Monday, December 5, 2022 Dec 5, 2022
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Riis Christensen: Why I’m a Spoiled Brat Broker

My tendency is to fixate on trying to torque the 1 percent of the dial that isn’t perfect—a deal or two that bombed, tax liabilities, medical issues, family or relational strife, cash flow, or things I don't have and don’t need. That’s apparently much more time than I spend counting my blessings, and that's a jacked up way to go through life.
By |
Riis Christensen
Riis Christensen

I was in a foul mood yesterday. I had a few deals go sideways at the goal line and experienced that familiar sick feeling that comes with three decades as an “eat what you kill” producer. That compounded my bout of hemorrhagic collegiate financial fever and accompanying fiscal diarrhea (when you have three kids in college at once). Then today, I realized what a spoiled brat broker I really am.

You see yesterday, I got out of my California king pillow-topped sleigh bed after 8.5 hours of uninterrupted (OK; so I got up once) sleep, snuggled into Danish house slippers, discretely used my indoor plumbing, picked a perfectly ripe, slightly green Costa Rican banana and added it into a heaping container of colon-blow cereal, and topped it off with icy cold milk, fresh out of my 28.6 cubic foot fridge. I read my favorite Book during breakfast, and then jumped into my 101-degree pulsating car wash shower, dried my receding hair with an implement plugged into the world’s most reliable power grid, brushed my 28 building-standard teeth and healthy gums with an vibrating oscillating toothbrush, and rinsed my mouth with clean water, 100 percent devoid of things swimming around in it that can kill you.

While drying off, I checked my iPhone for e-mails, texts, Pete’s forecast, weekend sports schedule, my itinerary for the day, and made a 116-point play on Words With Friends (take that, Blaine!). I threw down a pill prescribed by one of the best doctors in Dallas, whom I can see with an hour or two of notice on any given weekday, and then pulled on clean socks, fresh undies, a medium-starched Egyptian cotton Nordstrom dress shirt and a 100 percent wool tailored Hickey Freeman suit, then slipped into comfy Italian loafers.

I boarded my garaged 4-wheel drive, seven-passenger V-8 metal steed and traveled the grueling 3.0 miles from my Northwood Hills home to one of the most elegant suburban office buildings ever constructed in Dallas. After driving over the perfectly manicured concrete six-lane Spring Valley Road, with its usually perfectly-timed stoplights, I parked in underground covered parking free of dust, sun, rain and thieves (Hurmis and Averyt moved out a few months ago!). I rocketed up high-speed elevators and out past the best receptionist in the world (Pati) to start my 16th year at arguably one of the best commercial real estate companies on the planet, one founded on Judeo-Christian principles and populated by people who walk the talk.

I strolled down the hall and greeted the always-upbeat Rhonda, Roy, Joyce, Cheryl, Dan, and Howard, then sat down in my bright and sunny 70-degree corner office. I booted up a slim lightweight machine that has more computing power than NASA did in its entirety circa 1973, and which can contact to any phone, email address, or website in the world in seconds. I checked voice messages sent to me from people who can work anytime around the clock that they choose to (Brad and Grant: Get some shut eye!), checked the day’s headlines from around the globe, then proceeded to call on whomever I wished in order to try to do business wherever in the region or U-S-of-A that I chose.

I sent out a “small” invoice for more money than most third world countrymen make in multiple lifetimes. I had a fresh orange from Florida, made some more calls, reviewed a fat lease with my SMU-educated brain (it was a lease, not an offensive scheme), then skeedaddled over to Lawry’s for lunch, where I dined on prime rib, mashed taters, Asian cole slaw, decadent chips, and a mile-high piece of coconut crème pie—a meal that added up to more calories than some eat in a week or three, much less at once.

I returned to my chic modern office, past the posh environs of Jack and many others cut out of scrupulously ethical, intelligent, kind, and generous cloth. I called the pastor of a local church that I am free to attend without fear of persecution or retribution and received buoyant wise counsel. Later that afternoon, I toured the CEO and CFO of a well-known and hugely successful company through the hottest office park in the world (Legacy). I returned to the office, and had pleasant and upbeat discussions with a few project leasing agents, some of the most creative, honest, and hard-working people of any industry I’ve dealt with. I left the “salt mine” (really?) at 6 p.m. and walked past the wine bar and putting green on my way to the onsite gym, where I exercised and watched Fox News on the flat screen, and marveled in the full-length mirrors at my chiseled (actually grizzled) physique.

After another 101-degree shower and after using and discarding four nearly clean towels, I left Providence Towers and checked in via Bluetooth/cellphone with my three healthy and well-adjusted happy kids, all of whom are enrolled in amazing institutions of higher learning (where radical left-wing liberals teach them about the joys of socialism and the dangers of global warming, but I digress). I stopped off at a 100,000-square-foot flagship grocery store and stocked up on Blue Bell chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, Fig Newtons, fluffy toilet paper, and Old Spice deodorant (because that’s what real men smell like). I went to the home of a gorgeous woman who loves me dearly and cooked me a fabulous dinner, after which we sat down and read our favorite Book together and I had my shoulders rubbed.

When I woke up this morning, it was with a peace that transcends human understanding (Phil. 4:6-7 were part of the previous night’s reading). It dawned on me what a spoiled brat broker that I really am—living in the richest country in the world and working in the hottest job/commercial real estate market in the world, with every modern convenience and luxury at my fingertips, enjoying perfect health, and living and working together with people that really love me and care about me and are a pleasure to be around.

But you see, my tendency is to fixate on trying to torque the 1 percent of the dial that isn’t perfect—a deal or two that bombed, tax liabilities, medical issues, family or relational strife, cash flow, or things I don’t have and don’t need. That’s apparently much more time than I spend counting my blessings, and that’s a jacked up way to go through life. It’s time to start focusing on the 99 percent that is such perfectly timed divine intervention and provision. Tomorrow begins with Psalm 77:11: “I will remember your great deeds, Lord; I will recall the wonders you did in the past.”

“Zuzu’s petals! Zuzu’s petals!”

“You see George, it really is a wonderful life!”

Riis Christensen is senior vice president and founder of the tenant advisory services practice group at Transwestern in Dallas. Contact him at [email protected]

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