Adequate Reserves – (FINALLY!) Defined

Robert M. Nordlund, PE, RS is the CEO/Founder of Association ReservesAssociationReservesLogo.

Many, if not most Governing Documents require the Board to set aside “adequate Reserves” to care for the common areas. But what exactly are “adequate Reserves”?

I was recently challenged to define the concept of adequate Reserves by a number of attorneys and D&O carriers. The attorneys wanted to know how to give liability exposure counsel to Boards to help them avoid claims of “inadequate Reserves”. The D&O carriers wish to understand what is and isn’t responsible behavior, as it affects their loss exposure from claims levied by disgruntled homeowners. So I enlisted a number of Reserve Study providers from other esteemed Reserve Study firms across the country (among them Mitch Frumkin from Kipcon, John Poehlmann and Ted Salgado from Reserve Advisors, Peter Miller from Miller Dodson Associates, and Bob Browning from Browning Reserve Group) to join me in crafting a long-needed definition. It is not yet endorsed by any governing body, but I’m excited to share our results with you:

“Adequate Replacement Reserves” is defined as a Replacement Reserve Fund and stable and equitable multi-yr Funding Plan that together provide for the timely execution of the association’s major repair and replacement expenses as defined by National Reserve Study Standards, without reliance on additional supplemental funding.”

This definition combines two concepts:

  1. The size of the Reserve Fund (measured by cash or Percent Funded); and
  2. A responsible multi-yr Funding Plan

It takes both for an association to claim they have adequate Reserves. A small Reserve fund which requires crippling high Reserve contributions may pencil out as “cash positive”, but one would not describe their situation as “adequate”. On the other hand, an impressively large Reserve fund in an association that is recklessly making inadequate contributions is also not “adequate”, as such a Reserve fund will soon require supplemental funds in the form of a loan or special assessment. In addition, our expectation is that the component expenses will be all reasonably foreseeable projects that meet the standard National Reserve Study Standards four-part test, not just a few carefully selected components in the next X years, or a short list of required components that barely meets a local statutory requirement.

So “adequacy” is not defined as a particular cash balance, Percent Funded, Funding Methodology, or Funding Goal. Adequacy it also is not defined by the type (or date!) of your most recent Reserve Study update. So I present to you the above definition of “Adequate Reserves”. Now Boards and industry professionals know what that means!

What are your thoughts? Leave your comments and thoughts on this topic.

 

 

 

Something to ponder as the end of the year looms: 6 career goals you should meet by ages 30, 40 and 50

In most companies, every quarter — or at least twice a year — you’re tasked with setting goals for yourself. As a way to manage your responsibilities, help you prioritize the most important deliverables and keep you tracking toward something, goals are often used as benchmarks of progress. If you meet ’em, you might earn a raise, a title change or bargaining power to ask for more vacation or flexibility. If you don’t — it’s time to work on improving your performance.
That’s what makes setting personal professional goals are bit trickier — since no one is holding you accountable, it’s tough to stay on track and pushing forward. That’s why long-term aspirations are recommended by career experts since you give yourself years — and hey, even a decade — to achieve them. As career coach and author Mary Camuto explains, these targets create focus, momentum, and markers of your success.“Goals should be tangible steps towards both your short-term needs/wants and your longer-term vision for your life Time will pass quickly whether or not you have set a direction or career course,” she shares.Here, some ideas for each decade of your career:

In your 30s

Once the day of your college graduation has come and gone, you’re running full-speed ahead toward that job you paid so much money to be qualified for. Your 20s and 30s are defined by climbing – up the ladder, up the ranks, up the SEO search pages, up, up and up. And if you’ve ever rock-climbed, you know how much strength and endurance it takes to keep pushing. What’s nice though? The semi-comfortable peak you should reach by 40, where you’ve created a name, a reputation and hopefully, a skill set that’ll propel you into the next phase of life and working.

