Chris' Corner: You have to decide what your priorities are...

You have to decide what your priorities are...

This weekend has not been nearly as productive as it could have been, but I am OK with that.  When Helen and I got married, we chose not to make our work our priority. 

I remember some trainer years ago telling us that if our life is an empty bottle, we must put our rocks, or what is most important to us, in their first.  Then we fill it up with sand (that which is less important) and finally add water (all the "stuff" that makes up the rest of our lives).

It is so easy to fill the bottle with water first and have no room for our "rocks".

Alec, my son, will turn seven next month. He, and my wife Helen are my "rocks".  I have others, but they come first.  I reserve two weekend days a month for family activities, in this business, that is not easy, but it is the choice we have made.  We enjoy the various things we do, the activities and the places we see.  But we can have fun, just doing nothing...

I try to commit to watching as many of his soccer games on Wednesday evenings as I can.  And to take him to the play park in Alliston or Beeton two or three times a week (to give Helen some peace and quiet).

Alec woke up at 5:30 am this morning ... groan ... and I wanted to let Helen sleep in a little, so I took the early shift.  Alec and I can play the silliest games, games we make up, like: "The Big Toe Game" and "Don't wake Daddy", any of the many games he has such as Rock'em Sock'em Robots, Connect Four, Children's Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders, or the latest game... Chess.

I had to show a young couple who are here for the weekend some options for them near the GTA, so I left about 3 pm, and Helen and Alec started the process of opening our pool.

To my surprise, Alec made me a present while I was out.
Alec and our Spaceship
... and I just had to capture it since I felt this might not last...

I cannot put into words how appreciative I was of his spaceship, and the accompanying story, how it was built to hold mommy and daddy and Alec was the driver and that it had weapons to protect us and how maneuverable it was...

Funny how a gift like this can put your life into perspective.  Alec doesn't realize how much he has helped me grow as a person.

I will be out all day tomorrow with this couple (they drove in from Montreal to find a home), which should have been our family day, but have promised him that we will spend a day next weekend doing our thing and perhaps seeing Kung Fu Panda 2.  He was disappointed, but understood.  I have moved our day to accommodate business, but will keep my rocks in my bottle.

Chris Smith CSSBB
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Comment balloon 19 commentsChris Smith • June 11 2011 09:01PM


Chris- With this business we are lucky that we get to choose when we work (to some extent). You sound like you have your priorties in check and I am sure your son will look back with fondness at the time you could spend with him.

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) over 9 years ago

Hi Chris,

Good for you to take the time and attention to focus and spend lots of time with your son, you blink and they are in their teens and somehow they can't get away fast enough.... have fun and share he best time of their lives

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC over 9 years ago

Hi Chris - It is important to have a proper work / family balance which you appear to be doing quite well.

Posted by FN LN over 9 years ago

That's a cool spaceship Chris, Alec's quite the engineer. This is a very tough business for balancing family and work, it takes an effort but it can be done. It's great that you seem to be able to manage the juggling act.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 9 years ago


Enjoy it while you can. Kids are the best and they grow up so fast.

You have your priorities right. And, that will pay off.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 9 years ago

Kristi, we can bend, but we should try very hard not to break.

Peter and Linda, I can remember him so clearly as a baby, his first tooth, his first step... he has grown so fast...

Marc, I do not know how well I am doing, you always seem to beat yourself up over this.

Malcolm, he has quite the imagination...

I hope so Brian, thank you...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Hey, Chris. I left a surprise for you in my blog post today. Hope you like it. Let me know when you find it. What? You thought I was going to tell you where it is? Ha!

Posted by Not a real person about 9 years ago

Chris, the water will evaporate and need to be replenished, the sand settles and makes the rocks more stable. That is the true importance of those rocks. Occasionally we need to over extend because of clients, but that's the nice part about being an independent contractor, we can shuffle our schedule to accommodate 'stuff'.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 9 years ago

Chris--what a great post!  I am so glad that Russel included it on his list of Feature worthy and rebloggable posts.  I will re-blog shortly.

Here is tip:  If you can't spend the whole day with family set aside a few hours especially dinner time and bedtime stories.  Enjoy!

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Chris, Just read your post from Mary's reblog.  Sound to me you are a winner and know what winning is.  Have a great week!

Posted by Phil Hillerman, Crye-Leike Realtors® (Crye-Leike Realtors®) about 9 years ago

Chris, I missed this the first time and am glad I saw Mary's reblog. This is a story of putting what is important (family) at the forefront and allowing everything else to follow. Great read my friend!

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR (Red Rock Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Chris, it's seldom to find a Realtor who really balances family and work well. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Chris thank you for the post you are correct family is very important may I ask how old you were when this bundle of joy came into your life? I have two children 27 and 24 and I am only 46 way to young to have children that age but what the hay it is what it is. They are all grown up and I work all the time now which is a good thing for me right now. Enjoy that little one the memories are wonderful.

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) about 9 years ago


Well said!  It's a tough business, but am learning how to balance what works for us as a family.  I do take off days.  Will be off Friday picking up our two sons from a tennis camp.  They have a fun afternoon showing off what they learned and how the coach teaches, which is unique.  

Life is too short and you need to make smart choices for your family.

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) about 9 years ago

Chris:  Alec will benefit greatly from your dedication to him and his activities!

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) about 9 years ago

Priorities are a must in a business like ours, let's just hope we choose the right ones.




Posted by Nor Yeretsian, Envoy Capitol Realty Inc., Brokerage Toronto (Envoy Capitol Realty Inc.) about 9 years ago

Russel, I found it... thanks for the shoutout


Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Ed, I see you to value your family time

Mary, I used to do this with Alec when he was a toddler... I have gotten away from that, thanks for the reminder.

Thank You Phil

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Wanda, from reading your blogs, I know you have your priorities... family... fishing... fun in the sun ... real estate ;-)

Vickie, I feel it is so important that we do balance our lives.

TLF, Helen and I couldn't have children and was blessed with Alec, our Gift from God when I was 43, the age most of my friends children were leaving home and having grandchildren ;-)

Thank you Michelle

Jane, I have soccer practice tonight, 'nuff said ;-)

Nor, I hope we do choose are priorities right, and when we stray off course, that we have the opportunity to centre our lives periodically.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago