5 Life Lessons Learned
I began blogging 3 1/2 years ago back in March of 2007. Today I’ll share 5 lessons I learned from my friend Long Beach Realtor, Laurie Manny. Blogging was pretty new when I started back then and SandbarsToSunsets, actually grew from our beginning blogging experience on Active Rain. It was an amazing time on Active Rain back in 2007 when it was a new, vibrant, synergistic real social network for Realtors that had magically attracted the best forward thinking tech savvy Realtors in the nation. It was a time and place where selfless learning and sharing was at it’s best. That’s where I first met Laurie Manny, a Long Beach Real Estate agent, a top blogger and moderator. I was lucky enough to have her take an personal interest in me and she became my mentor and ultimately one of my best friends.
This past week Laurie died unexpectantly and it’s been hard to put my thoughts into words, however, today I wanted to honor and share a little more about my amazing friend who gave so much so selflessly to so many. I’m still wrapping my head around her being gone and knowing she’s no longer just a phone call away but Laurie taught us many lessons by the way she lived her life and as we remember these we keep her and her memory alive in each of us….
Lesson 1 – Pay if Forward
In 2007 when Laurie Manny was chosen as one of the Top 12 Women Real Estate Bloggers they commented on how “she was always willing to share internet marketing tips”. Truer words were never said. She was always sharing her expertise by giving you tips and insights on how to be better bloggers or do things to get better Google results so we could rank well online and ultimately connect with and help more clients in our area. If you asked a questions – she’d give you the unvarnished “truth” as she knew it. The first time she commented on my Active rain blog was when I asked a questions about how points worked on Active Rain and she gave me several detailed answers. She spent more time quietly reading others and encouraging them than putting herself in the spotlight however the time and love she gave to us on Active Rain was never known by most and she liked it that way. In early 2008 ony a few people know that this blog ran into some major problems and Laurie took it upon herself to reach out and let me know she would like to offer to help us and had gotten some of the best tech and blogging help in the industry standing by offering to help us too. They truly save our blog and never took a penny though we spent countless hours and tears working through a big mess. While the details are not important, the story is because it gives you a glimpse info the private side of who she was, she wasn’t about limelight, she’d see someone she could help and would make time in her busy day to just do it. As I reflect on those times today my eyes well with tears because like St Francis she showed her love through actions not words, so in her memory I challenge each of us to think about who we can help, just because.
Lesson 2 – Always Do the Right Thing
For those of us that knew Laurie, we know that political correctness or saying what people wanted to hear wasn’t in her. She was a woman of principle and her New York upbringing prepared her to be direct, honest and not backdown from uncomfortable situations and I admired her for that. She was vigilant about protecting her fellow Realtors in the blogging world and was all about backlinks because she knew that’s where the power is and didn’t want it taken from the “creators of content” without them even realizing it. I remember several times she’d bring issues to light and the heated discussions that would follow regarding Active Rain, Trulia and more. She would do the unpopular to do what she believe was right. She always fought fair and with the facts. She was a pitbull who couldn’t have the wool pulled over her eyes and pity the person that tried! In her memory each of us has to trust our voices and let them be heard even when it’s controversial! She encouraged each of us to be ourselves and trust that – we have continue to remember that!
Lesson 3 – Take time to Reach out and Touch Someone
As I reflect on the impact Laurie had on me and now I realize so many others as I read other tributes to her, the common theme is Laurie always took time to reach out to people and really connect and care. People thought she was all about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but in the words of Jeff Turner she was always about YEO – “You Engaging Others”. I believe Laurie was living “social networking” before it was the buzz word it is today. Those that know her know she would pick up the phone and call someone she’d been watching online, out of the blue and next thing you knew…you had a real friendship growing. She would always have great wisdom and insight to share but mostly she truly “wanted the best” for each person and you knew it – it was this selfless caring that made her so special. She didn’t do it because there was anything in it for her, she did it because she cared deeply about her peers and the real estate industry. She also opened the door to so many other special friendships in my life (You know who you are). We have so many chances today – in her memory consider picking up the phone or sending an hand written note and take a relationship deeper – it will be her perpetual gift to each of us.
Lesson 4 – Always Do Your Best
There’s lots of talk in the RE.net about “raising the bar” and Laurie was someone who was always raising the bar. She was never satisfied to rest on her laurels. She stayed committed to constantly questioning, learning, growing and being the best Realtor possible and then sharing that knowledge with others. She loved her hometown of Long Beach and was an expert in not only it’s neighborhoods and real estate but she also was an expert in how to be found online. What you saw was what you got, a hard working, bright, dedicated, caring Realtor and friend. Let’s continue to help each other learn and grow in her memory.
Lesson 5 – Live in the Present and make the World a Better Place
Finally, Laurie Manny was so much more than just Long Beach Real Estate, in 2008 there was a Labor Day Meme going around where you can learn a little more about her, anyway one of the questions asked was, If you could live in any point in history what would it be and why? Her answer was pure Laurie…”History sucked for women, why would I want to live in it? I want to live in the present and do something about creating a better future for our world” …and make it a better place she did! I believe if Laurie had one wish for each of us it would be to do just that…live in the present and do something about creating a better future for our clients, our peers, our industry and our world!
When I read this quote I thought of Laurie. She was an amazing woman who I was lucky enough to have call me “friend” and if you didn’t have the chance to get to know her you can still benefit from the wealth of knowledge she left behind. Her friends have posted sunflowers on their Facebook profiles to honor the woman we adored until she’s laid to rest later this week. Rest in Peace Laurie, and I know you and Joe Ferrara will we watching out for all of us from heaven. You are deeply missed but not forgotten. Your friend, Cyndee