Have a killer online — and offline — presence:

As a generation that’s redefining the metrics and requirements of working, challenging employers to think differently and more digitally, who you are online is arguably just as important as who you are face-to-face. Branding and career expert Wendi Weiner, Esq., stresses the importance of having an sharp presence in the interwebs. This pillar will help you reach where you want to be once those 40 birthday candles arrive. “Your 30’s should be spent building your network and growing your professional stature. Attend events with business cards, have a professionally written LinkedIn profile, and begin to pinpoint where you want to see yourself in 10 years,” she encourages. “Begin keeping a brag book that you can update every couple of months with key career wins and projects you are leading.”

Don’t forget to take that elbow-rubbing and quick wit offline, too. Camuto says by the time you reach the end of your 30s, you should be in a leadership position within the community or industry you’re part of. “Build and participate in at least two networking groups related to your career: join or lead a committee, volunteer at events. This goal has impact to both your current and future success in that your resources and contacts broaden as well as your professional reputation,” she explains.

Set yourself up for future success:

Money matters are difficult for most people to discuss — and even harder to do something about. Though discussing retirement in your 20s or 30s might feel way too soon, the earlier you begin prioritizing your financial health, the better off you’ll be when 65 (or 70 or 75 … ) comes. “You should plan to pay off some debt in your 30’s and open a 401K at your company to begin planning for your financial future,” she shares. The less you worry about dollars in your banking account, the more time you can spend wowing your manager.

In your 40s

For many, your 30s are a time of tremendous growth, whether it’s finally reaching a c-level title or starting and completing your family. With demands from every corner of your life, most people feel stretched thin, and well, really happy. Even so, it’s important to keep your career progressing as you inch through your 40s, navigating the process of aging mentally and physically. You never want to lose your competitive edge, considering you still have a good 20 years of work ahead of you.

Get an advanced certification:

This doesn’t mean you have to go back to school, Weiner clarifies, but it does mean having a candid and open look at your skill sets to seek areas of improvement. You might fall off track as you become further removed from those college days, but a commitment to knowledge will allow you to keep up with recent grads. She suggests finding certifications — like Google Analytics or a coding course — that add another gold star for your resume.

Take executive leadership classes:

There’s a difference between a manager and a leader: even if you have ten direct reports, if you’re not inspiring them to greatness, you’re missing the mark. Not everyone is a natural-born trailblazer, so Weiner encourages 40-something professionals to acknowledge their weakness in this department. “Consider enrolling in an executive leadership or executive management program to enhance your leadership value and skill set, and start to get clear on where you will want to be for the next decade,” she says.

By doing this, you will be more qualified to go for keynote speaking sessions — or at least some sort of panel or conference — that adds more overall value to your brand. As Camuto explains, having a public image that others follow “not only impacts your recognition and success at your current organization but also lead you to a new path/new goals.”

In your 50s

As you reach mid-life, you’re probably going through a period of transition. Your children are getting older — as are you — and you could worry the best days of your life are behind you. Or more to the point: the most exciting times of your career have passed. Looking down the eye of retirement can produce a slew of emotions, but before you allow yourself to get carried away, remember there are still many years to shape your performance. Since most won’t retire until at least 65, discounting the last decade and some pennies will shortchange your career.

Strategize your retirement exit:

You can’t go over it, can’t go around it — you must go through it … with a plan in mind. Weiner says strategizing your exit will rest your angst and also put you in the best possible situation once your final working hour closes. So go on, ask yourself: where do you want to be — and who do you want to be — when that day arrives? Probably not over-exhausted to your bones, but in a happy place of balance and accomplishment. “You might be looking for a big shift in your career and where you want it to take you on the tail end of your final decade of work. By now, you are practicing more work-life balance and also realizing the importance of vacation days and time away to travel,” she says. Sit with your investment advisor and with your family, and determine your timeline so you stay the course—sans fear.

Serve as a mentor:

Workplace expert and industrial-organizational psychology practitioner Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D. says professionals in their 50s will reap rewards (and hey, some karma) from giving back to budding workers. Not only will you be an important figure in their career, but it might ignite a renewed sense of optimism and creativity in yours. “One of the biggest gifts you can give to your field and community is to help those who are in need of mentoring. As you teach a mentee the tricks of the trade, you may even be inspired by your mentee’s enthusiasm and overall interest,” she explains.

