The 5 Principles of Focus (A Biblical Approach to Growth and Leadership)

This is a recent call from our Tuesday Men’s Group, Biblical Leadership for Entrepreneurs

In this short (less than 20 minute) discussion you’ll learn the 5 Principles of Focus and what it takes to be a focused leader in today’s confused, wanderous would.

You’ll also be able to walk yourself through 5 simple questions that will realign you with your most powerful self.
I am honored that you would chose to spend your time on this site and know that it is valuable. I believe you will get a lot of value from this.


Here is the posting from our Facebook page…

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Proverbs 4:25

A whole lot of your worst distractions can come disguised as good ideas…

They’re the things you want to do, things you believe you’d be good at, things that tempt your “whatever it takes” mentality…

But sometimes, what you NEED is to take a step back to see if this new opportunity fits within your life’s calling and cause…

What it takes at times like these is FOCUS.

This is a critical element for success as we face distractions every single day in our business. Shiny objects disguised as new opportunities for revenue, growth, new products and ventures…

On this week’s call we are going to cover “THE 5 PRINCIPLES OF FOCUS AND HOW WE CAN APPLY THEM TO GROW OUR CHURCH’S AND BUSINESS“.

If you are looking to zero in on your companies main purpose, cut out the noise and truly experience the growth that God has in store for you and the progress you deeply desire, then you do not want to miss this call!

Join us for our weekly fellowship call!
Tuesdays, 10:00 AM
DIAL: (712) 770-4010

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#BLFE #leadership #entrepreneurs #entrepreneurship #spiritualwealth #wisdom #focus #Proverbs425
If you have 30 minutes each Tuesday to “ground” yourself and surround yourself with a few broken entrepreneurs looking to improve themselves according to Gods word, JOIN US Each Tuesday at 10am…

Just find Biblical Leaders For Entrepreneurs Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/groups/140691203344603/

HUGE THANK YOU TO CHRIS LOGAN for doing an amazing job on this call.

Know How Vs How To: Eliminating Variables and The Color By Number Approach to Life

“Fun Fact: Color by Number painting kits were originally created in 1951 by Craftmaster brand (Palmer Painting) promising “A beautiful oil painting on your very first try”.  Sales were so slow at first the company “hired” buyers to come to the store and make it appear as if they were flying off the shelves. They went on to sell over 20,000,000 kits.

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Have you ever wondered why you were not able to achieve the same result as someone else?

 

Have you felt the frustration of having everything you were told you needed to succeed and still came up short?

 

Why are more people not achieving their goals? Aren’t there plenty of people to learn from who are successful and have the systems and processes that continually allow them to remain successful?

 

What you’re experiencing is the difference between having the how to vs having the know how.

 

Paint companies knew this to be a powerful truth in the 1950s, so they began creating a fool proof system for helping others create true masterpieces (many times better than the originals) that made them feel highly accomplished.

 

Thats the power of transitioning how to into know how.

 

Let me give you a perfect example.

 

When I moved my family to Florida in 2013, I was no longer able to enjoy my grandmothers home made pie for Thanksgiving. After two years of missing this incredible delight, I asked grandma if she would be willing to share her recipe with me so I could begin serving this at our Florida feast on Thanksgiving.

 

After I signed the secret declaration to NEVER tell a soul what is in grandmas recipe, she finally mailed out that actual index card that her original recipe was written on.

 

Thats like finding a original copy of Think and Grow Rich.

 

Its as authentic as you can get.

 

So when grandmas recipe arrived and I studied the ingredients and process, I made a list of items I needed to get from the store and set out to get my contents.

 

When I arrived back home, I cleared my prep area, gathered all the needed items and began following the instructions perfectly…

 

(In order to protect my livelihood, the ingredients and measurements used have been removed)

 

A cup of this here

A teaspoon of that there

High speed mix for two minutes

Let settle for five minutes

 

Long story short after following that recipe EXACTLY, I pull the pie out ready to dig in.

 

Now I had to wait a few more minutes for it to cool per grannies instructions so I waited with anticipation.

 

After waiting no more than two seconds after grannies instructed time, I carved out my slice, slapped it on the plate and went to find my perfect spot where I could nestle in for my after indulgence coma.

 

I found my spot, licked my chops like Wile E Coyote did before he went after the roadrunner and dug in…

 

 

something…

 

…just wasn’t  

 

 

right.

 

it tasted ok…but it never touched the amazingness that my grandma was able to produce. It was 90% there…but it wasn’t the same.

 

I couldn’t understand it.

 

I had the ORIGINAL, EXACT recipe.

 

I bought the EXACT same ingredients and brand names mentioned on the recipe

 

I measured everything twice and poured once

 

The oven was optimal temperature

 

My timer was JUST calibrated to make sure it was dead on its time cycle

 

What went wrong?

 

I called my grandma and went through my troubleshooting checklist.

 

I verified the exact steps she used to perfect this process and get the result she achieved every time.

 

After going over everything in frustration she began to chuckle a little.

 

I caught on to grannies humor although this was no time to be laughing.

 

I said “granny, what is so funny? Im redlining on my blood pressure and you’re over here laughing”

 

She responded and said “hunny, you have the how to and until you get the know how, yours will always taste different than mine and even when you get it perfect, it will never be like mine”.

 

Im glad she got a kick out of this however for me, it was one of those life defeating moments and I wasn’t laughing.

 

So I responded sharply and asked “why didn’t you send me the know how instead of the how to?  If you knew thats what I needed, why didn’t you send it”.

 

She continued her chuckle and said “the only way you’ll ever get the know how is to fly me down there and have me stand right next to you and help you. Then, you wont even need the how to cause you’ll have the know how looking over your shoulder”.

 

I am glad she found humor in all of this although I am seriously going into meltdown mode.

 

So I said “granny, I am just trying to bake a delicious pie. I don’t have the time or budget to fly you down just to make a pie”.

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She was quick to reply with “well then you will just have to settle for the results you get on your own. The more pies you bake, the more know how you will have. Before long, you wont need the how to any more”.

 

I stopped for this brief “aha moment” and thought about what she had just said.

 

Its like she had Tony Robbins sitting next to her telling her what to say next.

 

BUT IT WAS TRUE. Everything she was telling me was the absolute truth.

 

I live life for these sort of breakthroughs and granny just served up a fresh dish of BOOM.

 

I thought about this and how it actually applied to several areas of my life.

 

Can you relate to this with something you have went through in your own life?

 

So why is it that we can have the recipe for a great pie or the recipe for success and it STILL requires additional thinking, effort, tweaking and constant adjusting?

 

In life we have whats called variables.

 

In humans, we have to deal with emotions, bias and behavior variables.

 

In business we have to deal with processes, regulations and operations variables.

 

In cooking we have measurements, ingredient quality and temperatures.

 

In painting, we have lines to stay in, color matching and water over saturation

 

These variables allow for inconsistencies to begin finding their way into the process of making progress. In most instances, there are more variables than constants.

The more variables you have, the more difficult you can expect it to become.

 

When something goes right, you mark it is a constant (meaning you can count on its result every time). When something is still in variable phase, you need to work through every possible source of testing, tweaking and adjusting until you have worked out every possibility that results in a variable.

 

Painfully so, many of the variables we suffer from are self inflicted.

 

High expectations

 

Lack of work ethic

 

Poor communication skills

 

Unable to problem solve

 

Unfocused

 

and for the record, there are more variables in life than there are constants. So make a good habit of working out all the variables so you have a perfected know how understanding of how it works.

 

So just exactly how do you get around this energy draining life long process to remain focused on results and the tasks at hand?

 

Well, fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your outlook) there is a way to navigate through the thickets and get to a place where you can focus on spending your time in the areas of maximum effectiveness. There is no paint by number process for this. You’ll have to figure it out, one variable at a time.

 

Its called FAIL FORWARD FAST. There is NO shortcut for this.

 

You take a 90% successful how to process and you work through the last 10% to make a flawless process that allows you to show up and get right to the results you wanted.

 

If you are training to become a world class athlete and are truly serious about your success, you are looking for shortcuts to get you to the top as soon as you can.

 

Being that you are extremely dedicated to succeeding, you are spending your life looking to be the best, therefore you need to eliminate EVERYTHING that is not contributing to your success.

 

Some people spend years (either cause they are not serious or simply do not know better) going through variable after variable before they ever begin to see any form of results at all. Many of them simply did not make a conscious decision on where they chose to invest their time or spent it doing tasks that just don’t deliver results. Some don’t even know that these variables can be worked through, perfected and then systematized.

 

These are the variables that set people back years of their life and eventually burn them out.

 

“Your Success Depends on How Soon You Endure The Pain of Change”  Tweet This!

 

The faster you move through the variables to develop a plan that works, the sooner you will have the KNOW HOW of what it takes to be a world class athlete.

 

So what happens when you put a new person who wants to be a world class athlete with an actual world class athlete?

 

The world class athlete is going to have his own proven, tried and true process that he practices every day to remain the best.

 

He has spent years perfecting this. Using what worked for him and eliminating what didn’t. (<—— This is the only way to get there)

 

Someone may have offered him a diet plan, but he didn’t like fish…so he had to deal with the variable.

 

He could have had someone build a personal early morning workout plan for him, but he didn’t like AM workouts, so he had to adjust the variable.

 

The same goes for when the world class athlete begins working with the newcomer who wants to be the best.

 

He is going to get 90% of the how to from the world class athlete he is working with and then he will have to work out the remaining 10% that requires adjustment that will eventually let him get to his own repeatable know how process.

 

One of the most important variables that is more of a prerequisite to this whole journey is your level of commitment.

 

If you are not serious about your commitment, you will never make it passed the variables and therefore never put a “recipe” to what worked for you. You must have an intense ability to overcome opposition or you will want to quit sooner than someone who knows their reason at their core.

 

Its so crucial to understand your level of commitment with anything you take on since we as humans tend to give in at about 40% of our capacity.

 

Don’t become a victim of the “it didn’t work” mentality. If you invested in it, you must believe at some level it works…you just didn’t DO THE WORK to get the system to WORK FOR YOU.

 

Even worse, you did the work and stopped short of succeeding. It is much better to live in a little distorted color by number painting than it is to live your whole life in black and white.

