April 2023 Newsletter A Leaders Mindset

A leader’s mindset


You don’t have to own a company, hold a management position, head an organization, or be a parent to have a leader’s mindset. Each of us can benefit from incorporating a leader’s attitude into everything we do. I believe having a leader’s mindset is a choice.


“Become the type of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.” Brian Tracy

Having a leader’s mindset means you are always striving to be better. You are willing to make changes so you can become more effective in everything you do.


Being a leader is not easy, and constantly having a leadership mindset is even harder. Leaders don’t take a day off from leading. They have to be on top of it on a daily basis, at least while they are at work. When I was starting my company out of my basement with just myself and then adding 350 employees over 16 years, taking a leadership role was no cake walk. I had never done it before, and I had to learn how to develop and implement a leadership mindset.


Building the foundation of a company takes a lot of work. I was involved in aspect of my company, from marketing and sales to overseeing every department, and last but not least dealing with every type of personality imaginable, especially my own! (I am pretty sure managing myself was my biggest leadership task.)



“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John Maxwell



According to the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), a good leader must have a certain skill set above and beyond that of the average person. Some of those skills include the ability to delegate. This aspect of leadership did not come easily to me. During my first several years in business, I wanted to handle everything myself instead of delegating responsibility to other people. That attitude was not benefiting anyone, especially me.


Communication is also a priority. Good communication skills are mandatory in a leadership role. When I wanted something done and I had to make it clear to others, my communication style was less than acceptable. In other words, I was a work in progress. However, I did get better at it over time because I made an effort and I was aware of what I needed to work on. As a leader, you must be able to recognize your own weaknesses and strengths.


Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.Sam Walton


Additional characteristics of a leader, according to the CCL, are influence, empathy, integrity, and two of my favorites — gratitude and respect. When you are grateful for your coworkers and show them respect, they will take a bullet for you. One of the ways I know my company excelled in this category is that they loved their jobs, and no one ever left the company. Our retention score was the best in the industry because we treated everyone the way they should be treated — with respect and gratitude.


Saving the BEST for last, leaders create a winning culture. All of the characteristics of a leadership mindset can be summed up with one word, and that is culture. To me, the number one responsibility of a leader is to maintain a positive workplace environment. You can learn more about creating a positive culture at the workplace by going to my blog at and scrolling through my newsletters. They will be very helpful.


Creating a leadership mindset may seem a little intimidating at first. Just remember we all have the ability to do and become anything we choose. There are lots of resources to help you become a good leader, but one of the best ways to do it is to hire me to come to your company and speak to you and your staff. Why am I the right person to help you? Because I’ve been there and done that. You will learn not just from my victories but also my failures, and hopefully this will keep you from making the same mistakes that I made. For more information, please feel free to email me at I would be thrilled to hear from you.


I believe leaders are made, not born. Becoming a leader is a choice that each of us can make.


In this newsletter, I have shared my brief take on a leadership mindset. I feel very strongly about this topic because I was not born with a leadership mindset — I had to create it. Being a leader is an ongoing, never-ending task. At least it should be, because trying to learn something new every day is the path to becoming a better leader. Everyone has the ability to be a leader, no matter what their position is, from the receptionist to the CEO and from the teenager to the grandparent. And one of the greatest outcomes of having a leadership mindset is that you will encourage, inspire, motivate, and empower everybody in your sphere to follow your example. That is the sign of a true leader.

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