Don’t Just Pass Through

“And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends, we did it. We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.”

President Ronald Reagan shaking hands with visitors to the White House

– Ronald Reagan, January 1989 Farewell Address to the Nation.

Ronald Reagan also included a warning for America in his 1989 Farewell Address.

Holding Temporary Custody

We see a glimpse of Reagan’s extraordinary humility in the multiple use of the word ‘we’, when we listen to him describe his thoughts on what was termed The Reagan Revolution. Reagan rarely liked to talk about about his success. He was much more comfortable talking about the successes of other people. He didn’t look upon himself as becoming president of the United States, but rather as having been given the honor of overseeing temporary custody of the institution of the presidency. This is a subtle, but important difference in perspective.

Isn’t it the same for us? Don’t we just have temporary custody of the leadership positions that are entrusted to us by our family, our group, or our company?

In Your Custody

You might have temporary custody as:

  • Head coach of your kid’s little league baseball team,
  • Construction supervisor for the new office building downtown, or
  • Principal of the local high school.

Will you have just passed through? 

When your tenure is over, will you have just passed through, or will you have made a difference? Will your players, subcontractors, and students be better off as a result of your leadership?

Reagan’s example suggests that you should not view your time at the helm as just an interval, but instead, should use your unique talents and vision to start a new beginning. Don’t just pass through.

At his commencement address at Eureka College in 1992, Reagan reminded us to:

Live each day to the fullest. Live each day with enthusiasm, optimism, and hope. If you do, I am convinced that your contribution to this wonderful experiment we call America will be profound.

For other posts on Ronald Reagan’s leadership style click here.

To purchase a copy of Lead Like Reagan, click here.  


Just Saying No

Across the table, with coffee in hand, the police sargeant patiently answered all of my questions. As a Notre Dame grad, involved in thousands of drug arrests during an exceptional career that spanned three decades with the Columbus Division of Police, he was the perfect person to shed light on the growing problem of drug use among high school students. I wanted to learn as much as possible from him for my book, Seeing Past Friday Night.

Tom Selleck and Broooke Shields join Nancy Reagan at a Just Say No event. This post is about just saying no, again.
Tom Selleck and Brooke Shields with Nancy Reagan at a Just Say No event (1985). Photo courtesy Ronald Reagan Library

The Fundamental Question

After a lengthy conversation, I asked a final question that he was uniquely qualified to answer. “You’ve witnessed it all,” I said. “You’ve seen the destruction, the incredible cost. You’re the one who explains to the parents why their child was arrested. The question is, why do some kids try drugs for the first time?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “They don’t know. They just say they weren’t thinking.”

“Okay, I get that,” I responded. “But, think about it … what is the real reason?”

This time he took longer and said, “It’s really hard to say. I can tell you what the parent’s reaction is, every single time.”

“What’s that?”

“Absolute shock. When I tell them that their 16 or 17 year old son or daughter was just arrested for selling drugs to support their own habit, they are absolutely shocked. They cannot believe it, which, of course, is understandable.”

(His words made me recall how many times parents say, “I gotta tell you, I would be absolutely shocked to find out that my kids were doing drugs.” The sargeant’s sobering words made me realize that just because parents would be absolutely shocked that their kids would try drugs, does not necessarily immune them from actually being shocked some day.)

I pressed on with the Fundamental Question …

Apologizing for being stuck on this one question, I asked a third time. “Think about it. You’ve seen so many great kids from wonderful families go down a dangerous path during their high school years. In many cases, if they could only go back in time and make a better decision that first time they try drugs, their whole life might be so different.”

He pondered one more time, and after a long moment, shook his head and said, “Young or old, they all say the same thing. They just weren’t thinking.”

It finally struck me … 

Help the Young Person in Your Life See Past Friday Night

Photo courtesy of
One afternoon while speaking to a classroom full of freshman students, I said, “Your 4 years of high school might end up being the riskiest and most dangerous 4 years of your life. Likely, you will never again have a time in your life when you are granted an explosion of new freedoms and responsibilities, while having such a low level of experience.

Photo of a car driving along a winding road

A Collission Course: Expanding Freedoms vs. A Lack of Experience

“You will learn how to drive a 2000 pound car 65 mile per hour down the freeway. You will make choices on

  • Where you want to go,
  • What kind of summer job you want to have, and
  • Whether or not you will pick up the habits of drinking, smoking, or doing drugs.