 

If you want to consistently move from How To’s to Know How’s, you simply need to…

 

  1. find someone who has a proven know how system that they follow and
  2. simply borrow their process to use all that works perfect for you (the 90%) and
  3. then simply tweak (replace or adjust) that which didn’t work and make it work for you

 

In all my personal experiences, high level interviews, masterminds and especially in situations where I simply forked out money thinking it would just drop the know how in my head, I have never seen know how come before the painful process of perfecting the how to.

 

(Don’t be negligent like I was and think just cause you pay a personal trainer that you will get  muscles. You still have to show up and do the work. Consistently.)

 

If you try and manipulate this, you are messing with a principle that will leave you exhausted and disappointed.

 

You need to form the habit of following the three step process mentioned above and getting yourself used to getting aligned with the variables that line you up for success each time.

If you are struggling to discover your how to or need help defining your know how, simply send me an email at Erik@TheRealErikStark.com

How To Live Rich

“Some People Are So Poor, All They Have Is Money”

Let me begin by saying, we do not have to be financially rich to live rich.

Adversely, being financially rich does not necessarily guarantee you a rich life.

What does “rich” mean to you?

Would you consider yourself rich if you were working 85 hours per week, earning $1,000,000 per year?

How about if you worked 10 hours per week and made $100,000 per year?

Which of those scenarios is “richer” to you?

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I have had the very fortunate opportunity to radically improve my life over the last 10 years. During that time, I have masterminded and interviewed some of the most brilliant minds that have not only made small fortunes, but truly created a lifestyle worth living…

Being in real estate and living in Ft Lauderdale, I meet people daily that “have it all”. Gorgeous homes, multiple cars, traveling the world, trophy wife, beautiful kids…

The downside is, they have all these “riches” of life and are not experiencing the “richness of life”.

• The gorgeous home has become the new norm. Always needing something and have not had a pool party in years. Thanksgiving is just shy of WWII.
• They rush through life and rarely smile and say “Man Am I Blessed To Hop Into Some Beautiful British Stitched Leather Seats”
• They travel the world and never stop for sight seeing cause they are on “busi-ness”
• The trophy wife is a distant soul that has lost the spark for her husband
• The kids have zero idea what love really is and think it comes in a package from dad that says “Im home, heres your present”.

I bleed for these people because I know no one wants to live that way. The great challenge is they have created so much momentum rolling that ball in the direction that they can not slow it down and change its course.

I’m guilty of having it all…and being emotionally bankrupt

So How do You Live Rich if You Don’t Have a Ton of Expendable Income?

Before you begin to answer that, it does us a great justice to consider this…

How do you live rich if you DO have the expendable income?

It goes to question that if those with plenty of money have access to everything they desire and aren’t living rich (whats the purpose of having it if you are not grateful and enjoying it), then is it very possible for the everyday man to enjoy a slice of those riches, at a fraction of the cost for the everyday person who works hard and would feel ultimately rewarded for having access to an oceanfront home a few times per year to spend with his family or to take his spouse on the vacation of a lifetime. Even to keep a luxury or sports car in his garage for when he wants to feel young or powerful.

Part of Living Rich is enjoying the value of nice things, without having to overpay the cost  Tweet This!

Lets also be clear about this as well…

Being rich is being rich in your mind.

Don’t ever let your happiness rest in someone else’s mind  Tweet This!

Let your riches be meaningful to you and its likely to become a blessing to others

Here are some of the ways I have been able to live rich

Being Healthy: My appreciation for health has only been to the extent of my education. However, health is my leading priority in my life now by default. Simple steps such as eliminating (ok, lets be real…reducing) sugar and adding intense exercise. Just the thought of how much sickness I can save myself if I reduce sugar (and processed foods) and began finding SOME way to do intense, low impact activity was enough to convict me that I needed to begin. Gradually it has increased. I hated working out just as much as the next guy…However, I know that if I am going to prolong my legacy and “be there” for my family, I could begin doing some form of intense activity that over time would increase the “richness” of my life. So now, I cycle roughly 60 miles per week, run a few 5k runs per year, am highly active and adventurous, I swim in the ocean often, take a lot of cold showers to shock my body, workout around my pool and have minimized the intake of flours, sugars, too much alcohol and snacking. Part of this was realizing that much of my snacking was done mindlessly. I have rerouted my mind to go for water every-time I want to reach for a snack. I also realized that the reason I have lazy mornings is because its starts the night before. Although I am not a big alcohol drinker, I woke up for years with “hangovers” from the foods I was consuming almost subconsciously. Sluggishness from carbs. Actual back pain from my body not being able to break down so much red meat. Again, its only effective to how educated I am and I am my own university slowly building my library. Summed up, health equals wealth so one of the ways we can live rich is to practice healthy habits of limiting sugar, processed food and carbs mixed with a low impact, intense activity that gets your heart rate moving. Don’t push so fast and increase the misery of what you are not liking. That’s not getting rich. Your better off cycling 10 miles or walking 5 miles instead of running 1 mile if running sucks that much. Make sure you are increasing your activity as your body responds and grows toward more mobility.

Nice Clothing: Having a healthy mind and body should also reflect in your appearance. NOT for boasting reasons but for setting the premise that you respect yourself. This will allow others to respect you as well. Nice clothing can be an investment. There is a large difference between upscale department stores and many of today’s department stores. Believe me, shopping next to the ultra wealthy is not un affordable. Just like any other store, they also feature “last seasons” lineup if you are concerned price is too much. Having a few nice tailored shirts, quality breathable polos, custom cuff links made, a few pairs of dark tailored jeans and certainly a dark pin stripped suit is a necessity of any respectable gentlemen. The great benefit of buying upscale clothing is that it truly does last longer. Like anything, know your brands and the quality they provide. As much as I can tell the difference between upscale and normal dept store clothing, I also agree with my wife that most of it is all made in one factory in one of three foreign countries where buyer agent representatives go and buy the lineups and have their tags stitched into it. Those will do from time to time, but search for quality clothing and you can keep it for the better part of your life. Go to all the dept stores and search high and low for the new you. Try on some items you may think are not your personality. Start at whatever budget you must, but by adding to this, you are investing in yourself and your actions will compound over your life. You will see the different responses from people. Dressing sharp increases your appearance, confidence and social respect. Good things happen when you have those qualities. Those are qualities of people who live rich lives.

P.S. This does not mean you go and buy the latest LV or Gucci brand clothing. It must be said that just because it has an expensive price tag, does not mean it is quality.

Driving Nice Cars: Driving a nice car is one of the greatest blessings of living rich. You spend a lot of time driving in your car and your vehicle is a statement of who you are. I have always driven nice cars because I understood how to leverage financing, buy rite, with good miles and usually sell for a profit after driving for a while. I did this before I started in real estate and to be honest, I became lazy when I began buying property. Rather than continue my car hustlin hobby, I just went out, found what I liked and settled for that for the next few years. Even still I drove an Infiniti Q45 and Lexus LS 430 for years and was able to focus on real estate. Now I am back in the game of buying luxury cars, driving it for a few months and then selling for a break even or a profit. One of the secrets of driving a nice car, even like my Inifinit and Lexus is to buy them after they lose the majority of their depreciation. Now if you really want to get the best value, find out your specific cars depreciation curve and look for one that is coming up or just past the major curve of its biggest loss. This is usually within the first 3-5 years of the vehicles lifespan Example, Brand new, my Lexus is $57,900 off the lot. If you wait twelve months of it sitting and being the “old model” (that usually only changes design every 8-10 years) it usually drops $10,000+. If someone buys it brand new, they suffer the largest loss. The expendable cash guys can afford to lose that. Where we want to pick up is when they “must have a new model” and are ready to take a significant loss on the original sale price and turn it in for that new one. Usually within 3-5 years on most luxury cars. When I bought my car, it was 6 years old and the model was still the same look at the new ones driving on the streets. I negotiated it from a deal that had it for $24,900 and bought it for $20,000. No one can tell if its the brand new model or the “old model”. However, we both sit at the stop light with the same statement of who we are…I just have $37,000 more dollars. Let me ask you who is rich?

A few ways that you can have a luxury or sports car is to understand vehicle values so you are not the one taking the huge loss on the cars value. If you buy the right car at the right time and dont put any miles, its common for rare and collectibles to begin going up in value. Focus on buying your luxury or sports car once it has suffered its largest hit for value loss and then find some extended term financing auto loans that will give you a lower payment for a longer period of time. Again, this is leverage perspective to understand that you CAN own and enjoy your $80,000 Z06 Corvette if you buy it right with financing that wont make you work 20 extra hours per week to cover the expense. Ask me how I drive a Bentley GT for the same monthly expense as what my Lexus cost and when I sell this Bentley in a few months Ill recoup all if not more than my payments back. Again, cause I bought it right, with low miles with unique financing that keeps my monthly out of pocket low. The Bentley will end up costing me less or potentially paying me to drive than the Lexus.

Living In A Nice Home: This is an interesting topic as I am a full time real estate buyer and have been for the last 10+ years. My opinion and you can do your own research, yet I am rather convinced that owning a home (in todays market for sure) is much more of an expense and risk than leasing. I justify that because of a few reasons. Number one is the net cost to live. My home I lease in Florida costs around $400,000. To own this home, with taxes and insurance would cost me around $2800 per month. PLUS when the $3400 ac goes out, $18,000 roof is needed, $3000 pool refinishing or $3000 pool heater and spa have issues, its a direct expense to the owner. I lease the same home for $2200 and treat it like its my own home and enjoy the “richness” of having the amenities that matter most to us without the huge overhead. A simple, updated, pool home oasis, close to the beach, in a desirable part of town, with kids for our son to play and an outdoor paradise we can enjoy at its fullest because we are not trading time for money to afford an overly large home that would keep us separated, cost a lot of money, require a lot of upkeep and rarely be used. I also get bored easily and we dont mind relocating to another “richer” home we may find at a great value that is in proximity to our sons private school.

HOWEVER… When our market does drop home values, I will be ready to locate and capture our dream properties which will be an oceanfront condo that will serve as my office and our weekend getaway as well as the waterfront lot with ocean access where we will build a home new from scratch. This is my version of maintaining “richness” as I maximize my living experience now, keep cashflow low while enjoying life and then capturing my desired lot and condo at the perfect price that will confidently justify a total renovation/new home that is worry free for 10 more years….at which the market will be likely increased again and I will have equity, which equals options.

