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April 19, 2018

Dear Fellow Members,

   "April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain." My good friend, Robert Hempel - from Massapequa High School's English Department - recently sent me this citation. He knows I'm a sucker for good imagery and the works of T.S. Eliot. I was a bit torn - truth be told - for I nearly led with Twain's "In the spring I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours." Ah April, so misunderstood.


    I knew a girl once, named April. She absolutely hated her name. "What's the problem," I asked. "My parents named me after a rain-soaked month...that's the best they could do?" "That's a lovely time of the year to be born," I suggested. "I agree," she replied, "but I was born on December 24th." "Look...consider yourself lucky...according to Florida birth records (trying my best to cheer her up)...there was a girl born in Pensacola on April 1, 1908 and her parents named her April Fool Harris. "Good grief," she shot back, "with a name like that...you wonder about the trajectory her life took." Well, there is a version of an English proverb that says, "Give a dog a bad name and you might as well hang him!" I guess she was hoping her name would be Noël.

     Unfortunately, we have no control over the name(s) our parents give us, but we do have the power to change the trajectory of our lives. So, as I begin to write...with a present thermometer reading of 57 degrees...and a Sunday mid-April forecast that includes a low of 38 degrees accompanied by steady, sweeping rain for Monday - let not your hearts be troubled - for "No winter lasts forever," wrote Hal Borland, "no spring skips its turn."

    Trajectory refers to the path in life one takes. In the 2015 release of "CHANGE YOUR TRAJECTORY," author Dale C. Bonner urges the reader to "become a master, not a victim of change." His easy-to-read book teaches us how to "navigate through uncertainty," "experience a new trajectory," "improve our thinking" and "how to develop a vision for the future." What does your future look like? Perhaps we are expanding in 2018. Changing careers perchance? Subtitled: MAKE THE REST OF YOUR LFIE BETTER - the author not only focuses on helping ensure a bigger and brighter life, but also offers help to anyone who wants to avoid growing obsolete.

     Have you ever felt as if your career has stalled? Have you ever felt that doing exactly what brought you success in the past…no longer works? What then, if anything, can we – as small businesspeople and/or independent contractors do – to change our trajectory? Why not create a career strategy for your trajectory? After all, you would not think of starting a long journey without a road map. Matter of fact, most of you would not think of leaving your house without your iPhone and trusty G.P.S. So why then, would you not chart your professional course? By plotting your trajectory…like points on a graph…you will be one step closer to positioning yourself for continued growth.

   Yes, there will be speed bumps along the way. Indeed, from time-to-time – you will be asked to take a detour (some charted and some uncharted) but this should not be your excuse to take the easy way out. “Do not,” as Bruce Lee advised, “Pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” Do not underestimate your ability to flourish during times of uncertainty. “So put me on a highway…and show me a sign (begged The Eagles)…and take it…to the limit…one more time.”

   Careful now…watch for the signposts. The path leading to instant gains in business is not always the best road traveled. Don’t shortchange yourself – for the trick after all – is not to get there quickly – but to have a plan in place for sustained performance. Before considering your plan of action, please consider: “A goal is better than no goal; a specific goal is better than a broad goal; and a hard and specific goal is better than an easy goal.” It’s easy to get distracted. Your career trajectory will face many challenges. Called inflection points…they are the “fly in the ointment,” as Detective, John McClane once taunted Hans Gruber, the monkey in the wrench.” However, unlike the proverbial “fork in the road,” you have three choices. You can “stay the course” and ride the plateau where you can expect a stable ride; “ignore the plateau” and run the risk of stagnating or “break the plateau” and embrace the opportunity to grow. Whichever way you choose – it is recommended – that at every stage along the way – you consider where you are and if you are closer to achieving your desired trajectory. Remembering, of course, Winston Churchill’s charge, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

   Though merely ten months back into the Real Estate industry, I already find myself re-evaluating my own trajectory. Look, I am forever trying to determine the worth of someone else’s home; so wouldn’t it be sensible to assess or appraise my own value? Real Estate is more than selling houses. You should also bring value to the company for which you work. “Try not to become a man of success,” said Albert Einstein, “but rather try to become a man of value.” Though no self-proclaimed Einstein, I think Albert is trying to say, “If you concentrate on first becoming a man of value...the success will logically follow.” I already know – to stay more competitive – I need to expand my number and use of social media platforms. If I do not, I will be left behind in an ash heap – alongside a slew of other underperforming agents. I have to decide whether I am content continuing along the pace I am at now or do I want to grow. Naturally, I want my trajectory to be trending upward as I enter my second year.

