As most everyone that knows me well knows, I really love podcasts! In fact, the running joke I have with one friend of mine is that whenever she brings up any question or topic I always say, “There’s a podcast for that.” There is truly an unlimited amount of information out there on podcasts it seems. And the beauty of it is you can listen to podcasts while doing so many other things: driving to work, washing the dishes, taking a shower, working out. So suffice it to say, I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts. But it has only been in the past 2 years that I really started listening to them regularly. Initially it started out as a way to broaden my knowledge about real estate topics, but then I found that I really enjoyed the learning format and found myself seeking out podcasts on many different topics including history, economics, random medical topics, even block chain technology. As diverse as those topics might be, a lot of the same principles have shown up throughout the range of them that seem to be good takeaways for real estate investing as well as life in general. These are some of my favorites:
1. Don’t underestimate the importance of systems, structure, and automation.
It’s easy to notice in large businesses how they have incorporated systems and automation into their operations. It’s also easy to see why this is necessary and beneficial to their efficiency, customer satisfaction, and growth. However, I doubt that most of us think about instituting such principles into our own small business endeavors or daily lives. But think about how much more we could accomplish by creating and applying systems and automation into our business and personal lives. In real estate that might mean creating strict criteria of what type of properties you are looking for and systematizing lead generation. In your personal life it might mean setting up all of your bills to be automatically deducted from your account on a certain schedule. There is something extremely satisfying and beautiful about spending the time up front to create or set up a system that can then be utilized with little or less further action on your part going forward.
2. 10X Your Goals!
Politics aside, a quote from Donald Trump that I actually like is “If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” Yes! Why not? If you are giving something enough of your time and attention to learn about it or get involved to any extent, why not think what you can do with that same information on a larger scale? In this way you are essentially leveraging your time by setting and accomplishing bigger goals with not necessarily the same proportionate increase in time or effort.
3. Consistency, Persistence, Routines – A Powerful Triad
I put these principles together as they seem so intertwined to me. For any given goal you may have accomplished, you can probably look back and realize that what got you there was consistent effort over a period of time. Whether it be running a marathon or acquiring a real estate portfolio of significant size, you likely had to spend time or resources on a regular basis either training for your goal or educating yourself or saving money or whatever other key element your goal required. The persistence comes in when you continue to put in that consistency even when obstacles are placed in your way or you don’t necessarily feel like you want to make the effort some days but you do it anyway. Perhaps one lender turns you down for a loan on a property; persistence is what will get you back on the phone or into the next bank to move on to the next option that could work for you. Routines are important here as they give you a sort of algorithm by which you can maintain consistency and provide direction when you need to push through.
4. No Excuses.
So many times I have listened to podcasts where someone is speaking about obstacles they have overcome before they got to a place of success. For some it might have been immigrating to the U.S. with few resources or education and sometimes even struggling with English as a second language. For others it might be coming from a time in their youth where they had problems with the law and a few dings to their record or a physical handicap to overcome. There are so many people out there succeeding at making things happen for themselves despite any such challenges. Those kinds of stories are extremely motivating to me, as it drives home the point that we really have very few insurmountable obstacles if we really want something. So often we are only limited by our own beliefs and effort.
5. What is your “unfair advantage?”
Along the same line as having no excuses, you can also turn your own unique situation in life into the question “What is my unfair advantage?” It’s kind of like the glass half full or half empty scenario. Choose to find what special skills, connections, education, life experiences, etc. that you might have that could give you an edge in whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. Are you really good at and enjoy networking with people? Do you have a great income and excellent credit score that make you someone that banks would love to lend money to for investment properties? Perhaps you speak another language or two that might give you an advantage in some way. Maybe you went to college in a particular city that is known to be great for cash flow real estate investing and you have the inside scoop and connections in that city. Maybe you only work weekends and end up having every weekday that you could devote to your real estate investing or whatever other goal you might have. There are endless possibilities for what make you unique and advantaged in any given situation. It all depends on how you want to look at it.
6. There isn’t ONE right way, just YOUR right way.
I see people struggle with this concept on an almost daily basis in situations of all sorts: their personal lives, their financial choices, their investing decisions. Often times people struggle because there is no clear right or wrong answer to the question they are posing to themselves. The best action to take or the best way to go about doing something for one person might be totally ill-advised for another person. Again, it goes back to looking at your unique situation and taking into consideration everything about what YOUR goals are, what YOUR resources are, what YOUR time availability is, what YOUR likes/dislikes are, what YOUR priorities are, and on and on. Learn to be comfortable with decisions that are best for YOU and YOUR situation regardless of what other people are doing or think. Better decisions and choices will come from knowing and acting on this.
7. It’s all about relationships.
I have to admit, I used to cringe at the sound of the word “networking,” probably because I am somewhat of an introvert and have never thought of myself as excelling in situations hinging on social skills. However, I have been able to move beyond that limiting belief to a great extent and learn to embrace the fact that relationships are vital to success in so many goals we set for ourselves. That is certainly true in real estate. Because I have such an interest in real estate investing it has always been enjoyable and therefore easy for me to talk about the subject with anyone. Having a passion for something combined with a goal aligned with that passion is a great combination to get anyone out of their shell and connecting with others. The other thing I have learned is that once you connect with a core group of people associated with a goal or industry, those key individuals will start connecting you with other key people that they know or have worked with or might be of value to you and that will take you a long way to wherever you hope to go. It has been said that your net worth equals your network and I think there is a lot of truth in that.
8. Add VALUE!
My favorite, and arguably the most important point that I have gained in all the podcasts I have listened to is that the way to be successful in what you are trying to accomplish or where you are trying to go in life is by adding value to others you encounter along the way. There is a quote by Zig Ziglar that really drives home this concept: “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” In some ways this principle might seem paradoxical, the fact that you would purposely spend your own time or resources on helping someone else or contributing to their success in some way. However, if you have ever tried it you will know it is really the secret sauce to pretty much any situation. This does not have to always be some grand gesture or elaborate contribution. Sometimes, and probably most times, it is the small things you do over the course of time in interacting with people that will come back around to contributing to your success. It might be as simple as referring a business connection to someone, sending an article of interest to a colleague or friend, or offering to be a resource or mentor for someone in training in your same field. Focus on what you can add instead of take from a situation. Not only does it feel good to interact with people in this way, but it can really be transformative if consistently applied.
I’d love to hear what podcasts you are enjoying and what significant concepts you have taken away from them.