I must share this little secret of how I have secretly found hidden gem homes in gorgeous waterfront communities where although I may be one of the smallest houses on the block, my neighborhood is filled with million dollar homes. I am able to live amongst the “richness” of perhaps more established, wealthier people and enjoy everything just as they are. The walks, parks, ocean, hyacinth and jasmine blooming everywhere. So I have always driven the streets and kind of “internet stalked” neighborhoods where I envisioned myself living. Places where most think they cannot live. I would find homes that are for sale but have not sold yet. Or I would find a nice looking home and see if they lived there as their primary home. Or perhaps find a vacant home that is listed for sale on line. The longer its been available the better. Then I would mail or email the owner or Realtor and include a incredibly written message about who I am, what I do, my family, our finances, our great credit, no pets, non smokers, great references, son going to private schools and include a photo of my family mentioning we are looking to rent a home in the neighborhood and wanted to know if they would consider leasing since the home has not sold. Use the words LEASE not rent. It just carries different weight. Especially to me because I am a landlord and own properties in these sort of neighborhoods. THOSE properties are my true investments. The tenants pay those off…not me. I have moved into several ocean front communities where most people think it is expensive to live and found hidden gems and negotiated incredible terms because of the adverse creativity.

At no time did I say this wont require work. Part of living rich is working. However, work harder on yourself than you do your job.

Solid Moral Character: This is where the quote above comes from. Its the very sadness of life that people set out with good intentions and over time, the wallows of life topple over and we wake up one day with just enough realization that we are not on the path where we intended. Many times we just move on with our head down. Some of us are fortunate enough to have a wake up call before the wake up event happens. This is perhaps the toughest area to live rich as we can be our own worst enemies. I know I am the creator of my own sabotage at times.

In Dr Suess book Oh The Places Youll Go, he talks about being in a slump is one of the toughest places to pull yourself out of in life. Yeah….Im wondering why Seuss was telling children about slumps as well yet I know I picked up on that wisdom.

Solid moral character is chiseled from adversity. When you resist the urge to give into temptation or participate in something unruly, you are chiseling a solid moral character. Having a solid moral character is actually my direct link to “richness”.

I have tested my own life and can absolutely testify that depositing $50,000 into my bank account on one deal, did zero for my personal excitement meter. I have also seen my own spirits rise out of a depression because I was feeding the homeless. Money is not linked to happiness and it is my deepest wish that you come to experience this yourself (this is good….means your making a ton of money and then you realize….wait…this didnt help anything I feel on the inside). Solid moral character is also using that deposit to improve my life not be lazy and waste my days away. It is to be used as a springboard to greater, “richer” things. Build your solid moral character. Its likely to be one of your greatest assets.

An Incredible Nights Sleep: I may take this for granted a little and I am pretty certain that having always been a sound solid sleeper is closely linked to my moral character. Tough to sleep when demons are haunting you, people are after you and you don’t own up to your commitments. Although a solid moral character is an aid to a great nights sleep, what I mean is a good mattress.

For somewhere we will spend 1/3 of our lives, investing in a good mattress is a worthy investment. There is no right answer here but to find the mattress that serves you and your spouse best for the greatest affordable amount. Ever since I switched out my Beauty rest for a foam mattress, I actually sleep a little less, yet more solid. I have also became a fan of using a sleep cycle app. This allows me to recharge with only around of 6 hours of sleep. It also is designed to wake up before I begin phasing into my 7th hour which is too much.

Lastly, I hate pills of any sort. They mess up your chemical balance. There are some melatonin pills that will not leave you with a “hangover” if you need to use them for a solid nights sleep. My caveat is not to become dependent on them. Keep a clean conscious, invest in a nice mattress, learn your sleep cycles and you will be sleeping better than most rich men in your community that are up all night with worry, stress, anxiety, overwhelm and many other ailments that keep us awake at night.

Having Rich Relationships: Relationships are something we are wired at our core to fulfill. We need human interaction like never before. Although we are all very busy in life and do not have time to manage several relationships, we can create a small circle of close, deeply connected friends who enrich our lives beyond what money ever could. I don’t have to juggle several “needy” people who are a constant drag.

Those who have close personal relationships are people who build me up and make me a better person. Friends from my mens ministry that meet like casual friends and hold each other to a personal accountability. Friends like those who cycle along side me, run next to me and participate in obstacle course runs. They build me up and contribute to my life. Whenever we are together we are living life richly. There are kids laughing, good food being cooked, pools splashing, deep conversations being had, go pro footage rolling, living it up at the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show. All things simple and extreme fall under the category for us. One day a friend and I swam across the Boca Channel. Not a huge deal but it definitely stirred my blood jumping into 50+ foot deep water of insane currents, where boats are zipping in and out of the inlet, possible sharks and critters swimming all around.

Even though it was only one minute, it was 60 seconds of life at its fullest. My heart was racing from the intense fight of the current and the overcoming of something 99% of people will never do in their lifetime. These sort of relationships keep me out of the rut of conformity. Making sure I own up to my marriage and parenting responsibilities. Keeping me sharp and ready for life. Always pushing me harder than I would ever willingly push myself. The goal is to pan for gold. I am always panning for golden relationships and you don’t find them in every stream and you have to pan through a lot of muck, sand and gravel for a few nuggets. Although its worth it.
There are some key principles to Living Rich that if followed simply will allow you to live a full, grateful life that is filled with rich experiences. Define what living rich is to you.

I have a contractor who lives behind me and he jams with his band 5 days out of the week from 3 oclock in the afternoon until 10 at night. Lavon is the coolest guy you’ll ever meet. He works hard in life, but just enough where he can live comfortable and spend the majority of his time doing what he loves which is jamming it out.

Doing What Matters: The great thing about being rich is its your definition of what that means. The woman whose goal is to change the life of children through teaching and wakes up every day with conviction that today is the greatest day to be alive is living rich.

Living Rich (as we know) actually has little to do with money. One of the richest people I know is a homeless man at the corner of 8 Mile and Woodward in Detroit. You will never pull up to his corner and not see him with a smile. One look at his circumstances and the physical condition of his health and you would wonder how he is still smiling.

Not to mention he is homeless. William has a rich spirit and he was the first person to ever tell me that some people are so poor all they have is money. Every day he sits at his corner and reads his Bible to his fellow homeless pals, plays his guitar and gets everyone singing. He could easily be boozing it up, harassing people yet what matters is still having hope and purpose. THATS living rich.

I hope you gained a little bit of insight into what Living Rich truly means. It is not what we are pitched day in and day out. Often, its the direct opposite.

The whole reason I wrote this article was to get you engaged into a life of Richness.

Take a few moments and tell me how you “live rich”. I have not covered every topic, but those listed above have opened up my life to a whole new world of richness by enjoying these very “things” to the fullest.

Leave your comments and stories below. I manage my own blog and respond personally to everyone.

Thank you for reading and keep on living rich.

 

33 Things I Learned At Age 33.

Happy Birthday to me…Happy Blah Blah to me…Yes Indeed. Another incredible year has rolled around. I am proud to say I am better, happier and far more lively this year than ever before.

 

As I sit here on my ever-so-blessed 33rd birthday, I have such an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude. I am truly blessed. Not of my own doing however. God has opened up doors that I couldn’t have pried open with a lifetime of effort.

 

Here are a few notes from my journal that I reflect on in light of today’s celebration.

 

1.  Find A Higher Purpose For Living: Living for ourselves is too shallow of a reason to exist. Do NOT confuse this as putting yourself last. You cannot give what you do not possess. However, when you are living at full capacity and giving your abundance, you are truly experiencing life at full throttle. Most of us have learned by now that acquiring possessions and always having to have the next shiny object in order to be happy is a death cycle. Happiness is not a way of living. Its a chemical reaction in the brain. Find a larger cause, purpose or benefit as to WHY you exist. My personal choice is to glorify God. Why, because just about every other “thing” I have tried doesn’t bring the satisfaction I deeply crave.

2. Let Your Light Shine (Be You-nique): In a world where you can be anything, be yourself. Don’t worry about fitting in with the masses. People attract to supreme confidence and when you let your light shine, people will see their way through (darkness) phoniness and move toward your authenticity (light). Don’t ever let someone put a lampshade over your uniqueness. Those that do are usually not meaning to hurt you. Usually they are scared of something they see in you that they are wanting to do as well. Knowing this, you no longer have to live in fear that people may laugh at you. They actually want more of what you radiate.

3.   Live Well: Don’t wait until you’ve “made it” to begin living life. Life is lived on the journey, not once you arrive. Know what a life lived well means to you and drop as many of those activities into your calendar as you can. Tying this to a cause really amplifies your ability to feel good about how you live your life. Start by answering all of your “How Are You Today”? with “I’m Living Well”.

4. Work Hard: There is simply no other way to get to where you want to go. You can leverage your efforts by being extremely clear and stubbornly focused on your mission. Lets not take 40 years to get to an 11 day destination. Be sure not to confuse busi-ness with productivity. It only cheats yourself.

 5.Bless Others: The ability to bless others is ALWAYS available. The desire to do so however is many times absent. A true show of character is ones desire to bless others. This can be as simple as a smile, a listening ear or helping someone breakthrough in a time of need. My personal experience is that I have been blessed with much, so it is my responsibility to bless others. Besides, everyones internal bank account needs “feel good” deposits. This is the best way I know of to avoid becoming  emotionally bankrupt.

 

6. Find Your Passion: The two greatest days on this earth are the day we are born and the day we find out why. Shifting into a life of passion can be a painful process. So is staying in a rut of conformity and mediocrity. Dig deep and discover what stirs your blood. Find out how to incorporate more of it into your life and if you are super fortunate you will even find a way to profit from it.

 

7. Marry The Wife (Spouse) of Your Youth: Marrying your souls equal is a gift very  few of us are able to be blessed with. I have been with my wife since I was 19 and have been told that dating today is not like it used to be. Part of the reason is because too may people replace what they don’t like instead of working through it to find common ground. Your spouse is a living, breathing being so things WILL NEVER BE PERFECT. If you focus on working through your core differences you can enjoy a life of blessings instead of living under the mindset that somewhere out there is the perfect spouse that has it all together like this world often portrays.

