Lighting a Match to Thunder

LAAs much as I talk, which is A LOT, I do listen and I watch. People. Over the years, I’ve become a matchmaker: matching people to new homes, matching hearts, matching people to new ideas and just matching people to people—socially and professionally.  It’s how I roll, and outside of the real estate matches, I don’t make a dime on matching. Now, my friends refer to me as a Master Networker, but I don’t really see myself as one. Because a networker connects to further one’s career and does expect a return on the favor, somewhere down that commerce paved highway of intersections, and that’s not why I connect others. I just do it. It’s fulfilling, to me, knowing that I’ve helped someone, in a small way or a big way, wanting nothing in return.  And okay, IT IS FUN, too, especially when I nail it. And sometimes my matchmaking turns into something bigger than what I had initially planned.

And so begins this tale of a matchmaker (becoming a mentor).

Last year, I met a young man, who I’ll refer to as Thunder, working at a high-end steakhouse in Cleveland. Now I must disclose that he caught my eye because he is movie-star gorgeous. (And no, this isn’t going to turn into a Cougar-tale, with this 40-something NYC broker hooking-up with a 20-something Cleveland waiter. It’s not. Really.)  Anyway because of his handsomeness, I couldn’t help watching him, listening to his pitch at the tables surrounding mine, and that Hugh Jackman-like glow that surrounded him, wanting to know his “story.”

As it turned out, he was finishing up his Bachelor of Science degree and was planning on attending grad school. He was going to be a physical therapist. Umm, that’s interesting, I thought, but he’s got that spark. That spark that fuels a kind of superstardom and sometimes we see it in others, even though they don’t know it’s within them.

Overtime we became friends. And one day I casually said, trying to sound a bit 40ish hip, to him, “Dude, you’re born to sell. I mean you’re selling six-ounce Kobe for a buck-twenty a pop and laying down $300 bottles of Quintessa on every table in this place, like it’s a breeze. Physical Therapist, really?”  He had never thought of being anything other than a Physical Therapist. It’s not a profession that excited him; he just thought it’d be a good job. Days later, he asked, “I’ve been thinking about what you said. Do you think I could make more money in sales than being a physical therapist? What do you think I should sell? Medical equipment?”  “Thunder, I guarantee you’re making more money moonlighting as a waiter, right now, than you’ll make being a PT. And I don’t know what you should sell. That’s for you to decide. But, in order to become successful, I will tell you that it should be a job you love and something that you believe in. Just like you believe that Kobe is the best beef and Quintessa is the best wine at the steakhouse. Your diners order that from you so easily because you truly believe it is THE BEST and you like it, personally.”

Over the next few months, Thunder received his BS, and was rethinking his grad school plans. His mind had been ignited with all kinds of pos$ibilities. He’d come to me with all varieties of ideas, throwing them at me, like fastballs of fire, wanting to know my catcher-like opinions. Honestly, he was driving me crazy, most of the time, because I kept repeating the same thing, “Dude, you’re all over the place and I love that you have all of this passion, which is exciting for me to witness. But, you need to find one thing to focus on. One thing that creates a blazing fire within you. One thing, Thunder. You’ll know when it hits you. It’ll feel right.”

The months rolled by. And during those months, I became his wing-woman (not that he needed one), matching him to a model, who was planning to make her Hollywood dreams become a reality. Prior to her walk-a-fame departure, she took Thunder with her on an apartment hunting trip to Los Angeles. As soon as his plane hit the landing strip back in Cleveland, he called me. “I need to see you. I’m so excited. I found it. THE ONE THING. Oh. My. God. I’m so excited, Heather!”

When I met with Thunder his eyes were full of kid-enthusiasm while he was explaining how electrifying LA is, the places he saw and the people he met. (He has a way of creating a big arc). I was smiling, witnessing his pure happiness, wondering if he was going to move to LA and become an actor (he’d be good at that; a real natural, actually). Finally, he said, “I have a plan. I’m moving to LA and I’m going to sell real estate. I’ve never seen houses like that. Mansions! I want to sell them.” To tell you the truth, Thunder and real estate never crossed my mind. I was a bit shocked. But he was for real and he became extremely focused. More focused and driven than I had ever seen. LA real estate consumed his mind 24/7. He came up with a plan, to take the California required real estate courses online, while he sold herds of Japanese-like cattle in Cleveland, saving pounds of dough, in order to make it all happen. It took him six months to finish those online classes, while serving-it-up in Ohio. But, he did it.   And somehow, I became his mentor, now from afar, coaching him in this crazy, crazy business, believing in him. Watch out Los Angeles the Thunder has arrived.

As far as nailing-it, matching Thunder to the Model? Well, that didn’t really work out…Next time, for sure. 😉





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