April 2021 Newsletter Adding JOY makes a difference



Adding JOY makes a difference




As most of you know, I usually write newsletters, record podcasts, and speak to companies about topics involving sales, leadership, and motivation. Well, today I am writing about a different topic — JOY — the kind of joy that comes on four legs.


“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling the emptiness we didn’t even know we had.” – Thom Jones


On April 26, 2019, I was introduced to a 2-month-old puppy, and on that day my life changed forever. At 59 years old, I had never been a dog owner and had never wanted to become one. I thought puppies were cute, but I had never considered having one. Then Baxter came along and changed all of that. He is now a little over 2 years old, and he has been my best friend since we met.


“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings



Just so you know where I am coming from, I was never a fan of dogs. Now I realize it was simply because I had never had one. My dog has brought me so much joy that I would feel selfish if I didn’t share it with you. That’s why I decided to write a picture book about my dog Baxter. In this book, Baxter…my first dog at 59, I not only share pictures of him but also include commentary about his mannerisms and all the ways he has brought a new dimension of joy and happiness to my life.


One of the many, many changes Baxter has made in me is that he keeps me so occupied that I rarely have time to think about negative things or current events that could bring me down. I often find myself watching him play in the house or the backyard, and it always puts a smile on my face. Several times a day he will do things that make me chuckle.


“It’s not what we have in life, but who we have in our lives that matters.” –



During my free time, my mind used to wander sometimes to thoughts that weren’t productive or positive…but Baxter has eliminated all of that. I even sleep better than I used to because of the comfort of knowing he is with me. Even though he weighs only 10 pounds, he has a bark that could scare anybody.


Another outstanding characteristic about Baxter is that he loves everyone and will show you how he feels by licking you until you push him away. Isn’t that a lesson we should all learn — to love everyone and not prejudge people? I can’t even begin to tell you the life lessons I have learned from my Baxter. I am a much better person because of him, and for that I thank him with all my heart.


What are you doing to bring JOY into your life? It’s never too late. Baxter came into my life when I was 59.


If not now, then when? And if not you, then who?


I hope my book about Baxter will bring joy to you or maybe to someone you care about who needs a shot of happiness right now.



What People in the Audience are Saying…

With Van's passion, humor and experience you can be assured of one thing- your audience is going to get fired-up, built-up, and fully charged –up. As an entrepreneur at the top of his game Van is in the unique position of being able to "talk the talk" because he has "walked the walk". Over the years he has been a great inspiration to me and my staff. Van is a speaker with charisma, humility and impact and he's a difference maker in the lives of the people he touches…"

—George Akers // President, First Mortgage Corp.

I wanted to thank you for coming and speaking with our company today. I thought your presentation was awesome! I was really motivated and inspired by your thoughts and ideas. I will use this motivation to grow my business and my personal life.”

—Justin Pauls // Realtor, Tampa, Florida

We are delighted you will be accepting the award for Omaha’s Top 25 fastest growing companies. Congratulations on your outstanding growth and we wish you continued success.”

—Tracey Fortina // Omaha Chamber of Commerce

Thank you for running such a class act company. It is an honor and a pleasure to be associated with someone such as yourself. I know you are probably one of the most respected businessmen in the region.”

—Dustin Talacko // Realtor, Omaha, Nebraska

Congratulations on writing “Selling from the heart” and thank you for sharing a copy with me. Your class has been one of the most enjoyable classes I’ve ever taken. Your enthusiasm and passion for your work are awesome. But the most refreshing part of the class was your delightful sense of humor. Thank you again for being a fantastic teacher.”

—Linda Reismeiler // Student at Randall School of Real Estate, Omaha, Nebraska

Kudos to you, Van, for reaching a major goal. But more than that...For successfully building one of Omaha’s best companies from scratch and making it thrive even in less than ideal market conditions. You have realized the American Dream...And brought it home to many, many others. My best to you!”

—Todd Andrews, Anchor and Producer, KETV Omaha

Having you here again was such a blessing to so many! As I looked at the pictures, I could see just how interested each and every person was in what you had to say!

This has been such a gift to our agents when they need it the most. The fact that you come, you are so genuine and caring, you are so honest, you are not trying to sell anything and your passion to help each and every person believe in themselves and become the best they can be is HUGE! The timing is perfect for us all helping and caring about each other, so, thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for giving of yourself to help all of us!”

—Carolyn Summerton // First Mortgage Company of Idaho

I enjoyed your seminar and its focus. I was on the fence whether or not to attend and decided why not? I could have sat through an all day session if there was one, usually I end up at the seminars that start with a focus and quickly go astray. I found with yours time flew by too fast and it was already time to go but I wasn’t ready to go.”

—Scott Asbill, CDPE // Associate Broker, Realtor