 

8. Repair don’t Replace: Having the mindset to always scrap what isn’t perfect can set you up for a lifetime of disappointment. You never get ahead since you are always building something and then stopping when it gets to tough. This is very similar to people who start something and then never finish. By building a mentality to fix what isn’t perfect will teach you to make the best of what you have an allow you to appreciate much more of life in the long run.

 

9.   Be Selective: In everything. The company we keep. Minds we develop. Water we drink. Our circle of influence. Don’t just let any thought or person take up space in your brain. By being selective and saying “NO, I wont allow that into my life”, we send a shockwave to the world saying we will not accept this standard for our life. Tony Robbins says the simplest way to improve your life is to increase your standards.

 

10. Build Something Great: We are all builders. Whether we build a life of mediocrity or a life of greatness is up to us. Make up your mind to build a better you. A happier family. A business that solves a need. A community that gives back. Too many people end up at the end of their life with regrets. This is a surefire way to not be a victim of that. Start with a solid foundation and build your way up.

 

11. The Air Plane Principle: This is one of the greatest principles I have learned in my life. I consider myself a giver at heart. Many times when I give, it costs me. A lot (pain, agony). Im always willing to eat last and suffer more than most. The airplane principle teaches us that we put our masks on first (to help ourselves first) so that we can continue to help many many other people. Many times we say we will sacrifice our well being to help someone else and many times we are not truly helping, but enabling. Well, you can only help so many people put their mask on before you collapse. Therefore, don’t consider it selfish to know that you serve the world best when you are getting “yours” (in this case oxygen) first.

 

12. Count Your Blessings: An attitude of gratitude will be your best defense to life’s overwhelm of reality. Life is fair by being unfair to everyone. We must have something we are grounded to that keeps us seeing through the blurred vision. When you know this in your heart, very little can keep you separated. This is not to seem cliche. This is not to seem over thought. If being a mother is your greatest blessing, KNOW THAT in your deepest capacity. This will keep you as fierce as a lioness protecting her cubs when life gets a little vicious.

 

13.  Live With Conviction: We take in a lot as humans, let alone entrepreneurs. So much that we often times don’t know WHO we are or WHAT we stand for. We must learn to convict ourselves of the evident truths that make up our internal DNA. This conviction must stand as part of our WHY that keeps us standing at our post regardless of the relentless opposition that will come our way. Be picky. Know what your values and beliefs are and don’t adopt something just because its popular.

 

14. Know The Power of The Mind: “For as you believe, so shall you become” Proverbs 23:7. “Whether you think you can or think you cant , you’re right”. There is no shortage of quotes to give horsepower to the power of the mind. Learn how to build a mindset that works in the upward spiral of life so you are taken down by the ever-present-but-has never-happened thoughts that consume us. If you have a hard time living by faith, try looking back at all the worry you did. Did any of those situations ever turn out as bad as we made them out to be in our minds? Be a victor not a victim.

 

 15.Life is Not Lived At The Top Of The Mountain: Truth is, if you jumped into a helicopter and asked them to drop you on the top of Mt Everest, your body would implode. Its also VERY hard to breathe up there. Besides, how many times have you reached the summit and thought “WOW! Great view. Is this it”? Life is lived on the journey. So enjoy the view at every turn.

 

16. Keep A Close, Small Circle: Small circles keep value as their main connector. Value in the form of advice, action, friendship, business. The larger the circle, the more you must maintain value to each individual and we only have so much time. When time is spread thin, there is a sacrifice. Sacrifice on the quality of our advice, action, friendship or business. Be at your very best by keeping the very best close to you.

 

17. Be Mindful: Mindfulness is awareness. In order to be aware, we have to know what to be aware of. To know what we have to be aware of, we have to know what we feel convicted about. Im not sure if you are connecting the dots here but many of these “lessons” come full circle once your individual answers are put together to make one giant overview. Be aware of what consumes your mind and drop little tidbits into it as often as you can.

 

 18. Develop A Daily Routine: This is your daily “build the best me” routine that you do every day before you begin saving lives and making a difference. This can include reading, working out, writing, reflecting or anything that makes you operate at your absolute best. I created a video you can watch that goes over my morning routine. You can watch it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixpf1_HoD-o

 

19. Do Life’s Work, Not Busy Work: If you are building something great, you are doing life’s work. Lets be sure we drop as many of these activities into our schedule. They rejuvenate us. They give clarity and power to our days. They make us feel accomplished. Do not live under the condemnation that you are too busy making a living that you have no time to make a life.

 

20. Keep A Journal: Keep several. I love to read. However, no book will ever contain as much power as your life’s legacy (except the Bible). Your experience. Your setbacks and breakthroughs. However formal or informal, leave as much legacy as you can for the rest of the world.

 

21. Seek Wise Counsel: This is where your small, close circle comes in. These close friends usually have your permission to kick your ass in life. They will give you brutally honest feedback. They will make you stronger. When you need advice, you will likely turn to someone you trust. If you are truly about growth, then you will want the brutal truth. People in my circle always have a healthy dose of growth tied to everything we do. I strongly advise you find counsel that doesn’t hold a biased opinion and will shed light on the truth regardless of how painful that may be. Having a “friend” who sugar coats life and tells you what you want to hear is not doing you any good.

 

22. Build Community: The smartest entrepreneurs and business are building  communities. They are building a fan base of loyal customers. These communities are WHY focused and looking for an outlet to their thoughts, issues and creativity. Learn how to gather great minds to give them a source of relief, direction and…community. Your reason doesn’t have to be for business. It could be to start a community garden, community conversation, community running club. Trust me. There are people JUST LIKE YOU who want to be a part of a community that shares your common interest. Gather them and build something great.

 

23. Know Who You Are: We are not looking for name, rank, serial number. WHO Are You? At Your Core? This question is tough to answer yet offers so much clarity as to why we bother to wake up each day. What do you stand for so strongly that you refuse to sit down be quiet? Thats Who You REALLY Are.

 

24. Give Thanks: Developing a heart for appreciation could very well be the greatest gift humans are capable of. We see what happens when we develop a heart for entitlement. Just look around. Don’t just be thankful. Give Thanks. To all those who helped you along the way. To someone who helped today. Or perhaps several years ago. Everyone loves to be appreciated. If we can help to put a smile on someones  face by giving them sincere appreciation, we just lived for a higher purpose, let our lights shine, lived well, blessed others, built something great, lived with conviction, were mindful, did life’s work and built community. Two simple words allowed you to live life at full throttle. Cliche as you think it is, study the greats. They all had thankful hearts.

 

25.  Create Memories You Can Leave Behind: I prefer to leave experiences and memories to may family instead of possessions. Aside from my journals I have, a life time of well lived memories and wisdom on how to live better, I have began to record short videos for each of my family members to watch then I leave this world. These videos are specific to my relationship with that person and are placed in a digital Do-Not-Open-Until-Im-Gone Folder. Although it may be painful to watch these videos, as they go through them they will appreciate those extra moments they never anticipated spending with me. Letters, photos, special memoire’s. Anything personal, specific and unanticipated will be a wonderful memory.

 

26. Assume Nothing, Verify Everything: This unfortunate value of todays society is disappearing very quickly. The do good aspects of life we once counted on as a gift in life now come with a cost. Just cause you hear, read and in many cases, see it, does  not mean its actually true. Don’t spend your time validating senseless information. Use it for that which matters.

 

When you are humble, your soul is at peace. You are not living to boast, compete, be noticed or need confirmation from the rest of the world. Just do it and leave your ego at the door. One of my favorite quotes is “some people are so poor all they have is money”. Think on that.

 

28. Listen: I am terrible at this so I may not be the best person to give advice on this. The power of listening is still one of the greatest sources of peace and power we have on this earth. I don’t mean just listening to people. What do you do when you have a moment of free time. Do you go outside and listen for a pleasant song bird? Most of us have been trained to numb our existence than listen for a moment of quick rejuvenating peace. However, lending a good ear, listening to good counsel, listening to a friend spill their life, listening to the stillness of our lives is very peaceful. When everyone is reaching for chaos or struggling to find peace, go the old fashioned route and just listen.

 

29. Know What You Want, Not Just What You Like: This can save you from ending up on your deathbed saying “I wish I would have done more of…”. As humans, we really don’t know what we want. We just know what we like. What a tragedy to “like” (seems like we “like” everything today) something we see someone else with and give our whole lives up to achieve it only to say “is that it”? Be stubborn in knowing what YOU want.

 

30.  Work Strategy, Don’t Chase Opportunity: One of the biggest breakthroughs of my business life was when I discovered the ability to work strategies instead of chasing opportunity all over. This brought a lot of security and confidence to my life. When we have the ability to see where we get results from and focus on duplicating those.

 

31. The Light That Burns Twice As Bright, Burns Out Twice As Fast: Most of us bite off more than we can chew. Trying to keep up with life’s constant demand is taking its toll. We add 48 hour loads on 24 hour circuits. We sacrifice health to get “success”. We lose sleep to “get ahead”. All too often we trade the golden years of our lives for tin foil. Its great to work hard. Just know that juggling too much for too long will  take its toll  on you.

 

32.There Will Be Toil Along The Way: Period

 

33. Know God: I was raised to know God as my savior and strayed away for a short period in my life. I recall the very day I just made $50,000 NET CASH flipping a house and being depressed. I had all these paid mentors and advisors around me. I couldn’t be transparent with any of them or face losing my “superman” image. I recall walking over to the Bible I had on my dresser and reading “Count it all joy when you fall unto various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces patience”. The thing was, I wasnt in any trouble. Life was good. Bills were paid. I have a gorgeous wife, incredible son, business was growing. I was just empty inside. No matter who I met, what I bought, where I traveled I always returned to this same “dead” feeling inside. I cried out to God to forgive my sins, asked Him to show me how I could fill this void (selfish of me I know) and begin living a life of faith. Its been a painful journey shedding the old me and creating a new one in Christ’s image although I now know where I can go for comfort and truth.