By Lindsay Tigar for www.theladders.com

A Step-By Step Process For Studying For The CMCA Exam

A variety of study aids are available to CMCA exam candidates online at CAMICB.org. Because CAMICB recognizes that people have different learning styles, multiple resources are available in various formats. A quick glance at those resources can be overwhelming. Here, we offer a roadmap designed to help you select and properly use those resources towards a successful outcome.

STEP 1. CMCA Study Guide. Download this FREE guide for an overview of how the CMCA exam was developed and how it’s structured. This is important to developing a study strategy. Here, you will also find the key to your studying success: The CMCA Knowledge

cmca-study-graphic-2

8 Knowledge Areas

Areas. You will be evaluated on these 8 knowledge areas, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in each area, as well as how each knowledge area is weighted, will help you properly prepare a solid study plan.

STEP 2. CMCA Handbook. Download the FREE handbook for an overview of the program, paying particular attention to:

  • Section 2: Taking the CMCA Exam highlights the policies and procedures of the exam.
  • Section 3: CMCA Examination Content and Study Materials offers just that, as well as strategies for standardized test-taking.

STEP 3. If you took CAI’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Association Management, you are not fully prepared to sit for the CMCA exam. The M-100 will provide you with concrete knowledge (i.e., terms and definitions) but will not give you the knowledge to apply those terms and definitions to concepts. For example, What is a Quorum? is not a question you will see on the CMCA exam. You may, however, see a question like this, Quorum requirements conflicts are resolved by which of the following? That doesn’t mean you can skip this step. It’s still important to know the definitions in order to be able to apply them.

CMCAExamPrepSTEP 4. Quizlet is a FREE online tool that uses fun games and exercises to test your concrete knowledge. If after reviewing the M-100 course material, you find that your knowledge of terms and definitions is lacking, Quizlet is an excellent way to help you master those key terms and phrases, and prepare you for the next step in your study plan.

STEP 5. Best Practices Reports are FREE resource guides courtesy of the Foundation for Community Association Research. These Reports will help you gain applied knowledge in key areas found on the exam. Each report also contains case studies to help you understand how best practices are applied in real life situations, which is key to grasping an applied knowledge of these topics. If you’re a seasoned manager, spend a little extra time here. What you’ve learned on the job, may not be deemed best practices in the industry.

STEP 6. The CMCA Study Kit is available for purchase from the CAI Bookstore. A great tool for developing applied knowledge, you may purchase individual titles or the entire package depending on your needs.

STEP 7. CMCA Practice Exam is available online at a cost of $25 for one attempt and $40 for two. The Practice Exam includes questions that have been rotated off the exam and offers real time feedback on whether you were right or wrong on a question and why, offering real-world insight into the CMCA exam experience.

All of these materials to prepare you for the CMCA Exam can be found at CAMICB.org on the Exam Preparation web page. We encourage you to spend at least 6-8 weeks preparing for the Exam, and if you have any questions you can contact us at 866-779-CMCA or info@camicb.org.

We’d like to hear from managers who are studying for the exam. What’s working for you? What’s not? Please use the Comments section to let us know how you’re doing!

 

Cable TV-Internet Contract up for Renewal?

What a Community Association Manager needs to know about technology.

Scott D. Haugland, Partner
Broadband Technology AdvisorsBroadBandTechLogo

Technology services-internet or broadband, cable TV, phone and Wi-Fi directly impact all communities and their residents. Outdated, poor or inadequate services lead to unhappy residents and can negatively impact future real estate values. Community Association Managers (CAMs) need to stay current regarding technology advances, trends and changes within all technology based services delivered to or desired by the community. The basics include:

  • Technology Advances-What’s new? What’s coming?
  • Service Delivery Options-Fiber? Coax? Wireless?
  • Industry Trends-Broadband Speeds? WAPs? 5G?
  • Services to Consider-Video Steaming, Smart Home Systems, Video Surveillance/Security
  • Service Provider Options-Who’s new? Who’s best? Who’s competitive?
  • Professional Representation-Do you need it? Who does it?

