I know what you might be thinking - how could I possibly be thinking about Spring in what feels like the dead of winter? The days are chilled, there are, in fact, many clouds in sight, and some days it feels as if the sun may never come again.

I want you to remember the last time you felt like something wasn’t going to end. What did it feel like, taste like, and smell like? Can you recall how you felt? Personally, I remember a time less than one year ago, when the house was covered in DIY half-done projects, and the aroma of my third and final attempt at banana bread filled my home. Working from home no longer felt like a staycation, and oh boy, did I brush my teeth this morning? I remember thinking, “Is this how life is now?”

Looking back, I can see that for better or worse, things always shift, and then they shift again, and then they, you guessed it, shift again. This year, can we simply be with the shift? Can we flow with the currents of life? Shifting and adapting are what keep our species alive. It’s our superpower.

Remember this as your moment of darkness before dawn. Soon, the flowers will bloom, and the sun will warm your chilled skin. You’ll take a walk with your friends, kids, parents, or maybe just with yourself, and you’ll remember that blip in time that felt like an eternity, and you’ll compare it to the sweetness you’re feeling at that moment.

When we understand that all things seemingly good or seemingly bad inevitably change, we learn to let go of those labels entirely. Nothing is good and nothing is bad; it’s just life. And with every evolutionary moment, we learn, grow, and yes, we change.

Kind Regards,

Gino Pezzani

Your Real Estate Consultant For Life

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A teacher and his student were walking through the forest. The student asked, “Why are most people’s minds restless?" The teacher smiled and told his student a story:

One beautiful day, an elephant was standing by the shade of a tree, eating leaves. Suddenly, a small fly came buzzing and landed on the elephant’s ear. The elephant stayed calm and continued to eat. The fly flew around the elephant’s ear, buzzing noisily, but the elephant seemed to be unaffected.

This bewildered the fly, and it asked, “Are you deaf?” “No,” the elephant answered. “Then why aren’t you bothered by my buzz? What is your secret? How can you stay so calm and still?”

The elephant stopped eating and said, "My five senses do not disturb my peace, because they do not rule my attention. I am in control of my mind and my thoughts, and therefore, I can direct my attention where I want, and ignore any disturbances, including your buzz. Therefore I can stay peaceful.”

At the end of the story, the student’s eyes opened wide, and a smile appeared on his face. “Now I understand! If I am in command of my five senses, my mind will become calm, and I will be able to disregard the restlessness.”

“That’s right,” answered the teacher.

“The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention goes. Control your attention, and you control your mind.” 

If you like this kind of story, please let me know...

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To succeed on the job, you first have to land that job. Aside from your skills and qualifications, most interviewers look for an attitude they like in a candidate. A study published in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology suggests that the best way to do that is by emphasizing not what you’ve accomplished, but how you accomplished it.

In a series of experiments in the United States and the Netherlands, subjects participated in a mock job interview. “Candidates” were told to talk positively about themselves, but receivers found themselves more interested in the efforts and struggles the candidates had to deal with, rather than the final results they achieved.

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Many organizations and employees are seeing the benefits of remote working—less expense on office space, better work/life balance, increased flexibility, and so on. That means working from home isn’t likely to go away entirely, even as the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs.

•Adjust your expectations. Even now, some managers may struggle with keeping track of employees who aren’t just down the hall. You don’t have to see each employee every minute of every day to know that they’re doing their job—you can’t do that anyway. Focus on KPIs, benchmarks, and deadlines to monitor performance at a distance.

•Share successes. When a remote employee lands a new client or does a great job on a project, don’t keep the news to yourself. Recognize positive accomplishments with a group email or in a Zoom staff meeting so everyone knows what is possible to achieve. This sends the message that you trust people and value their work when they succeed.

•Use technology for connection and accountability. You may not communicate every day, but don’t let that be an excuse to neglect your employees. Use email and other tools to check in often—not so much that you overwhelm them, but just enough to make sure they’re on track.

•Ask for feedback. Communication shouldn’t be one-way, especially when you’re distanced. Ask employees what they need from you in terms of time and resources. They may want more frequent or less frequent communication, or better access to information, to do their jobs. Respond as best you can to make the relationship flow easily.

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Did you know— the ancient Vikings measured age in how many winters someone lived through? I just love that idea, like we aren’t merely surviving the winter months with extra-thick socks while clutching a warm mug, but we are living through them and truly taking in all they have to offer and thriving in response.

I think we can all agree that 2021 was challenging and we are all likely to anticipate 2022 with a sense that there is a fresh start on the horizon. However, if we channel our inner Viking (skipping the horned hats), we are obligated to bring vivid life into this typically bleak month, rather than seeing it as something to survive until warmer times. There is living to be done in January, my friend!