 

The Invaluable Life Lesson I Learned While Watching a Family Movie

I don’t watch movies.
My whole family knows this. I’ll work, workout, read a book, but I don’t watch movies.
Yet a few weeks ago, in the midst of my most intense schedule of my career, I found myself settled on the couch next to my 10 year old…and am glad that I did.
At 5:45pm I had returned from my 8 mile cycle ride as I do every day. I knew that as soon as I got back I needed to get to my home office and finish an as always important project.
This is typical of me to work after work in order to keep an edge and ever evolve our business. I even work on days off. I even work while I am playing. Half on the field with my son, half on my projects always in need of finishing.
My family has come to accept this way of life.
It does however pay for the wonderful and blessed lifestyle we live. They have accepted it as a fair trade for the pool side beach home we live in, my wife not having to work, son who attends private schools, organic foods we eat, etc.
My insane work ethic has become the new normal.I am an entrepreneur what can I say other than I am blessed to have a family that supports my crazy ideas and lifestyle.
As I make my way through the garage to put my bike away, my wife is out back sipping wine and chatting with a friend poolside. I walk through the living room to find Kaiden, my 10 year old son, sitting on the couch watching a movie.
At 8pm this would not be uncommon, yet at 5.45, his typical activity, from the moment he finishes school work to the moment our household screens get shut down for the night (Not mine of course, I am exempt cause I am working) Kaiden is usually playing Minecraft on his X-Box with his global team of builders or outside jumping on the trampoline, playing kickball, soccer, riding his bike, having nerf wars and doing what 10 year olds do.
Knowing I needed to finish this project, it struck me as so uncommon to have him sitting in the living room watching a movie it’s almost as if he needed a break from the overwhelm of so many 10 year old activities.
I knew the feeling.
I took a moment to sit beside him and spend some bonding time with him which is typically reserved for the 3 to 5 minutes before I crash in his bed after being up from 4:45 am until 10 O’clock.
I sat down, kicked my feet up, pulled him close and put my arm around him.
“what are you watching son?”
“I’m not sure, this guy is funny though”
I  grabbed the DVD case and seen he was watching Adam Sandler’s “Click”
I settled in, thinking this is a great time to bond, so I figured I would spend 15 minutes with my buddy before diving back to my project.
What happened next was straight out of a real life screenplay.
Now if you have never seen Click, go to Amazon and buy it for $5 and watch it with your family.
If you have seen it, you know what I am talking about.
The whole movie is a screenplay for my life and so many other lives across the world.
The story of a family man with a beautiful wife, two amazing kids, a wonderful life that is constantly under pressure from work to keep up with the rapid demand on growth, new products, client satisfaction, keeping bosses and partners happy and constant weight of workload.
As if it is a relentless cycle to keep you apart from what matters most.
Even as we love our work, we still sacrifice the greatest gifts of our lives to achieve.
The movie goes on to show Sandler who works for a large architecture firm that he is trying to make partner in, take on the insatiable work load from his boss. His only escape is his TV sports channel. When his TV remote breaks he goes to the store to buy a new one. Not able to find a simple basic remote, he is given a special remote that lets him click through life just as you can the TV.
The once highly impatient, insensitive and totally overworked Sandler that has built a reputation of never playing with his kids, always scolding them when they ask for anything that never gives full attention to his family, now has a remote to mute, fast forward &“shut off” any and every thing that gets in the way of his business accomplishments.
At this point, I am living in this movie.
I am that guy.
Listening to my son while focused on texting, playing soccer, thinking about my deadline, making dinner with my wife while talking impatiently with my son as I expect him to know so much at 10 yrs old.
The challenging part is I am fully aware of needing proper balance in my life. I have multiple productivity courses, planners and audios I frequently refer to to keep guard of my greatest asset. “Time”
The whole situation came to life and full circle as I sat there, wondering….why was Kaiden watching a movie at this time of day? Why did I stop to acknowledge it? As I became absorbed I recognized that character as me, always busy being busy.
Sandler Fast Forward his way through life missing the highlights of his families greatest moments; only to wake up and find his wife left him and his kids became the same frantic workers he once was. While on his death bed he made a confession to let them know how bad he messed up and that family comes before business.
Perfect for a movie but not so simple in real life.
It’s the 2000’s version of the “Cats in the Cradle”
And while I am very fortunate to have spent the highlights of my family’s life “In the Moment” I am still in much need of greater balance.
So how exactly do we get greater balance in life…..
I have battled this Balance for the last 10 years of my life.
I have used planners, digital calendars, time management systems, schedules, to do lists and NOTHING ever seemed to give me the balance I needed to:
   1: Make time for Life’s most important To-Do’s
   2: Be mentally present for those times and be fully engaged.
I read a book called “When I Relax I Feel Guilty” and its an absolute truth to many peoples lives, mine mostly. I’ve built myself into a prison of constantly moving, building, satisfying, taking on more…
Then one day I had it…Something must change or I would simply fold to the pressure of constant demand and my ability to never be  fully engaged in my personal life like I was my business life.
I had to get out of my zone and find a way to better structure my life. I knew I had time I could rearrange and get another hour out of my day.
I  could tell more people no and use the time to catch up.
Yet I knew that if it was important in my life, it had to play an active role in who I was and how I was living out my days.
That’s when I created the What Matters Journal.

 

Don’t Worry About The Cost. What’s The Value?

On a recent trip back to Las Vegas with my wife we were taken back at how undervalued an overpriced everything was. There is a large difference between expensive and overpriced. And the difference is value.

Living in America in 2014 is expensive. Living in Vegas where the in town economy is rigged to profit as much as they can from the demand of tourists wanting to experience the best of Vegas is a prime example of overpriced and undervalued.

While walking through the shoppes we stopped into the Louis Vuitton store and checked on some purse prices. I would not mind a nice back pack for my lap top and wouldn’t mind paying a considerable amout (up to $2000 for my personal value consideration). When I saw the back pack was $5200 and the purse was $3250 I declared them as overpriced and under valued. I get zero compensation or reward by walking into an appointment or Starbucks with a Louis back pack. Actually, you’ve likely became a larger target to criminals than a respected consumer to today’s savvy business league.

As we strolled and consumed beverages that are triple what we pay in our hometown of Ft Lauderdale I once again seen the overpriced/undervalued scheme over and over.

One of the days we went on a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon and paid around $500 for the experience. A hefty sum but the value was infinitely greater than that. Being one of the seven wonders of the world and being an item on my wife’s bucket list and traveling through the sky at 100 miles an hour in a corporate chopper is a manly accomplishment especially overseeing the incredible overwhelm of beauty the experience brings. The cost was minimal in relative consideration to the value.

So how do you know when you are getting a good value?

Much of this comes down to your personal tolerance level of value consideration and largely your income. While walking we seen numerous women walking with multiple high end shopping bags and  if I have to put a price on each bag I would say roughly $2500 (just an average). Times this by three to five bags and my internal value calculator says if you make anything less than $150,000 per year with a mostly free and clear life you likely should not be spending more than 5% of your annual income on accessory items and my personal tolerance is much higher.

Living below my means has been a way of life for my wife and I. We make great income and put very little value on material possessions.

The value of the Grand Canyon experience is worth more than the value of those handbags or that back pack. Again, This is my personal tolerance.

Being that I buy discount homes as my profession I have a very hard time overpaying for anything that doesn’t carry a hard value to it. Real estate is an asset that can have value added to sell for more. This will never happen with a hand bag.

Here are a few things you can do to test your tolerance level and begin setting your bar for buying valued items in life.

  1. Take inventory-Relative to your income, how is your lifestyle? Do you frequently have too much month at the end of your money? Or do you constantly get teased for not having a brand new car like your friends drive? Knowing how to determine which priorities in life provide intrinsic value to you will not only keep more money in your hands, it is proven to make you happier.
  1. Know the real value of the things you buy-When I was shopping for a newer car (to me there is no value in paying msrp on a brand new model and making a u turn to sell it right back to the dealer and have the price be $20,000 less than I just forked out) I looked at comparable models for the luxury car I wanted. Its easy to get sold on style and sleekness but as a driven entrepreneur and realistic consumer I looked at cost of owner ship. I was looking to buy a used top of the line luxury car and choosing between a Volkswagen phaeton, BMW 6 series and the Lexus Ls 430. I reviewed all the consumer reports and simply discovered I will pay roughly the same price for either of them. The cost of owning the BMW and VW were triple that of my Lexus. That’s smart economics.
  1. Look at your past purchases-Go through your closet or garage or storage unit and see how much “stuff” you have. How often do you truly sit back and appreciate the value of that stuff? Are you still paying for these items with high interest? Does a $5000 couch make a large difference in your life? What if you spent a fraction of that and paid $500 for a bike that would allow you to reclaim your health? Or $1000 on a good camera so you can capture the experiences of life to treasure once a month while sitting in and having a great bottle of wine with it.

The final step in making the necessary changes are up to you. Most purchases are done simply based on emotion with zero rationality behind it. Anytime we ever plan to buy a large item, we typically sit on it for 30 days and decide whether it really tugs at us to purchase. Undoubtedly if we find a super value, we no questions asked purchase it right there.

Become subconsciously aware of your buying habits. Before every large purchase, ask yourself the questions at the bottom of this page and validate the true value of that item.

Set your own personal value consideration. Know what items are worth to you and don’t go a dime over that amount. Wait until you find it at your price or find the alternative or worst case, Go without.

Dig deep within yourself and become aware of what really means a lot to you. This helps set your limit of your personal value consideration. If you truly desire to have a top of the line new car, then get it. It is your personal preference. Just don’t go forward In life thinking that the new car is going to make you happy. That usually wears off in 4-7 days.

I want to share a story of a set of chairs I really wanted. My wife and I were looking for a set of Adirondack chairs to basically have in our yard for appeal. We likely would sit in them less than ten times per year. We looked at pricing and found that each chair would run us about $220. Not something we were willing to pay for a yard display. One day while driving home I spotted a pair of chairs at the street being ready for disposal. I took them home and began to sand, tightened the screws and repainted them. Not only did I have the chairs we wanted but I have the personal satisfaction of knowing I put my time and energy into making them “our own” and now carry a much greater “value” than the “price” I would have paid for them.

It is my hope that you found a nugget of wisdom in this article. If so, please share so you yourself can impact a life. I appreciate your feedback with any consideration you have with the content mentioned above.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Making That Large Purchase.

#1. Are You An Impulse/Emotional Buyer? If So, Why?

