How I Became the “Woman of the Year”
I was blessed with the amazing honor of being the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Woman of the Year for 2021.
A lot of people want to know how I managed to do this. I'll tell you; it was not luck. 100% no. It's taken a ton of hard work and dedication.
I want to share the things I firmly believe—my core foundation of beliefs that helped me get where I am today. Over the years, I’ve added skills and traits to my repertoire. I've been surrounded by amazing humans and I've realized, “Ooh, I like that! I want to borrow that!” and “Ooh, I like that… I need to do that as well.” I want to share this with you because I hope that you do the same thing.
I hope that you write these ideas down or take notes and use them to help you become the person you dream of. Let's get into it!
1. Be a “Yes man!” (or Wo-man ;)
I will tell you right off the bat, I'm the “yes woman.” I'm the, “I got it, I got it. I'll do it. I'm in.” You could even trace it back to my first position in home building many years ago with KB Holmes.
I started as a hostess. I was there for 60 days when they needed help on the sales team. I moved into sales, then quickly moved from sales into the design studio because they were opening the studio and needed help. And what did I say? “I got it.” Have I ever done the design studio? No, but I got it!
The next thing I knew they were opening mortgage and they needed help. Never done a mortgage in my life. I hate finance. I hate numbers. I love money, let's be clear, but I don't love that side of it. You know what? I'll do it. I'll do it. I'll do it. Let me help.
I jump in, I start doing mortgage. They asked me to move to Salt Lake to help them. No, don't love it that much. Then they needed help in their marketing department. Whom do they call to be their director of marketing? I'll do it. I can do that. I've been watching, I've been helping. I’ll dive in, not afraid.
Then the same thing happened with construction and warranty. I tell you this because I'll do it. I'm a “yes woman.” I love to help and be of use and I'm a worker.
2. Always Jump Right In
There are two parts to this: 1. jumping in to help and 2. always be learning. The second part is important to me: Always be learning. Part of my motivation is the fact that I've always wanted to learn about everything that's around me.
I worked at Costco in college, and I was the “yes woman”. So much so, that if you name a position in that store, I did it. I didn't care if I was a cashier, back stocker, or front door security guard. I went into the vault. I counted money. I set up memberships…It didn't matter because everyone knew I was going to say “yes.” What happens when you approach your job this way is: you become this insanely educated human that can be of use to any aspect of or anyone in the company.
So again I ask, “Are you a ‘yes, man’? Are you an, ‘I got it’ human?” Man, I hope so! Those roles I’ve played… I'll value them forever. They helped make me who I am.
The other way I’m “always learning” is that I'm a hacker of anything. I am not afraid, not scared. Not scared of a computer program or a process. Don't care. I'm gonna try it. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna ask a million questions. I'm not gonna wait for training. I'm not gonna wait for direction and I'm not gonna wait for permission. Because everyone's busy. I'm just gonna dive in and see how I do. Surely it can't be that hard. I'm not putting a man on the moon; I'm not building a rocket. Surely, I can figure this out or get close.
Sometimes I'm just so perplexed as to why people are waiting. Waiting to be told what to do, to go to the next training module, to read a book on how to do something instead of just reading it and then doing it. Think about that. Life-altering, right? Be a hacker of anything.
No fear. Fearless. That's you!
3. Bring a Pen and Paper
I learned this years ago from an amazing leader I had. He said this: “Ronda do not go into a meeting or in anyone's presence without a pen and paper. Write everything down. There's going to be something of use for you later. They're going to share something. They're going to tell you a book, a quote, a story, or something that's going to be of use for you or for someone you know, and you're going to need to pay that forward. You're going to need to write that down.”
Bringing pen and paper means your showing up prepared to learn. And when you leave that room and read through your notes and you have everything nailed and everything that someone asked for, or wants, or needs, that's amazing. You feel amazing!
Feeling amazing puts you in a completely different class. So please, don't ever be in my presence or anyone else’s without a pen and paper. You look, act, and feel different when you show up prepared.
4. Be a Learning Animal
I'm a learning animal. Google only hires learning animals. That's me. I have constantly read and attended conferences on my dime, companies’ dime, whatever it is. I don't care. I'm going. I'm going to learn. My favorite John Gordon quote is, “adapt and advance and thrive in all those things.” The only way I can try new things, new processes, and new ways to do things is if I'm a learning animal. I've always been a learning animal. I hope you are too.
5. Perform a Sunshine Check
Do an energy check on yourself. Do a sunshine check on yourself. What does it feel like to interact with you? I've always wanted to feel like sunshine. I want to have a smile on my face. I want to love you up. I want to hug you. I want to make it better for you when you are in my presence. Can that be our mission in life? That when people are in our presence, it feels like sunshine and we've made them better in some way, somehow?
6. Remember: This Isn’t Luck
You gotta work hard. I didn't luck into this “Woman of the Year” gig. I didn't luck into this career that I've built. You have to work for it. You gotta be prepared to work. Put the time, energy, passion, and love into whatever your craft is. When you do that, it doesn't feel like work and you can do what needs to be done to reach your potential.
Quit waiting to be chosen. Quit waiting for someone to come riding in on their white horse, spreading pixie dust with a raise and a position and a blah, blah, blah. No, no, no! The quote goes like this, “be so good they can't ignore you and they'll come for you. And if they don't, you come for them.”
You show them your scoreboard—the classes and the books you've read, the things that you've accomplished. Show them how you want to move things forward. Go get it! Stop waiting to be tapped or chosen. People were coming to me because I was the “yes” person. I was the, “I got it…I'm willing, ready…all those things. I was proving that I could work hard.
7. Don't Forget that It's Not About the Money
It's interesting to me; it's never about the money. I know some people are going to say, “I hate that statement.” But to me, it's really not. Here's why: I know that if I do everything that I just told you: have the right attitude and mindset, become a learning animal, work hard, be the “yes woman” and go get it, the money comes. But when I don't do any of that, the money doesn't come. So, I say: it's never about the money. I'm not worried about that. It'll come.
I'll show you my worth. I'll show you, my value. I'll work hard. I'll deserve it. I'll go get it. I'll seek it out. It will come. All of you people who are sitting back there going, “I'm not getting paid enough” and I want to job hop and go to 12 different places and keep getting these people to pay me more money even though I'm not worth more money, because I'm not doing anything…that’s straight-up bullshit.
I want you to be so good that they can't ignore you. You wanna feel good? I wanna feel good about my value. I know you do too. I want all the people in my life to feel good about what they're giving back to me. That's what it's about!
8. Trust that Love Wins
I leave you with just a couple of other things that drive me. As you know, love wins. Love wins. When you love yourself, your team, your family, your career, and your community, you're gonna win. You're going to be so passionate. When you bring love to the table, you are unstoppable!
9. Throw in Some Fun
What's fun got to do with it? EVERYTHING! Are you having fun? If not, you better check yourself before you wreck yourself. You better make sure that you're the ringleader of fun.
Stop waiting for someone else to make your life, your job, and your days fun. How about you go first! You be fun. Surround yourself with amazing humans every day. My posse, crew, team, friends, family, and everyone that I've met in this industry…amazing humans. That's who I want to hang out with. That's who I want to be around. Hell, I’m going to go right now!
10. Keep Your Family Close
My family is the most important thing to me. My whole goal through all these years of working hard and doing everything that I've done is to bring them with me every step of the way.
Every time I go to a conference, I come home and we go over the notes. Every time I read a book, I buy it for them. They read the book too and we share notes. We talk about it. We tackle our goals together. I always knew that I wanted my family right there beside me, and they are. Always.
One More Thing….I’m Not Done
All I have is love and gratitude for this award, for this life, for this blessing. Know this, I'm not done! Remember, better human, it's a full- time job. Yes, the award is amazing, but I am just like you. I'm on the hunt. I have areas that need to be worked on, habits that need to be overhauled, and goals that I have not even remotely come close to hitting.
At this point in my life, all I can say is: “you ain't seen nothing yet!” We're going to the moon. Jump in!
I love sharing with you. I hope you found something that will help you be great and help you live your best life. And then, hopefully, you'll share this with your family, friends, kids…whoever it is…whoever that needs this right now.
I love you. Be great! Be great! Be great!