Technology advances at dizzying speed. CAM’s need to stay current to protect their residents and their properties. No one wants to manage the community with the slowest or most unreliable internet service or be the only property in the area without updated fiber connections. As services advance, infrastructure requirements change and every community needs to be prepared to future technologies now or at the time of the next service provider contract renewal period.

All too often CAMs are unaware of the available service provider options or pending future technologies. They are then unprepared to guide their association directors in making long-term commitments. Common missteps include failing to upgrade network infrastructure to fiber, extending or renewing agreements without a competitive bid process or failing to recognize what the community will want in the years to come. ‘Future Proofing’ communities is essential.

As technology evolves so do the services providers. Advanced new technologies require new service delivery method upgrades such as fiber to the unit or wireless access points. Most service providers are happy to leave everything as it while continuing to collect their monthly fees. CAMs owe it their communities to be aware of technology trends and the various options available or becoming available to the community in the future. Only then can they pressure the service providers for upgrades, help negotiate favorable terms and keep the residents happy in the years to come.

Reading articles, joining topical webinars, communicating with other local area CAMs or attending a CAMICB continuing education course are all good places to start. Up to date information is essential for effectively negotiating with service providers at time of renewal and the renewal process takes time so start at least 18 months out if possible.

Tell us about your experiences in your community. What worked well? And, what fell flat on the floor? Share your insights here.

An ongoing question: Can Short-Term Rentals Be Stopped?

One of the most frequently asked questions from our association clients over the last year or two is “What can we do about all of the short-term rentals in our community?” In a typical lawyerly fashion, we often respond with “it depends”. Unfortunately, the answer to this common question really does depend almost entirely on the language found, or not found, in your association’s CC&Rs. To further complicate the issue, the law was changed a few years ago making it more difficult for associations to regulate rentals and it does not appear that the state legislators will be reversing this trend any time soon. So, if your association is experiencing this problem, what can you do?

Start by reviewing your CC&Rs. According to current Arizona law, owners in an association are allowed to use their property as a rental property unless prohibited by the CC&Rs and owners are required to use their property in accordance with any rental time period restrictions found in the CC&Rs.[1] Therefore, in order to limit or restrict short-term rentals, you will need to search the CC&Rs for any applicable language. Common language, which is typically found in the “Use Restriction” section of the CC&Rs, will either prohibit rentals all together or will require a lease agreement be in writing for a certain minimum term. The association will be limited by whatever language currently exists in the CC&Rs. Please also understand that any language restricting rentals found in a governing document other than the CC&Rs (i.e. Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, etc.) is not enforceable.

Assuming you find language in the CC&Rs you can rely on, a violation of said language should be treated as any other violation of a restriction or rule in your community. Depending on the documents of your association, this may include sending notices of violation, imposing fines, suspending certain rights of the owner, or filing a lawsuit if the violation persists. If you are experiencing short-term rental violations in your community, you will need to document the violations as best as you can. You should look for and save the rental ad from websites such as Airbnb or VRBO. You can document the frequent turnover of tenants on the property. You should also save any and all communications with the owner regarding the violation. Hopefully, these violations can be resolved without having to resort to litigation as these types of lawsuits can be difficult to win and are expensive for the Association.

What if your association’s CC&Rs does not adequately address the issue of short-term rentals? The association does have other options it may consider. First, Arizona law allows the association to demand certain information from the owners renting their property. The owner can be asked to disclose the name and contact information of the adults occupying the property, the time period of the lease, including the start end dates, and a description and license plate numbers of the tenants’ vehicles. In age-restricted communities, the age of the tenant can also be verified. Realistically, with short-term rentals this may not be feasible and may not be helpful. Nevertheless, the association should enact this policy for all rental properties in the community.