#2. Do You Have Credit Card Debt for Most of Your Material Possessions? If So, Why?

#3. Do You Feel You Live Above Your Means? If So, Why?

#4. How Do You Feel When You Buy Something New? Does That Feeling Last Longer Than The Payments?

Start Considering Putting A 30 Day “Consideration” Period On Your Next Purchases. By Committing To This You Will Tell Your Subconscious Mind That YOU Are In Control And You Will Eventually Stop Purchasing Out of Habit…

 

A Line In The Sand… (***A Love Story About Pain, Sacrifice and Celebration***)

Today marks one of the most incredible days of my life. Not only am I celebrating the birth of my son Kaiden Christian but at this very time, exactly one decade ago, I was drawing a line in the sand. Although it wasn’t on the beach. Actually it wasn’t even in a sand box. We didn’t have a sandbox to draw a line in…

What seems like a blink has been ten incredible years in my life that would have never occurred if I had not chosen to make a sacrifice that day.

At 8:36 AM on January 11, 2006, I was sitting in the Mt Clemens General Hospital holding our new son. Part of me was overwhelmed with joy unspoken. A joy that I have never felt ever before in my life.

Another part of me was anxious and terrified. I had never been a dad before. Most of my life up till this point was spent working (since age 11). I was no stranger to hard work so I had no fear about making changes that meant I would have to work harder. The true root of my anxiety is that I would continue to work harder and harder and not be able to provide adequately for my family. I also had anxiety that if I was able to provide for my family I would not be able to enjoy the lifestyle I created for them and spend the time needed to be a REAL father.

I’m learning today that although money plays a large role, nothing can take place of “being there” for your child as he is growing up. Even as I reflect today, and realize 10 years has truly been a blink in our lives, I realize how much I continue to sacrifice to allow my son to have the “things” I did not have growing up. Much more time could be spent enjoying the sheer appreciation of our presence. Lifes truest presents are found in our presence.

Ill never forget the feelings I had that day. I remember that was the first time I EVER sat down to write concrete goals to my life. I remember I wrote them all down and began reciting them over and over so I would no longer have to look at them. I remember signing them and knowing I could not just sit and stare and memorize these but I had to ACT. I still have those goals today and accomplished EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

Ill never forget having to make this sacrifice that has allowed me to get where we are today…still with my family…growing in love and life each and every day.

Ill never forget having to figure out how I am going to have to tell my wife what I was about to tell her. I never was good with words so I broke it out as best as I could…not fully knowing if this sacrifice would pay off and be worth what I was about to do!

On that very day, just after my gorgeous wife gave agonizing birth to our son, at 430 PM, I walked over to her bedside and told her something that changed our lives forever.

I remember looking in her eyes as she sat up holding Kaiden. I smiled and said “Michelle, I love you. This is going to be an amazing journey for us. I am looking forward to being the best father I can be to our son.”

With that said, I also told her that I had to leave.

She looked up at me so confused. We had just ate so she knew I was not going down to the cafeteria to eat. She knew I was not going to leave her so I could finally get a good nights sleep at home after sleeping on a chair for the past two nights.

“Where do you have to go”? She softly asked

I explained to her that I was going to become a real estate investor and that tonight was the first meeting I was going to attend on this new journey.

“You have to go tonight”?

Ill never forget the pain I felt inside having to leave my wife at the hospital all alone while I went and sat at my first real estate investor meeting.

That feeling is indescribable. Yet I knew that these feelings would be overcome by the new life I was going to be able to provide for my family.

I dont recall if there were tears coming down my face that night but I do remember how low I felt having to leave my wife for that time, regardless of how short it was.

THE LINE HAD BEEN DRAWN
____________________________________________________

I returned that night a new man. Someone who had peeked into the window of prosperity and knew it was going to be alright.

Alot has happened since that night. It hasn’t always been fun.

Yet one thing remains absolutely certain. A new life opened up for us.

A life we certainly would not have lived had I kept managing a detail shop and flipped cars.

A life that has allowed us to create a lifestyle that put Kaiden into private schools since pre k

A life that improved all of our health statuses as it raised our income significantly

A life that allowed me to be a better husband because our money issues were out of the way

A life that allowed us to be at every school event ever held at Kaidens school

A life that has allowed us to travel to more places by the time Kaiden was 6 than his grandpa had traveled his whole life

A life that has allowed us the opportunity to show Kaiden what it is like to bless people all over the world and locally through giving and charity

A life that has brought on challenge, awareness, hardship, growth, breakthrough and so much more that would have not been possible had I stuck with what I was doing.

Shelleigh Anne Stark, I want to thank you for making that sacrifice beside me that day. You are the most amazing Proverbs 31 woman ever and have become ever-more beautiful each day since we met.

You are the most incredible mother to our son and on this day I celebrate many many great things

All of which would not be possible if it was not for you making these sacrifices with me from day one.

I hope it has all been worth it for you

Happy 10th Birthday to the founder of Kaidens Cars (go like his page…it will be the greatest gift to him ever to support his passion) Mr Kaiden Christian

I love you both dearly.

You are my everythings in life.

Happy Birthday Son.

Private Money Explained.

The Truth about Private Money

“If you want money, go to the bank. But not the marketplace”! – Jim Rohn

I want to take the next few paragraphs and debunk alot of myths that are floating around the real estate realm and share our personal experience on how we raised millions in private capital. This can mainly be summed up with Jim Rohns quote but allow me to elaborate.
When Steve and I first started off in real estate and got our first official deal under contract, we were fortunate enough to have a lender right in our office. He was actually the one who made it known to us we were working our talents to hard for someone else to make all the profit. The “aha” moment occurred when he non-chalantly said “Ill fund your deals”. Within 10 days Steve and I had an opportunity to present to him. We went on to borrow around $250,000 in private money at 12% and a $2000 origination fee and soon realized we should seek better terms.
But we didnt stop there. We tried the whole lending institution and bank financing role and did get a swift $40,000 line of credit within two months of being established (with NO previous tax returns mind you). We had a knack for turning every opportunity into something more than seemed on the surface. One of our largest lenders appeared out of a meeting that wanted to buy one of our properties and sell it to his son on land contract. We were able to see that what he really wanted was more monthly income. Not the whole investment side of the bargain.
Ill never forget what he said to me at that appointment when I stepped out of my Lexus to show him the home…”WOW, you sure are a young buck for being in the real estate game, how are you able to buy all those houses I see on your website”?
“Quite simple actually! We have a proven business model of buying and selling undervalued properties and we seek people just like yourself with excess capital in a savings, checking or 401k looking to increase their cashflow while having the security of a first position lien on a deed of trust” You can take that verbatim if you like!
HE never did buy the house but the next day we met at a property two streets over with him and his wife and he lent us $40,000 on a property after one day of meeting him. HE was in love. We gave him wonderful terms, ultimate security, personal service and got him to unlock more money as time moved on.
He was an incredible source of private money and a good advisor on economics.
Another lender we had was someone that Steve had spent countless (and I mean countless) hours learning from and molding into a superhuman investor/top producing agent/ lender and we partnered on almost $2,000,000 worth of deals.
Check out Steves outrageous video on how he turned our markets top producing Realtor into a partner and lender.
As you can see it takes RELATIONSHIPS and TRUST to get someone to lend their hard earned cash. Being young entrepreneurs in an uncertain and often deceiving world, it is challenging to overcome peoples skepticism with Bernie Madoffs running around the world going to extremes to rip people off and see legit.
When you can open your world and show people your track record, business model, let them peek inside your operation you lighten their load.
Before long, we realized we needed to go bigger once again so we sought a global company to help us place a solid infrastructure underneath our company, including corporate buy-sell agreements, full insurance on ourselves, the company, inventory and everything under the sun. We structured a team of advisors in one of the tallest buildings in the financial district of our city and constructed an equity fund that pooled money from people around the globe to invest in the fund and get a guaranteed rate fo return at all times, whether we used the money or not.
This took some tweaking and alot of input from lenders, attorneys, accountants, and ourselves before we had actual access to this fund. But no longer did we need to go to multiple lenders to fund a large deal. We had one central location to get our money and it was always available. This allowed us to move fast.
Now there are alternatives to seeking out private money lenders and I must tell you the two characteristics of borrowing funds aside from relationships and trust is having a proven track record and being transparent. You are dealing with peoples hard earned money and I see people walk out of seminars trying to explain what some guru did 5 years ago to get access to millions in private money.
For those who arent able to lock up private funds, I think hard money is a poor alternative but IT GETS THE DEAL DONE and you learn how to truly handle a deal and the financial structure of funding properties. These prices can be outrageous and the terms even more pressuring BUT if you have a large marginal spread to get this accomplished, you can make it work.
One last place we were able to extract private funds was through our local title companies. It was only a matter of closing so many deals per month that conversations and opportunities arise. I specifically remember being asked by our closer if we had any opportunities for her mother to lend on that would close quick and show her the real estate returns are out there. Within 10 days we had her fund a deal that returned her $750 for lending $27,000 for only 5 days. Tell me what bank is able to do that.
This opened the door for the whole office to begin lending money on our quick flips and rehab deals.
BUT…
Once again, lets look at WHY people lent us on all situations.
We had the EXPERIENCE…
We had the TRACK RECORD…
We had them PROTECTED…
Our office does have some of the simplest, protected documents we have ever seen. If you would like to get your hands on them we are able to forward you both sets of our mortgages, promissory notes and lender payoffs for $97. These have been scrutinously drafted by our attorneys and protect all parties involved. Contact us at info@586792sell.com if you would like to save hundreds of dollars on your documents that actually work and protect your lender and investment.
Hope you enjoyed this quick presentation. Do us the ultimate justice and leave your comments below and share this with your world of people who are just looking for real life results.
Until we speak again…LIVE FREE and FEARLESSLY
keywords private money, hard money, transaction funding, real estate finance,

– See more at: http://ww1.therealerikstark.com/blog/2015/private-money-explained.html#sthash.tYg1G40b.dpuf