   This does not happen overnight, folks. However, like so many of you, I can control my own success. I am not necessarily trying to be entirely like the other successful agents…though it is not a terrible idea to cherry-pick some of their greater and more redeeming traits. Success is not always defined by being the best…you can succeed as well… by being “your best.” Be careful not to get too wrapped up in comparing yourself to others…though Madison Ave. is counting on it. It’s all “fear based,” my fellow merchants, entrepreneurs, et al. Ads are forever telling you “You’re not good enough.” “You’re not thin enough, pretty enough, virile enough.” “Bad hair, greasy hair, no hair at all!” Perhaps our 26th U.S. President said it best with one of his many axioms of wisdom, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

   Another area where I am currently running at a deficit is “networking.” Imagine that…despite being President of the Chamber, I still need to do more. It’s the name of the game…particularly in Real Estate. It’s about planting the seeds and building of relationships. First, we all need to attend our monthly luncheons/meetings. Showing up for lunch and handing out business cards in not nearly enough. Do not mistake that activity for purposeful action. Don’t let rice balls replace referrals. Consider sitting and talking to someone new. Don’t let chicken wraps replace constructive conversation. See how you can help their business grow. Next, volunteer your time to the community. You will be amazed and what you get back in return. Remember, “The sun is never denied the light it gives; likewise, you are never denied the kindness you bestow.” “But I don’t have the time,” Mr. President, “and I don’t have a calendar of events.” Well then, please allow me to help you. Here is just a few of the upcoming events: On Thursday, April 26th, please join us at Sergio’s Italian Restaurant (5422 Merrick Rd., Massapequa, NY 11758) Here, the new slate of officers for 2018-19 [as per Robert’s Rules] will be announced. Then on Saturday, April 28th, it is the “Supervisor’s 1st Annual Car Show.” Being billed as the 2018 Spring Dust Off - this event will take place at TOBAY Beach. There will be free parking and a Free Concert by “That 70’s Band” The event begins at 11:00am and runs until 4:00pm. Please look for the Chamber table and tent. For more info, please go to: www.CarShowLI.com If curiosity is still getting the best of you…Teddy Roosevelt was our nation’s 26th President.

   On Thursday, May 10th – we will have a booth at the “LI BUSINESS EXPO & CONFERENCE.” It is being held at the newly remodeled and world-renowned Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The show hours: 9:00am – 4:00pm. You will find us in Exhibition Hall. I would not want to discourage anyone from attending, but rather than run the risk of your wrath, parking that day will cost $5.00. Our booth will be clearly marked #444. If you would like to join us, please contact Shelley at (516)541-1443. Space is limited, so reservations will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. Change that trajectory right now! Thank you to former Chamber President, Susan Martin, CPA for spearheading our involvement. This is an excellent opportunity for our members to expand their reach. The official website for this event: http://www.businessexpoli.com

   Did I mention the weather for April has been quite damp? This just in: Rain will begin around 2:00am Thursday morning, April 19, 2018 and taper off around 9:00am. Low of 34 and high of 45 expected. Do not let this discourage you. Remember, it was just two weeks ago when we were blindsided by an April snowstorm. Be grateful. “A moment of gratitude changes the trajectory of your life. May you live in it every day.” After all, Anne of Ingleside once observed, “Snow in April is abominable…like a slap in the face when you expected a kiss.”

   Now back to our regular programming. Please write this one down. On Thursday, May 24thTown of Oyster Bay Supervisor, Joseph Saladino will join us for a “State of the Town” briefing. The event will be held at The Nautilus Diner (5523 Merrick Rd., Massapequa, NY 11758.) The luncheon begins at 12:00pm. Please bring business cards, giveaways and raffle prizes….that and your cheerful, human spirit. Then on Sunday, June 3rd on Lower Broadway in Massapequa…the Massapequa Chamber of Commerce proudly presents our 6th Annual Street Fair. Starting at Veterans Blvd. (just past the trestle) and running up to Clark Ave. – we are expecting over 100 vendors. There will be entertainment, food vendors galore (Sausage & Peppers, I am sure) a Petting Zoo, 103.1 MAX FM and “The Wiseman,” playing songs from the 70’s, 80’s and more! This year, I am proud to announce that our Grand Marshal is Anthony Ventiera. A former President of both the Massapequa Chamber of Commerce and the Order of the Sons of Italy Columbus Lodge #2143, Tony has served both organizations with style and grace. He currently serves on our Board of Directors and he is our esteemed Street Fair Chairman. We couldn’t have made a better choice. Congratulations, Tony. For information on sponsorships and vendor spots, please contact Shelley at the Chamber office at (516)541-1443. The rain date would be Sunday, June 10th.

   Please stay with me for just a little bit longer. Our Installation Luncheon will be held on Thursday, June 21st at 12:00pm. It will be hosted by TASTE (located at 4857 Merrick Rd., Massapequa Park, NY 11762) Please welcome our new President and her new slate of Executive Officers. That’s the only hint you’re getting. You’ll have to join us at Sergio’s on Thursday, April 26th if you want to unfold the mystery.

   I would like to thank all the members who have mailed and/or called in with their 2018 dues payment. The deadline is approaching. Please help us cut down on the unnecessary expense of extra mailings. If you would just take a few minutes to pick up the phone and call (516)541-1443 – Shelley will be more than happy to process your credit card payment. The “Retention Committee” will be making phone calls throughout the month of April and part of May. Please renew now and keep your membership in “good standing.” Create a fulfilling trajectory by supporting your local chamber today!

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Sincerely,

Robert R. Barrett, President