Summary: Mindset is everything, whether it’s real estate investing or something as physical as climbing the pamper pole. In this post, I explore Kenji’s and my recent experience on the ropes course in the Canary Islands and reflect on how you, our readers, can apply what I’ve learned while building our real estate portfolio. I’ll share how to use your identity, language, and mastery of your mind to overcome the obstacles you (and I) have created for ourselves.
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As some of you know, Kenji and I recently attended a conference in the Canary Islands in Spain, where we got harnessed in climbing gear, climbed a 30 foot pole, balanced on the top, and then jumped to catch a hanging trapeze.
Affectionately, I believe, this exercise is called climbing the “pamper pole”–maybe in reference to the diapers that people need to wear to do the exercise? Just google it if you want to see what I’m talking about.
But what does this have to do with your mindset towards real estate investing, and on that note, what does your mindset have to do with real estate investing? Well, I’ll tell you exactly why. And it all starts with the pamper pole.
Climbing the Pamper Pole
Climbing the pamper pole is a pretty scary exercise. No matter if you’re afraid of heights or not, your body starts reacting when you’re climbing the pole. Your hands are shaking. You’re running on adrenaline. Then, when you get to the top of the pole, you have to figure out how to maneuver around the pole to face the opposite direction so that you can climb on top of the approximately 10 inches in diameter top. This is all while maintaining your balance, as the pole sways side to side. Finally, you have to jump out to catch a suspended trapeze approximately five feet away, just when your legs are all rubbery and limp.
Climbing the pamper pole and successfully reaching the trapeze last week was a big feat for both Kenji and I, but for slightly different reasons.
Kenji has a fear of heights, so clearly, even getting up on the pole was a big deal to him. But for me, the real challenge was mastering my mind to the point that I could go for the trapeze.
You see, earlier in my life, I would have taken myself out of the game before even attempting to reach the trapeze. Maybe I would have given myself the challenge of getting to the top. Or maybe I would have attempted to stand on the top of the pole. But never would I have believed that I could actually get to the level of jumping out and reaching the trapeze.
But what does it take to reach a trapeze? And what does that have to do with the real estate investing mindset at all?
Mastering the Pamper Pole is About Mastering Your Mindset
The reason I would have taken myself out of the game earlier in my life is that I wouldn’t have seen myself as the type of person who would be able to get the trapeze. It just wasn’t consistent with my identity.
I saw myself as capable, and even as accomplished, but not at the level of the people I pictured as truly high achievers… the type who could catch the trapeze their first time up a pole. Those were the athletic people or the rock-climber types, not me. So I would have set my goal lower. And I would have achieved what I believed I was capable of and no more.
Now, maybe this seems really ridiculous to all of you reading this article. How could I have decided what I was capable of before even trying anything? And how could I actually limit myself from even trying something like jumping to the trapeze by setting my goals lower than what I was actually capable of achieving?
Why would I take myself out of the game before I even started?
But then ask yourself, When have I done this to myself? Or, even more appropriately, When was the last time I did this to myself?
Because the truth is that we all do this to ourselves. And we do it all the time.
We All Have an “Internal Barometer”
We all have an inner view of who we are and what we are capable of doing. And we try our best to stay consistent with that view in order to keep ourselves in a comfortable place. When we get outside that comfort zone, the tendency is to go right back in by either reducing our efforts or redoubling them.
I don’t think I really understood this idea fully until I chose to succeed at the pamper pole last week. But, really, now that I reflect on it, Tony Robbins talks about how each of us has an “internal barometer” of how well we can do financially, and how we will adjust our actions to stay within our acceptable range. Get too successful, and you’ll feel uncomfortable, like it’s not you, and you’ll subconsciously sabotage yourself. Lose your money or your success, and you’ll work doubly hard to get back to where you were.
People will do anything to be consistent with their identity.
So what is your identity? What are you doing each day to keep yourself in the safe space? And, what have you done in the past to keep yourself there when you could have aimed higher?
You Can Do What You Believe You Can Do
We’ve seen a lot of people struggle with the concept of Fast FIRE (aka achieving financial freedom while you are still young enough to enjoy it) since we introduced it. They wonder if it’s a realistic option for them, whether they are capable of it, or whether they have the finances. They wonder if they have the time.
And for many different reasons, they doubt it is even possible for them.
But here’s the thing: you can achieve anything you believe you are capable of achieving. Because if you believe something is possible, then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get there–and then taking the action you need to to actually do it.
