me) to run in the 10k race.   I’m a recreational runner, not hard core, but over the past couple years I’ve ran some road events, including a few half marathons.  So a 10k should really be pretty straight forward.  Off I go, feeling pretty good, coming up to the first hill, then less than two miles into a 6 plus mile run, my heart rate shoots up… I actually felt like I might pass out…  I had hit the wall.

I stopped and started walking.  Feeling a bit dejected, my ego a bit tarnished, trying to figure out what was wrong with me, then all of a sudden I actually found myself thinking about quitting the race.  Quit?  Reasonable thought, I didn’t feel well, we had bit fighting a bit of a stomach bug during the week, may have contributed to my current condition.  There were plenty of good reasons to quit, to give up, try it another day.   In fact some might call that decision an act in sound judgment.

Then I thought back to a conversation that I had with a little 4 year old girl just a half hour earlier.  “We finish what we start”.  How could I look BK in the eyes and say Daddy didn’t feel well so he quit?  I just keep walking all the way to the next water station.  Took in some water and walked a little more, realizing that I’ve got to finish this race one way or the other…  so I started running again.  I’d love to say I ran the rest of the way, came in first, went home with the big trophy!  What really happened is that  I ended up walking a few other times as well, but in the in the end, I ran across the finish line with BK running out to meet me and cross the finish line with me. 

It was a terrible run time, but an amazing lesson.   Finish what you start… no matter what I’m doing, I find it feels the sweetest when I finish.  It may not be the prettiest finish, there may be a few bumps, scrapes along the way, detours, maybe you’ve got to come up with a “Plan B” or “Plan C” but get it done.   

Personally and professionally, there have been quite a few times over the years where “getting it done” seems nearly impossible, quitting seemed like the most prudent option.  Collectively as a family and as a company we have had to make some adjustments to “get it done”, but we are resolute in finishing what we have started.  As we endure, endeavor to overcome, it’s amazing how you begin to see the rewards beginning to appear.  I’m grateful that my little girl reminded me of this key principal… finish what you start.  I am excited to see what is going to be meeting me at the finish line.

The Coach – A Tribute to John Wooden

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Brian Gentry ~ Landed Gentry Homes & Communities

I’m sure this is one of the thousands of blog posts honoring the great John Wooden, who passed away at the ripe age of 99 this past Friday, June 4th.  Coach Wooden was a man who left a legacy that has spanned generations, I think it could be safe to say that his life impacted millions of people in the US and around the world.

I wasn’t even alive when Coach Wooden led some of the great UCLA championship basketball teams in 1960’s and early ‘70’s, in fact he coached his last game a few months before I was born.  That said, his influence is peppered throughout dozens of books and articles I have read over the past decade, and most of these readings had nothing to do with sports.  The business, management, leadership and faith world found John Wooden because he taught timeless principals. 

He was a teacher at heart, a man who got his professional start educating high school boys in the 1930’s and  continued teaching and influencing others through the first decade of the 21st century.  He was a part of writing several books, even in his late 90’s!  A true teacher is a lifelong learner and he was no exception, as he put it: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”.  Building value in himself and others was instilled in him from a young age.  When he graduated from grammar school his father, Joshua Wooden, gave young John what has become known as:  

John Wooden’s Seven Point Creed

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Make each day your masterpiece.
  • Help others.
  • Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  • Make friendship a fine art.
  • Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  • Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Legend is that he carried the Creed on a slip of paper in his pocket and referenced it daily.   Imagine building your life on values such as these, in a focused, on purpose way?  If he was 13 when his father shared these nuggets of wisdom with him, Coach Wooden would have based his life on these principals for approximately 86 years, much longer than the average person in the US will even live. It is no wonder success followed John Wooden wherever he went.

There is so much more to say, but what strikes me the most is how he lived.   He lived a simple, humble life, focused on relationships, faith and contributing to others.   A man who poured out wisdom and encouraged character in the people he came in contact with whether in person or through his writings.   I aspire to live a meaningful life, an impactful life with my family, my relationship and in our daily activities as Landed Gentry.  As a people and as a nation we have been blessed to have had a leader such as John Wooden as part of our national fabric.

Coach you have made a difference, far greater than you may have ever known.  John Wooden has not left us, his impact will always be with us, he simply got called up to the pro’s.

John Robert Wooden   (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010)

Link to New York Times Obituary:


Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

“Sometimes the right thing and the hard thing are the same thing. I read that on a tea bag.” – Liz Lemon

Life is full of hard decisions.  We all face hard challenges at some point, honestly those hard choices are probably more regularly then we would like.  Tom Peters put it this way “If you’re not scared you’re not growing”.  That said I know a lot of us are growing, maybe more often then we would care for.

It seems as though life’s choices really don’t get any easier.  Sure sometimes, certain decisions are clearer than others, but in today’s environment, uncertainty seems to prevail.  Yet there are people who are making decisions now.  What is the difference? What has allowed them the clarity they need to move ahead?

So what is the right decision for you? Maybe it’s time to weigh out the pros and cons and decide what you really want. What do you need to be doing to make your life better?  Hard questions, but needed questions.  I know Kendra, myself and others at Landed Gentry have been seeing this from some our customers theses past few weeks.  There is a bit of anxiety, but they are making the changes they need to, to make their life better for themselves and their family.  Living in indecision can in and of it’s self be a decision, but I’m finding that ultimately we all really know what we want.  Now we just need to have the courage to make it happen, one decision at a time.  Because most of often, the right choice and hard choice are in fact the same thing.