Embarking on the path to successful real estate investing is not always easy, but it’s even more difficult if you don’t know your why. In this episode, Bill looks back as his time in Haiti as an illustration of the importance of having and knowing your why before you get involved in real estate investing.
Living in Haiti for 11 plus years I can truly say, to quote Dickens, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
What we experienced during those amazing years was unlike anything I had ever experienced before or will likely experience in the future.
And I don’t share these things lightly. I don’t like to talk about them because people respond with “Wow, that’s amazing or what a good person you are.” Nothing could be further from the truth. God did the work in Haiti and continues to that work today. The point here is not so much what we did. The point is WHY did we do it!
What motivated us? What brought us there? And even more, what KEPT us there during the most terrifying times?
Now, as a believer, I must acknowledge that without God and His leading we would never have gone nor come out of it like we did. It was both an act of faith AND his supernatural guidance that lasted 11 plus years.
So, to those who think I’m about to launch into a sermon, I’m not. I’m really making a point.
We knew our why. And, through thick and thin, it’s what not only motivated and sustained us, it’s what allowed us, through God’s grace, to accomplish amazing things.
It’s no different with anything you set out to do – especially when it is something where you may have fear, anxiety and trepidation. Knowing your why is absolutely critical to not only keeping on track and overcoming obstacles, but to ultimately accomplishing the goal you set out to achieve!
Leadership expert Simon Sinek, the author of “Start With Why,” calls this “the golden circle.” He says that it’s not enough to know what you do and how you do it. At our essence, we are most motivated by knowing why we do things. And it’s through that awareness that we can best connect with and influence others.
When you know your “why,” your “what” has more impact
So how does this translate into real estate investing?
Sinet’s “Golden Circle” consists of three levels (Why, How & What):
Picture this: (3 circles on top of each other – small in the middle, medium next and the outside circle
The outside circle is labeled “What”
The middle circle is “How”
And the inner most circle is “Why”
He uses this to explain how some organization or leaders can “inspire” where others cannot
What: everyone knows what they do
How: Some know how they do it (differentiating value proposistion, proprietary process or your USP – unique selling proposition)
But very few people and organizations know “why” they do what they do
And by why, we don’t mean “make a profit” “Generate cash flow” – that’s a result!
By why I mean what’s your “purpose,” what’s your “cause” or what’s your “belief”
Why does your organization exist?
Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?
We go from the outside – our “what” – the clearest to our “hour, to the fuzziest thing in the middle: our “why”
But the inspired organizations and inspired leaders, instead work from the INSIDE OUT!
If they were like everyone else, their message would be “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed (the what), simple to use and user friendly (how).” Want to buy one? – That’s how most people and companies communicate
Here’s what Apple does:
Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently (the Why)
The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly (the How)
We just happen to make great computers (The What)
Wanna buy one?
They reverse the order – from the inside out!
People don’t buy “what” you do – they buy “why” you do it
And because people like Apple’s “why,” people don’t just buy their laptop and desktop computers, they buy their:
When other leading computer companies like Dell, Gateway tries to move into these other areas, nobody bought them
Because people don’t buy from the outside in, they buy from the inside out
When you move from the inside out, you’re talking about motivating behavior
This is where “gut” decisions are made
Sometimes people simply don’t buy because it – just -doesn’t – “feel” – right
If you don’t know “why” you’re do something, how can you hope to be motivated.
Bringing it home, when I was walking through the dirty, toxic streets of Haiti, where the smells alone can create a noxious reaction in your stomach and air so thick from smoke and exhaust fumes that it’s even difficult to see. I saw a little boy, maybe 8 years old, curled up in the corner, by the front door of a streetside storefront building. Using a flattened cardboard box for a sheet cover, an empty 2 litter soda bottle for a pillow, covered in layers of dirt and grease, wearing tattered-torn shorts, a ripped T-shirt with orange hair because he’s lacking the nutrition that provides the vitamins that put color in his hair… It hit me hard. Very hard. For a moment I was breathless. But, before I started to spiral and just get lost up in the hopelessness of this scene – I remembered my “why!” I didn’t see hopelessness and despair. Instead, I saw a cleaned up, sharp-dressed young man with a new haircut, walking forward in a graduation cap and gown, — walking with confidence, accomplishment, hope and faith that would propel him ahead to the next phase of his life – a good job, a wife, children, house and car. A person who will become a light in his community — a light the overwhelming darkness of Haiti! I saw my “why” and as I approached him to see if he may find hope in our orphanage, it was my “why” that became my motivation and hope!
Some people, when they hear about my goal to acquire 1,000 units by 2020, may think that is my why. But no – that’s my “how” – and my “what” is real estate investing. But my inspiration is in my “why” — that little boy in a cap and gown and tons of other little boys and girls just like him that may see their dreams become reality. It’s my daughter’s dream wedding. My son/grandson/granddaughter attending the college they could only dream of before. And other things like that that are at the real core of what really motivates us.
Sometimes when I’m ready to crunch numbers/underwrite properties all day, go off to an REI meeting, talk with a broker, negotiate with a seller – not always my favorite things, I pause. I see that young man or your woman’s shiny, smiling face in cap and gown. My daughter in her wedding dress or whatever else “why” touches my soul. And suddenly, it’s easy to get motivated — to do the what or do the how that’s necessary to get to the why.
What is your why? Do you really know why you are doing this crazy real estate thing? And do others see it? Take the time to really discover your why and you’ll be surprised at the difference it will make.
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