Manifest The Life You Want

“For As You Believe, So Shall You Become” Proverbs 23:7
Disclaimer: This is not a ridiculous claim to sit back and think you can do nothing but wish for greatness and it will appear.
We have all experienced it. That new car you want, the one you start seeing at all the corners and stop lights. It makes you declare it even more.
Little do you realize the shockwave you send to the world when you declare it…but you do!
I am not speaking of some hyped up affirmation or instant success BS that comes without you putting forth an effort. I speak from my last real life experience and even the last several years of my life of slowly moving up from an apt to the picket fenced American Dream.
I have done it with all the cars I have owned, my marriage, several of my business goals and even the EXACT neighborhood I live in now…and YOU can too.
I remember the first time I vacationed to S Florida (where we now live). It was February 2013 and I had driven down to South Florida with my business partner to Ft Lauderdale. We rented a condo on the ocean, ran our Michigan business from our room and drove through neighborhoods where we wanted to begin buying property. We toured a lot of areas. One in particular seemed more magical than the rest. A quiet and exclusive boating community, less than a 1/4 mile from the beach, near the causeway, in a highly demanding romantic part of town. I remember looking at the sign as you entered the community-Palm Tree lined streets, waterfront mansions, yachts and speedboats line the canals, joggers and walkers maintaining their physical fitness. It was just incredible. Sensory overload from the typical Michigan neighborhood I am used to driving.
I remember thinking how great it would be to live here. Wondering how much it would cost and immediately complimented that thought with a “I don’t care if I lived in the smallest house in the neighborhood, at least I live here” response.
I spent a lot of time in that community, driving streets, talking with neighbors. The more I searched, the more exclusive it became. I immediately turned my thought into an action. I declared “I will live in this community with my family”. I followed that up with written concrete form and even dropped a postcard to my wife telling her about it. It was that special that I just had to write home about it.
As I write this rough draft, you should know that just 5 months later, the stars aligned, we packed up, shipped out and moved to Florida and I am sitting in our home right here in Harbor Village.
As humans, little do we realize, that we always get what we want. I don’t mean the little half hearted, “I want to win the lotto” type of wants. Those are often shallow, empty dreams. I am talking about the wants that stir your blood. They keep you up late and rise you out of bed early. They keep your mind churning throughout the day.
So how do you manifest your life into reality?
Simple…but not easy.
When was the last time you lost yourself in a lofty dream? What goals have you shoved aside because too much of life has taken over? What are your deepest passions?
Those are the ideas that strike such a deep nerve that it jolts the universe for reciprocity to circle back and deliver your results.
Typically we think it is just too crazy for the world to deliver you results and most minds test (normally to prove it wrong and ridiculous) this principle with asking for a pizza (delivered of course) while they watch purposeless sitcoms and give nothing to the world during their quest in life.
It just doesn’t work that way but I would like to show you how it does work for those people.
Ever notice how people who consume endless hours of worthless tube and over indulge on pizza typically live petty, little piddly lives of quiet desperation?
They live in a filthy, unfurnished apartment, have unhealthy eating habits, a junky car, clothes from 15 years ago…
Hang around these people for only one day and you will see why they complain all day, the world is against them, life is too hard, their boss is a jerk. What they are doing when they complain is manifesting that life sucks and they get…you guessed it more suckiness.
Now what happens when you hang around a millionaire, or even a business owner or someone with gratitude and all day they proclaim (and manifest) victory. To close another deal, lose another pound, help another family and they get more victories.
Dont be a naive mind that says, “Im too deep in debt” or “Ive tried that and it doesn’t work” and quit. You will not see your manifest overnight or perhaps even in a year yet one thing is for sure…that time will surely come to pass and you can either be more suckier or victorious when that time arrives.
So here is what you need to do (and what I do daily)
  • Get lost in la la land and dig up your dusty dreams
  • Rediscover your passions and increase their presence in your life
  • Write them down on an index card and your bathroom mirror. I also have a inspiring photo with this weeks inspiration to keep as my screensaver on my iPhone to increase the awareness. Read these. Several times. Out loud. Daily.
  • Put actions behind these dreams to turn them into goals
  • Do two things to bring these to fruition each week (if its something like “get healthy” as the goal, don’t make “buy gym membership” the action. Too much of the wrong action will reduce your desire to acquire. Start by “walking the block each morning”. There are some goals I attack with excessive force but I typically focus on getting 1% better each week on my goals
When I “put it out there” that I will live up in this community there was massive action behind it. Bringing my family down, praying a lot, looking up houses all the time, calling, mailing, praying, working out things we had going in Michigan, leasing our home, packing, shipping & uprooting our lives.
Through it all, whatever you may believe about the universe ability to deliver pizza or happiness, 1 inherent truth will prevail, 365 days from now you will either be better off or worse off. Today is the day you choose the outcome.

What I Learned after 400+ deals.

What I Learned From Flipping 400+ Houses these Last 5 Years! 

