Here’s The Diehl - Episode 1: Will start easy... how about taxes?

Okay so social situations may not be my most comportable arena and yet when the information is that important, i’ll put up with anything to find a better solution.  It’s part tenacity, part sense of humor.   


I feel I can confidently say that I’m not the first person to be bored when I hear about the discussion of taxes.  Out of sight out of mind? Just a once a year pain we all have to face - but that just goes to show how uninformed I was about the benefits of understanding the tax code, even at its most basic overview.  

“Information is potential power” 

I attended the ULI - Oklahoma Luncheon regarding Tax Reform and two things went through my mind: how many people do I not know here, and how has the recent tax return actually impacted projects in Oklahoma? Nerd Alert: yes the first one addresses my naturally socially-awkward anxiety about group settings of people I don’t know and the other is my bizarre academic curiousity about things I don’t understand.  I’d seen headlines from other sources that the recent Tax Reform had produced some significant benefits for those in the Commercial Real Estate field.  But the question remained: how is this specifically affecting Oklahoma?

Okay so the scope of the discussion was very much heavily based on a common understanding of general Accounting and investment terms and acronyms.  Challenging to follow, and with a little bit of deductive reasons it becomes easier to follow along.  That being said, this is just my summation of my understanding, and I would highly recommend discussing anything with a CPA or tax professional before acting on any of the ideas that are discussed here. 

Here are some of the biggest take always... as I understood them

1. Corporate Tax reduced from 35% to 21% - Admittedly I was in favor of a higher corporate tax rate reasoning that it would help support a stronger middle class.  Truth is: there’s not enough data to support that conclusion.  The corporate Tax accounts for about 1/3 of the tax revenue generated in Oklahoma.  So if people are the largest generator of tax revenue, which would have the greatest impact of influencing the economy: an individual Tax Cut or a Corporate Tax?  Individual tax cut may spur individual sales, and it is just as easy to argue that we can encourage new business by reducing the cost to DO business.  I don’t know that I have a firm position on this one yet, although I see the upside to the recent tax cut in the short run.  I am curious to see which organization benefit the MOST from this reform like the real estate sector, the energy sector, small business, manufacturing, etc?


2. You can no longer deduct Interest expense on a home equity loan.  Home purchases up to December 31st, 2017 will be able to deduct the interest from their loan on their taxes. Homes purchased in 2018 will not.  This sounds like an odd compromise. I’m assuming the original idea was to remove the deduction completely, and instead it was limited to those in 2018 and beyond.  This will affect family’s discretionary spending and their debt-to-income ratio.  I see how this had wide stretched arms throughout the housing market.

3.  Different tax ramifications for an asset and interest held for under/over three years. It looks like the rule of thumb is under 3 years will be taxed as a short-term capital gain (much higher rate). Now there are a variety of instances where the time held for an asset, an entity, and an interest/stream-of-income can overlap and change the dynamic as well as the impact.

4. If your asset creates jobs, you have an opportunity to catch a break.  A great question came up (wish I could take credit for it, but just glad I was in the room to hear it). There are payroll and contractor deduction available and there are even more benefits for those that have employees actively on the payroll. So that could be as simple as the guy who manages a parking lot, to the person that is actively managing a larger property. 

5. Carry over asset - if a 51%+ owner of an entity sells his or her shares, the Oklahoma entity would typically cease to exist and the remaining partners would have to immediately start a new one in order to maintain operations, until now.  Now a majority partner can sell all or part of an ownership interest without having having to dissolve the original entity or company. This sounds more like a convenience until you consider that means only ONE tax return instead of having to file TWO and continually track them. 

Here’s The Diehl... The current tax reform was the culmination of deal that started in 2016 that has gone through an overwhelming number of edits and amendments to be what it is today.  It is heavily detailed set of guidelines that still needs a lot of clarifications for the nuances of the businesses in Oklahoma - even from the guys that understand it.  I’m in favor of finding the right team of professionals to help me navigate the ins and outs here.   It seems like if done right, there are several opportunities to save more in the long run. And if done wrong, then its not just the implicit loss, but the explicit expense to repair and re-file. LAME!

If there are 3-4 account that are willing to meet and provide a bit more insight into what works best for your business, the cost to complete, and the patterns for success - is it worth it?  

