13 Things Successful People Do Differently | PREI 031
Welcome to 2016… We hope you had an awesome start to your New Year!
I want to take a moment to wish all of you and your families a very Happy New Year! We hope that 2016 is full of joy and prosperity.
The beginning of a new year lets us revisit and refine our investing goals. And, as you know, our focus here is to educate, motivate and empower you to become better real estate investors.
We have big plans and goals for 2016, and we can’t wait to share them with you.
What goals have you set for yourself in the coming year? What do you want to accomplish? What habits do you want to change?
It should be no surprise that successful people had to do things differently to get to where they got. They worked hard, made good decisions, stayed motivated and focused on what was important to them. That will be you if you believe in yourself.
Here are some things successful people did that you can do as well to achieve your goals.
If you missed our last episode, be sure to listen to Pros and Cons of “Active” Real Estate Investing with Mike Hambright.
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13 Things Successful People Do Differently
Welcome to 2016. We hope you had an awesome start to your New Year. I want to take a moment to wish all of you and your families a very happy new year. We hope that 2016 is full of joy and prosperity. At the beginning of a new year, let us revisit and refine our investment goals. As you know, our focus here is to educate, motivate and empower you to become better real estate investors. We have big plans and goals for 2016. We can’t wait to share them with you as the weeks go by. What goals have you guys set for yourselves in this coming year? What do you want to accomplish? What habits do you want to change?
It should be no surprise that successful people had to do things differently to get where they got to. They work hard. They make good decisions. They stayed motivated and they focused on what was important to them. That can be you. The will and the belief in yourself is very important. Here are some things that I’ve listed out that successful people did. It should be no surprise that successful people had to do things differently to get to where they got to. They worked hard. They made good decisions. They stayed motivated and focused on what was important to them. That can be you too, if you believe in yourself.
Here are some things that successful people do that can help you achieve your goals as well. I’m going to list thirteen things that successful people do differently. Hopefully, you can adopt this into your own routine and make this year your best year ever.
The first thing they do is they create and pursue SMART goals. I know you hear this time and time again at the beginning of every year about goal-setting and achieving goals. Let’s break this down and look at what smart goals are. Successful people are objective. They have realistic targets in their mind. They know what they are looking for and why they are fighting for it. Successful people create and pursue SMART goals. SMART is an acronym. What that means is goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Let’s break these down and see what each of these mean.
A general goal would be something like getting shape. But a related specific goal would be to join a health club and work out three days a week for the next 52 weeks. A specific goal has a far greater chance of being accomplished because it has defined parameters and constraints. That’s a specific goal. The M in SMART refers to measurable. There must be a logical system for measuring the progress of a goal. To determine if a goal is a measurable, simply ask yourself a question like, “How much time? How many total? How will I know when the goal is accomplished?” Things like that. When you measure your progress, you stay on track. You reach your target dates and you experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continue efforts required to reach your goal.
The third letter in SMART goals is A, attainable. To be attainable, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work towards. In other words, the goal must be realistic. The big question here is how can the goal be accomplished? Is it attainable? The R in SMART is relevant. Relevant stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. For example, an internet entrepreneur’s goal to make 75 tuna sandwiches by [2:00] PM may be specific, measurable, attainable and timely, but it lacks relevance to an entrepreneur’s overarching objective of building a profitable online business. Make sure that your goals are relevant to you in what you want to achieve.
Finally, T is for timely. A goal must be grounded within a time frame, giving the goal a target date. This is critically important. I think a lot of people that set goals for themselves miss this. They don’t put a constraint on time or a deadline to achieve it by. A commitment to a deadline helps you focus your efforts on the completion of the goal on or before that due date.
This part of the SMART goal criteria is really intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by daily distractions. That’s what a SMART goal is. It’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. This is the first thing that successful people do. They create and they pursue SMART goals. When you identify a SMART goal that truly is important to you, you become motivated to figure out ways to actually attain it. You set something in motion in your mind, in the universe, to actually get there. You develop the necessary attitude, the abilities and skills. You can achieve almost any goal you set if you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps.
I do this every year, usually at the end of December or the beginning of January. I break my life down into family, business, finance, fun goals. I look at those different areas of my life and I write out two or three goals that I want to achieve that year. I put constraints on it. I put deadlines. Goals that once seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals are shrinking but because you grow and expand to match those goals.
The second thing is to be a realistic optimist. When you’re setting a goal, by all means, engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it. Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and, of course, persistence. That’s a big one. Be persistent. Studies show that thinking things that will come true to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for that journey ahead and significantly increases the odds of failure. Think about your goals in terms of optimistic goals, but being realistic at the same time.
I want to add one more thing to this. I also like to think that I’m an opportunist. I try to be a realistic optimist, but I also look for opportunities. That allows me to stretch and reach out to bigger, higher, greater goals. It’s like that saying, “Think big.” If you think bigger than what you believe you can achieve, you’ll stretch your mind to actually reach out and go further than what you would have if you set the bar low for yourself. Don’t set the bar too low. But again, don’t set the bar so high that you’ll never be able to achieve it.
Thirdly, successful people take decisive and immediate action. Sadly, very few people ever live to become the success story that they constantly dream about. There’s one simple reason why. This is huge. I’ve said this for many years. They never take action. It’s one thing to think and plan. It’s completely another thing to do. Take action. The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing. Growing happens when you take that knowledge and you apply it and it changes how you live. Many people live in a complete daze. Actually, they don’t live. They simply get by because they never take the necessary action to make things happen, to seek out their dreams and make things happen. I used to be with a company many, many years ago. We used to refer it to ourselves as MCHs, which means, Make Crap Happen. That wasn’t the real title of the position. We didn’t get paid unless we actually achieved results. We were MCHs. We make crap happen.
It doesn’t matter if you have a genius IQ or a PhD in quantum physics. You can’t change anything or make any sort of real world progress without taking action. There’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. Knowledge and intelligence are both useless without action. It’s just simple as that.
Success hinges on simple act of making a decision to live, to absorb yourself in the process, and going after your dreams and goals. Make that decision and take action. If you’re looking for some practical guidance on taking action, one of the books I recommend is a book called Getting Things Done. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You can just find that on Amazon. Getting Things Done is pretty popular. It’s also known as GTD. Getting Things Done is the book.
Thirdly, the focus on being productive, not being busy. This is a big one too. In Tim Ferriss’ great book, The 4-Hour Workweek, he says, “Slow down and remember this: most things make no difference. Begin busy is often a form of mental laziness; lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” This is basically Tim Ferriss’ way of saying work smarter, not harder, which happens to be one of the most prevalent modern-day personal development clichés. Like most clichés, there’s a great deal of truth in it. Few people actually adhere to it. Just take a quick look around. Think of the people that you know. The busy people far outnumber the productive people by a wide margin. If you watch and open up your eyes, you will see that. It’s easy to be busy. It’s not easy to be productive. Busy people are rushing all over the place, running late half the time, they’re heading to work or meetings or conferences or maybe social engagements. They barely have enough free time to get the family together. They rarely get enough sleep. I used to be like this. To some degree, I still am. Business emails will be shooting out of your smartphone and your daily planner is jammed to the brim. It’s just a big difference from being productive and being busy.
Busy people’s busy schedules give them an elevated sense of importance, but it’s just an illusion. They’re like hamsters running on a wheel. The solution is to slow down, breathe, review your commitments, review your goals, and put first things first. I’ve been teaching my little daughter this. She’s always doing things that are not what she’s supposed to be doing. We give her a list every day. “Here’s the school work and the lessons you should be doing. Here’s what you should be cleaning up. Here’s all your fun time stuff.” She quickly gets distracted. I keep telling her, “Put first things first. Do one thing at a time. Start it now. Take a short break in two hours, and then repeat. Always remember that results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.”
If you’re looking for some good books on being productive, The 4-Hour Workweek, although it’s somewhat dated, not all of it is relevant today, but the principles are still relevant. You could read The 4-Hour Workweek. One book I particularly like, it’s a quick read, it’s called The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. There’s also a book by Brian Tracy called Eat That Frog! These are all books that talk about being productive over being busy.
Fourth, successful people make logical, informed decisions. Sometimes we do things that are permanently foolish simply because we are temporarily upset or excited. Although emotional gut instincts are effective in certain fleeting situations, when it comes to generating long-term sustained growth in any area of life, emotional decisions often lead you astray. The thing is decisions driven by heavy emotion, typically contained minimal amounts of conscious thought and are primarily based on momentary feelings, instead of mindful awareness. That’s a mouthful. Here’s what it means in its simplest form. This is the best advice you can take away from this. Don’t let your emotions trump your intelligence. That’s it. Slow down and think things through before you make any life-changing decisions. Really, the bigger the decision, the more important that decision is, the more you should ground yourself and slow down and think it through before you actually make a decision, because it may have tremendous consequences for you or your family.
Next is, they avoid the trap of trying to make things perfect. I am still guilty of this to this day. But I recognize this in myself. I see in the mirror where I am a perfectionist and where it really is not helping me out. Many of us are perfectionists in our own right. Like I said, I do this all the time. We set high bars for ourselves and we put our best foot forward. We dedicate copious amounts of time and attention to our work to maintain high personal standards. Our passion for excellence drives us to run the extra mile, never stopping, never relenting. Then dedication towards perfection undoubtedly helps us achieve results, so long as we don’t get carried away. What happens when we do get carried away with perfectionism? We become disgruntled and discouraged. We fail to meet the impossibly high standards we set for ourselves, making us reluctant to take on new challenges or even finish the tasks we’ve already started. Our insistence on dotting every I and crossing every T breeds inefficiency, causing major delays, stress overload, subpar results.
True perfectionism has had a hard impact on me. True perfectionists have a hard time starting things, and even a harder time finishing them always. I see this in my father, maybe this is where I get it from. He was definitely a perfectionist. He was a machinist and everything had to be like ten thousands of an inch in everything he produced. His trade bred perfectionism in him. I believe that’s where I got it from.
You have to remember that the real world doesn’t reward perfectionists. It rewards people who gets things done. The only way to get things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time. Remember that. You need to be imperfect 99% of the time. Only by wading through years of practice and imperfection can we begin to achieve momentary glimpses of that perfection. You make a decision, take action, learn from that outcome and repeat this method over and over again in all walks of life. That’s a hard thing to do. I’ll tell you. If you could be almost perfect, you’ll go much further than trying to be perfect all the time.
Next, successful people work outside of their comfort zone. The number one thing I persistently see holding smart people back is their own reluctance to accept an opportunity simply because they don’t think they’re ready. In other words, they feel uncomfortable and believe they require additional knowledge and skill and experience before they can aptly partake in an opportunity. That is not true. Sadly, this is the kind of thinking that stifles personal growth and success. The truth is nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. You just have to be sharp and smart enough to recognize the opportunity is there, because most great opportunities in life force us to grow emotionally and intellectually. They force us to stretch ourselves and our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
When we don’t feel comfortable, we don’t feel ready. That’s when you stretch your mind and your experience and your ability to grow. These significant moments of opportunity for personal growth and success will come and go throughout your life. If you’re looking to make positive changes and new breakthroughs in your life, you will need to embrace these moments of opportunity, even though you will never feel 100% ready for them. The thing is if you’re outside of your comfort zone, even by a little, realize that you’re growing. That’s the only way to grow, is to get out of your comfort zone. That’s how you grow and expand.