Those ancient Vikings were masters of the sea and had an innate understanding of navigation by natural elements. Like many ancient cultures, they noted landmarks for reference points and used the stars to navigate their way while out at sea, however they also kept track of their route through storytelling. Reciting the route they took in a poetic tale was not only entertaining, but it was also a way to hand down trade routes through generations.

I’m sharing this with you because I think there is value in giving voice to the course you plan to take as you begin the journey through 2022. All journeys begin with a plan and end with a story - I hope your story this year is a good one!

Gino Pezzani
DIEN Realty
604-418-9366

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Schools may be opening up, but some remote e-learning will no doubt continue until the pandemic is well and truly gone. Online classes will remain, so be careful of the strain too much screen time can put on a young person’s eyes. Follow this guidance from U.S. News & World Report.

•Take regular breaks. Set a timer to remind kids to look away from the screen every 20 minutes or so.

•Mark book chapters. Use paperclips to mark real books every few chapters to again encourage kids to rest their eyes.

•Keep screens at arm’s length. The screen of your child’s laptop or tablet should be 18–24 inches from their eyes.

•Reduce glare. Place the light source behind your child’s back; not behind the screen. Use the monitor’s controls to adjust brightness and contrast so it’s easy on the eyes. Don’t keep the room too dark, or the screen’s brightness can aggravate after-images and cause eye discomfort.

Stop before bedtime. Kids should discontinue screen watching 30–60 minutes before going to bed.

•Spend time outdoors. After doing their school work, or during breaks, have children spend some time outdoors. Exposure to natural light can slow the development of nearsightedness, especially in younger children.

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The internet is full of advice on how to succeed, but not all of it’s good. Inc. Magazine points at some common “words of wisdom” that aren’t all that wise...

•“Don’t get too close to people.” Relationships are the key to success. If you hold yourself at arm’s length, people won’t trust you. Keep your friendships on a professional level, but don’t shy away from building strong, long-lasting relationships with employees, co-workers, managers, and customers.


•“Stick to your business plan.” No matter how good your plan is, it shouldn’t be set in stone.

Situations change, and if you’re not willing and able to adapt and adjust, you’ll run your career into the ground. Stay on top of trends and developments in your industry so you can react quickly.

•“Do what you love.” You probably shouldn’t pursue a career in a field or position you absolutely hate, but just because you love to cook doesn’t mean you’ll be able to open and run a 5-star restaurant. Figure out what you do best, and look for a career that fits your talents. You’ll be happier and more successful in the long run.

“Never say no.” The customer isn’t always right, or reasonable. You may think you can’t afford to turn down an opportunity, but take the time to consider whether a request is reasonable, and if you’re the right person (or organization) to do it. You’ll last longer by being judicious about where to invest your energy and resources instead of trying to please absolutely everybody.

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Eat more plants. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, antioxidants, and lots of vitamins and minerals.

•Limit animal fat. Stick to mono-unsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados, and many nuts, along with polyunsaturated fats from fish like wild salmon and sardines.

•Watch your sugar intake. Americans consume roughly 22 teaspoons per day. Limit sugar intake by checking the labels on everything you buy.

•Exercise often. The American Heart Association advises about 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.

•Watch your stress. Stress can heighten your heart disease risk. Try yoga and meditation!

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A university professor began reflecting on the people who’d had a positive impact on his life. In particular he remembered a schoolteacher who’d gone out of her way to instill in him a love of poetry. He hadn’t seen or spoken to her in many years, but he located her address and sent her a letter of thanks.

A short time later, he received this reply: “I cannot tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my 80s, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely, and, like the last leaf of autumn, lingering behind. You will be interested to know that I taught school for 50 years and yours is the first note of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue-cold morning, and it cheered me as nothing has in many years.” The teacher’s note brought the professor to tears—and then he began searching for others who’d shaped his life, just to say thanks.

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According to The List website, YouTube performer Riceman once did a social experiment: He told people his brother was missing to see how they would react.

He saw a homeless man standing on a corner, holding up a sign reading: "U.S. Vet in need, please help." Riceman gave the man some change, told him his brother was missing, and  gave him a flyer with his brother's picture.

Instead of holding up his own sign to passing cars, the homeless vet held up the sign with Riceman’s missing brother on it.

When Riceman returned, he told the homeless man about the experiment and asked him why he chose to hold up the missing person’s sign rather than asking for money.

The man replied, "What kind of person would I be if I didn't help someone else?"

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