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“Clearing away distractions” With Danny Davis & Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Honestly, clearing away distractions would be an area of growth for me. There are hundreds and thousands of messages coming into our minds daily, especially if you’re a leader in business. That being said, the first thing I do in the morning to keep my day focused before I answer any calls or emails is […]

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Honestly, clearing away distractions would be an area of growth for me. There are hundreds and thousands of messages coming into our minds daily, especially if you’re a leader in business. That being said, the first thing I do in the morning to keep my day focused before I answer any calls or emails is to create a to-do list for my day of everything I need to get done before I get distracted doing them. I add to this list throughout the day and my notepad goes with me everywhere I go.

As a part of our series about “Optimal Performance Before High Pressure Moments”, I had the pleasure of interviewingDanny Davis.

Danny Davis is the Owner of San Diego Brokerage in Encinitas, CA. San Diego Brokerage is the culmination of Danny’s experiences over nearly two decades in residential real estate. San Diego Brokerage helps home sellers and buyers analyze the financial and emotional/lifestyle elements of a move while going above and beyond to make the process easy for them every step of the way. Danny’s focus is on cultivating long-term relationships with his clients, building trust for help, advice, and referrals long after the sale is complete. Danny and his clients build a life-long bond predicated on reliability, reciprocity, and genuine connection, which is a key attribute to Danny’s value proposition for success.

They say that luck flows where your intention goes, and that proved to be true for Danny in his new business. Friends, family, and clients were drawn to the drastically different way that Danny was doing things. He was connected to their goals and fought for their desired outcomes. He guided them confidently and reminded them when they got stressed about what they had started out on their homeownership journey. He believed in empowering his clients with the knowledge to help reduce stress and confusion throughout their transaction. He truly cared about his client’s futures and was dedicated to assisting them to build wealth through real estate.

Because of Danny’s unwavering care, the same clients came back, again and again, climbing the property ladder, and referring their friends and family so that he could help them do the same. Danny and everyone at San Diego Brokerage know that the brokerage’s success hinges on Danny’s motto for his clients… “Our goals are simple; they’re yours.”

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

My career in real estate began when one of my college roommates had become a mortgage lender — in 2001 he was the first person I knew who had a cell phone. Chatting about real estate one day something about the industry struck a chord for me. The concept of helping others build security and wealth through homeownership became my passion.

I grew up modestly in the small northern California town of Lodi. Knowing that I wanted to see the world and signed on to join the Army when I was 17 years old. I quickly ascended to the revered Army’s Honor Guard. My plan had always been to build a career in the professional sector, so once my military service was over, I took advantage of the Army College Fund and GI Bill and enrolled at SDSU to study business and hospitality. Between the end of my military service and the beginning of college, I moved to Florida where my best friend and I bought an old Dodge RV. We traveled together from Florida to San Diego and had quite an adventure. Life in San Diego proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated while working 3 jobs and attending SDSU full time, all while living in an RV. Before long, the RV broke down and we began amassing parking tickets and before long it was impounded. Living on cold public beach showers and free Belmont Park churros was growing old, so I found an apartment to share with college friends and put my nose to the grindstone pounding out my degree. In 2001, I graduated with a BA in Business and set off to begin my career.

Not long after that in 2002, I joined a powerhouse team of realtors out of a Re/Max office in La Jolla and quickly became the top-performing agent on my team. For several years, I was the team’s top-performer and eagerly soaked up all of the knowledge, expertise, and experience I could. I had immense gratitude for the transformation I was seeing in my own life and the transformations I was able to help others achieve.

Finally, the time came to move on and lead a team of my own, so I made the move to a Keller Williams franchise where I spent a lot of my time coaching other agents. I quickly realized what most of the big brokerage houses are all about; building a downline, training in sales strategy, and learning to speak in rehearsed scripts. To me, this degraded the profession I had come to love and switched the emphasis from client-first to agent-first — something that didn’t sit right with me. Before long, I chose to leave Keller Williams to start my own brokerage so that I could establish my own company culture, one that emphasized giving back, community involvement, and putting my client’s well-being and goals at the forefront of every single thing my company did. This is when San Diego Brokerage was born!

