As I child, my Mom would always correct me when I used the word can’t. She had various things she would say when I used that word. Sometimes she would simply say “I think I can I think I can.” Other times she would say something like “If you think you can’t then you’reright” or “you can do whatever you put your mind to“.
I would roll my eyes and carry on but her words were always in the back of my mind. It’s probably the reason why I have taken on so many challenges in my life. It’s probably the reason why I tried out for the college swim team even though I’d never competitively swam before then. It’s likely why I wasn’t afraid to backpack around Central America alone at the age of 19. And it’s definitely the reason why, when I was a salesperson, I could dust myself off after a failed sales pitch and go back in the next day to try again.
My Mom was teaching me a very important lesson early on. A lesson that I’ve only really come to understand in recent years as a full time real estate investor. The words we use are very important. In fact, the wrong word can hurt you deeper and longer than any physical injury can hold you back.
For BiggerPockets I just wrote about three words that can kill your deal really quickly if you use them. Today I want to share a couple of words that you’re probably using as a real estate investor that are holding you back or making things harder than they need to be.
1. Passive Income
I shared this video on Life As Real Estate Investors too – but it’s such an important point that I am going to share it again right now. I don’t believe real estate investing has to be a full time job to change your life, but I do believe that you have to keep a careful watch over your money. Even if you’ve hired a property manager you must keep an eye on your property and the money flowing in and out. Nobody will EVER love your money quite like you do – so give your money the care and attention it deserves and keep an eye on it.
Watch the Video Here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln-tlqmBz18
Instead of pursuing passive income you could pursue leveraged income or even streams of income. But calling it PASSIVE allows you to feel like you don’t have to do anything– and after we let things passively fall apart in the early days – I hope you will learn from our lesson and stay active and involved in your investments even if you have a joint venture partner doing all the work. Ask questions. Visit the property. Review the statements. Just make sure things are operating like you expect them to be operating.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
This one comes up in so many places beyond real estate that I had to share it. Keith Cunningham, business mentor and master money raiser, taught me that practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. He taught me to ask myself what exactly I am practicing.
And here’s where it applies to real estate investing:
A lot of people are doing things that don’t work for them. Instead of stopping, assessing where they are and finding help to get where they want to go they self diagnose, shrug their shoulders and figure they just need to “practice” a bit more to get it right.
In other words – they figure practice makes perfect – and just try again.
Keith once said:What’s a double bogey? Bad shot followed by a stupid shot. Most stupid shots are the results of self diagnosis. It’s one thing to make a mistake, it’s another thing to make a mistake on steroids.
If you have been trying to invest in real estate for years but it’s not working for you then it’s not time to try harder, it’s time to get help. If you’ve purchased a couple of properties and you’re losing money, it’s not time to try again, it is time to reassess what you’re doing and find someone to help you figure out where you’re going wrong. And if you find yourself always dealing with people who cheat you or take advantage of you, it’s not time to dig deeper and just keep trying, it’s a sign that you should take a step back, find someone who is doing what you want to do, and get some outside advice.
Practice doesn’t make you better unless you’re practicing the right motions and steps.
We became real estate investors because we wanted freedom. We didn’t want to report to a boss every day. Now, my vision of freedom was different than Dave’s. His vision of freedom involves him spending a lot of time playing sports, watching movies and doing things he enjoys. My vision of freedom was more along the lines of never having to negotiate and plea for my vacation time, having the time and space to write and create without having someone else override every decision I make, and the ability to create and control my day.
I have definitely achieved the freedom I desired. Dave is not there yet. To get to his ideal level of freedom he has to grow our business more and build a bigger and better team around him. He also is probably going to (or maybe even already has) redefine what exactly freedom is to him.
Freedom is not a guarantee as a real estate investor. It really depends on how you’re defining freedom. And this is important because big things are very possible in a short period of time if you’re an action taking investor. After attending a couple of conferences this year and chatting with folks who’ve purchased 30, 50 and even 70+ units in the last 5 years or so I know vast the opportunities are for investors that take initiative. I also know how deep the misery can be if you’ve gone all that way only to find out that long journey took you to the wrong destination. In other words, the majority of these folks that I met had freedom from a 9-5 job yet were absolutely unbelievably miserable. Many were selling out of real estate and planning to get into something totally different.
If you’re getting into real estate for freedom then you have to ask yourself what freedom is to you. It is different for everyone. For me it was about control – it wasn’t about not working. We’re hiring a full time assistant this week because I want to control my work not have my work control me – but still I have control and I love it.
The word freedom can be dangerous to use – unless you have given yourself a specific definition. You may find, once you define it, that real estate isn’t the solution for you. Or, you might find, as we have, that it’s able to give you exactly what you want to create the life of your dreams.
My point today is to simply encourage you to choose your words carefully. Next time you hear a child saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”, think to yourself if you are actually using words that could be hurting you. Because words can actually hurt far deeper and for a lot longer than any stick or stone can.