WARNING - This Blog Contains Explicit Language...and for good reason

WARNING - This Blog Contains Explicit Language...and for good reason

Have you ever been completely overwhelmed by your own emotions???  Have you ever run circles in your head about an issue or problem that is making you so emotional that nothing else seems to matter?  Have you ever tried to focus on one task but can’t seem to maintain focus because you are distracted by your own emotions.

What if you could shift your mindset COMPLETELY to something new

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What's missing from your Weight Loss Routine? A Panic Button

If I were to take a guess I bet one of your new years resolutions is to lose weight, get healthy, or get fit? I’m not judging - the reality is weight loss goals are the #1 New Year’s resolution in America.  This is also the peak time for gym membership sales and attendance (been there, done that).

So what makes you think that on January 1st you are magically going to to be able to walk into a gym to work out, get home and eat healthy, and somehow magically maintain this new routine consistently. You really think you are going to white-knuckle your way to success?REALITY CHECK -  that spike in gym attendance fizzles out by February 1st, and is back to normal traffic flow by February 15th…without fail.  I don’t know for sure, but I bet the healthy eating habits starts to fizzle at about the same rate.

Sow what is missing?  Why does everyone fall off the wagon by mid-February? You’ve created a goal, thought through a new routine, but just can’t seem to stick to it.  Why not? I mean you are smart, successful in your own right, why does this goal feel so unobtainable?  I believe it boils down to the idea that there is something missing from your new system… A Panic Button.

Let’s face it - we all have days where we don’t want to work out, get up early, or eat a salad when you REALLY want a greasy cheeseburger.  We focus our systems on achieving a goal and believe that if we maintain focus that we should be able to achieve them.  There in lies the problem: “IF we maintain focus…”  That ‘IF’ is the key that most people miss.  The reality is you won’t always be able to maintain focus.  Willpower is like a battery, and certain tasks will drain more energy from you and make you more likely to cheat on your diet or skip a work out. (HINT: avoiding certain tasks actually takes twice the mental effort as actually doing something.)

A Panic Button is your fallback tool for those moments when you don’t want to stick to your plan.  When you are feeling down and don’t want to work anymore.  You aren’t planning for failure, you are planning for days when your energy is lower andyour focus isn’t as centered as you would like.  Here are 8 panic buttons i’ve used that helped me lose 90 pounds about 6 years ago.

  1. FOCUS ON YOUR 'WHY' -  It never fails that those more likely to stick to a weight loss goal didn’t have a number in mind, or just an outfit in mind.  They have a person or an activity in mind.  They have a visual of finishing their first half-marathon or playing with their kid in the park.  The point is make your ‘why’ bigger than you and you increase your odds for success.
  2. WHAT'S THE PAYOFF - if your goal is to lose weight chances are that will take time, so what is the reward you can give yourself today just to get you through this rough spot.  Yes that’s right - I’m not above bribery.  But it has to make sense.  So maybe you use the chocolate syrup in your post-work-out shake, or maybe you stop by and get a breakfast bagel after your work out, or maybe you take an extra 15 minutes with your family before you head off to work.  Focus on how that will make you feel and then use that new energy to push through.
  3. CUT CORNERS - Oops - you woke up late and won’t have enough time to get to the gym, do your work out, clean up and be ready for work in time.  Oh MY GOD!  You mean you aren’t perfect?!?! yeah - well perfect is boring.  Instead of going to the gym - run around the block for 10-20 minutes.  It may not be the intense work out you were aiming for, but its better than nothing.  It also reinforces the new habit in your physiology.
  4. AFFIRMATION -  sometimes when your energy is low and your belief in yourself is low you need to reaffirm that you can do this.  You are worth the time now to make this happen.  You need to believe in yourself if the goal is ever going to be a reality
  5. DRILL SARGENT APPROACH -  Have you seen the Biggest loser?  The trainers aren’t always nice.  Yes you can get a trainer.  Now if I am being honest - if someone were to talk to me like that I would probably punch them in the face before listening to that crap.  Instead I opt for the ‘epic motivation’ via iTunes.  Believe it or not there are actually work out albums of people talking to you and pushing you.  The background music gets your blood pumping, and the voice is just enough to piss you off without the need to punch someone
  6. RELY ON A FRIEND - This is an ‘iffy’ panic button, because chances are you are both having the same goal and will probably burn out at about the same rate.  But having someone to be radically honest and help you to track your progress is important step towards accountability
  7. CHUNKING - you’ve set the fabulous goal of being able to go hiking this summer, but that is a big goal and it’s a long way off.  Create a smaller goal like - getting to the gym 4 times this week, or replacing one fast-food meal with a home-cooked meal. Small goals are much easier to maintain and much more likely to keep you on track.
  8. JOURNALING - Okay this is a bit crazy for some, but it works.  If you don’t feel like going to the gym and you think you are going to skip a day START WRITING! Seriously, immediately start writing down why you aren’t going to the gym, whats preventing you, why did you start on this journey.  Something about writing it all down slows down our mental process and we begin to realize that the only thing preventing us from going to the gym are the excuses we are making up in our minds.  This one takes some practice, but after a handful of times you won’t need to journal because you will feel it coming.

The reason I bring it up now is that you need time to figure out what your goal is and how you are going to achieve it.  If you think you are going to make magic happen starting January 1st, you will sorely disappointed.  Start today - practice the new routine of eating healthy and working out. The earlier you start the more time you will give yourself to understand your own habits, and what will deter you from maintaining your new routine. If the new goal starts January 1st then this is the time to play and experiment without having the pressure of trying to stick to your goal.  No pressure means no failure.  Part of the challenge is figuring out what works for you.  Not everyone eats the same way, and they certainly don’t work out the same way.  I would say that in my experience it takes about 3-4 weeks to create a new habit and about 90 days to make it part of your lifestyle or your routine.  Practice your panic buttons every time you hit a wall and you’ll hit the 90 day mark before you know it.

That's Fair...But Still Disappointing

I've recently become obsessed with The Blacklist with James Spader.  I don't watch a lot of TV and the news media has been pissing me off so much recently I tend to avoid it like the plague that it has become.  So nothing like a good bad-guy turned good-guy drama with spy and espionage plotline to decompress at the end of the night. Right? Call it an extended Netflix binge

...Maybe its just me...

SPOILER ALERT:  In Season 3 Agent Elizabeth Keene, the co-star, is accused of murdering the Attorney General and 15 other people. after a 10 episode chase she is finally brought in and offered a plea deal.  So James Spader's Character, Raymond Reddington, hatched this elaborate plan to get Elizabeth Keene exonerated of all charges, but alas he came up short. She has to accept the plea of 1 count of Involuntary Manslaughter.  All things considered this was a great deal...but it didn't feel that way.

See I was expecting Elizabeth to get off scott free. I mean she is the good guy after all right?  The fact that she didn't win everything back was oddly devastating for me. Even watching Agent Keene realize that her life had completely changed and she had to accept this one charge just broke my heart.

But It was a fair deal! I mean she killed 16 people [in self defense] and was only getting one charge and no jail time.  YES, That IS fair...but it's still disappointing.

The most frustrating aspects of business and specifically real estate are the disappointments.  I think every agent is, for the most part, well intentioned and works very hard on behalf of their client.  Even after multiple counter offers we can arrive at an extremely fair deal and yet both sides can still be disappointed.

I recently closed a transaction that took a very long time and several offers and rounds of counteroffers to arrive at the closing table. Lets just say there was some interesting red tape that complicated the process. The final offer accomplished my clients goals: the property was sold. And yet it was still disappointing because it was not the gigantic pile of money he had hoped would be the end result.  The deal was extremely fair to both sides and was probably the closest thing to a 'non-zero-sum-game' that would have been possible. But fair or not it was still disappointing.

What caused the disappointment?
 1. These challenges shouldn't have to apply to us
2. These challenges aren't real and
3. I can get exactly what I want no matter what.

The number one problem people have is that we believe we shouldn't have any.  I mean do any of those 3 beliefs sound realistic?  The reality for us is that we had challenges, we faced them, and in the end we had to accept a 'fair deal' as opposed to an exceptional deal.  Okay - so the world didn't come to an end, everyone walks away somewhat happy and somewhat disappointed.  Is this a victory? HELL YES!

No one thought it would be possible to close this transaction and it happened in spite of all the odds stacked against us. Challenges serve to teach us something, and in this case a fair deal is better than no deal at all.

Next time you find yourself disappointed with a result try to take a step back and examine what happened and why you are disappointed.  If it is because everything didn't go exactly the way you wanted... reality check..I don't think it ever will.  We are not entitled to anything in life, only what we are willing to work for and learn from.  Even then nothing is truly secure.  It is important to define our goals, but be flexible with the results.  Goals do not entitle us to our dreams coming true. They serve to give us focus and drive towards something achievable. 

Our expectations are what frequently cause the most significant frustrations and disappointments. So before you setup yourself up for a "Fair but disappointing" year in 2017 - what do you expect?  Don't lower your standards, but ask yourself what is your goal and what do you truly expect to happen?  What value or belief reinforces that idea?  Is it fair?  Could you survive a little disappointment?  And then what?  Do you settle and live with the disappointment or will you let that propel you forward?

In the end the deals may be fair, but the disappointment only comes from one


"It has to Start with a Belief" - Athena Captain, the Rainmaker

"It has to Start with a Belief" - Athena Captain, the Rainmaker

What is it about our beliefs that shape our map of the world?  Can a change in a our beliefs really re-shape our lives?  There’s a theme among entrepreneurs and dragon slayers that all action starts with our beliefs.  Taking action requires the belief that a goal is within the realm of achievement. It is easy to dismiss the idea that our beliefs have power because it is not as tangible as actually achieving a goal like increasing sales, or losing weight.  The truth is our actions our born out of our beliefs.  It has to start with a belief.

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Post Election - What NOT to say to start a conversation

On Wednesday I was sitting in a local coffee shop waiting for a colleague to arrive so we could finish a project for an open house this weekend.  Without naming names I’ll say that I was in a very liberal part of town in downtown OKC when a very boisterous man walked in totting a Duck Dynasty beard, a Trump hat and was very loudly proclaimed, “Why is everyone so quiet, the right guy won the election!”

 I don’t know what prompted me, but my naturally introverted nature stepped aside as I very confidently told him, “You know a lot of people are upset about the election results and still trying to come to grips with a reality they weren’t expecting.”  Clearly I caught him off guard because he forgot he was standing in line for coffee and walked over to my table.  At this point in time all I could think was ‘oh crap - I just poked a sleeping lion. He’s about to bite my head off.’

“Let me guess - you voted for crooked Hillary.” he responded.

“Well not that it matters.  But out of curiosity - which do you feel is more important right now: pointing out how the other side lost, or focusing on moving forward as a country?” Again - caught him off guard. He looked up a bit puzzled as if I just taken the wind out of his sails.  I wasn’t trying to antagonize anyone, but when someone opens a door for new understanding I just can’t help myself.

“Moving the country forward — but you have to accept the fact that she lost, get over it. It’s time to move on.”

“You are right and which do you believe will help us move forward as a country - bragging about a win, or finding common grounds?” Okay, so the question was a setup.

“Finding common grounds - “

“So, then if I’m understanding you correctly we all need to practice a bit of patience, humility, and personal strength in order for us to move forward together. Shoulder to shoulder.” I responded, cutting him off.  This was probably the only time I’ve had a political discussion AFTER the election.

“I guess you are right now that I think of it” He smiled and after a short discussion he bought me another cup of coffee and thanked me for speaking up.

I felt silly after the fact - I mean who am I to preach about understanding or trying to find common grounds.  Still, there is a lesson that even in a moment that is completely uncomfortable, unexpected, and unwanted we can still find an understanding of a common goal. 

Okay so this is the obligatory political/non-political Post-Election-Blog.  Despite my colleagues best advice NOT to mix business with politics, I simply can’t help myself because:

  1. Every Challenge is an Opportunity in disguise (Thank you Don Neilen)
  2. The game isn’t over yet
  3. The story is ALREADY starting to change

 Not to mention that the we’ve been talking about elections for the past 18 months so it’s a little difficult to stop, cold turkey.  I hear the protests from both sides to just accept it and deal with reality.  Sorry guys but you have to think about this like a relationship; you don’t talk about getting together for 18 months and then just stop and accept a hard reality in a single day.  It takes time to process.  

I won’t tell you who I voted for — because that is not what this post is about.

Challenge to Opportunity 

The election was a big shock to A LOT of people. In two days I’ve had the privilege to speak to colleagues that support Trump and those that supported Hillary and both were equally surprised by the outcome of the election.  The truth is that now we have the challenge to process what happened, why it happened, what it means about America.  But the work doesn’t stop there.  Asking big questions leads us to the opportunity to understand our country from a big picture view, as well as the local community.  The more we ask questions and dig to find the answers the more insight we can understand about each other and how our goals are both a safe and prosperous country. 

Can we stay United?

Our goal as a country after an election has always been to find a way to move forward - UNITED.  Our country is feeling some deep wounds and struggling to find a way to agree that our future can be better than our past.  Massive protests have broken out in over 15 major cities and based on the stuff i’m reading on Facebook, its not going to end any time soon.

 The amount of uncertainty around a Trump administration is probably the biggest concern for most voters, but if President- Elect Trump can sit down with President Obama and have a civil conversation does that mean being united is a possibility? YES! We can remain united in the hope that tomorrow is better.  

 We remain united in the belief that America is a great country.  We can become even more united if we understand that for the past 18 months we have all felt heartache and fear over this election because we want what is best for everyone.  There are multiple sides with the same ultimate goal in mind.

Electoral College

As soon as the election was over everyone flocked to Facebook to blame the electoral college.  It was created to prevent a “tyrant from manipulating the election system.”  Well folks — don’t blame them…yet.  The game isn’t over yet.  

The electoral college votes on December 19th so technically they haven’t actually functioned as a tyrant prevention.  Electors vote typically within party lines - but not always.  It’s called a “faithless elector” when the vote AGAINST their party for the other nominee and it has happened as recently as 2004. Votes that should have gone to George W. Bush ended up going to John Kerry.  Now it didn’t matter in the end because President Bush amassed enough electoral votes that he maintained his hold on his second term in office.  

While it is unlikely that enough electors will become ‘faithless’ in a Trump Administration I don’t think anything is impossible anymore.  No one expected Trump to win, so no one should say what will or will not happen on December 19th.  24 states bind their electors to vote within their party lines, but the big ones that don’t have to: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina….recognize any of these?



Admittedly I’ve been fascinated by Trump for several years for his ability to speak to ANY audience.  With a slew of business failures under his belt, he has been able to maintain his status in the public eye with his ability to command attention.  In a room full of anger-filled voters, he played to their passion for change.  In a board room of wannabe entrepreneurs he focused on their desire for success. On a construction site - he stops to ask workers about safety and how they are being treated.  

    I am not defending Trump or any of his business practices.  I believe that the way he treats women is horrible but think about the E! Hollywood video. Behind closed doors Trump was vile with his ‘locker room talk’ but in reality he was playing to his audience - Billy Bush.  The goal was to brag and show Billy up and he did - but the moment he walked off the bus his entire demeanor changed.  Again - NOT ENDORSING THIS BEHAVIOR. From an intellectual view this means that he knows what to say and when to say it in front of them.  Now this could also indicate that there is no way to tell when he is really telling the truth — that remains to be seen.  While he may know his audience, now he needs to pay attention to when he is being recorded (i’ll give you a hint - the answer is ALWAYS).

Finally - I noticed that almost instantly the now President-Elect Trump’s entire demeanor has changed.  He is calmer, more soft spoken, displaying more gratitude and even offering praise to once formidable opponents. By Wednesday several items were removed from his website.  All mention of a ban on Muslims or Syrian refugees was completely removed.  Their is still a discussion of an extreme vetting process for refugees and a process to allow people into the country legally, but theres no more singling out muslims (gee - that was quick).  I’m still a bit leery of any policy that singles out a particular class, race, religion, or culture so I remain very cautious about the days to come.

    Part of the idea behind being a Dragon Slayer is looking at challenges and setbacks as an opportunity to review, learn, and grow.  Granted, this is a MUCH larger scale that we are dealing with, but the values are the same.  This is a challenge, and like it or not, we have to find a way to wake up tomorrow and get to work. I encourage everyone to take a look at what Trump has planned for his first 100 days in office.  I also encourage everyone to practice a little bit of patience and humility over these coming months as we discover — together — what the future of America will look like.