The association may also consider amending its CC&Rs. This option is more realistic for planned communities than condominiums as a condominium association will likely need the approval of 100% of its owners to insert or amend rental restriction language in its CC&Rs.[2] Amending the CC&Rs can be a very difficult proposition due to the approval requirements, but if the problem with short-term rentals in your community is big enough, the option may be worth at least considering.

The association can also look to other restrictions in the CC&Rs that the owner and his or her tenants may be violating. It is very common with short-term rentals to experience problems involving traffic, parking, trash, noise, and other nuisances. Chances are your CC&Rs contains use restrictions that govern and or prohibit these issues. Associations can also look to see if an owner has registered the property as a rental with the county assessor. Failing to do so is a violation of Arizona law and may trigger language in the CC&Rs that requires owners to abide by the law. While enforcing these violations may not reduce the number of short-term rentals in your community, it may help with the negative repercussions of the underlying issue.

The current law certainly favors owners being able to freely use their property as a rental, despite the harmful impact short-term rentals can have on a community. Efforts can be made to try and change the law regarding rentals or change the law making it easier for associations to amend the CC&Rs. Residents of a community impacted by this problem can and should get involved in the legislative process. You can contact your local representative and make your concerns known. There is power in numbers.

The issue of short-term rental properties is plaguing many associations and meaningful solutions may not exist. However, if you are a member of your board of directors and your community is struggling with this issue, I would recommend you meet as a board and talk to your community manager and the association’s legal counsel to explore your options and see if the problem can be remedied.

 Quinten T. Cupps is a partner at Vial Fotheringham, LLP whose practice focuses on representing homeowner and condominium associations throughout the state of Arizona as general counsel and in the areas of enforcement, collections, and civil litigation.

[1] A.R.S. §33-1806.01 & §33-1260.01

[2] A.R.S. §33-1227(D)

Avoid “Committee Anarchy”

Tips for Keeping Committees On Track

By Raymond Dickey
Publisher, AssociationHelpNow

Many associations have committees. These committees work on behalf of the board of directors. Social committee, architectural committee, newsletter committee —regardless of the type of committee, it’s function is to assist the board in gathering and reviewing information and planning and executing events and projects. However, one thing all committees should have in common is that they must work at the board’s discretion.

Committees encourage resident participation, provide a wide range of advice and viewpoints and free the usually overtaxed board members to concentrate on their dozens of responsibilities. But if a board is not careful, an out-of-control committee can become a major distraction. Many times this starts with one person, usually a committee chair, who doesn’t understand they serve to assist under the board’s guidelines, and not their own. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to the community, so keeping committees in check is an important part of safeguarding the association. A committee that’s gone rogue doesn’t just wreak havoc with the board and residents, they could create liabilities for the association.

The fear of committees running amok leads many boards to resist utilizing them — but that’s a mistake which hurts both the board and the community. Having unit owners involved in what’s going on creates support for the board as well as a harmonious community atmosphere. So how can boards enjoy the benefits of committees without the fear of “committee anarchy”? The first step is, of course, not to allow any committee to swerve out of control. So how is this done? Here are a few simple guidelines:

  • The board should clearly define, on paper, the goals and objectives of each committee.
  • Establish a board liaison for each committee. The board liaison should attend each of that committee’s meetings.
  • Have clear rules about how often and when each committee needs to meet and submit official reports to the board.
  • If applicable, make sure there is a budget for each committee, and confirm they adhere to it.

These simple steps can set an association’s committees on the path toward productivity and harmony. Any board with good committees should be proud of itself for establishing them as well. I always tell people, don’t discount the community aspect of community living. Communities aren’t just made of houses, roads and sidewalks. It’s the atmosphere — friendliness, fun and a sense of camaraderie — that make a community not just nice or good, but great.

Tell us about your experiences working with volunteer committees. What works for you? And, what doesn’t? Share your insights here.

Building A Delegation Culture


Naphtali Hoff
   October 2019

In past posts I have made the argument for why leaders need to delegate, discussed how to use situational leadership to delegate more effectively, and shared tips on what and when to delegate. In this post, I will outline how to build delegation into your business culture.

One of the most important elements of a successful business or team is its culture. A culture is the environment that surrounds you all the time. It encompasses the shared values, attitudes, standards and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature.

Cultures do not develop on their own. They result from conscious decision-making and behaviors which, when repeated over time, become expected norms for those operating within that space, whether it’s a community, a sports team, a place of worship or a place of work.

Corporate or organizational culture is rooted in the business entity’s goals, strategies, structure, and approaches to its work, customers, investors and the greater community. Of course, there are many different kinds of workplace cultures, including innovation, transparency and empowerment.

(This is not to say that these cultures are exclusive of one another. For example, a company can be innovative and also a fun, relaxed place to work. The prevailing culture is defined by the qualities that people within the organization identify as being most prevalent.)

This more extensive list places “strong leadership” at the top. This is valuable because it means that some cultures recognize the value of strong leadership and are prepared to take steps needed to empower existing and rising leaders to bring the company to the next level of greatness.

The above examples of culture focus on “macro,” or all-encompassing aspects of how businesses operate. “Micro” cultures (as defined here) can also exist. By “micro culture,” I mean a culture within the prevailing culture that speaks to the way specific matters are considered and addressed.

One such example is a “delegation culture.” Using the “strong leadership” example above, existing leaders may use delegation to not only clear their plates of the work that others should be doing (and allow them to do those things that they are uniquely positioned and qualified for,) but also to fill the leadership pipeline with future leaders. When leaders delegate, they train and empower others to take more ownership, strengthen their skillsets, and view organizational leadership as more horizontal than vertical.

The first way to create such a culture, of course, is to practice delegation early and often. Please click on the links at the top of this post to review what effective delegation looks like and how to implement it. Building it into your culture means that leaders need to do it and talk about how delegation is an organizational goal and something that is deliberately practiced.

To this end, give your direct reports permission to remind you when you haven’t delegated something that you should. Once they know what should and should not be delegated, they should be on the lookout for tasks that you are keeping for yourself unnecessarily and call you on it.

Make clear to others that if they see a project they want to take on, they should ask for it. Remind them of the benefits to them, you and the company when they do so, and reward them in word and deed for taking the initiative.

Naphtali Hoff, PsyD, (@impactfulcoach) is president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting. Check out his leadership book, “Becoming the New Boss.” Read his blog, and listen to his leadership podcast. Download his free new e-book, “An E.P.I.C. Solution to Understaffing.”

This 75-year Harvard study shows how to have lifetime joy

Photo by Nina Uhlíková

For over 75 years, Harvard’s Grant and Glueck study has tracked the physical and emotional health of two groups:
  • 456 poor people in Boston from 1939 to 2014 (the Grant Study)
  • 268 graduates from Harvard’s classes of 1939–1944 (the Glueck study)

After following these groups and testing them (e.g., blood samples, brain scans) for several decades, the findings have been compiled.

Here’s the conclusion:

“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” — Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development

As Melanie Curtin reported on Inc., “The biggest predictor of your happiness and fulfillment overall in life is, basically, love.”

Although the Harvard study lays the foundation, there is other compelling research on the importance of human relationships.

This meta analysis showed a 50% increased likelihood of survival for participants with stronger social relationships. Put simply, if you have healthy relationships, your chances of survival increase by 50%.

Nearly everything in life is impacted by WHO is around you, and how those people support you.

Childhood trauma, for example, is not about what happens to you. But about what happens “inside” of you, according to Dr. Gabor Maté. In other words, if you go through a terribly horrible experience and you have someone there to help you process it, you’ll likely recover quickly. If you don’t have someone to help you through it, you’ll internalize it, isolate yourself, and that trauma will turn into a lifetime of pain.

Healthy relationships, then, could help you avoid addiction. Could help you overcome life’s challenges. Could help you reach higher than you could on your own.

In an article in SCIENCE, authors House, Landis, and Umberson stated the following:

“Social relationships, or the relative lack thereof, constitute a major risk factor for health — rivaling the effect of well established health risk factors such as cigarette smoking, blood pressure, blood lipids, obesity and physical activity”

Transformational relationships

“You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.” — John Wooden

The most loving and deep relationships are built on a very simple foundation: giving and gratitude.

When the focus is on what you can give, rather than what you can get, the relationship becomes a gift to both of you.

There’s no holding back.

No keeping score.

Only in such relationships can you be fully present to the moment and fully un-inhibited in the expression of your love.

Giving freely without an expectation of return is essential. As are expressions of gratitude. In fact, this study found that expressions of gratitude have a powerful effect on the other person.

Specifically, this study found regular expressions of gratitude can:
  • Increase a person’s self-worth
  • Increase a person’s self-efficacy (confidence)
  • Increase a person’s prosocial behavior (in other words, when you’re grateful to someone, they become a better person to society at large).
  • Increase ability to cope with life’s challenges

Interestingly, Brad Pitt once provided the most beautiful evidence of the science of gratitude and giving. Although he may have forgot …

Whatever happened since, check out this love letter Brad wrote to Angie several years ago:

“My wife got sick. She was constantly nervous because of problems at work, personal life, her failures and problems with children.

She had lost 30 pounds and weighed about 90 pounds in her 35 years. She got very skinny, and was constantly crying. She was not a happy woman. She had suffered from continuing headaches, heart pain and jammed nerves in her back and ribs.

She did not sleep well, falling asleep only in the morning and got tired very quickly during the day. Our relationship was on the verge of break up.

Her beauty was leaving her somewhere, she had bags under her eyes, she was poking her head, and stopped taking care of herself. She refused to shoot the films and rejected any role.

I lost hope and thought that we’ll get divorced soon … But then I decided to act on it. After all I’ve got the most beautiful woman on the earth …

I began to pamper her with flowers, kisses and compliments. I surprised her and pleased her every minute. I gave her lots of gifts and lived just for her. I spoke in public only about her. I incorporated all themes in her direction. I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends.

You won’t believe it, but she blossomed. She became even better than before. She gained weight, was no longer nervous and she loved me even more than ever.

I had no clue that she CAN love that much. And then I realized one thing: The woman is the reflection of her man. If you love her to the point of madness, she will become it.”

This stuff works. However, relationships aren’t a quick-fix thing. You’ve got to stick to these incredible practices of giving and gratitude or the relationships will stop being transformational. It will die.

Living for something beyond yourself

“For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.” — Viktor Frankl

Great power is not what creates great responsibility. Instead, great responsibility is what creates power.

When my wife and I became foster parents of three kids a few years, our lives changed. We had something bigger depending on us. We had to rise to the occasion.

According to what psychologists call, “The pygmalion effect,” you as a person either rise or fall to the demands of your situation. If your situation doesn’t demand much, you won’t rise up.

Having other people depend on you is a beautiful thing. It’s the pressure that will turn you into a diamond. It will cause you to dig deep within yourself, and overcome the addictions and bad habits holding you back.

You have so much more to live for now.

In the digital world we now live in, it’s not about the amount of hours you work. But the amount of thought and humanity you put into your work.

The deeper and more transformative your daily experiences, the more perspective you’ll have into what the world needs. The better you’ll be at your job. The happier you’ll be as a person — despite experiencing hardships throughout life.

When you have people around you who love and help you, you become a different and better person. You become transformed. You become capable of doing amazing things. You are enabled to overcome hardships that would destroy most people.

Do you have deep and loving relationships?

Have you expressed gratitude lately?

Have you given your greatest gifts in complete love and generosity?

This article originally appeared on Medium. By Benjamin P. Hardy

Finding CE Credit Opportunities That Make Sense for You

By John Ganoe, CAE
Executive Director

CAMICB is a program dedicated to professional growth and competency and has designed the CMCA Recertification process to encourage certified managers to continually pursue professional development in the community association management field.  To facilitate these efforts, a Committee appointed by the CAMICB Board of Commissioners meets monthly to review and approve anywhere between 40 and 60 applications each month from various providers.

While there are more than 800 pre-approved continuing education courses, many of which are free or low-cost and can be found on the CAMICB.org web site, we also believe in flexibility and want to make sure you take the courses that best support your professional path.  If there’s a course or event you’re interested in that’s not included on the approved list of continuing education, managers are encouraged to submit the continuing education opportunity to CAMICB for approval.

Remember, the topics must pertain specifically and primarily to community association operations or management (e.g., operations, administration, legal requirements), are relevant to your professional development (e.g., Quickbooks, Excel, effective communications, leadership, etc.) or have a direct impact on your community. For example, if you manage a primarily Spanish-speaking community, and are interested in taking a Spanish language course, CAMICB would consider approving those credits.  

Approval can be granted in one of two ways: by either asking the course provider to complete and submit the CE Course Provider Application or by submitting the program outline or agenda, including dates, times, and speaker bios, to CAMICB yourself.  Similarly, college courses may be submitted for approval if the classwork meets the criteria described in the CMCA Handbook

A Snapshot of Available Resources & Tips for Finding CE Credits

Be sure to review Section 4 of the CMCA Handbook for a primer on earning continuing education credits, as well as the Continuing Education Page at www.camicb.org for an overview of credit and coursework specifications.

Next, consider the many already approved options available to complete your continuing education coursework from the List of Approved Continuing Education, including pre-approved courses offered by the Community Associations Institute (CAI).

Take advantage of your local CAI chapter by monitoring any upcoming events or classes that have been approved for continuing education credit. To find your local chapter, go to the Find a Chapter page on the CAI website.

And don’t forget to explore free or low-cost webinars that are offered by the following providers:

 

Salary requirements: Expressing your minimum salary requirement

Research the going rate for your target job now so you’re prepared to answer salary requirement questions during the interview.

Q: When asked about my salary requirements, I never know what to say. If I say a low figure, they have no reason to offer more money. If I give a figure that’s too high, they may disregard me as a candidate. What’s the right response? – Deb H.

A: The first rule of salary negotiation is to avoid discussing numbers until the company has extended an offer. This is when you have the most power to negotiate. But as any job seeker will tell you, this is no simple feat. Recruiters typically try to pull this information out of you as early as the initial phone screen, if they didn’t already request your salary requirements as part of the application process.

Here are a couple phrases you can use (courtesy of Jack Chapman, author of the book How to Make $1000 a Minute ) to deflect questions about your salary requirements:

  • “I’m sure we can come to a good salary agreement if I’m the right person for the job, so let’s first agree on whether I am.”
  • “I have some idea of the market, but for a moment let’s start with your range. What do you have budgeted for the position?”

You can try to deflect the questions upfront once, maybe twice, but if the recruiter is insistent, you’ll need to be prepared with some figures.

First things first, do your research. Use Ladders’ Job Market Guide and Companies pages to discover the going rate for your targeted job with respect to your relevant years of experience and educational background, as well as the industry and geographic location of the jobs you’re targeting.

You can start by looking up how your current role compares to the market rate, and then also change some of the variables to match those of the companies you’re applying to. If the roles you are targeting are in different industries or locations, or the size of the company is very different, this could have an impact on what salary you can expect to make.

Once you’ve done the research, come up with three numbers:

  • What’s the ideal dollar amount you want (and still have the recruiter take you seriously)?
  • What dollar amount (given the going rate) is reasonable and would still make you happy?
  • What is the lowest dollar amount you’d accept?

These three numbers make up the compensation range that is in alignment with the going rate for your targeted role, and that would make you happy. If you’re forced to state your salary requirements upfront, use the researched number you found to be the fair market value (the same goes for an online application that demands a numeric response).

Again, the most important thing you can do is delay the compensation conversation as long as humanly possible so you have time to build a rapport with your interviewers; monetize what you can do, and how you can personally affect the bottom line at the company; and move them from what Chapman describes as the “budget” state of mind (How much is this person going to cost us?) to the “judge it” mindset (We need this person! She’d be such a great asset to the company – how can we get her to join us?).

By Amanda Augustine for www.theladders.com