Hello, my name is Erik Stark. I am a committed husband, dedicated father and full time real estate entrepreneur. Over the past 5 years I have bought and sold a nice handful of properties. In that time, I spent a LOT of money on education and mentoring. Here is my summary on what my success has been accredited to in these last years. The first two are the most elaborated on as they carry the largest rewards.
1. Find a mentor:
Let me help you compartmentalize this fact.
There is no experience like real world experience.
When you are breaking into real estate, you’re going to do so in just this way. You will read everything you can get your hands on (mostly case studies and interviews rather than strategies that teach the “how-to’s”), you will try some and results will be dismal. The real world TELLS you more in shorter time than a book ever will. The experience is what tells you what your results are.
 When you have a mentor, a live, breathing, responding, encouraging person who has broken through those dismal results, you can now, “eat off their plate” and begin getting in nibbles that build momentum towards freedom.
There is more that goes into selecting a mentor than their visual (surface) success. You should verify their track record. Get to know what they stand for. Do they carry strong moral character? What are their beliefs?
Mentors can shave years off your success curve. A good mentor will want to see you surpass him. Someone who looks out for your well being with no bias view point. Be sure to invest the up front deliverance of value to a potential mentor. They are used to being taken from and someone always wanting something.
I have mentors for all areas of my life. Some of my mentors aren’t even considered rich let alone wealthy. If someone has wisdom to dish out, they become a mentor to me. My son and I were fishing on the ocean pier a few weeks back and met a gentleman who has been fishing there 28 years. He runs a fishing ministry right at the pier and has changed many lives by taking in and mentoring kids, teens, adults and elderly. I consider George an amazing mentor. He will likely be there when my son catches his first shark. All we have to do is show up and do the work. He’s providing the strategies and shortcuts to success.
“98% of success is showing up” 
It is part of the duty to give back as a successful person. Its called good stewardship of your talent. So be sure, when you become mega successful, you always have one hand reaching up to where you are going and one hand down helping someone get where you are. This universal law governs the good steward council and continues the growth of society in a world so easily being destroyed.
2. Master Marketing:
Maybe this has become more of my personal passion and love that stemmed from real estate and I have a unique way of justifying it or this has truly has been a foundation to our success.
When you mainly dominate a marketplace with a strong presence, your business is able to depend on the income to create systems that support that flow of leads. When leads are flowing in with consistency, you are able to maximize each lead within its category. Wholesale it, retail it, rent it or live in it. Sell the lead, list it or play matchmaker for a fee.
Real estate to me is little more than a marketing machine that transfers a lead to a conveyer belt that brings fruitful results. THATS IT.
When the faucet is turned on and there are 5, 10, 15+ leads coming in daily or even weekly you are able to source those leads to well qualified team members that carry out their purpose. Yes, there is up front work to have a solid team, but thats what a business is. The marketing keeps the business alive. When there is abundance, people think better, clearer, with more passion. Abundance encourages the drive behind results.
Learn everything you can about the marketing mediums of your industry. Turn on your blinders to shiny objects and do opposite of what the majority are doing. Here are a few of my personal few that have helped define our marketing.
1. Be consistent and persistent
2. Collect a swipe file of your competitors mailers and out do them all (This has been intensely crucial to our success by knowing what others are doing)
3. Know your lists and keep them clean (Find my articles on this on RealEstateMogul.- com labeled Go Deep Not Wide. This is important)
4. Do both online and off line marketing (online ads/bulletin flyers, videos/postcards)
5. Relationships get deals done. Build them with sellers by talking 95% about them, 5% about what needs to be done to solve their problem. (People dont buy what you do, they buy why you do it)
6. Follow up forever. Period.
Marketing has infinite returns on investment especially once it comes from a deeply rooted referral standpoint. When your brand is “top of the mind” in your market, you have made it to business success. Do not take this as a “surface success” idea I am just throwing out there. This one compartment has the ability to spawn multiple businesses within your own business. You can rock at business but if you are terrible at driving customers to that business, you wont be open too long. I would recommend, if it’s not your strength, find someone who will have a vested interest in the success of your business and have them create your marketing.
In this article I would like to share what I have learned and reconcluded about real estate success. The experience I am talking about is that of my own. Not observing an office where investors were flipping but OUR office, where my business partner and I went flipping crazy doing deals. We spent over $150,000 on education and while we received some great golden nuggets at those events, the same principles paired with hard work got us farther than the extensive fluff filled education. Lean in and take note. The above two topics will take you extremely far and are true pillars to our success. The principles listed below are concrete principles that will fill in as you grow and become confident in your ability.
There Are No Secrets: Thats right. Principles of real estate will never change. EVER. They have been around before you and I decided real estate is for us and will be around long after we are gone. What changes is the strategies and dynamics of HOW the business is done. Follow the principles and you can choose your own methods, follow methods and you will be in trouble. All the information in the world is available to you. There is NO SECRETS. Gurus often package their product as the latest greatest secret, all that it is is one of the principles of success repackaged so that you can understand it better. Be savvyier than the rest of the crowd and you will be more efficient, be more knowledgeable on when you are being sold, keep more money in your bank account and always be trained with the intense focus of knowing you already know what it takes to be successful. I had the opportunity to interview Joe Girard who is known and accredited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the Greatest Car Salesman in History. On that interview I asked, “Joe, what are the secrets of your success?”. He laughed and said, “Son, there are no secrets. Find your passion and get your ass to work”. What a great summary from the man who has already achieved what most of us strive every day to accomplish. Your passion will push you much further than any paycheck ever will…So find out what your passionate about and learn as much as you can about it and get busy with that knowledge.
Have Crystal Clear, Written Goals: Goals keep you focused on YOUR vision. I assure you there will be conversations when you speak to someone who just did a $50,000 deal over in this niche and it is so easy to be persuaded into abandoning your vision and jumping over to theirs. DONT DO IT! Stay true to your goal and those $50,000 (and greater) deals will be in your sights before you even realize it. Tie your goals to your WHY. Be selfish for a moment. I am living proof that what you seek will manifest itself into fruition. The best “system” will never work if you don’t. Think about when you book a trip to a destination for vacation. What must happen before you begin planning your to do list? You have to know where are you going and when? Without this, there is no measurable, enjoyable progress. The dire consequence of not having crystal clear written goals is that you likely will end up working for someone else’s goals rather than your own. Sit with your family. Discover what you want. Agree that you know it will take work and sacrifice. Set the destination. Set the time frame. Create the “ to do “ list that gets you there and get busy.
Focus On The Gold: 3 crucial must haves that every successful must focus on each day is having conversations with buyers of real estate, sellers of real estate and lenders of real estate. Nothing is more important than this. Websites, marketing, business cards all play an important part in real estate but websites and business cards don’t get deals done. They are fundamentals of real estate and do nothing to put money into your account. A lot of time goes into some of these deals. Sometimes they pop off, sometimes they are just incredible learning lessons but think of this next time your in the middle of a drag out deal….Olympians practice for over 1000 hours for 90 seconds of Glory. That 1000 hours does NOT give you a medal. It prepares you to be at your absolute best for those 90 seconds of showtime you are being graded on. Focus on the gold and do not get distracted.
Relationships Are Everything: The REAL currency of real estate is the people. The relationships you manage well. Relationships are leverage. They allow you to leverage other peoples skills, time, energy, money and resources for you to benefit from. Learn the Peoples Code, which can be learned in Dale Carnegies How To Win Friends and Influence People. Be fair with people but do not ever fail to show leadership. Knowing that most people are lost in their life and are looking for a good leader can allow you to position yourself into greatness. In every town across the globe there is a “good ole boys club”. They exist for barbers, car guys and you guessed it, real estate. These “good ole boys” can shrug off areas, values, inside deals, relationships, opportunities, friendships and possibilities that are worlds beyond what you could ever work for on your own. When you build your team, try to keep it focused and small. Keep in mind that as you add more bodies to your team you have to be the leader to manage that relationship. When that circle is small and manageable you can build exponentially rather that linearly.
Discover YOUR Passion and Pass On The Rest: Your passion will carry you farther than money ever will. Find out what stirs your blood. What keeps you up at night. What consumes your mind. What leaps you out of bed before the alarm clock and master it. This will lead you to your best life ever. Everything that you are not passionate about, should be handed off to someone else. When you study the greatest entrepreneurs of the world, you will find it was passion that drove them to create and be the greatest. Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg were all driven but a desire much greater than money and they did whatever it took to achieve their envision results.
Know Thy Documents: I want to start this off with a quote that deeply impacts my mentality around this topic because I share it from my personal experience and it goes like this…”experience is what you get when you read the fine print, education is what you get when you don’t”. In the business of real estate, there in INCREDIBLE horse power to achieve greatness. Unfortunately you can also lose your greatness. Your hard work could directly benefit someone else. You can also bury yourself in debt deeper than you ever may be able to work off. Having an in depth understanding of the documents you frequently use and frequently sign, will give you an incredible advantage and understanding in the game of real estate. Read and reread them. Ask questions. Seek counsel. We personally have been saved (and skinned) for tens of thousands of dollars throughout our career. Be a good steward of your business, other peoples money and a industry leader and know your documents.
 Get Educated/Take Action: Read, study and fail as much as you can. I recently read an article about a group of college kids who decided to quit college and open up a beachside taxi service using tricked out golf carts to take beach goers to the local restaurants, back home, wherever and what they figured out usually takes entrepreneurs decades. In their article they quoted, “We learned more in 30 days of business for ourselves than we did in 4 years of business school”. Life is the best teacher and until you get that real life feedback, you cannot begin to gauge what will happen. Become tireless in your effort to always have an edge on your competition. Minimize your education process by only learning relevant information from reliable sources.
Know Values COLD: I have won (and lost) many deals by knowing (or not knowing) the values intimately. When a seller calls, you need to have a ballpark margin of what that property is worth. In terms of cash, retail, wholesale, rental and who the ideal buyer/tenant is for that area. Knowing these values in depth allows you to show confidence in educating the seller on what they have. You can set your ball park upfront and prequalify them right away. The sooner you set this tone with the seller, the sooner they will move in your favor if they are truly motivated. Properties vary by block so I strongly advise you keep a strong pulse on the farm area of your market. If you really want to get in deep with values and be able to speak a industry lingo, learn price per square foot of PPSF. Block by block, layout by layout, area by area. I have many instances where I knew values and that I could pay 80% of ARV when I know my competition is only at 70%. This is likely one of the largest contributors to flipping over 400 properties.
Start Where Others Quit: We have all been told that successful people put in extra effort. To really leverage that trait, start putting those efforts in where other people quit. Listen for Ques on what other investors tell you they are frustrated with. For example, years ago we repeatedly heard from investors that they wanted to begin mailing probates because they know its a great source for leads. Problem was is that the info is tough to obtain. We jumped in knowing that the rest of the industry WANTED to master this but the roadblocks they faced kept them from mastering the process. I am not quite sure what it means to “dominate” but I do know we repeatedly buy more probates than any other investor. Picture it this way, if we all set off to race from one starting point and the goal is to get to the finish, wouldn’t you rather pace yourself from the get go and pick up the pace when your competition gets tired? This way you have much more energy to not only outlast the competition, but enjoy life when you begin making more money with less of your time. If I had to put a percentage on the amount of victories we won just by finishing where others quit, I would truthfully say around 60%.
Reward and Celebrate Your Victories: Live well from your efforts and remember your after consistency. All to often in this business (and life) we become numb to the highs (but not the lows) that reap breakthroughs. You flip a huge deal, you toss the money in your account and you are right back at it. Score another great lender and your now hustling through your nights to put that money to work. Stop and celebrate your victories. I learned this from one of my mentors (who is 82) and I often asked him what he wished he would have done differently. I never heard him say he wished he would have bought a bigger yacht. It was things like, walking with his wife more, being at more baseball games with his children, taken the time to give back to the community, went hunting with his friends more often. I remember when I was “sold” into getting into real estate, there was a overhead screen with a mansion, lamborghinis, bentleys and bright blue skies and I thought “wow, how cool would it be to live like that”? Nowadays, I know that none of those things would make me any happier than I was that very day but the moral of the story was to have something worth working for. Why do you wake up and sacrifice so much if you’re not enjoying the fruits from your labor? Every time I flip a property, I take 1 or 2 days and usually head down to the Florida Keys with my family. Last month, I took my son out deep sea fishing. Just this past weekend, while in Vegas giving a presentation on My Big WHY, I took my wife on a helicopter ride over Lake Meade, The Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. We are here to celebrate life…so lets do so shall we.
Stay True To YOUR Vision: First off, what is your vision? Why do you wake up every morning? Why should anyone care? Knowing, at your deepest core what makes you wake up and fight hell to score a few extra inches on your game board IS the reason for living. Its the greatest source of energy you will EVER put into your body. If you are not waking up with FOCUSED INTENT to get you closer to that vision, you likely are not living life at your full capacity. I don’t mean that other people live GREATER lives, but surely people live out ONLY what their core drive is to achieve in life. Besides, if you don’t stay true to your vision, you likely will get sideswiped into living someone else’s. Know what drives you and makes you sacrifice your most precious asset. The deeper you dig to find your why, the more intense you will work toward your vision. This is the ONE principle I wish I would have obeyed and followed more closely.
Turn Failure Into Learning Experience: Its only failure if you do not learn…and life is the best teacher. You will learn more in 30 days of business than 4 years of business school. When something goes well, duplicate it. When something doesn’t go well, spend the time de-framing what went wrong and find out why it went sideways. Internalize it. Make sure you do not suffer defeat a second time from a lesson learned. I realized after years of always going to seminars that had I stayed home and went over those mistakes, I would have learned more by going over what directly impacts my business based on real life experience rather than her How-To’s, If Thens and Heres How. One way that I did this was to keep a deal journal. This journal goes over IN DEPTH how each transaction unfolded. Surprises, problems, victories and blow ups. Its all documented. As any great coach has a play book, keep a play book on what worked and didn’t work. Expect success but inspect progress.
Check Your Ego At The Door: I have lost deals, buyers, lenders and some great relationships due to my ego. No business manual EVER discussed pairing knowledge with an ego to make win/win situations. Be subtle in your approach, casual in your discussion and downplay your expertise. I have won multiple transactions by being a normal, likable and totally transparent. Remember, people love to hear about themselves. No one cares how many houses you have flipped, how many sellers you have helped. They want to know what you can do for them and do for them now, at your expense. Learn to deal with getting used. This does not mean you should get ab-USED but get used to the seller feeling that they received the better hand.
Go Bigger: Once you have laid a foundation of solid results, start stretching for bigger opportunity. Whether its wholesaling a package of homes or buying your first multi unit rental, you need to be stretching your abilities. The goal is to flex your risk muscle so you are always becoming comfortable with your ability to move on larger opportunities as they arise. As a wholesaler, you are only as good as your last month and the day will come when making $10,000 seems like an unemotional victory. While you are pounding away at wholesales or rehabs, stop and call on that large commercial building. The same effect will unfold in the world of BIG real estate that unfolded in the current small world we operate in.
Keep A Low Overhead: There are endless examples of entrepreneurs who go belly up trying to keep up with an over leveraged lifestyle. If this is your first year making insane amounts of money, save most of it for your tax bill. It will come around. Refrain from big spending at all costs. New cars, clothes, world travel, ritzy office fronts and shiny objects are amongst the list toppers for show stoppers. You may realize (not everyone does) that once you have plenty of expendable cash and a consistent plan for keeping it coming in, these once shiny objects mean nothing. I spend my money in the following order: tithe and contributions, business building and marketing, health and lifestyle and life experiences. At this point in my life, material possessions mean very little. The same $1000 I see people spend on a pair of shoes would get me a lifetime of memories down in the keys with my family for a few days. Those shoes will end up sitting in my closet and never give ANY value to me whatsoever.