You will decide

  • How you handle dating relationships,
  • Which college to attend, and
  • What career path to follow.

And your experience in these matters, like everyone when they are freshman, is just about … zero!

These expanding freedoms and your lack of freedoms are on a collission course. They will converge. How will you deal with that?”

11 Speaking Techniques of the Great Communicator

President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time. Here, walking towards each other to shake hands. Reagan would later implore, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
Photograph and Audio Clip Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library

As he approached the microphone at Brandenburg Gate, with a wall of bulletproof glass behind him, I wonder if Ronald Reagan knew that the words he would speak that day would be heard by billions of people spanning across multiple generations, into the future.


“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” These words might represent the pinnacle of the Great Communicator’s impact through words. Though his advisors continually tried to temper his words, President Reagan had a sense of history, public sentiment, and timing.

Here are 11 techniques Ronald Reagan used that can help you become a great communicator:

Why Investors Buy Apartments in Today’s Artificial Market

Multifamily flyer photo copy

The main reason for owning multifamily property has changed …

Since the tax change of 1986, until recently, the top 4 reasons for buying apartments were:

  • Cash Flow
  • Appreciation
  • Principle Reduction
  • Tax Deferral

These reasons have flipped in order. Now, they are:

  • Appreciation
  • Principle Reduction
  • Tax Deferral
  • Cash Flow (if there is any!)

The new, overiding motivation for owning real estate is Equity Preservation!

Why the change? One reason … Artificiality

4 Benefits of Economic Prosperity

Photo courtesy of

Smiling mother showing young daughter how to plant flowers
Excerpt from Lead Like Reagan

Live prosperously so that others may more prosperously live

One day, while addressing a class of 8th graders about the benefits of living in a prosperous economic system, I asked the students, “Can you think of any reasons why it might be a good thing that doctors, for instance, are able to earn a lot of money?”

What is a Cap Rate? [Podcast]

Walking and Talking … Cap Rates!

(Podcast Transcript)

Cap Rates. You hear about them all the time, from people who specialize in investment real estate. They’ll says things like, “That property sold for a 6 cap,” or, “We’re looking for properties priced in the 9 to 10 cap range.” Today’s Walking and Talking podcast is all about Cap Rates!

What is a Cap Rate? - Beautiful business woman with question mark above the head
Photo Courtesy of

Today, you will learn 5 things:

  • What is a cap rate?
  • The reason why so many people are often confused about cap rates.
  • The best way to remember how to easily calculate a cap rate for any investment property.
  • The five main factors that influence cap rates.
  • Why you should beware that all cap rates are not created equal!

Hit Continue Reading and listen to the Audio:

Closing Checklist for Apartments

A closing checklist for apartments is essential for staying organized at a real estate closing for multifamily property. Attached is one I use when buying or selling apartments in Columbus, Ohio.

Closing checklist for Apartments

This list, that you can download here, does not include everything that you will need for your closing. That depends on your local area. For instance, if you are closing on multifamily investment property in Manhattan, you will be concerned with a host of other considerations at the time of the closing.

However, no matter where you buy property, it is essential that you make sure of at least one thing:

The Five Elements of a Single Page Life Plan

It has been said, in a lot of clever ways, that people who do not care where they are going, don’t need a map. But CEO’s need a business plan, coaches need a game plan, pilots need a flight plan, and leaders need a life plan. Here are 5 things to include in yours …

single page life plan
Single Page Life Plan™  2013 Ballylongford Books, LLC

The Five Elements of a Single Page Life Plan™:

1. Mission or Vision Statement:
This is the overarching vision you have for your life. All other parts of your plan synchronize with this.

2. Life Categories:
Your Life Categories are the six major highways that lead a path towards your Vision Statement. These Life Categories are the most vital aspects of your life.

To see an example of a Single Page Life Plan™ that has already been created, click here:

Single Page Checklist for Buying Apartments

My book, Single Page Life Plan explains how you can extend single page planning to all of your important projects and ventures. Single Page Checklists are a ‘catch-all’ for special projects that you can review regularly to stay focused.

A checklist for Buying Apartments

Copyright 2013 Ballylongford Books, LLC

For example, the Single Page Checklist for Buying Apartments summarizes on a single page the 4-color, 6 page laminated flyer I created that explains: