I was 20 years old, sitting in my college library studying away on a computer. For almost a year I had been learning every technique, tactic and legality in real estate… so much so that I could accurately answer questions “newbies” were posting on online forums like a seasoned pro.
But, the only thing is… at that time… I’d never done a deal. Not a one. In fact, I’d never spoken with a seller… never even talked with a real estate investor in real life except for my business law professor who was an active investor himself in small multi-family properties.
I know lots of people who are like I was. Knowledgeable as heck… but hadn’t applied it in the real world yet.
This could even be you. And I’m not just talking business or real estate. I’m talking everything from asking someone you like out on a date, to signing up for that first triathlon, to speaking in front of a group of local entrepreneurs teaching then what you know… that you know can help them do great things in business or life. In fact, all of those things are things at one point in my life I hesitated in… before I took real action.
And it all boils down to one simple, but powerful thing.
Recently I ordered a book called “Loving What Is: The Four Questions That Can Change Your Life” by Byron Katie. I haven’t read it yet (It’s on the way to me now) but without even knowing it… I’ve lived and benefited because of those 4 questions in her book. I’d suggest you order that book today and read it.
So, what are “beliefs” and how can then truly help you reach true freedom (emotional, financial, spiritual, etc.) in life? A friend of mine summed it up well…
“Beliefs aren’t right or wrong. There is no such thing as a true belief or a false belief. Beliefs are just beliefs. But, beliefs can be either empowering or limiting… they can hold you back or let you soar”
And honestly, it was my beliefs that held me back as a 20 year old from actually going out and doing, rather than just sitting by passively learning without doing for over a year. I already had all of the “tactical” knowledge I needed to buy a multi-family property… I just had beliefs holding me back.
I had all kinds of reasons internally that justified why I hadn’t taken my first real step into business… why I hadn’t made any offers… why I hadn’t actually stepped out of my comfort zone to do great things.
Some of them included…
- “I’m too young for people to take me seriously”
- “I’ve never started a business, never owned any real estate in my life… no-one will agree to do an owner carry on a multi-family property to me because of my lack of experience”
- “You have to have money to make money… and I didn’t have hardly any money”
- “People will just turn down my offers”
… and on and on.
And this wasn’t just in business. I was holding myself back in other areas of my life too because I had “limiting” beliefs that were crippling my potential.
What Limiting Beliefs Do You Have That Are Holding You Back? And The 5 Questions To Ask To Turn Those Limiting Beliefs Around…
One of the best examples of turning limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs that I’ve seen was on a video I watched by a fellow young entrepreneur named Dane Maxwell. It’s what spurred on this article… so thanks Dane.
EXERCISE: I want you to grab a piece of paper right now and write down something you’ve been striving for but haven’t made happen yet in life.
It could be something personal (the dating scene), it could be with your business goals (getting your first real estate deal done, or going after bigger deals), whatever it is that deep inside you know you want… but for some reason aren’t making happen.
Lets start with an example in real estate. What if I told you that you had to talk with 3 sellers tomorrow and make 3 offers by the end of the day… and you don’t have any money lined up for a deal… and you have a belief that you needed to have money lined up before you can make offers.
How does that make you feel internally? Does that create a lump in your throat, tightness in your chest, or nervousness in your stomach? If it does, that’s a limiting belief… and we need to turn that belief around. If you don’t turn it around, you’ll never go out and talk to those sellers… and make offers… and never do deals… never get that freedom you want.
So, how do you do that? How do you turn a limiting belief into an empowering belief? Byron poses 4 questions in her book… and Dane added on another couple that I’ll go over below.
First, ask yourself these 5 questions:
- Is this belief true?: [NOTE: Most of the time you’ll answer “yes of course”, because its something you believe… so move onto the next question]
- Is this belief beyond a shadow of a doubt true?: [NOTE: Is there any single possibility that one person in the world has proved it false? With the real estate example above… YES, of course… tons and tons of people have done deals without having money lined up before making an offer.]
- How does this belief make you feel?: [NOTE: The more light you feel when you say this belief, the better it is. The more heavy and nervous… the more limiting. Do you feel trapped, scared, unsure, when you think of making offers without having funding lined up? That’s an indication of a limiting belief.]
- What would the opposite thought be?: [NOTE: In this example it might be… “I can find the money when I’m working on truly great deals. There’s money everywhere”.]
- How does that opposite feeling make you feel?: [NOTE: You might be excited, wide eyed, you can sense the possibility. That’s an empowering belief. For others, you may have a red flag come up that says… “well, I can’t get private money even if I had a great deal… I have no credibility”. That’s a deeper set of limiting beliefs that you need to take through this same process.]
Any time you find yourself doubting yourself or feeling trapped, unsure, or nervous about something… take those beliefs through these 5 questions to find that empowering belief that’ll push you forward.
It’s amazing what this simple exercise can do and how you’ll feel after you go through it anytime you feel a limiting belief.
We all have limiting beliefs… no matter who we are, what level in business or life we’re in. Those of us who can identify our limiting beliefs that are holding us back and turn them around into empowering beliefs, will feel light, positive, free, and see the world of possibilities and potential. Those who live trapped inside their limiting beliefs (like most people) will feel trapped, like there’s no way out of your situation, like someone knows a secret you don’t, like you just can’t break through. Work this process into your life. You’ll be glad you did. Once I crushed my limiting belief of feeling “too young and inexperienced” at the age of 20… I bought a 4 unit apartment building within 4 months. What can you do once you crush your own limiting beliefs?
I guess you could call it a personality flaw… but I love to get stuff started… but not huge on sitting down and writing down a specific plan. Ideas fall out of my ears and I tend to implement fast on getting stuff rolling.
But, the problem I realized a little while back is that sometimes the benefits I get from the speed of implementation can be offset by the lack of really clarifying what the heck I’m trying to build.
What’s the end game?
- What do I want this THING to look like in a year?
- What benefit do I really want to get out of this THING?
- Who am I trying to help, impact, or work with on this THING? (being very specific)
- What changes will I have to make personally to make this THING be successful (and not just a time-suck)?
- What resources will it really take to get this THING launched the right way?
- Is this THING directly in line with my passions and life purpose… i.e. – will it help me live that or is it a distraction?
… all need to be asked.
My flaw up to this point has been that I haven’t taken the time to ask these questions on a few big projects recently and am coming to regret it.
Have you ever wondered when too much as an entrepreneur is too much? Or heck, even if you haven’t started a business yet… have you ever wondered when taking on too much in life is too much?
Ya, I think we all have. And, most of us have probably at one point or another looked at what we have going on in life or business and thought… “damn! I’m doing way too much stuff… so much that I can’t get anything done”. Heck, this might even be you right now.
I know I have. In fact, just in the past 18 months I’ve gone through this struggle and while the answer seems to be clear and right there in front of your face (that you should be working on fewer “things”)… for some reason it’s easy to justify all of the stuff we’re doing and say that “I can handle it all”.
You see, a funny thing happens when you see a bit of success… or even before you see success but everything clicks mindset wise and you see everything out there as a legitimate opportunity that you know you can take advantage of. Heck, after I had a couple business successes… people started coming to me with ideas… ideas that I loved and knew that if I would get behind would work and be home runs.
Opportunity breeds optimism. And optimism breeds opportunity. They feed off of each other. The more you see the world for what it is… FULL OF OPPORTUNITY for those of us looking for it and optimistic about the outlook of the word… the easier it is to fall into this trap that I’m about to lay out below.
Ever Heard Of Too Much Opportunity?
It sounds like a contradiction right? Too much opportunity?
It’s like too much ice cream (I have had too much ice cream before, it wasn’t pretty). Some people struggle seeing opportunity in anything (if that’s you, you can turn it around. It’s all mindset, gratitude, and surrounding yourself with the right people). Some people see opportunity in everything… almost to a fault (that’s me).
Going into last year I had 2 thriving businesses (by thriving I mean both providing a more than full-time income on a fraction of the hours normal people work each week). Then half way through that year my income dropped by nearly half.
It wasn’t a lack of opportunity. It wasn’t that customers weren’t there. It wasn’t that the industry had changed. None of that.
What it was… was in the previous year I had seen so much damn opportunity… and said YES to so many projects… I flooded myself with a workload and responsibilities I couldn’t keep up with.
Deadlines here. Deadlines there. Getting missed.
Splitting my focus on project A with projects B, C, and a new D project.
If you can picture a juggler juggling 1 ball… it’s easy for them right? You add another ball… still easy… the juggler needs to concentrate a bit more… but even 3 balls that juggler can do pretty much without problem. But, as you add on new balls into the mix… the juggler starts to lose focus on each individual ball. Balls get dropped… the arcs the juggler throws the balls on get sloppy… and before you know it, every single ball the juggler is tossing in the air gets less and less attention and eventually they all fall down.
That was me.
So, How Do You Know When It’s Too Much?
I always struggled with this until a mentor and mastermind member told me this.
“Always be working on the main thing and 1 big thing”.
What he means by the “main thing” is whatever you’re doing that is bringing in the money right now. For me, the business that was my “main thing” had slid down the list to number 2 or 3 on the focus ladder sometimes. So my income there started to hurt.
And since I was working on 2 or 3 “main things” at once… the “big thing” I wanted to work on really never got off the ground the way it should have.
So, this past 4 months has been my time to remove balls from the juggling routine… and to really decide what is my “main thing” that will get the vast majority of my attention… and what is the 1 “big thing” I’ll be working on on the side to do something big.
For me, it wasn’t easy. My passions have changed in the last 2 years and what was once my “main thing” is now being taken completely off the table by me making the tough decision to sell the company (even though it’s a great company and can be highly profitable). Now I’m forced to focus on growing the main company only… and still be able to push forward 1 epic project at the same time. All without overwhelm… and with a clarity I haven’t had in 2 years. It feels darn great
What’s Your One Big Thing?
So I ask you… do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels? Do you feel like you’re working on a lot of great high opportunity projects but none of them are getting pushed forward like you know they can and should? If that’s the case, you’re probably juggling too many balls.
Sit down today and figure out what your 1 “main thing” is that you’ll spend the vast majority of your time focusing on. Then, what is the 1 “big thing” you want to push forward on the side? It could be another business, a book you want to write, a non-profit, etc.
Always be working on something big, and something that brings home the bacon today. Nothing more, nothing less.
One thing that is very important to me, and is one of the main reasons I’ve made the choice to be an entrepreneur is experiencing new, exciting, fulfilling, interesting, things and places. That’s what life’s all about right?
So, what happened to me yesterday afternoon was pretty cool… and I want the same thing to happen to you Read on…
I opened it up, half expecting it to be some scribble from one of my late-night “idea bursts”… but what I found was even better. Way better.
As I opened it up one crumpled edge at a time, a list… 102 items strong – all handwritten… appeared. Reading through the stuff on that list was inspiring as heck… fun, and got my juices flowing again. The crazy cool thing was that I had accomplished mostly everything on there… this year has been an amazing year in many aspects.
It was the life list I created earlier this year. I usually do a new one every year to keep it fresh.
I had heard about a “life list” a few years back and I immediately grabbed a hold of that idea and knew I’d always keep a life list of some sort. So, whats a life list you ask?
Simple. It’s everything you want to do before you die. I’ve heard it called a bucket list, but I like “life list” better… sounds a bit more positive than “kicking the bucket” lol.
My life list has things all the way from big epic experiences (like skydive over a tropical ocean – which I did earlier this year, fulfilling things like starting a scholarship at my college – which my wife and I did this year, to places I want to go/see like mountain bike in Moab Utah – which I did this year w/ friends)
… to places I want to see (like visiting all 50 states, watch the Masters live, Oktoberfest in Germany, walk the great wall of China, and other places)
… to little fun experiences ( like mastering a surprising cocktail, read 24 books in a year, catch a salmon in Alaska, and help 5 friends or family become free and start their own businesses)
And it’s not just trips and fun stuff… a big hunk of my, currently 102 item life list, is things that truly fulfill me and are a part of what I feel is my purpose. Things like raising $1,000,000 for an awesome charity (I haven’t hit that yet, but will someday), teach a college class on entrepreneurship, finish a tri-athlon, be published in Entrepreneur Magazine for doing something truly amazing, and a bunch of other stuff.
In the end, when I’m 90 years old and look back at my life and ask the questions (as a mentor of mine posed to me) Did I live? Did I love? And Did I matter?
And I want the unequivocal answer to all 3 questions to be an instant YES.
So, now as always I want you to come away from this article with something you can apply in your own life to “live a legendary life”. I want you to come up with your own life list this week.
At first it can be a bit intimidating. It was for me. But, as you’ll find… once you get rolling things just start to flow and it’ll be inspiring as heck.
Now… lets get rolling. Grab two blank white pieces of paper, a pencil… sit in a quiet place and block out a solid hour today – and a couple 30 minute time blocks in other days this week. As you’ll find you’ll get more ideas later this week as you have time to think about it.
What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?
Ask yourself that question. Too many people live day-to-day and never really put much thought into what they really want to do in life. Again, this could be places you want to see, things you want to do, experiences, things that make the story of your life what you truly want it to be.
Grab one of the pieces of paper and write down those categories (it helps me to get creative when I’m given restrictions). Leave some space below each category so you can write stuff below it. Here’s those categories again: Places I want to see/go, Things I want to do, Things I want to experience, Things that will fulfill me.
Next, start writing. Pick one of the categories… usually the “places to see/go” one is the easiest because almost everyone has thought of places in this world they’d love to go. But, as you’re doing it be really specific. Rather than just say “New Zealand”. Say, “New Zealand during summer for 2 months” (or whatever your specific desire is). It helps it become more real.
Spend as much time dreaming as you want. Its your life… you might as well put some thought into what the heck you really want to do while you’re here on this earth. If you get stumped, move to another category… take a break check out a travel/lifestyle magazine/website. Find inspiration.
Now, once you feel you’re done (for now)… grab your 2nd piece of blank paper and with a pencil start writing out the things you had on that first paper. The cool thing here is… on your actual list you don’t have to keep things in categories if you won’t want. I just have my 102 items written out by hand and numbered. There’s no specific order to my list… no specific organization… just a brain dump of what I want to do in life. Once you’re done… awesome. Keep that list and put it somewhere you’ll see it on a daily basis.
Add to it as you think of new things… and cross things off you accomplish as you do them. Your life list should be an ever-changing list of your life broken up into bite-sized experiences. As we get older we have new goals and want to experience new things… so spend time each month or each year looking over your life list and adding to it.
Now, here’s where the real magic comes. The act of writing these things down takes the huge first step in actually doing them. On my last life list I spontaneously wrote “skydive over a tropical ocean”. Then, 1 month after I wrote that down, I got an email from a friend (a fellow entrepreneur) who asked if I wanted to join him on a skydive for charity, ya, then within 2 months, I was 18,000 feet up over the ocean in Florida and loving every second of it. Amazing what happens.
I can’t tell you how amazing the experience of creating a life-list has been for me. I hope it is the same for you. Don’t put this off as something “I’ll do later”. Do it tonight. Don’t put off living. Don’t put off dreaming. If you don’t write down what you want to do in life (from the big stuff to the small trivial stuff) who’s life are you going to live? Who’s dreams are you going to achieve? Probably not yours.
I was reading a study recently (don’t ask me what study because I can’t remember where I saw it that talked about how productivity here in the U.S. has gone down in the last 20 years to the lowest points in our country’s history.
By productivity I mean… how much the average worker (or citizen) gets done in actually producing economic growth each day. In the 50’s our nations productivity was high as heck. People flat got stuff done.
Today, we’re lower than most other large economies in the world.
We “work” more and get less results per person today then we did 60 years ago.
Well, I’ve got one reason… and it’s something you’re probably all too familiar with.
THE MONSTER IN THE ROOM… THAT YOU INVITE INTO YOUR HOME
I’m going to ask you this question and I want you to give an honest answer.
What would you do if someone came into your home every day and interrupted your thinking time and hypnotized you nightly and turned your mind to mush. He sabotaged 40%-80% of your free time away from your job and left you with nothing to show for it. He nagged you, told you all of the things wrong with you and this world, and destroyed your family time because he had almost spell-like control over everyone in your house.
I could go on… but what would you do if this person was staying with you? Would you let them stay forever or kick them out? I would hope you’re saying “I’d kick them out!”.
Well, if you’re like the average American… you’re actually letting this “person” into your house right now… 100% voluntarily and willingly… and even pay a pretty penny for the “privilege” of having them there.
If you haven’t guessed already… I’m talking about TV. Yep, that big box that the average American has in their living-room (all 60 inches of LCD HD glory)… in your bedroom… maybe even in your kitchen and kids rooms.
TV’s are a harmless box by themselves. They just pump out a picture and some sound and keep people entertained.
But, when combined with our human makeup… they’re the most destructive force in your home today to your wealth, health, prosperity, happiness, creativity, and more.
What Is Your TV Costing You Right Now (You’ll Be Surprised)
Now, I’m going to get this out of the way because we have a big ol’ TV on our wall. We watch some TV… more than I’d like. So I’m not saying that TV doesn’t have value. I just want to open your eyes to the destructive power of the TV and how you can double your own productivity and happiness with a few quick steps.
Here’s some stats:
- The average American watches about 7 hours of TV a day. Lets say you’re part of an elite group and “only” watch 3 hours of TV a day.
- Lets say you value your own time at $50/hr (which is low, but is the hourly rate you’d have to make to make $100,000/yr working 40 hours a week).
- Lets say you don’t watch any TV on weekends… just a few hours after work
So, lets do some math now:
- $50 x 3 hours a day = $150 in your time watching TV each day
- $150 x 5 days a week = $750 a week in TV time
- $750 x 52 weeks = $39,000 a year in your time spent watching TV
- Lets assume you lived this life for 50 years (from 20 – 70) = $1,800,000 in your time watching TV
Now, you can see where I’m going with this. All of those assumptions were very conservative. If you watch more than 3 hours of TV (most people do) a day… you should increase your numbers. If you want to make more than $100,000 a year… increase your numbers.
But the amazing and eye opening thing here is… looking conservatively… watching only 3 hours of TV 5 days a week… you’re costing yourself over $1.8 million. And the really scary thing is that if you account for the time… you’re spending over 4 years of your life in front of the TV. Crazy eh? I thought so too when I heard these numbers.
Could You Use An Extra $1.8 Million and 4 Additional Years? Here’s How To Get It
Simple. Do what my wife and I did last year… cancel your cable TV. Yes, it’s going to hurt at first. Your favorite TV shows will be gone. You may have to find other things to do every night and morning (more fun things like actually spend quality time with friends and family, work out, work on your business, read, get stuff done around the house, volunteer, a whole bunch of stuff opens up), and your kids may think you’re the weird family.
If being wealthy and living a happy and fulfilled live is weird… then I’ll take weird over “normal” any day of the week (especially since the normal nowadays is broke and tired).
Once we cancelled our cable, things changed BIG TIME in our marriage, energy, my creativity, my business, and every aspect of life. The only thing I lacked was knowing who was voted off on The Bachelor on Monday nights Take a risk and regain your life and productivity (not to mention the $100/mo in cable fees)
So, question for ya… what if you had to live without checking email for 30 days? I mean… 100% zero email. Not online. Not on your phone. You couldn’t check email at all.
What would you do? Could you even do it with the way things are right now?
185 – That’s a pretty accurate estimate on how many emails I get every day. And the funny thing is that’s a pretty low number compared to the amount of emails other people I know personally get.
In fact, yesterday I was catching up on emails from the previous couple of days and I was in my gmail account for about 3 hours straight… half of my workday (I don’t usually work a full 8 hours. Sometimes less… sometimes much more if I’m working on something big). But being in email for me just feels unproductive, uncreative, and there are probably 139 other things I could think of that I’d rather do with my time… including running down main street naked with a siren strapped to my back (lol).
But, most of us treat email like a newborn baby treats milk. We think we gotta have it otherwise the world will come crashing down around us.
Killing Email – Email Productivity Tips
Before I talk about why I’m considering killing email I want to say that I don’t think email is evil. It’s kinda like TV. It’s a great technology, it does a lot of good, but it’s also like crack… addictive and can put you into a hypnotic like state if you let it…. and destroy your creativity and results.
Yesterday after I spent 3 hours camped inside my inbox “getting a bunch of stuff done” I felt a sense of accomplishment when my inbox got below “10”. But, the thing that I realized is that while my email was down… I didn’t push forward anything truly worthwhile in my life or business during those 3 hours. It was mainly maintenance and responding to other people trying to control my agenda. Plus, right after that high of getting to “inbox zero” was gone… I knew I’d have the same issue 3 days from now. A never-ending cycle… it feels kinda like a hamster wheel you know you will never get to the end of.
So, I now realize something has to be done. And I’m going to experiment w/ killing email (or at least part of it). Here’s why… and how.
7 Reasons To Kill Email
1) It’s highly unproductive – even though you feel like you’re being productive
2) It’s a drain and sucks the life outta me being on email longer than 30 mins a day
3) It’s a great way for other people to assert their own agenda on you
4) It creates a dependency on “instant feedback” for both you and other people
5) It’s a darn rabbit hole… never ends so your mind continually has it in the back as something that has to be done (creating a massive open loop)
6) Turns into a fire-hose of information that just keeps coming, distracting you from what’s really important in business and life.
7) People got along without email just fine for thousands of years… I’m sure we’ll get along just fine without it too.
When you really think about email for what it is, it’s about as important as having a Facebook account is. Yes, it’s cool and can make communicating with people easier… but that’s half of the probem… too many people can too easily communicate with you whether you want it or not.
How To Live Without Checking Email Yourself
Ok, so on my quest over the next 90 days to eliminate email by 95%… I’ve got some ideas on ways I’ll do that. But, when I say “kill email”… I’m not saying delete my email accounts and live the life of a technology hermit. I’m just saying that I’m going to cut the time that I spend on email by 95%.
1) Today I spent 20 minutes unsubscribing from every newsletter (except 2 that I really love and resonate with) and turned off all email notifications from stuff like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Everything. This right here is 60% of my email. It’s now gone. Whew! It feels good already. I’ll keep doing this over the next month every time I get a newsletter in my inbox. It’s goneski forever.
2) I’ve set up in my gmail account automatic filters for emails that I still need but that don’t need to be in my inbox. Things like receipts, emails about certain topics that I can have automatically filtered to my assistant or someone else, my mastermind groups group chatter list, etc. I can just check out the folders once a month and the stuff that’s really important will stand out, the other stuff will seem much less important a month after it came in J
3) Over the next 60 days my assistant and I will be working on setting up systems and responses for common questions… systems for setting up phone appointments for important stuff w/ people (so I don’t get stuck in never ending email threads), and she’ll be taking over the day to day monitoring of my email.
4) I’m transitioning everything over to skype calls or quick chats, phone calls w/ appointments, and training people that they can’t get a hold of me quickly by email… so if it’s actually important they can give me a call.
Now, I know this kinda looks like I’m being a diva. Making people jump through hoops. But the thing is, over the past decade we’ve all given up our own personal freedom. We’ve let technology – which was invented to make our lives easier and happier – overtake us so we rely on them to fill time… rather than to truly make us more productive and happy in life. Would you agree?
So, should I kill email? My decision is yes. I probably won’t be able to 100% kill email. I’ll still check it a couple times a week… but I’ve made the decision that using email as a crutch to fill time and to fill my agenda has to stop. It’ll open up a ton of time, creativity, more personal interactions with the people who matter. Now, I pose you the question… will you kill email with me?
Business should be fun… it shouldn’t be life. This video re-reminded me why I became an entrepreneur in the first place… freedom of time.
Its sometimes easy to forget this and get caught up in “work work work”… but in the end its about the small things… not the money you’ve got in the bank.
How do you balance your work and life? I’d love to hear it!!