Looking Back to Move Forward
Most of my articles are data driven, state-of-the market type pieces. I am trying to branch out and offer additional insights that I learn along the way to help those who come along after me. I hope you find this change of pace as refreshing as I did.
As year-end quickly approaches, it is time to begin planning and goal setting for 2024. Most of the time I simply set goals based on what I think I could achieve if I work a little harder next year and maybe focus more on streamlining my business. Goal setting becomes linear, stagnant and dreaded (for me at least). My coach always has some words of wisdom to get me excited and set goals higher than I would on my own. This year, his advice was to read the book 10x is Easier than 2x by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy. As a fan of Grant Cardone’s The 10x Rule, I have been thinking in that frame of mind for years.
I started listening Sullivan’s book; there was an exercise that he describes where he instructs his coaching clients to think about an area of their life where they have successfully achieved an increase of 10x in some area of their lives or something they desired. (We all have many areas in our lives that we have 10x’d or better—just think about learning to walk, or read, or speak). Then he has them consider the steps/stages that they went through in order to achieve that level of growth. As you go through the reflection, it becomes apparent that there are things that you did along the way that played integral roles in the success you achieved. By identifying those things, it is possible to project them forward in order to help you achieve similar successes in your future attempts to 10x your life.
As I went through the process, I looked at my own personal net worth today, and went back in my financial tracking in order to see how long it had taken my wife and I to 10x increase our net worth by 10 fold. To my surprise, the changes made were much quicker than they seemed in real-time.
Our journey of focusing on growing our net worth started in 2019. We really didn’t own any investments, and we had loans on pretty much everything we did “own”. Our net worth was essentially the equity that we had in our home. At that point, I made a decision to form a mastermind group with some eager, like-minded people who I already knew had similar ambitions and goals. Our main focus of our mastermind was growing our individual net-worths, together as a group. Most of us were in the same boat. We had decent jobs or businesses bringing in good money, but didn’t have any wealth to speak of. We made it our focus to learn together, brainstorm, look at investment opportunities together, and think about every aspect of our financial pictures with purpose--the purpose of growing our net worth.
As I reflected on what it took to go from that point to today’s 10x growth, I found the following areas that I believe helped my wife and I achieve a 10x breakthrough.
FOCUS: As I look back at the progression of the net worth, it was very interesting to see that by focusing on the goal of growing our net worth, my wife and I were on the same page with our spending and investing—a critical piece of the puzzle. In addition to starting the mastermind, I also “retired” from property management (in 2020) and made the commercial real estate brokerage business my full-time focus. We started looking at lots and lots of real estate investment deals trying to find one to buy. We grew our network by bringing in guest speakers from many different fields to present on topics from insurance, stock market investment, development, syndicated real estate, and much more.
The mastermind group added a feeling of support and made investment in deals that I may have been too nervous to do on my own seem more doable because there were a few of us doing it together. They all put their eyes on the deals and if everyone was in agreement, we jumped! Pretty soon, we were investors! We purchased one, property together, another member and I did an investment in a property with the two of us together, and then we bought a third property as a group. Leading the mastermind group also forced me to put on my leadership hat, which forces me to learn on my own ahead of the group so that I can be able to guide discussion, direct the group to resources, and so that I feel prepared to lead the meetings. I had to have my own “house” in order to be able to help the group.
CONSISTENCY: One of the main things that I recognized looking back at my net worth journey to-date, I see that one of the main pieces that led to our success has been consistency. Our mastermind meets every month. We have not missed a single month. Even during Covid-19. Every year since 2020, my wife and I have personally invested in or purchased more than one property. We have put approximately 30% or our income into investments each year. In the past 4 years, we have invested in 16 different real estate and business deals. Some deals we put in as little as $15,000, others as much as $120,000. The amount invested is less important than the act of consistently putting money into something that will build our net worth each year.
INCOME: In order to be able to invest consistently, I needed to increase the funds I had available to invest. You can only cut your expenses so far. So, after we paid off all our debt (except real estate debt), we needed to figure out how to increase our income. My wife is a schoolteacher. They don’t get many pay raises, and when they do, it is usually not a large increase. That meant it was up to me to increase my business to allow us to invest more. With the help of my coach, I identified that the simplest way to grow my income was to focus on larger transactions and find ways to refer or farm out the deals that were smaller than I was willing to work on in order to free up my time to focus on clients with larger needs. Each year from 2018-2023, I strategically increased my average deal size in order to help grow my commission income without having to increase my deal count, therefore maintaining the pace and scale of my business without stretching myself thin. When I started the process, I was doing 45 deals a year with an average sale price of $375,000. The next year it was $675,000 and $804,000 the year after that. In 2021, my average deal size was 952,000. This year, it is $1,118,000 average. The income created through this evolution makes it possible for us to invest in a routine way. This sounds easy, but turning away or referring smaller deals can be extremely challenging if you slip back into a mindset of scarcity. Keeping an abundant mindset and believing that there is an infinite “pie” out there is the only way I was able to keep moving forward when it seemed like I was missing out on so many small deals. Along the way, I have found ways to still capture a portion of the income from the small deals, without having to spend much time or focus on them myself, so I am able to continue to move my financial thermostat higher, help those clients with smaller deals, and keep from burning out doing all the work myself.
SPIRITUAL: We are spiritual beings in physical bodies. One of the main things that I believe has helped our family achieve this 10x growth of our net worth is due to the fact that I also made some conscious decisions to focus on my own spiritual growth during this time. I have made it my routine to listen to a sermon, podcast, or read a devotional each day. I have not been perfect, but I am happy to say that I am making progress. This Valentine’s Day, I gifted both of my kids an NIV Study Bible (God’s love letter to us) with a list of versus that I have found to be helpful and the topic or theme that they address so that my children can see where I have found guidance, direction, inspiration, and grace from the Bible. Going through the process of making creating this annotated Bible project I spent countless hours, for several months looking at my own various print Bibles and digital apps and pulling the highlighted verses. I reviewed the ones I have made notes about over the years. I revisited verses I had noted in the back of my own NIV Study Bible, and arranged them into one document for my children as a quick reference guide. This forced me to spend time studying, reviewing and writing out the verses. It was a great exercise that proved to be more for me than I thought it would be when I endeavored to do it. There have been deep changes in my heart and my spirit in these past few years as I have grown deeper in my faith and seen the way the Lord provides and works in our lives. I also spent some time through the past few years journaling the times when I have seen God moving and acting in my life as well as things that I was praying for. Looking back and seeing the answers to prayer has been an eye-opening experience in itself. Unless we make it a point to write down our feelings, thoughts, emotions, as well as praises and prayers, it is so easy to forget the times of need where God’s provision showed up just in time, or that decision you faced and how the path was laid out ahead of you. You can not see these things until you are looking back to see how the dots were connected.
This exercise of looking back to help me look forward was rather refreshing. Seeing that achieving 10 fold growth in our net worth only took 31 months, it makes my 10x goals for my family’s future wealth seem reasonable and attainable. Seeing the pieces of the puzzle that helped me get there provides me with the framework of what it might take to get to those far off destinations. As you work through your own reflection and review, I don’t think you will find the same areas that led to your success. I don’t think the tools that got you there are the most important thing here. I think the act of using the past success as a guidebook and renewing your motivation and confidence are what really matter in this exercise. I don’t yet know what new pieces of the puzzle may prove crucial in the next 10x voyage, but I can’t wait to look back from there to today and see how we made it happen.
I hope that you will consider this tactic for your own future casting and goal setting. I recommend you read the 10x is Easier than 2x book as well!
If you want to talk about growing your net worth, setting 10x goals, or investing in Commercial Real Estate, please don't hesitate to call me at (208) 344-6275 or email me at email@example.com.