Successful people keep things simple. Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” I love that saying. Nothing could be closer to the truth. Here in the 21st century, information moves at the speed of light and opportunities for innovation seem somewhat endless. We have an abundant array of choices when it comes to designing our lives and our careers. But sadly, an abundance of choices is stressful and often leads to complication, confusion and inaction. Here’s a simplistic example: go to the grocery store. Go buy some toothpaste. Look at the shelves and you’ll see that there are probably 30 or more different types, brands and sizes of toothpaste. Unless you’re buying the same one every single time, you don’t need to make a decision. It becomes stressful.
There’s a lot of truth in keeping things simple. Several business and marketing studies done in the past that have shown that the more product choices a consumer is faced with, the less products they typically buy. This is like the toothpaste example. Narrowing down the best product from a pool of three choices is much easier than narrowing down the best product from a pool of 30 choices. If purchasing decisions is tough enough as it is, most people will just give up. Likewise, if you complicate your life by inundating yourself with too many choices, your subconscious mind will give up. The solution is to simplify. If you’re selling a product or doing whatever, keep it simple. Keep your business simple. Keep your life as simple as possible, not overly simplistic, but simplify it. If you’re trying to make a decision about something in your life, don’t waste all your time evaluating every last detail of every possible option.
Choose something that you think will work and give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, learn what you can from that experience. Choose something else and keep pressing forward. It’s amazing how many very, very analytical clients we get calls from that our investment counselors talk to. They are so hung up on every single little detail of the purchase process; the numbers on the property, the neighborhood, the demographics, the market. They “what if” themselves to death. They know they need to invest. They want to. They’re looking for property. But they get so lost in the minutia that they’ve completely lost sight of the big picture. They forget that their whole goal was to start purchasing income-producing property to build their portfolio. A lot of people get tripped up on that. Try not to do that. I’ve been there myself. I think it’s maybe a disease for some of us. Keep things simple.
Next, successful people focus on making small and continuous improvements. I like this saying from Henry Ford. He once said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small pieces.” I do this all the time and I’m trying to teach my daughter this. The same concept reconfigured as a question is, “How do I eat an elephant?” The answer is one bite at a time. This philosophy holds true for achieving your biggest goals. If you make small, positive changes, eating a little healthier, exercising a little, creating some small productive habits for example. This is an amazing way to get excited about life and slowly reach the level of success you aspire to. If you start small, you don’t need a lot of motivation to get started. The simple act of getting started and doing something even small will give you that momentum that you need. Soon, you’ll find yourself in a positive spiral of changes, one building on top of the other.
Start with just one activity and make a plan for how you’re going to deal with troubles as they arise. For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, come up with a list of healthy snacks you can eat when you get hunger pangs. It will be hard in the beginning but it gets easier as you go. That’s the whole point. As your strength grows, you can take on bigger challenges. Same thing with real estate investing. If you’re just getting started, break it down into little steps. One, choose a market, two, look for specific properties in that market that meet a criteria; consider the neighborhood, consider the cashflow, consider the financial performance. You break these into small easy to understand, easily digestible steps. You keep working that through. You do your due diligence. You put it under contract. You work with a lender. You have an inspection done, etc. When you look at it at the micro level, it’s easy to go from one step to another. That’s what I suggest as far as making things small, tiny steps.
Next, successful people measure and track their progress. Successful people are not only working in their jobs or their business. They’re also working on that business. There’s a business between working in your business or on your business or job. They step back and they assess the progress regularly. They track themselves against their goals and they clearly know what needs to be done to excel and to accelerate. You can’t control what you don’t properly measure. There’s a saying I really like. It’s an old management adage, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” It’s important to actually measure and track everything you do, not literally everything in your life, but what’s important to you and especially as it relates to your goals. If you track the wrong things, you’ll be completely blind to potential opportunities as they appear over the horizon. The proper approach is to figure out what your number one goal is and then track the things that directly relate to achieving that goal.
I recommend that you take some time right now or when you get back home to identify your number one goal. Identify the most important thing for you to keep track of. Begin tracking it immediately whether it’s on your smartphone or in a spreadsheet or on the wall. It doesn’t matter. On a weekly basis, plug the numbers into a spreadsheet and use that data to create weekly and monthly trends. You could graph it. You could visualize it, however you want. Then, fine tune your actions to get those trends to grow in your favor. Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you track and measure your progress, you’ll know exactly where you are, where you’ve been, if you have any momentum going forward to get to your goal.
Next, successful people maintain a positive outlook as they learn from their mistakes. You see, successful people concentrate on the positives. They look for the silver lining in every situation. This took years for me to learn. I can’t tell you how much stress this has taken off of my life when I look at certain situations that are supposed issues, especially with clients. I always ask myself, “What’s the worst case scenario here?” I work backwards from there. I know what the worst case is and I’m prepared for it mentally, psychologically and in the real world, in business. Successful people know that it is their positivity that will take them to greatness. If you want to be successful, you need to have a positive outlook towards life. Life will test you again and again. If you give into internal negativity, you will never be able to achieve the marks you have targeted for yourself in terms of your goals and your overall objectives. Stay away from that.
Remember, every mistake you make is progress. Mistakes teach you important lessons. Every time you make one, you’re one step closer to your goal. The only mistake that you can truly hurt yourself in is choosing to do nothing, simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake. That is absolute failure. I like what my friend Jay has to say, “Fail fast, fail forward and fail often.” Don’t hesitate. Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t let your own negativity sabotage you. Learn what you can and press forward.
The next one, successful people spend time with the right people. Again, there’s a saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” This is so true. Most of the successful people I know, in fact, virtually all of the successful people I know spend most of their time hanging out with people that are achievers. They’re working their way to be successful but they’re high achievers. Successful people associate themselves with people who are like-minded, focused and supportive. They socialize with people who create energy, when they enter a room versus those people who create energy when they leave. They reach out to get connected, influential individuals who are right for their dreams and goals. That’s who they reach out to. You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with. If you hang around with the wrong people, they will negatively affect you. They’ll bring you down. There’s what some people have referred to as “dream-stealers.” If you hang around with the right people, you will become far more capable and successful than you ever could be alone. People refer to this as your tribe. Find your tribe. Work together. That will make all the difference in your life.
Last, but not least, successful people maintain balance in their life. This is a hard thing to do for many people, especially A personalities. If you ask most people to summarize what they want most or what they want out of life, they’ll shoot out a list of things. They’ll say “make money or spend more time with the family or achieve goals or find happiness.” But sadly, a lot of these people don’t balance their life properly to achieve these things that they really, really want. Typically, they’ll achieve one or two of them while completely neglecting the rest. When you let your work life, your social life, your family life, consume you, and all your energy is focused in that area, it’s extremely easy to lose your balance. While that drive and focus is important, if you’re going to get things done right and be truly successful, you need to balance the various dimensions of your life. Completely neglecting one of these dimensions for another is only going to lead to long-term frustration and stress. This is where a lot of people get hung up in balancing their life.
These are things successful people do. How many of these things are you doing? If not at all, are you doing some of them? Most of them? Take your time to modify or upgrade your behavior so you can get the success you want and deserve. If real estate investing is part of your plan, then educate yourself on what you need to know and what you need to do. There is plenty of practical information available today for you. Ask questions and learn. Always ask questions. Seek the information. It’s out there. Lot of it is free. If you think you’re ready now and you just need some guidance, then go ahead and contact one of our investment counselors for some help. It’s my hope that you have gained some insight into all the things that you’ve been doing right all along. Even more important, I hope you are able to identify the mistakes that derail you in the past and use that knowledge to your advantage from now on. Remember, you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It’s never what you are but actually what you do. Don’t let you “be the only thing holding you back.” Make this your best year ever. Thank you. We’ll see you on our next episode.
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