Successful real estate investing is no different. And so was medical school or law school or dental school or any other big dream that you went out and accomplished. You believed you could, and you figured out a way to do it. That’s what the real estate investing mindset is about.
Assume a New Identity
Now, let me tell you a story about how I approached real estate investing and the real estate investing mindset. It’s a bit of a curious story, when you consider how I previously limited myself in so many ways, but I also think it’s useful because it reveals how my approach to real estate investing was so different to what I had done previously in my life.
As some of you know, reading Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad really launched Kenji and I into the cashflowing real estate investment game. When we came back from our fateful trip from New Zealand, we had abandoned our plans for a primary residence and decided to invest all of our money in real estate. But more than that, I had decided I was going to become a “Real Estate Baron.”
Now, you may laugh at this. And, in fact, it puts a smile on my face even to think about it. But I literally walked around telling people that Kenji and I were becoming “Real Estate Barons.”
Not. Kidding. At. All.
I met some people at a Christmas party. They asked what we were up to. I said, “We’re becoming Real Estate Barons,” just like that.
I know Kenji was secretly embarrassed. He even said something about toning down my language. Did I really need to say I was becoming a Real Estate Baron? Couldn’t I just say we were going to invest in real estate?
But today, looking back at it, I see the real value in what I subconsciously did. You see, I had developed a new identity. And not just the identity of a person who was not only a successful real estate investor, but someone who had enough holdings that I was literally on the level of a baron.
This wasn’t just a regular goal consistent with who I was. It was much bigger. And maybe that’s why I chose to say it the way that I did. In any case, I’m convinced that using that language helped me to believe in (and achieve) this bigger reality.
So How Did I Master That Pamper Pole and the Trapeze?
I finally understood that whether or not I accomplished it was purely in my mind. So first, I had to believe that reaching the trapeze was not only possible, but a reality that I would achieve.
And then I made it happen. I climbed up that pamper pole completely determined and fixated on getting the trapeze. Along the climb, I repeatedly told myself (out loud!), “It’s all in your f***ing mind,” over and over and over again.
I repeated that until I was on the top of the pole, balanced, looking at the trapeze in front of me. Honestly, it’s a bit of a blur how I even got up there since I was so focused, almost in a tunnel of determination.
At the top of the pole, I took some time to visualize myself catching the trapeze, since visualization is such a powerful tool of the mind. I even closed my eyes to see the action. I was so focused and confident that I didn’t even consider I could fall off the pole with my eyes closed.
And then I jumped–and I caught the trapeze! It was awesome!!!!
Catching the trapeze was an awesome experience for a lot of reasons, but mostly it was awesome because it helped me reinforce that I can do anything I believe I can AND that I can control my mind. I believe that controlling your mind and mastering your fears is most of the battle to achieving anything.
Beliefs lead to actions lead to results, which then feeds back to beliefs. This is something Brooke Castillo talks about in Ep. 1 of The Life Coach School, which made our list of best podcast episodes. So what do you believe about yourself?
And Now, Let Me Say a Little Something to the Ladies Specifically
When I came down from my pamper pole experience, I was approached by another female friend who had also reached the trapeze. She said she had watched me and was really excited to have seen another woman also get the trapeze besides herself. She said she just hadn’t seen many of the other female participants do it yet.
Anyway, this got me thinking. Was there any physical reason that the women were not reaching the trapeze as often as the men?
Reflecting on it, I really don’t think so.
I’ve searched online to check the distance to the trapeze, and it’s frequently quoted as 7 ft away from the top of the pamper pole. Now, some women may be limited in some way by their heights, but I’m guessing even most 5 foot tall women can jump 7 feet.
This leads me to hypothesize that perhaps women do not reach the trapeze as frequently as the men because we are raised in our culture to have a mindset that we can’t achieve these types of feats? Maybe, like me, they’re taking themselves out of the game too early, too.
What Can You Take Away From This?
My hope is that you can use this ridiculous story of my pamper pole and “Real Estate Baron” experiences to take a deep look at your identity and the things that you do to hold yourself back and limit your potential.
Once you realize them, then you have a chance to unlock your potential by changing your mindset towards real estate investing and towards life in general.
This brings to mind a poem I’ve become increasingly enamored with of late, written by an extremely talented 22-year old poet, Erin Hanson:
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson
How have you developed your real estate investing mindset? Share your story in the comments below! And be sure to join our Facebook community to connect with like minds!