Carol Huston | March 15, 2023
In 2022, I started my own company: True Story Realty, powered by SIDE. They are a real estate tech company that came up with a unique model for the industry to empower successful agents to become owners of their own brand. In my first year of being a Founder of my brand, the support I have received from SIDE has been priceless. I have a whole team of people that work to help my company grow and allow me to become a more successful leader and Realtor. I love this unique model and all I have received from SIDE in this process.
Last summer (2022), SIDE announced they were having a referral contest until the end of the year. The goal was to refer the most agents to SIDE to start their own brands. I decided to go for it and refer all of the great agents that I know around the country to give them the same opportunity to become the CEO of their own brand…yes, even my direct competition in Los Angeles! When we lift each other up, we are all raised up!! The deadline for submitting the referrals was Dec 31, 2022 at 5pm. That day, I stayed in my pjs and ended up referring a total of 122 agents by 5pm! And who knew, from my work that day, I would WIN the contest! The prize for winning was:
….This year, the keynote speaker was none other than: Earvin Magic Johnson Jr!
Magic Johnson already has a big place in my heart. He is the person that got me to love the Lakers after I moved to Los Angeles from Chicago. I had always been a loyal Chicago Bulls fan; they were my team and Michael Jordan was my guy. After watching Magic Johnson and seeing his joy every time he played, he made me fall in love with the Lakers and become a true fan!
Knowing that I was going to get to meet him in person made me excited and nervous. I wondered if I could ask him to sign his book for me. I was talking to a friend of mine, at SIDE, that said,
“Why don’t you bring him a gift? He probably has people asking him for stuff all the time. Why not give him something?”
Brilliant! But what do you give a man that has it all?
Last year, I sold the home of a client that told me his moving story. In 1985, he had been diagnosed with HIV/Aids. At that time, they didn’t know what it was so they called it the “gay man’s flu”. No one knew what was happening to these people. My client had 31 friends at that time, all HIV positive, and dying from the disease. By 1991, he was still alive, but the last one standing - one by one, he buried his friends until all 31 were gone. He started to prepare for his own death. He had a room ready for his older sister for when the time came that he would need to be taken care of. He created a Zen Garden at his home that became a retreat for his friends in their last days and for himself. He was told by his Dr. to get prepared for the end of his life. That same year (1991), Magic Johnson boldly shared his True Story that he was HIV positive. My client remembers that day, and Magic Johnson saying that he was choosing to LIVE with HIV and live a FULL life.
Magic’s honesty in sharing inspired my client and gave him hope. If Magic Johnson could decide to live with the diagnosis, why couldn’t he? My client called his Dr. and got into a clinical trial and started taking a medicinal cocktail that ultimately saved his life.
He told me this story and I was deeply moved that Magic Johnson had inspired him to get on with his life! My client went on to design some beautiful houses, create custom furniture pieces, and design gardens for his clients. He decided to retire last year at 84-years-young, and moved back to Europe to care for his older sister who was originally going to take care of him! He has LIVED with his diagnosis since 1985- but it was Magic Johnson that inspired him to truly live a full life beginning 6 years after his diagnosis.
I wanted to tell this story to Magic more than anything. I also wanted to give him a special gift. So we had a friend of ours design a custom chopping block for Magic that has our logo “True Story Realty” engraved next to his name, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. The other side of the board says “Thank you for sharing your true story and inspiring us to share ours.”
When I walked in to meet Magic backstage at SIDExSIDE after hearing his inspiring keynote, I was so nervous! I presented the cutting board to him, and I told him the story of my client: how Magic’s courageous act of sharing his True Story had changed the life of my dear client. Who knew that a year later after selling his house, I would be sending my client a selfie of me and Magic sending him love and a thumbs up for a life well lived!
True Story! My client was the one that had encouraged me to start my own company with SIDE. When I told him the name we were thinking about: True Story Realty, his eyes lit up and he grinned and said “Oh Carol! That’s it!!”
Thank you to Rai, for sharing your amazing life and telling your True Story so that I could then tell Magic and inspire all of us together! Today, we choose to LIVE - just like MAGIC… and Rai!
In Magic’s keynote at the event, he spoke so highly of his father who had such an influence on his life. Since the SideXSide event, Magic’s father, Earvin Johnson Sr. has passed away. We wanted to share what Magic posted in honor of his father. True Story Realty will be donating to the scholarship fund and hope you will to.
“From basketball to business to being a husband, father and grandfather, who I am and what I am is because of Earvin Johnson Sr. …What a tremendous honor it is to be named Earvin Johnson Jr. I love you forever!”
“…My family and I have decided to honor his legacy by creating the Earvin Johnson Sr. Scholarship Fund for incoming minority students at Michigan State University. …please send checks made out to: Magic Johnson Foundation, include Earvin Johnson Sr. Scholarship on the check. They can be mailed to the address below:
Magic Johnson Foundation
Attn: Earvin Johnson Sr. Scholarship Fund
9100 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 700E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
We cannot thank you enough for your sincere words, expressions of love and acts of kindness. My father would be so proud to know that we are celebrating his life through philanthropy by giving underserved students a chance to live out their respective dreams at the university he truly loved, MSU. Go Green! Go White!” - @magicjohnson
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