In 2018 after years of my wife and I putting all that we had into our respective careers, purchasing and remodeling our house in Encinitas, and building a beautiful and secure life together, we welcomed our daughter, Drew, into the world. Drew is the center of our world and we love to laugh and be silly together. My immeasurably close bond with Drew has helped me develop an even deeper connection to my client’s lives through my increased understanding of the responsibility of a parent to build something bigger for our children than what was given to us.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as an entrepreneur or business leader? We’d love to hear the story.

I started on a real estate team, and I’m still friends with the other agents who are all still in the business today. We try to inspire and support each other along the way as we’ve all grown in business. They used to call us a boy band — it was sort of like a professional fraternity. I couldn’t have become who I am today without their support which taught me so much including a strong work ethic, while bringing awareness to things that I wanted to do differently for my own brokerage firm and how to serve my clients.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

There are many influences in my life that have helped guide me into the leader I am today. These influences include my family such as my wife and my daughter, the colleagues and peers that helped launch my career in real estate in which I am still connected with to this day, and many others through various chapters in my life.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I had an interesting mistake that I made and it’s kind of about keeping in your wheelhouse. I took 7 new construction listings in a rural area outside of San Diego that was outside of my usual market when there was only 1 house that had been built, and 6 of them were still under construction. The developers wanted me to hold open houses every day in the model home. I let them set the expectations and I didn’t sell any of the houses. I was driving over an hour each day and it was a huge waste of time. I didn’t ask for a marketing budget because I didn’t want to lose the listings. Lesson learned — Stick to your wheelhouse and don’t allow outside influences to make up your mind for you. Don’t allow outside influences to curtail how you do what you know you’re the professional at. Make your own decisions, decide if it’s the right situation for you. Don’t allow money to talk when it’s going to cost you more time, effort, and energy than it’s worth.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

My advice — you have to do what it takes. This is a hard business especially when you’re getting started. You have to pay your dues — often you have to work side jobs at first. You have to stay hyper-focused on success and do everything it takes to succeed. It’s not going to fall in your lap and be easy. It takes work and discipline. I realized from my first client that I wanted to take care of people and that repeat business and referrals were the routes I wanted to take. The only way I could do that was by giving 110%, caring about the outcome, doing what’s right for the client even if it’s not my ideal solution, creating life long advocates where not only do they appreciate me my brokerage, and the way I do business but they want to share that experience with other people. They know that home buying and selling can be a rough ride, and they want to give the gift of peace of mind to the people they love.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The book that comes to mind that has made a significant impact on me is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” This book provides the basic principles that can guide each and every person to succeed in their own way. It’s a great framework to work off of.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

I ride my peloton in the morning and there are certain things that are said to me from the coaches on peloton — there are certain things that I find inspirational and when I get off my bike I write them on my board. My quote right now would be “Find things that move you on a daily basis and use them constantly.” I think one quote would get tired, but if you keep finding ways to get new inspiration, words that you can think about that will change your perspective or create your day, why not do that every day.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

There are a number of projects my team and I are working on. These projects include a current re-brand of our firm, recruiting the top talent to provide a quality service to our clients, the enhancement of our systems, and current/future client care while adapting to COVID-19 safety standards and regulations. Our focus in my brokerage is centered around caring for our clients and community above all else, and our goal is to have these projects be a direct reflection to that belief system.

OK, thank you for all of that. Lets now shift to the core focus of our interview. As a business leader, you likely often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to cope with the burden of stress?

You have to pay attention to your inner voice and take action when you notice your feeling that stress.

  1. Meditation — you can do this anywhere for 10 minutes, in the car, in your office
  2. Being over-prepared so that you’re confident
  3. Affirmations — You are the professional, you are confident, this is your wheelhouse, you have your clients best interest at heart — reminding yourself to come at it at that angle
  4. Surfing or at least being at the beach

Aside from being able to deal with the burden of stress, can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

The 4 strategies I use to optimize my mind for peak performance are similar to the same strategies for coping with stress:

  1. Meditation — you can do this anywhere for 10 minutes, in the car, in your office
  2. Being over-prepared so that you’re confident
  3. Affirmations — You are the professional, you are confident, this is your wheelhouse, you have your clients best interest at heart — reminding yourself to come at it at that angle
  4. Surfing or at least being at the beach — getting this time is invaluable to me to maintain my center which is huge in high-pressure situations. Whatever brings you this feeling — martial arts, some other hobby — it’s important that you make time for it in your life so you can be at your best in critical moments.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques, meditations or visualizations to help optimize yourself? If you do, we’d love to hear about it.

I do, I meditate daily. Obviously, meditation has to do with breathing. I think it’s very important that when you get overwhelmed that you take a step back from everything so you don’t respond poorly. Meditating allows you to take a step back and clear your mind. Meditating doesn’t mean necessarily sitting cross-legged on the ground for an hour — often for me it just means leaning back, closing your eyes, and giving yourself the opportunity to breathe and respond rationally. It’s just like in an argument with your spouse — if you respond brashly at the moment, it’s likely that that argument is going to escalate and no one is going to win. If you take a step back, breathe, and get into a better headspace 9 times out of 10 — hell 10 times out of 10, you’re going to be able to come up with a resolution that works for everyone.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

Honestly, clearing away distractions would be an area of growth for me. There are hundreds and thousands of messages coming into our minds daily, especially if you’re a leader in business. That being said, the first thing I do in the morning to keep my day focused before I answer any calls or emails is to create a to-do list for my day of everything I need to get done before I get distracted doing them. I add to this list throughout the day and my notepad goes with me everywhere I go.

We all know the importance of good habits. How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Being proactive rather than reactive is a powerful habit to develop. A habit to break is this stigma of sitting back and waiting for business to come to you. I have seen it many times where people will sit and wait for an influx in business and then complain when their calendars or rosters are not full. I challenge this stigma by coming into the office every day and when I feel there isn’t enough work to be done in one avenue of my business, I find a way to channel that focus into another avenue of my business to create synergy between our projects. I not only have to develop successful habits for myself, but I have a role to play in inspiring successful habits with others on my team.

What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

Consistency. Do it even though you don’t want to, or you’re scared. The only way you’re going to form a good habit is by being consistent with that action. Realize that working and helping people is not a punishment, it’s a celebration and a great privilege. Breaking bad habits is a mental game. Interrupt the pattern and have an honest conversation with yourself. You’ve got to be as assertive with yourself as you would with someone else — even more so because it’s so easy to keep recreating that bad habit — maybe it brings you pleasure in the instance that you’re in — but you’re mentally damaged afterward. Consider the consequence of the bad habits, project yourself in those shoes, and consider the action you’re about to take through that lens.

As a business leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

I think Flow has a lot to do with truly caring about people. Between my clients, my staff, and my friends — 90% of these people become my friends. Being around people that are goal-oriented and interesting thinkers helps me to stay in flow — it’s circular. I feed off the energy of the people around me and it makes me ecstatic to help people and make them happy — especially when it requires creative problem-solving. Their energy and happiness affects my life, so I couldn’t just do the bare minimum that it takes to earn a check, and experience a state of Flow. I go above and beyond ten times what normal agents do. That’s because I want to exist in a state of flow, I want to constantly improve, and I want that flow of mutual respect with the people I surround myself with.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Spread Kindness. Stop being arrogant to each other. Be the change you want to see in the world. Especially in these times, human interactions have become so fraught with conflict. If we could all employ kindness and understanding in our interactions with all other people in all situations, we would be coming to great solutions. Everything has ebbs and flows — If our focus wasn’t changed every time a new news cycle started, could we solve more problems? Of course. Kindness and understanding are something that one person can do to affect the world — by living their lives this way they can influence others to do the same and it could spread like wildfire. The world around us, the terrible things that happen, are likely not going to change, but we can change how we treat each other and that can change how we problem solve in the world.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Honestly, I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with my mother or with my family. I miss her and my family immensely during this time. We live several hundred miles apart and with this pandemic, I haven’t been able to see them since last Christmas. If you asked me a year ago I might have chosen someone famous or powerful in the industry, but this year has really taught me how important my family is to me, and there’s no one I would choose to spend an hour with right now above them.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can follow along with our work at www.sandiegobrokerage.com.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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